This should be a lovely hotel, set in central Oxford in a beautiful old building - albeit with tiny rooms. However, the hotel is totally spoilt by the fact they seem to want to have their hand in your wallet at every opportunity - as my wife remarked, "We might as well have left our money at the reception desk to save time".
When you walk into the room you are greeted with lots of little snide cards... want to have a robe? That'll be £50. Want to smoke in your non-smoking room? That'll be £75. Want to have breakfast? That's an extra £14. It all adds to the cost of rooms that are already very expensive to American visitors and amounts to stealth charges.
The staff seem only interested in how much you'll tip them, and frequently discuss these loudly in front of guests at the bar, comparing what each table has given these. I would be annoyed but the barman explained to me that they're on minimum wage anyway, and it's only through grats that they can afford to live in Oxford. Pretty shoddy for a supposed 4 star hotel, no doubt so that the owner can grab even more cash from the "guests".
Even simple things like milk for coffee in the room involved calling the bar to ask for it to be bought to your room - with the implicit suggestion of tips. And when you check out, you're invited to add a gratuity onto the whole stay, giving tips on tips on high prices anyway.
The hotel is perfectly nice if you have a huge bank balance that needs to be spent - however, for us travelling on a budget it was less than relaxing to have a "pay as you go" hotel - after splashing out for a "deluxe" room for the last part of our tour of Europe we really expected miles better - the budget hotels we had stayed in beforehand offered far better service and value for money.
- 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