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“Central location, Asthetic treat, Room and service average.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Malmaison Oxford Castle

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   3 Oxford Castle, Oxford OX1 1AY, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #10 of 43 Hotels in Oxford
London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
“Central location, Asthetic treat, Room and service average.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed November 11, 2013

We booked last minute on Saturday during half term and choice was limited as we needed a location very central and close to Oxford train station. The website was interesting and I liked the look of the bar so booked a standard double room in the new part of the building called the House of Correction for £205.00.

Well the whole building is amazing and it has won a recent interior design award. The location is great and we were able to dump our bags and head straight into the centre of Oxford to find a restaurant without much trouble. Next day we found the Ashmolean Museum to be under ten minutes walk away. So far so good.

The service and room were both under-whelming and I would be reluctant to pay this price again for the standard achieved in these areas. The service was modern in as much that no-one offered to carry our bags. Instead we were given our keys and a set of long instructions to find our room. This involved going through a couple of heavy doors, three flights of stairs and an outside public courtyard. It was dark and raining so it would have helped to have a member of staff lead the way.

The room itself was furnished in a modern, dark boutique style, but nothing spectacular. There was a gap under the door which let the light and breeze in. The lighting was quite dim. The bathroom was ok but it had an overhead shower head which was slightly awkward to use in terms of its positioning and the bath was grubby. There wasn't really enough space around the sink for toilet bags and toothbrushes. It did get a bit cold in the room later and it wasn't clear how the the air con and heating worked. If someone had offered to show us to our room then we could have asked about these things.

The handles to the wardrobe were made of leather effect and had probably looked lovely when new but were now crumbling and worn. The bed was very comfortable but was dressed with some very large woolen cushions that we both found quite itchy. We had to throw them off the bed after a short while when we realised they were causing us to scratch! Looking at them in the morning it wasn't clear how they could be cleaned which was slightly worrying. The room had a good flat-screen tv, a well stocked mini bar and an inviting light menu for the room service.

We had drinks at the bar later in the evening. It's a very lovely design and the music was great but again the service was quite patchy and disorganised. Tables weren't cleaned, glasses not collected, service slow though there were plenty of staff behind the bar. I had an earl grey style cocktail which was nice but small for the price and the bartender missed out an ingredient that was listed on the menu.

Earlier in the evening we approached one of the reception staff to ask about a good chinese restaurant but she wasn't able to help stating that she didn't eat 'chinese' herself. She did give us a map eventually and we figured things out for ourselves but we were left feeling slightly bemused. The impression was that the staff were quite young and friendly but not really trained in good hotel service. The company seems to be trading on the cool aspects related to the design of the building but not on the details that make guests feel really welcome and ultimately want to return. The next day we met up with my brother and children and we took them back to the hotel and took photos with them in the central part. They got the fun of the design for free whereas we paid for the privilege to stay in a room out the back. We won't be doing it again.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, November 22, 2013
Dear emeraldandgold,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review following your visit to the hotel. I was very pleased to read that you enjoyed your visit, recognising the uniqueness of the property and care taken in renovating from a prison.

I have given much consideration to your observations where we can improve and I will certainly be utilising your feedback to make some very quick changes, as well as working toward a longer term plan.

I do hope we see you again to experience this yourself.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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1,689 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    3.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (415)
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English first
Oxford, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013 via mobile

Really loved this stay. Superior room with balcony overlooking main courtyard and entrance. Asthetics cannot be faulted but our room was very hot (in November!) and no sign of air-con. At almost £300 you'd expect to have heating and cooling options. However, we didn't actually spend that much time in the room! Good size, gorgeous bathroom which was huge too. Fridge in room so some room to stash your own treats. Good job too as the cocktails were tiny and expensive for what you got. Having said all this, it's a striking building and they've really made the most of it. One for a special occasion for sure!

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 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.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, November 22, 2013
Dear sam_pickles,

Thank you very much for taking the time to write your review. I was delighted to read that you enjoyed the hotel experience.

I do believe we are worth it, and hope that with feedback such as yours we can concentrate on improving the experience in the areas that matter most to our guests.

We look forward to welcoming you back for that special occasion.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013 via mobile

We stayed here for our 1st wedding anniversary and were not disappointed. The staff on arrival were very friendly, the room was lovely and the whole refurb is brilliantly done and very unique. The cocktails were great and not extravagantly priced and the food was AMAZING.
This place is expensive so somewhere worth treating yourself to for a special occasion. Would wholeheartedly recommend.

  • Stayed November 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, November 22, 2013
Dear Holby-T,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review. I was delighted to read that you enjoyed your experience at the hotel and we cant wait to welcome you back.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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Reading
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2013

we booked into this hotel to enjoy a luxury weekend away. although some part of this hotel were lovely it was sadly let down in other areas. the room was lovely (superior cell) but the duvet too heavy (feather), heating too difficult to control (room very hot), and feather pillows (prefer synthetic as cooler). No opportunity to vary the bedding. So we did not sleep as well as we hoped.Shower and bath excellent gut the sink failed to drain properly. Service in the bar was good on the first evening (even though the bar was full) and terrible on the second evening. i was served a bloody mary with a stick of celery with BROWN ends! We ate in the bar on the first night and were very satisfied with the food. The continental breakfast in our room was excellent but the full English on the second morning was not so good. My scrambled eggs and bacon were cold so i sent them back (as did the table next to us). So we suggest forget the cooked and have continental. The vanilla yoghurt is scrummy. And on a final note we requested fresh milk for our room which arrived in a glass- not much good for pouring into tea.
Our room was cleaned well but we'd used the glasses in the bathroom and these were not replaced (we had to ask housekeeping for some) and neither did we get a second request form for breakfast in our room for the second night (are you only allowed one??) So overall i'd rate this a 3 star not 4 star hotel very much let down by inconsistent standards. What a shame.

Room Tip: Go for a cell. Really good fun.
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 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.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, November 22, 2013
Dear Millarmaid,

Thank you for taking the time to write with your feedback. I am sorry you felt we were not at our best over the weekend you stayed. I read your feedback with great interest and can assure you we will work to improve in the areas highlighted by yourself.

I do hope you chose to revisit us to experience these changes yourself.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bristol, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 9, 2013

We stayed here when it first opened and enjoyed our stay. It was a very unique break staying in an old prison. We were a little disappointed by the service , so I complained and the manager was very good and sorted the problems out. We wouldn't return though. The parking situation is also a nightmare!

Stayed December 2012, traveled as a couple
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, November 21, 2013
Dear mummylovely,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review following your stay when we first opened. I would like to think that during that time there is alot that has changed within the hotel though it is still located in the same place and it is still as unique as when it first opened.

I do hope you choose to revisit.

Paul Watson
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Lincoln, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 7, 2013

My second visit to the Mal in Oxford and I remain very impressed. I love the feel of this hotel, I think they have struck the balance superbly between keeping with the 'theme' yet not too over powering.
The location of the hotel in relation to the city centre is superb, it really was too easy to frequent the shops and bars!
We stayed in the hotel for our evening meal and I have to say I could not fault the food, wine or service. It exceeded all of my expectations and the cocktails were a bonus!
Will definately return in the summer so I can sit within the castle walls and have champagne in the sun!

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, November 8, 2013
Dear LJW2013,

Thank you for your great review. I'm pleased that you chose to revisit us and will continue to do so, great to be thinking about Champagne in the sunshine already!

We truly do have a wonderful hotel, grounds and staff.

We look forward to locking you up for Mal Life again soon!

Paul Watson
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New York City, New York
Top Contributor
78 reviews 78 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
100 helpful votes 100 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed November 6, 2013

The hotel's physical plant is advertised: It offers more than a hint of it having been a jail with a prominently displayed pair of handcuffs near the reception desk and an interior corridor for the main buildings that looks pretty much like a jail warden's beat from a movie. Then there is a large courtyard that served as an exercise yard in its previous avatar. The room (501) I stayed in it was in a building on the far side of the courtyard and entailed a walk down a steep flight of stairs and across the yard (no concession for bad weather or backs). Now to the actual stay.

The interior of the room was nicely laid out with a desk, comfortable bed and decent sized bathroom. However, the blackout shades completely failed to do the job. Having got off an 8 hour transcontinental flight I tried to get some shut-eye. To no avail on two counts. The blinds let in enough light to make clear it was early afternoon (see attached photo). Secondly, the room outer walls appear to have been made of papier-mache. I could hear staff conversing in the corridor outside followed by a family checking into 502 with kids that were vying with each other to see who could slam their room door more loudly. Two calls to the front desk came to naught. Since I was unable to sleep I decided to take a walk and let the front office know again as I left the hotel and merely got an acknowledgement. A relatively trivial flaw in the room was the bedside lamp. It threw light in the immediate vicinity but was of no use in reading a book (see photo).

The capstone to my stay was when I went over my bill as I was checking out. There was a breakfast charge when I had not ordered any breakfast. The clerk first said it was for room service. When I denied having used room service she said it was the restaurant which also had not been used. She then took off the charge saying it was a "mistake". Methinks not.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, November 7, 2013
Dear Traveleasy,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write your review. I do feel obliged to let you know that we are officially a 4 AA star hotel and not 5 AA stars.

I am pleased that overall you enjoyed the experience of staying here and I can absolutely assure you that we would never knowingly overcharge a guest. I am pleased that this was resolved prior to your departure.

I hope that we get to see you again very soon should you find yourself in Oxford!

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Malmaison Oxford Castle

Address: 3 Oxford Castle, Oxford OX1 1AY, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#6 Luxury Hotel in Oxford
#8 Business Hotel in Oxford
#8 Romantic Hotel in Oxford
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — Malmaison Oxford Castle 4*
Number of rooms: 95
Reservation Options:
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Also Known As:
Malmaison Oxford Castle Hotel Oxford
Malmaison Hotel Oxford

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