I spent three nights last week at theOld Parsonage while I helped my daughter settle in at Oxford for her graduate studies. I arrived by rail near noon from London (one hour trek from London's Paddington) and took a 5 pound taxi ride to the Hotel. Bus service is also available, with a stop right at the Inn's door. It's located a short walk from city centre (less than 10 minutes), but about a twenty minute walk from the rail station. With luggage in tow, I felt the cab ride was worth the extra expense.
The Hotel oozes English charm. You enter through a courtyard restaurant and register at the small front desk in the cozy lobby (that doubles as the bar, complete with a library and roaring fireplace.) It is a dark, small space but is well appointed with comfy chairs, tables and art work. The service was mostly pleasant (Jack, especially, is warm and welcoming...only one sour puss in the front desk lot and she works evenings.) My room was not prepared, but I was able to check in and have my luggage stored until it was ready.
Because my daughter was moving into her campus flat, I was staying at the Hotel solo. I booked the smallest room (29) and felt safe and sound throughout my stay. The bathroom was large and modern and the room was clean and comfortable. The view is of an alley (and there was a little nighttime noise drifting up.) There is a rooftop courtyard across the hallway which was nice for a breath of fresh air. Wireless is not available ensuite, but was on the rooftop courtyard and in the lobby and restaurant. Even so, the service was dodgy and uneven. There is no business centre to use onsite.
Housekeeping was a bit uneven, as well. The room was clean, but I never received turn down service during my stay. Not a deal breaker, just a bit of a disappointment. Use your "do not disturb" sign as they start knocking early (before 9am!)
The hotel advertises that bikes are available for use, but each time I inquired, they were already in use. Also, they offer "free" tours, but again, when I inquired, I was told that they were booked up or unavailable and that I should go to the Oxford Information Centre and take the 6 pound tour downtown. Again, not a big deal, but a little puzzling because they heavily advertise these extra perks.
The restaurant offers breakfast, lunch, tea and dinner. The food is mostly traditional English fare and is fine except the coffee...go to the city centre and enjoy a Starbucks, please! The tea service is a good value as compared to the high tea I attended in London at Fortnum and Mason's earlier in the week. The sister restaurant Quod (at the Old Bank) was delightful with a broader menu, as was Gee (a glasshouse restaurant just up Banbury Road.) For my taste, I preferred those establishments.
Overall, my stay was pleasant. I'll be back in Oxford a few times this year and will consider the Old Parsonage Hotel because of its location, charm and the friendliness of some staff (along with the Old Bank, the Cotswold Inn and the Randolph) when making arrangements. Cheers!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ranked as the best hotel in Oxford, the 17th century Old Parsonage is situated in the heart of this historic city at the end of the beautiful boulevard St Giles. The recently completed restoration combines the original charm and character of the building with the very latest comfort, amenity and technology available today. The Old Parsonage restaurant and bar, famous for its intimate, bohemian, clubby atmosphere, serves classic British food with a modern, light touch. Open every day of the year, breakfast, lunch, dinner and our famous afternoon teas can be enjoyed in the company of Oxford's academic and literary elite. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel Old Parsonage