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“Looks can be deceiving !!”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed February 19, 2013

My husband and I have just returned from a two night stay at Malmaison, Oxford. On first appearances the hotel is very impressive, however our room was not in the main prison building but across the exercise yard in the 'Houses of correction' . This turned out to be a modern square block of four rooms stuck between two of the origonal stone prison buildings with glass partitioning joining it either side. Our room was very small, which I wouldn't have minded had it been a former cell !, but the room was rather worn and shabby in places, mainly chipped edges to bathroom fittings, a stain on the curtain linings and discoloured grouting. I also felt the room wasn't spotlessly clean or the corridors, with trays left outside rooms late into the evening. Another small detail was I felt they were rather stingy with the refreshment tray, one packet of biscuits for two guests ?!!. The room was too hot, and the air conditioning unit didn't appear to be working very well. We did not eat here, the staff we encountered were polite. I wouldn't stay here again, as the room was a let down for the price and the cleanliness let it down.

Room Tip: When you book, ask where the room is, if you are expecting to stay in the actual prison and not a mo...
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Karen M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed February 18, 2013

The subdued, low-key reception area does not prepare you for the delights which follow, as the lift reaches your allocated floor and the doors open to reveal the spacious, brightly lit, three storey atrium. The journey from initial darkness to light has been masterfully realised here. The Oxford Mal is worth visiting for this experience alone. Then there are the cell bedrooms each formed from three cells with original vaulting. Thus the utilitarian prison has been transformed into something quite special. Each room is replete with signature wardrobes, mirrors and furniture. My ground floor cell 105 had underfloor heating in the huge bathroom. For the most part it was as splendid as it was surreal but there were a couple of negative points. The heating did not appear to be working in my room and that is unwelcome on a cold night. The staff did offer to supply me with a heater (I later discovered the room contained an emergency exit door). The bathroom was warmer than the bedroom

For my second night I moved into a junior suite (room 215) within a range of the main atrium. It is a stunning half-moon shaped room with a king bed and a gargantuan bathroom, decorated in house colours. While the house colours and spot lighting harmonised to create magnificent mood music, ambiance has been rated ahead of pragmatism and I found the lighting too dark to read by alone. The bed could and should have been more comfortable but all told, these are but minor winges in the scheme of things.

I would recommend the Oxford Mal suites, particularly if you can take advantage of a special rate. However if you do obtain a special rate, make sure you bring the booking details with you, as the majority of staff do not have English as their first language and mistakes can easily - and I mean easily - be inadvertently made when it comes to settling the bill. All told, with its atrium, its uber-cool bars and sitting areas, not to mention the curious rooms, the Oxford Mal really is a must-do. Oh and do take a look at that oft-repeated episode of Lewis, entitled Old School Ties which was largely filmed here. Couple of elaborate murders too !

Room Tip: keep your booking details for a smooth seamless checkout
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Novocastrian13
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

Well can i start with a big WOW!, i loved this hotel. My girlfriend and i stayed at this nice hotel in Oxford and i would advise anyone visiting Oxford to stay at this hotel. The rooms are very spacious and the bed is so comfortable. Very clean bathrooms and the hotel is a old prison and has some of the prison features still there, which i found to be very intresting. The food at the hotel is a must try, very good quailty. The cocktail bar is also a place to go visit in the hotel to relax and wind down.

Room Tip: Honeymoon suite
  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Darshan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

This was the first time i've been to Oxford and stayed at a Malmaison Hotel. We found it a bit hard finding the hotel as it's right next to the high street so ended up parking behind the hotel. The gentleman in charge of the car parking was very kind and offered to collect the car and drive it around to the entrance for us. This is what they do with everyone, they take the owner's car key and they park the car for you. Although it is not clear on their website, the hotel land has several other restaurants including a Pizza Express and a La Tasca as well as the hotel's own restaurants. But you also have the high street which is in walking distance which is full of patisseries and delicatessens. The interior of the hotel is fascinating, with cell doors to your room and prison staircases right outside. The rooms are a perfect size with a spacious bathroom. We had a drink at the bar before heading out for dinner which was rather busy so i suggest heading down early on a Saturday night. There are individual rooms in the restaurant for private dinner parties which also looked like converted prison cells. We ordered room service for breakfast, and although they don't serve cooked breakfasts on room service, the manager made an exception for us as it didn't specify this on the booking. I can't comment on the value as it was a treat from my boyfriend who didn't let me know the price! Overall I couldn't fault the hotel, it was a perfect weekend.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Sophie P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 18, 2013

We stayed here on Saturday night to help celebrate our friend's birthday.
Our Sat Nav didn't like the one way system in Oxford town centre so it's best to rely on the directions from the hotel's website.
On arrival we parked our car out the front of the grand old castle entrance, where we were welcomed by staff, and we walked into the reception area - we were welcomed in and ushered to sit down to check in. We had requested a parking space (£25) so a valet helped my husband collect our bags then took the key & parked it in the underground car park.
We were given a room in the House of Corrections which was found once we had walked through a walkway where we saw the real metal steps and walkways of the prison like we saw on Porridge and other prison tv shows.
Our room was really authentic but beautifully refurbished into a real classy boutique style luxury hotel room.
We met our friends in the cocktail bar (3rd floor), which was beautifully furnished, & had a few drinks before we ventured out to check out the local area.
Literally within a very short walk you can find Prezzo Restaurant, Living Room, Pizza Express, several bars and pubs including a gay pub and a Wetherspoons. Then off the main street we found several other bars and clubs so I can safely say this is an ideal location has something to offer all ages, tastes and budgets.
Breakfast was in the Brasserie - we had to wait a few minutes to be seated in a side room which was very quirky. We were invited to help ourselves to a range of fresh fruit, cereals, pastries, yoghurts and juices before having tea/coffee, toast and choice of hot breakfast from a menu served to us. It was all of very high quality and very tasty.
This trip cost us more than the average hotel room but we got a luxury room in the most memorable surroundings; so felt it was worth treating ourselves - xx

Room Tip: We got a tour of our friends rooms & they looked equally good as ours.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank MKfamily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2013

Absolutely fantastic hotel, the rooms here were absolutely beautiful. The hotel is quirky yet very comfortable.
We stayed in a 'cell room' which boasted amazing en-suite facilities. The roll top bath and monsoon shower were incredible.
You are well looked after at this hotel, the room facilities, the breakfast and the staff were amazing. The hotel bar catered for all and we enjoyed incredible cocktails.
The hotel is in an amazing location, right in the centre of Oxford within walking distance of all attractions in this beautiful historic city.
We can't wait to return!

Room Tip: Stay in a cell room - well worth the added cost.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank hoxley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 17, 2013

What started out an exciting experience turned out to be disapointting. The hotel itself looked great and the inside is low atmospheric and impressive. Checked in, though the room for our friends was 45 minutes late getting ready, not great. When you come out the lift and are in the old prison landing area which is awesome. The room itself was 2 cells knocked into 1 and quite quirky and interesting.
The down side for us was the room was £255 which did not include breakfast which is disgraceful. Though it was impresssive as a building it is not worth the money they charge. When we asked about breakfast we could book for £12.95, yes £12.95 for breakfast, or just go down in the morning and pay £14.95!! Not sure why £2 more and doubt they could ever justify these costs. Added to this the cooked breakfast was so so to be positive about it. Add to this when we went to check out they tried to chared us £355 for the room, it went up £100 overnight, and we had to show them the booking confirmation before they accepted their mistake. The other down side was the bed was one of the most uncomfortable I have ever slept in.
Overall I would say avoid this hotel as not worth the money they charge.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank steveorpington
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member 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 ) 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: $198 - $516 (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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