We live in Oxford but had been given an Afternoon Tea voucher. I personally have never been to the Randolph before but other family and some friends have with mixed reactions. I dressed up a little for the occasion, but wish I had just stayed in my jeans and t-shirt really.
We entered and the doorman said 'Good afternoon' and helpfully pointed us in the direction of the lounge. We hovered in the doorway of the lounge for about three minutes like lemons watching everybody enjoying themselves, listening to the piano.
The manager of the area attended to us and was pleasant enough but when he scanned his page several times unable to find our name, we knew our luck was out. He disappeared, reappeared, disappeared, reappeared, and I was getting quite dizzy after 10 minutes and fed up staring at the numerous holes in the wall where old photos had obviously been taken down. My eye also wandered regularly to the 'plinth' where the diary was held which looked like it had been made by a student in school during their first woodwork lesson.
Anyway, we were told they were full and could not accommodate us. We explained that we had booked for the following week but cancelled and rearranged the day after booking when we had realised that we had double-booked (booking made months back). There was some excuse given as to speaking to the wrong member of staff. We explained that we spoke to the staff on the number given on the voucher.
The manager tried his best to accommodate us and finally managed to squeeze us into the restaurant at the other end of the building. We were told (at 4pm as we sat) that the restaurant staff were doing us a favour and would need to clear us out and move us back to the lounge at 5pm.
So, clock watching, we scoffed at top speed. It was not particularly relaxing. There was a multitude of sandwiches, tiny cakes, and scones, along with one cup of hot drink for each person. All of this was served to us on our postage stamp sized table squashed in the corner out the way. At no point in the hour did any member of staff ask us if everything was OK.
During our brief encounter with the establishment we were 'monitored' by the restaurant staff who kept peering round the corner (like in a Carry On film) to see where we were up to before scuttling off.
A few staff milled around setting tables for dinner and we had to cope with tablecloths being ironed on the next table and it took one waitress the whole hour to set three tables. Quite astonishing. With her speed, if she had had a slight stoop I would have thought I had stepped into Acorn Antiques and met Mrs Overall.
As the table we were on was too small to house everything, the waiter put the tea pot on the radiator cover. The cake stand was wonky, crockery was chipped, the decor is dated in places, there were light bulbs out in the chandeliers, the windows were poor (member of the party is a carpenter and commented on broken sash cords hanging down) and the only other interaction that afternoon was from the restaurant manager who when we finally got up and left, smiled, thanked us, and provided a plastic tub (like the supermarket salad ones) to use as a goody bag for the last two thumbnail cakes left. All other staff encountered were surly and did not seem too bothered about actually being there.
This was not a 5* experience and we doubt very much that we will be back, which is a shame, as it could be so much better.
Positives: Lounge manager and Restaurant manager general manner and assistance was good.
Negatives: dated, lack of interest from staff, quality crockery and stands needs addressing
Would love to recommend it but do not feel I can in its current state based on today's experience.
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Booking.com, Hotels.com, Orbitz, Expedia, Agoda, Cheap Tickets, HotelTravel.com, Priceline, Despegar.com, TripOnline SA, EasyToBook, Travelocity, Odigeo and Tingo so you can book your Macdonald Randolph Hotel reservations with confidence. We help millions of travelers each month to find the perfect hotel for both vacation and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Macdonald Randolph Oxford
- Hotel Macdonald Randolph
- Randolph Hotel Oxford