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“Cosy city centre hotel” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Vanbrugh House Hotel

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Vanbrugh House Hotel
20 - 24 St Michael's Street, Oxford OX1 2EB, England   |  
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Ranked #2 of 43 Hotels in Oxford
Great Malvern, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
50 reviews 50 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
147 helpful votes 147 helpful votes
“Cosy city centre hotel”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 4, 2014

The hotel is a relative newcomer to Oxford's accommodation and a very welcome one. Oxford's status as a tourist hot-spot and limited room supply keeps prices up and allows poor establishments to still earn a living. Happily, the Vanbrugh is well above average and better value for money than most. My room cost £95 per night (1 night stay) including full English breakfast, booked in advance. Not cheap, but pretty attractive compared to the £75-£85 requested even by ordinary B&Bs a couple of miles outside the city and requiring an expensive bus ride to & fro. No car parking is available as Oxford City Council hates cars, though some disabled spaces are available within yards.

The hotel is quirky in that it has no reception as such. You sign in/out in the small downstairs lounge which also offers complimentary coffee throughout the day. A nice touch. Rooms presumably vary, but mine was a rather small double at the rear of the hotel with an en suite bathroom. Actually small is inaccurate: tiny would be closer! You certainly wouldn't want to spend much time in it if the weather was poor. The room's window gave an unappealing view of adjacent, rather dilapidated buildings about 20 feet away (!), but it had all the required facilities including flat screen TV, internet access (free) and multiple sockets for computer connections & charging. A further nice touch is an in-room fridge with bottle water, some snacks and fresh milk for tea/coffee. OK, you're paying for all this, but it felt homely. The bathroom was spotless and the shower excellent.

The bottom line with all hotels is whether you can get a decent night's sleep. I did. The bed was comfortable and I experienced no sound intrusion from adjacent rooms or the buildings opposite my room.

Breakfast was in the downstairs restaurant. A little claustrophobic and service was a touch haphazard, but the food was beyond reproach. A wide selection of items and the cooked breakfast was first rate.

I'd stay again, though if I'm honest I'd have preferred the option of a room only at £80 rather than £95 with breakfast included.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled on business
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this review, February 8, 2014
Dear Rovingpublover,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review on your recent visit to Vanbrugh House. Being a grade to listed property, you are correct in stating that rooms vary. This unique hotel has no 2 rooms the same which most certainly adds to the character of the property. I am pleased that the hotels facilities were to your liking and you found us of good value.

We look forward to welcoming you again at Vanbrugh House.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager
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301 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (92)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
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English first
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 3, 2014

I stayed overnight in the Vanbrugh House. It's a small boutique hotel composed of some recently renovated townhouses in a quiet street in the centre of town. The room was smart, the shower worked well, the bed was comfortable, the food nice and the staff very pleasant. And the location is unbeatable!

Room Tip: It's a quiet street so all rooms should be quiet
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Dear TangoEcho,

Thank you so much for your 5 star review. It is great to hear that you enjoyed your time spent at Vanbrugh House. The location on beautiful St Michaels Street, a tranquil setting in the very heart of Oxford, really is an asset and a very popular topic amongst all our guests.

We look forward to welcoming you again soon.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 2, 2014

I stayed in this hotel over a recent weekend with my wife to celebrate our wedding anniversary. The hotel is in a great location in the centre of Oxford and the staff were very friendly and welcoming throughout our stay. Our room was beautifully decorated and spotlessly clean. However, despite the location and character I do have some criticisms: I think that for the price the dining room facilities are not up to standard. The dining room is very cramped and although we had booked a table for 9pm when it came to dessert we were told that we may not be able to have any as the chef was about to leave for the night! This should not have been a problem as we had booked the table in advance.
We were also disappointed to discover there was no communal seating area or lounge where we could get tea in the afternoon or sit and have a pre dinner drink. This made the hotel feel like somewhere to sleep rather than stay. Having said that the location is in the centre of Oxford so there are plenty of other places to go if you want. I think they have sacrificed a lounge area and dining space in order to get in more bed rooms.
Breakfast was good with several options but again the dining room where breakfast is served is very small so don't expect any privacy and you may get bumped as people try to walk by.

On the whole we had a very enjoyable weekend in Oxford staying at the Vanburgh but I have stayed at other hotels which I think are better value for money.

Room Tip: Select a room at the front and 1st or 2nd floor for a view and the back of the hotel for quiet and n...
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  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Dear Reuben713,

Thank you for taking the time to submit your feedback regarding your recent visit to Vanbrugh House. I am pleased that the cleanliness of the hotel was appreciated. This is an aspect that can often be taken for granted and is really testament to our committed house keeping team.
I am concerned however of your comments when ordering your desserts in the restaurant. Our guests are of paramount importance, and to think that you were rushed in anyway whilst dining with us is totally unacceptable, and something for which I sincerely apologise. I can assure you that the matter has been dealt with and glad that you did receive your desserts.
Vanbrugh House Hotel is a grade 2 listed property, unique in every way. I agree that we do not have a spacious restaurant or lounge area with communal seating, but what we do have historic building in the heart of Oxford with plenty of character!

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager
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Livonia, Michigan
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

We stayed here for one night but I would have loved to stay longer. The staff was very friendly and helpful. We were in room 4 which was quite small but so charming! The bathroom was awesome, I liked the rainfall shower head and towel warmer. The bed was very comfortable and the complimentary mini bar with a small bag of chips, a Kit Kat, water and Coke was a nice surprise. Our breakfast was also included and was very nice. My only complaint was that we were there on a Saturday and the music from the nearby bar was very loud at night but that was no fault of the hotel. If we came back to Oxford, I would stay here again in a heartbeat!

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Dear Kelsey Z,

Thank you for taking the time to write your 5 star review. It pleases me that you found the staff friendly and helpful, the team really do take pride in their work and I am glad this is acknowledged.
It is good to hear that the complimentary welcome snacks met with your approval, a unique little touch that is always appreciated after a long days travelling, especially from Michigan!!

We look forward to welcoming you on your return visit to Oxford.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maidstone, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 27, 2014

One word "perfect" thank you VBHH for a lovely stay you made my wifes birthday complete, staff very polite and helpful ,room no 7 vicarage suite beautiful and spotless food excellent and thank you david for the Morse info you will be seeing us again soon i hope

Room Tip: if its something special vicarage suite no.7
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this review, February 5, 2014
Dear pfjf2014,

I am so pleased that you enjoyed your wife's birthday at Vanbrugh House, The Vicarage Suite really does enhance that special occasion. It was really good to meet you both and I hope the Morse information came in useful! Thank you for your 5 star review......perfect.

We look forward to welcoming you again soon.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 26, 2014

This little hotel is what all hotels should be and few achieve. Booking online was straightforward and quick. I received an email and a phone call reminder. It was very central, near everything one needed to be near. The welcome was friendly and practical. The little room was beautifully decorated and equipped. In fact the decor throughout was lovely. It was raining torrentially. The desk will lend me an umbrella, I thought. Got to room, only to find umbrella hanging in closet. Mini bar stocked with complimentary snacks, water, fizzy drinks and even fresh milk. Bathroom was beautiful and stocked with good quality products. Massive, heavy towels. (No extractor though; why do hotel bathroom extractors never work?) Even the coffee cups in the room were stylish. Breakfast was generous (although fruit a bit sparse; my vegetarian daughter would not have been happy, but it is the uk, I suppose, not the tropics). And the service is v good. In fact service throughout, delivered by lovely mainly young staff, was polite, helpful, earnest and just as it should be. They forgot my morning paper, so found me one and of course didn't charge me for it.

Room Tip: No lift as grade ii listed. Elderly might want to consider ground floor.
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this review, January 28, 2014
Dear Sandra s,

What a fantastic review and what a pleasure to read! I am so pleased that you enjoyed your time spent at Vanbrugh House and that you appreciated our complimentary range. It really is comments such as yours that makes it all worth while!

We look forward to welcoming you again at Vanbrugh House.

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager
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Leamington Spa, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
22 reviews 22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2014

1 night stay in the Vicarage Suite (room 7) post Christmas treat for husband and I. Our experience is overall fabulous, we booked on 1st Jan, had a phone call on Sunday prior to arrival to confirm booking and advise regarding parking (we had already researched and viewed on hotel website nearest car park cost a hefty £24.90 for 24hrs but took it on the nose as we wanted to drive!) On arrival wanted to drop our bags (we were an hour earlier than room due to be ready) no one around to check in or welcome, searched around until we found someone downstairs. Checked in standing (oddly asked if this was ok) although the front room we were in had a lot of chairs none would have been appropriately positioned for the job.
That aside, Thoroughly enjoyed the peace and tranquility of the fabulous suite: own front door, own garden, lovely bedroom area, complimentary soft drinks and snack, nice touch, but the icing is most definitely the bathroom! Two roll top baths and TV, add a bottle of Bollinger, bliss!! Walking distance to all surrounding Oxford sights and plenty of places to eat. Breakfast was included in our package, also fabulous, eggs Benedict, and a full Oxford, delicious, although the restaurant is in the basement and alittle tight.
A very special place, thank you

Room Tip: Room 7 every time, beautiful, especially the very special bathroom!!!! A lot of stairs/steps, not...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vanbrugh House H, General Manager at Vanbrugh House Hotel, responded to this review, January 23, 2014
Dear hevandotis,

Thank you for taking the time to write your 5 star review. It is fantastic to hear you got to enjoy The Vicarage Suite and all its splendour.
I am sorry to hear you did not receive a warm welcome at reception. Our guests welcome arrival is of paramount importance to us and I sincerely apologise if the desk was unattended for a few short moments.
I trust from the rest of your review that you had a fabulous time at Vanbrugh House and your final comment really does please me.........' A very special place'.

We look forward to giving you that warm welcome on your return!

Kind regards

David Robinson
General Manager
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Vanbrugh House Hotel

Address: 20 - 24 St Michael's Street, Oxford OX1 2EB, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 43 Hotels in Oxford
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 22
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