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“Quirky b&b in a great location.” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Pollen B and B

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Pollen B and B
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16 High Street, Woodstock OX20 1TF, England   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #4 of 11 Woodstock B&B and Inns
Phuket
Senior Contributor
21 reviews 21 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Quirky b&b in a great location.”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2012

This b&b was more like staying in someone's own home than a b&b. The quirky nature of it makes it quite unlike anywhere I have ever stayed before. The flat/ muddle room was a hotchpotch of uneven floors, ceilings, windows and furniture with a 4 poster single bed (which made me feel like a princess!), and a huge double bed in a seperate room which made for unique experience. An en suite off the double room. We also had the double on the top floor which was equally interesting. If you find sleeping without curtains a problem, you will find the skylights not to your liking. it has a very cluttered feel with lot's of items of antiques and bric a brac everywhere..but that is what makes it interesting .As I said it was a bit like staying in someone's house with random items filling drawers when I went to put clothes away.... Martha, the manager/housekeeper, a lovely Burmese lady, was very welcoming. Provided a wonderful breakfast in the kitchen. Everyone sits together and she cooks on a big aga as you watch. Very homely. I will defiantly use this again and recommend it to anyone who likes something a bit different. Be aware there are a lot of stairs heh may not suit women l s s mobile although my elderly mother managed them slowly...

  • Stayed October 2012
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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34 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
    26
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    4
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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
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (6)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Midlands
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 15, 2012

We managed to find Pollen House during a very busy weekend of events at Blenheim. Was glad simply to find a room but the reality was superb. Nothing too much trouble for the friendly Martha. Quirky room with plenty of space and superb power-shower in bathroom (using an antique bowl as a wash-basin!)
Lovely breakfast with other guests.
Well located in centre of town. By the (Saturday) evening there was ample parking right outside enabling us to move the car nearer. Easy walking distance to the Palace.

Room Tip: Quietest room perhaps Attic room but the large front room has more space (and shutters). The "F...
See more room tips
  • Stayed October 2012, 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
    • 4 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.
Peterborough, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2012 via mobile

This is a little treasure hidden on the main high street, we had a fantastic stay in the flat, (or should I say suite, it was a large room), wonderful cooking from a lovely host, would return without hesitation.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 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.
Woodstock Oxon, UK
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 7, 2012

Firstly, I knew the original owner (passed away 2005)... recommended by the Toronta Globe newspaper...which kept Pollen busy for years, a special place for Oxford visiting intelligencia , Torronta Musicians from the Sympony, and insiders from universities, antique dealers (family had five upmarket shops in California), and personal references. It was a family run B and B, without a sign, without joining tourism boards, and often served local Woodstock families who had no room for visitors, or wished rooms for local weddings. Today, it has the same antique furnisings, collections, real paintings, and the charm of what a listed building should have with cleverly installed marble bathrooms, beams, authentic antiques, and original construction features....all retained because of an approved fire system of 23 sprinklers that assure that guests/family are safe, and the buiding will be preserved. (no wired glass, no fire doors, no ugly fire fixtures, no massive alterations to the listed building...the result of an engineered solution).
There are few listed buildings other than Buckingham Palace, where there is safety, protection, and consideration for the listed features and the valuable antiques.

Presently, there is Martha, one lovely Burmese lady who manages Pollen. The breakfasts are special, nothing is too much trouble:.\ Cut whole fresh Pinapple, poached eggs, Eggs benedict, croissants, special sauces, vegetarian, etc...(the secret is that Martha's mother worked at the American Embassy in Rangoon, and Martha cooks with asian approaches...never overdone... It is the ambiance of the kitchen with one antique French Table, an ancient AGA, brick walls, paintings, and an Austrian ecke surrounding the table that makes like minded people converse, serve themselves coffee, read the paper, enjoy the AGA warmth, and can look out to the hidden garden. The unique element is that people are served when they want, and enjoy the family like style where guests are the focus, and the conversations are animated. You might be lucky to meet frequent guests, a vetinarian with speciality of horse acupuncture and helped a carioligist to obtain Giraffe DNA from the local zoo, the world champion fold up bike champion over 40 from Northern Island, or a Scottish author with skills in Biblical languages and wrote a controvesial published text about Jesus by applying the local meanings of "terrorist" at the time of Christ, everyone seems to seek out Pollen, and has unusual and interesting backgrounds....whether young or elder. A tall beautiful young lady stayed at Pollen, was married with special permission at Rousham Hall (family connection), kept returning to prepare her wedding, and then had her honeymoon started at the luxurious Hope house. She personified the not so dumb beautiful blonde...educated at Oxford.
The rooms are appointed and decorated with beauty and quality in mind, not fashion....and will probably have more future attention from Woodstock design, after the success of their furnishing the antique four poster bed that requires a stool to enter. Recently, i know that a world famous jounalist loved the bed, and the congnescenti returning always ask for the four poster muddle room or the flat with children. Each area is unique, furnished as a family house would be, and has listed features which have been exposed from the original building. The muddle room has a nine foot mirror from a special hotel, and the flat has a number of unique shapes and crannies that belie that it was three periods, shaped from the roof space, so has different levels.

The prices have changed little, as Martha wants to offer value, enjoy the guests, serve single women willingly, and has not joined any rating group, last minute web sites, or signed up for discounting web sites. The objective has been to pass on the savings in the prices, not add the costs to the prices. Pollen could have much more business with slick advertising, but the purpose remains to give value and seek out repeat guests or well referenced guests. The special offers are very unique with discounts for Oxford parents, repeating multiple night guests, or reducttions for clients that know their custom is appreciated for a number of reasons such as they take Martha to the store, or into Oxford. I hope you understand the flavor is friendly, and the guests want to stay where they are really appreciated as friends.

It would help to know what needs improving so that you have a balanced view. The back garden is unfinished, might always be...but it is an effort to create a Chinese Scholar's Garden with nine sections that have been Feng Shued...to include a 1/5 size of the forbidden city, a contemplation Pagoda..that was significantly designed by one of the guests. In back out of site is a small Japanese garden of rocks, special plants, and fish ponds (not Koi that needs more depth). Eventually, this will offer barbeque space, compliment the three day weekend package to cook on site during the summer, and will have better outdoor seating. The Main house has had 400 years of deferred maintenance, which usually shows itself when a roof leaks, or an internal pipe leaks, or when cash flow is needed to repair the quality wool carpet. Cleanliness is not a problem, as Martha is fastidious, but it can get frustrating when a leak shows up and damages three floors. There is no overbooking, so repairs can be done easily without too much disruption, but you wonder if you can have modernity and appreciate the charm of antiques and age.

I have heard that Pollen has been most enjoyed by families, extended or new, that occupy the entire building for a wedding or a special local party. The kitchen is open, eating can occur in the kitchen or outside in the garden. The stone walls keep rooms quiet, there is no road noise even in the middle of the town. The professional flower shop is part of the building, and everyone loves to arrive in the flower shop , and be directed down the stone hallway to the back. It is a welcoming and beautiful sight. There is ample room for children, who enjoy the kitchen, the refrigerator access, and the back garden. The best recommendation is the excitement of children whose parents have taken them to Blenheim or Oxford, and returned to safe Woodstock, letting the children roam and enjoy themselves. Martha creates an ambiance of graceful appreciation for her guests....you have to see it to fully believe that this kind of place exists in a greedy and modern world.

Hope this somewhat insider view helps you to decide whether you would like to be a long staying or repeat guest. When I go, I always ask for the top room as it is quiet, good tempurpedic bed, nice bathroom with reduced head height that does not bother me, and a killer view of the local church. The room , with pop out hidden fire sprinklers, is at the top of the building, a long way up, but I get a good discount for multiple stays.... It would cost 300 singapore dollars in Singapore.

If my review helps others who will be good to Marha, and only recommend really nice people, then I have done well. If you anticipate a five star overpriced, very costly stay in modern simple surroundings, then this is not for you. You must be cultured, appreciative, enjoy quality, and be surprized at what is offered...then Pollen will become a home away from home....whether a special family, typically a European family where Children are well educated/prepared, then enjoy your fine children, or....whether a single woman or gentleman that deserves to be pampered by Martha who cannot hide her graciousness.

So Not too many reviews please. Just enough to validate what I observe. Enjoy yourselves

PS: Note that I rated Blenheim Palace grounds as a great fitness center, beautiful walks, but the ponds are terrible as Swimming pools.

  • Stayed February 2012, traveled solo
    • 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 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Pollen B and B

Address: 16 High Street, Woodstock OX20 1TF, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Woodstock
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #4 of 11 B&Bs / Inns in Woodstock
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 2
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Pollen B & B has an excellent reputation for high quality, traditional hospitality right in the heart of historic Woodstock, Oxfordshire and situated 9 miles from the centre of Oxford - a private listed home, protected by 23 sprinklers, it retains its listed character and preserves its 18th century charm but with modern en-suite baths, special windows, and conveniences. We respect all guests who enjoy antiques. ... more   less 

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