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“Old but fitting”
Review of Tower House

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Tower House
Ranked #22 of 85 Oxford B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 23 July 2014

Yes, the pictures on the site are a bit... flattering. The interior is quite dated, but then again, it has its charms. Our bed was fine, the bathroom is basic, but clean and has a shower, toilet and hair dryer. When walking around in the room, I had to mind my head, as the ceiling is very low. The stairs are small. But it's Oxford, it's a 17th century building, it makes sense.

It is located right in the heart of Oxford, which is a blessing, but can be a curse. We had one night with quite some street noise, but we might have been just unlucky. Other than that, you are very close to the center of the University.

Breakfast is in Turl Street Kitchen, which I reviewed separately, but in a nutshell it was a very good breakfast.

I'm somewhere between a three and a four star (value for money), but end up giving four because of the friendly staff.

Room Tip: Make sure you get an ensuite room if you want private toilets.
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  • Stayed: July 2014, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Tom D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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98 - 104 of 201 reviews

Reviewed 26 June 2014

Right in the heart of old Oxford and easy walking distance to everything else, this venerable little treasure was a great find. Our room was small but charming, comfortable and clean; the ensuite plumbing worked well, which must be a miracle in a 17th century townhouse. With only 7 rooms, the hotel is quiet and friendly. You go around the corner to the Turl St Kitchen for an excellent breakfast, included in the cost. The Kitchen and Tower House are owned by a Trust and staffed by young people, mostly recent Oxford graduates, who bring a cheerful energy to the place. We loved it and we loved Oxford.

  • Stayed: June 2014, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank WarrenandSue
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 20 April 2014 via mobile

The Tower House has a great central location in Oxford between the Cornmarket and Radcliffe Camera. The room was small but not uncomfortably so. The room was clean but with signs of age with some rough edges on the walls. It was quiet overnight and the bed was comfy. Breakfast at Turl St Kitchen was very tasty and had a good range of options.

The small rooms and sloping floors won't be for everyone, but for this price and location they are acceptable issues.

  • Stayed: April 2014
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1  Thank no_public_name
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 18 March 2014

Some reviews of the Tower House seem to want it to be super modern as well as attractively old. It can't be done, but if you want somewhere with genuine old architectural features the Tower House is just the place. Yes, the stairs are steep, but not vertiginously so and it really isn't a long climb to the second floor. I had the Red Room, which wouldn't have suited a very tall person but was fine for me. The bed was very comfortable, the ensuite was perfectly clean, provided with a generous supply of shampoos and shower gels, the wifi worked and my view was over Ship Street. I was afraid it might be noisy and if you don't take care to close the windows and the sliding secondary glazing you can be disturbed at night, but with everything closed it was very quiet. My room was quite spacious and I had an attractive old escritoire for a desk. Breakfast is around the corner in Turl St Kitchen. This was fine- I prefer the usual B&B breakfast where things are set out and they trust you not to eat all the croissants yourself, but the food itself was very nice. My bacon roll was very good. I would have preferred a pot of tea to a mug, but again, what I had was quite acceptable. Service in Turl Street Kitchen was friendly and prompt,and Charis at the Tower House was most welcoming and pleasant. The situation of the Tower House can't be bettered, right in the heart of Oxford and a few steps to the Broad or to the Bodleian. My main criticism would be that the flex of the kettle was so short that one had to adopt a strange crouching position to pour hot water into one's cup of coffee. But this was little enough to put up with for a stay in such an interesting and charming building.

  • Stayed: March 2014, travelled on business
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3  Thank chelseabunLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2014

We have all seen or read about Fawlty Towers the hotel which just can't do anything right. Well that is what about 80% of The Tower House is. See the photos. I stayed in what was one of the better more expensive rooms. The room at the top of the stairs in the second of the two connected houses. The stairs are so steep that the manager said bad back can't carry them up it was OK though for me to carry them according to him. I am talking about sheer vertical up and grab onto anything you can to come down. So if you have a fear of heights very steep verticals or have the slightest issue with balance request another room. Regarding this room, there was not a single socket in the room available. I managed to find an extension chord which had 4 things plugged into an old single socket and used that. To use it you had to have 4 plugs in a thin extension chord and the only place it would all reach was placing it above you on the headboard while you slept. The idea of fire was in my dreams more than once. There is no place to place a computer or tablet and work and charge at the same time. The bathroom shower had a large more than one foot long piece of cracked glass at the bottom of the separator that was jagged on the shower side and quite dangerous for slashing your leg. The mold in the shower did not bother me or the fact that there was only room for one toothbrush in the bathroom forget shampoo or a brush. The room was drab and colorless and just 5 foot 10 inches in spots. The breakfast at the bar around the corner which owns the hotel was nice and simple, two eggs toast or lox and toast. This place has a fixed price year round. In the off season it is a bad deal since others lower their prices. In the high season it is an OK deal since others raise them. The problem is that the service is minimal or non existant and the room I stayed in substandard for a B&B at any time of the year.

Room Tip: See comment on the stairs
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with friends
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5  Thank jimnick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 12 February 2014

I stayed here for one night for a conference and liked it very much. I was in the Bastion room which is, they say, built of part of the old city walls and has an ensuite shower room. Some of the other comments below are strictly correct - it is very shabby (almost deliberately so!) and there's no view, but it is also full of character, warm, dry, comfortable, great value for money, very friendly staff (owners?) and brilliantly located. I loved having my own front door key so I could just step out into the centre of Oxford and walk to everywhere I needed to go - reliving my student days! Didn't use the wifi as I now take my own 4G everywhere. If you are at all squeamish about shabby carpet, mismatched furniture or mysterious marks on the wall, this is not the accommodation for you, but if you want a fun experience it's a good choice. We usually manage to stay in college accommodation when we return to Oxford but if that's not possible then this will now be our first choice.

Room Tip: The Bastion room is up a tricky, winding staircase that would be difficult for anyone with mobility...
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  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
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1  Thank WilliamsFamilyUk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 2 February 2014

An old fashioned B&B in the heart of Oxford, great location, reasonable prices, but oh so shabby and not very clean. The plumbing needs ripping out, the walls filling and the woodwork re-painting, and above all the carpet needs replacing, it was probably there at the time of the Norman Invasion. Breakfast is at the next door Turl cafe: bad music (too loud!), nasty orange juice and cheap bread. Oh Dear!

Room Tip: all rooms are small and somewhat cramped, but this place does have some elderly charm.
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  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled with family
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4  Thank flyingshuttlelondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tower House

Address: 15 Ship Street, Oxford OX1 3DA, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi )
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 85 B&Bs / Inns in Oxford
Price Range: £108 - £160 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Tower House 3*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Tower House Hotel is a Sixteenth Century Guest House, situated on a quiet street in the heart of Oxford city centre. Oxford is a delightful city, famous for its dreaming spires, ancient University colleges and beautiful architecture. The hotel is two minutes walk from all the major tourist attractions. The Hotel has eight unique rooms, each one is individually designed and furnished with period antiques. The hotel is steeped in history, the bastion of the medieval city walls form part of the dining room and the front of the hotel overlooks Jesus College. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Tower House Hotel Oxford

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