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“A night in the cells can be fun!!”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 45 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 21, 2013

Stayed room only for 2 nights in A Wing. Initial impression was very high - boy have they made some effort with this conversion! Bedrooms in A Wing are 2 cells large plus half another cell accommodating the bathroom. Original cell doors, very thick walls and evidence of window bars provide that 'banged up' feeling. The atrium just outside the cell door is almost as it was when a prison aside from the plush carpet! Check in was slow but valet parking very efficient. Once in room we could not get the heating to work; this was speedily rectified by Duty Manager and complimentary drinks in Brasserie bar were very welcome despite being charged on bill at check out (soon removed though to be fair). Visitors Room Bar on 3rd floor was very nice and atmospheric with table service provided. We did not eat in the hotel so no comments about that. We have stayed in several other Malmaison hotels so were not surprised about subdued lighting. Hotel opened in 2006 and time has arrived for some updating in my opinion especially when considering room rates. I would make specific reference to the TV which was small and had poor reception and a meagre choice of channels. Hotel is part of the Oxford Castle redevelopment so there are bars/restaurants on the doorstep. City centre is a 5 minute stroll. Broad Street just 10 minutes away on foot. Worth staying just for the cell experience but for that you need to be in A Wing.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank spen65
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

spen65
Thank you for your review of Malmaison Oxford and indeed for your continued support of the Mal brand.
In terms of the TV we have actaully just changed all bedroom TV's to larger screens with freeview so the reception will also be much improved.
Once again thanks for the review.
Chris Steadman
General Manager

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2,118 - 2,124 of 3,120 reviews

Reviewed January 20, 2013

My wife and I are long time fans of the Malmaison group and counting Oxford have stayed 4 different locations and Birmingham at least 3 times on its own, so we know what to expect. Oxford has been on our wish list for some years but the starting price of the basic rooms has been prohibitive. So our two lovely daughters saved up and presented us with 2 nights with car parking for our Xmas present. We set off early Friday morning hoping to get into our rooms early so we could freshen up to see Les Mis on its first showing at the cinema. Yes we could check in to the House of Correction and went straight up to find the room cold. After fiddling with the heating controls has to ask for help. The manager arrived he too fiddled and them we had get off thinking the room will be warmer when we get back. Three hours later get back to find freezing cold room. We had booked at table for 7:45 and we didn't have much time so just cracked on. I phoned reception at least four times asking for bath robes and was getting a little fraught. But the final straw was my wife washing in cold water and not telling cos she didn't want to fuss. I was very cross at this and phoned reception and told them in no uncertain terms to send the manager to our room immediately.
In fairness to John the manager he response was an immediate upgrade which now put us in a "cell" in the main block, room lovely and warm and water piping hot. Once seated for our meal John was very attentive and upgraded our wine voucher to a bottle of Proseco and complementary sorbets. From there on things did settle down and there were no further complaints.
The general standard of waitressing was average with no one individual really standing out as giving exceptional service just average not really what one expect of a four star hotel. Room service again was ok when ice buckets were requested but papers ordered did not arrive but then again were not charged to the room.
I have to mention the £25 per night car parking charge, which is a complete and utter rip off. My lovely SLK Mercedes stood outside in the cold and rain for the entire two days. So no valet parking what so ever, that was just a £50 tax, rip off Mal get that sorted.
Mal food is Mal food, and we like the breakfast selections. All in all the most expensive Mal to date and while the Prison is a unique accommodation the hotel services are very hit and miss. So be prepared, if things aren't completely to your satisfaction complain to the manager immediately don't wait til your presented with the bill to complain. Oxford is a lovely location and on our second night we made plans to visited New College chapel for evensong which was a complete delight. Check out the old market for lots a unusual small entrepreneurs I especially liked the T-shirt stall, one slogan that caught my eye with a Picture of the devil with the caption " God's busy, can I help?"
The second night we dined at No. 1 Folly Bridge restaurant which I will review separately. So honest opinion about Mal Oxford, they have a unique building that deserves better quality of staff, but as long as you demand the best they do end up delivering.
p.s. I've heard a rumour that Mal is possibly heading towards administration? Has anyone else heard this rumour?

Room Tip: I agree the rooms in the main prison building are superior to the House of Correction but then they...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank LordLucan2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

LordLucan2010
Thank you for your review of Malmaison Oxford following your stay with us.
I was pelased that in the end things worked out well and you are absolutely right, let us know if things are not right and we will fix them, unfortunately from time to time things will break/malfunction and if you dont let us know about it we cannot fix it.
In terms of Malmaison in administration this is not correct, Malmaison is a very self sufficient company and is currently trading very well year on year and indeed against our budgets.
Once again thank you for your review.
Chris Steadman
General Manager

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Reviewed January 20, 2013

I booked this hotel to as a surprise for my wife on her birthday. This did not disappoint her the idea of spending a night in in a old prison bemused her, amused me. On arrival the receptionist soon gave us our room and a courteous porter collected our car to put away safely in their underground car park. Our room was a converted cell (3 actually) on the fourth floor in the main cell block. The room was very clean with an on suite bathroom. The decor was a little drab black/coffee in colour with black furniture and shades. Lighting was very poor with one small spot light and two bed side lamps and a standard lamp with a black shades. Impossible to read the magazines supplied. The room desperately needs a strong main light. This low poor lighting reflects throughout the hotel, as with the colour (mezzanine area apart). The bed was also very hard!
Drinks at the hotel was very very expensive. We had evening meal in the brasserie, the fillet steak and lobster I would recommend to any one, truly tasty well prepared with excellent attentive waiter/waitress service.
To sum up, the hotel is expensive, the food is very good with good portions, priced at the upper end of Midland restaurant prices. Drinks far too expensive, staff very very helpful and courteous. In all a very quirky experience.

Room Tip: All rooms are good, tip is to book your car parking with the hotel!
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank pumaCoventry
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

pumaCoventry
Thank you for your review of Malmaison Oxford following your stay with us.
I was pleased to read that you enjoyed your stay with us and thank you in particular for highlighting the staff's efforts.
Once again thank you for your review.
Chris Steadman
General Manager

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Reviewed January 19, 2013

Have stayed here twice now, 6mths apart for different reasons with different opinion on both stays. The first stay was in the correction facility building which left me less than impressed with the room, especially the size. Check in on that occasion took forever as did check out. Service was not great all round.

However, this time round our experience was much improved. None of the previous problems with checking in or out. We were upgraded upon arrival to one of the main prison room suites. The room was fantastic in fact I sent most of the night imaging it's previous incumbents :). The bathroom boasted a stand alone roll top bath in a lovely spacious bathroom. The walls are so thick you get a real sense of its former use. The room could also be seen to be made up of 3 previous cells. The door is worth checking out - the thickness!

We dined in the restaurant and had a simple but pleasant enough meal. Only disappointment was the wine my husband ordered, that the forgot about, until after we finished our meal! An apology was forthcoming but nothing else.

All in all, if you are thinking of booking this hotel then don't skimp on a cheaper room. Go for one of the more expensive rooms in the main block. I think their customer service could always be improved but the food is decent enough (the breakfast is very good) and do check out the bar!

Room Tip: Choose main building prison cells.
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  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Mewithac
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 30, 2013

Mewithac
Thank you for your review of Malmaison Oxford following your recent stay with us.
I was so pleased to read that you enjoyed your stay with us and that we have improved from your previous experience of the hotel.
Sorry for the shortcomings in the Brasserie, I can assure you this is being improved with our new manager in place.
Once again thanks for your review.
Chris Steadman
General Manager

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Reviewed January 18, 2013

I am a regular visitor of Malmaison hotels but this was my first time at the Oxford Castle. Came here with my wife to celebrate her birthday. John, the deputy General Manager, was a fantastic host and made our stay a very pleasant one. We ate at the brasserie and would highly recommend it, the lobster was very tasty! We stayed in a cell room, very quirky and I would recommend asking for a room at the end of the corridor as its quieter.

Make sure you pre book a parking space as it can get very busy

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Bryan M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

Bryan M
Thank you for your review and I was delighted to read that you enjoyed your stay with us. Thank you also for your continued support of the Mal brand and I hope we get to welcome you back at the hotel in the near future.
Chris Steadman
General Manager

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Reviewed January 15, 2013

My husband and I spent two nights at the Malmaison in Oxford and it is a really unusual hotel. We stayed in the Correction centre which is not the cells and the rooms were very comfortable with opening windows to let in air, and also self controlling heating. The toiletries in the bathroom were of a high quality also No complaints about the room itself with everything one would expect from a four star hotel. However the water was only lukewarm on both days which was not really acceptable I felt.
We didn't eat breakfast in the hotel due to reviews we had read but did have dinner in the hotel. The meal was very expensive but also very nice food. We asked for some bread with our entree and were promptly brought a very nice bowl of mixed olives and hummus and bread which was then added to our bill! It was very nice (but we didn't ask for it) and also a glass of wine at 7 pounds was expensive enough but was charged at 12!.. We queried it and were told it only came in a large size ????.. So while the food was nice etc it was extremely expensive.
The location is excellent right next to Oxford castle and only a few minutes walk to the centre of town. It was quiet and for the most part I would recommend it.

Room Tip: Judging by other reviews of the cell rooms I would recommend the Correctional centre which is across...
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank AmandaOZ09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

AmandaOz09
Thank you for reviewing the Malmaison Oxford following your recent stay, I was delighted that you enjoyed your stay and I do apologise for the blips in teh Brasserie you experienced.
Once again thanks for the review.
Chris Steadman
General Manager

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Reviewed January 15, 2013

My daughter fulfilled one of my wife's dreams by arranging for her to stay a night in the Malmaison in one of the "cells".
The room was disappointing, the conversion from prison cell to hotel room was well done, but the lighting was dreadful and the room was very gloomy and with only a small radiator also very cold. The bed was not up to the standard you would expect in a luxury hotel either and a good night's sleep was definitely not had.
The menu in the Brasserie was uninspiring and we opted to use one of the local restaurants, "The Chaing Mai" where we enjoyed a superb meal
Breakfast is advertised as being from 06.00 to 10.00, we arrived at 09.00 and ordered a cooked breakfast, the "Big Mal" in my case, it arrived on a cold plate and the food was cold and Judging from the appearance some of it had been hanging around for hours. No porridge though, a pity really as that would really have rounded off our night in a Victorian prison.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank NedKelly007
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Chris S, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this reviewResponded January 29, 2013

NedKelly007
Thank you for your review of Malmaison Oxofrd and I am sorry that the stay was not what you had hoped for.
Some of the standards you experienced are certainly not up to Mal standard and this is very disappointing so I do apologise for that. Porridge is served to order for breakfast not part of the buffet and I am sorry that your server did not explain this to you. Our breakfasts are cooked to order so I apologise that you felt the quality not to be up to standard.
Once again thanks for reviewing the hotel and I hope we do have the opportunity of welcoming you back to Oxford in the future.
Chris Steadman
General Manager

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Additional Information about Malmaison Oxford Castle

Address: 3 Oxford Castle New Road, Oxford OX1 1AY, England
Location: United Kingdom > England > Oxfordshire > Oxford
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#5 Business Hotel in Oxford
#6 Luxury Hotel in Oxford
#9 Romantic Hotel in Oxford
Price Range: $190 - $415 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Malmaison Oxford Castle 4*
Number of rooms: 95
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
If you're tired of doing hard time in run-of-the-mill hotels, it's a completely different story at our former gaol, Malmaison Oxford. Instead sip the coolest cocktails in the free world at MALBAR and enjoy an eclectic mix of classic dishes with a twist at the Brasserie, from freshly caught fish to the famous Mal Burger. Good behaviour will get you privileges like free Wi-Fi, drench showers, plasma TVs and and even toiletries that are just begging to be nabbed by light-fingered guests. This is one hotel in Oxford city centre where you'll be happy to get a long stretch. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Malmaison Oxford Castle Hotel Oxford
Malmaison Hotel Oxford

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