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“Very nice but not worth the price”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed June 24, 2013

I'll have to agree with many others here: Malmaison Oxford Castle is a lovely hotel but far from being worth its price. You'd expect luxury but what you get is just another beautiful hotel in a great location. Service and details are far from luxurious: once we got our room (not a minute before 3 o'clock) we had to wait for an hour before we got our luggage to the room and I had to make a call to fix this. There is no free Wi-Fi in the rooms and the network in common areas doesn't work that well. We had a superior room which was very spacious but had no luxuries whatsoever. Many of the bathroom amenities were worn out. Breakfast was nice but it's a weird detail that you have to pay extra for the cooked breakfast - you could imagine that those 2 pounds would be included in the rather high price of the room. The bed was very comfortable and the hotel is in an excellent location for exploring Oxford but I'll most likely choose a different place next time. The lift was broken for a few days and no one volunteered to carry our bags down the stairs - this is service that I would expect in a hotel of this rate.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Valpuri M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed June 24, 2013

If you want to stay in a really nice hotel in Oxford, and want a unique experience - you should try this hotel. We had talked about stopping here for a while, and indeed we ended up going to Oxford just for the experience of stopping here - it's fair to say we were not disappointed. I'm sure most people looking at this will be aware, but the hotel is built in the converted former Oxford Prison, which was a UK prison up until 1996. It sits within the grounds of Oxford Castle.

The good service started before we got there with the informative website. In fact, we didn't even bother with the sat-nav as the directions to get to the hotel were easy and spot on. Check in was prompt and efficient, with great friendly staff. We had pre-booked the car parking which is £25 per day - steep but about average for this area. You can pull your car up outside the doors and the hotel then take it and park it underground for you (you can't park it yourself). When you want it back, simply ask them and within 5 minutes it's back outside waiting for you. Definitely a worthwhile extra.

When we got to our room, we were not disappointed. We had a cell room (135) which was very unique. Three former prison cells had been converted into a luxury hotel room - very cleverly done. In fact the whole hotel conversion is really impressive as it totally works to provide a practical and smart hotel, yet retains enough of the original features to appreciate the history and unique environment.

There are plenty of bars and eateries within the immediate locality of the hotel, including a Wetherspoons, La Tasca, Pizza Express etc. Saying that, we ate at the hotel restaurant (The Brasserie) and the food there was absolutely first class, although a more expensive option. A good a-la-carte menu with good variety of dishes. (Perfectly cooked fillet steak!). There is also a really smart bar (in the old Visitors Room) with a huge range of cocktails and other drinks. The prices of the drinks are not unreasonable and the service is excellent.

We both slept well in the comfortable bed and room. There were lots of complimentary toiletries and all the other facilities you might want; iron & board, dressing gowns, hair dryer, smart TV etc. Smart modern en-suite bathroom with powerful hot shower always a bonus too. Another nice touch was that my partner called the hotel before hand and they had a chilled bottle of wine waiting in the room - nothing seemed too much trouble for them.

Breakfast was again not disappointing. There is a menu of hot food that is cooked to order. This has traditional sausage and bacon, omelettes, kippers, waffles an a few other bits. There was also fresh fruit etc. Again, prompt and polite service from the staff and good quality food.

If you are thinking of staying here, you should make sure you know what to expect for your money, as it is not particularly cheap but it is (in our opinion) worth it. Also, not all rooms are cell rooms so make sure this is what you are getting if it's what you want. It is a really high quality hotel with professional staff in a good location. We will come again - maybe a stop in one of the suites in the old governor's house next time!!

Room Tip: Get a cell room for the ultimate experience!!
  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Robert B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 24, 2013

Lovely hotel, beautifull food , beds were unbelievable.. Right in the heart of Oxford so great for shopping you won't need your car!! You can also visit the castle as hotel is in the prison grounds very interesting and well worth a visit. Very friendly staff, and beautifull gardens to the rear of hotel so you can relax and enjoy a drink.

  • Stayed: May 2013
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Thank eloisebedford
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

We had a very enjoyable stay in a superior cell on A wing (room 133) , the room was spacious and comfortable. A lovely large bathroom with roll top bath and drench shower. Check-in was friendly and efficient. We ate in the Brasserie and could not fault the food, service was also very good, we were particularly impressed by the waitresses knowledge of the menu and recommendations.
If you want a unique stay in a relaxed and stylish hotel this will not disappoint.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Nixsy69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 23, 2013

Only stayed here for one night and we booked into one of the house of correction double rooms, and this is the reason why I only give it 3 stars. Appreciate that I wasn't going to get the character and experience of one of the cell hotel rooms but I was a bit disappointed that the house or correction across the exercise yard appeared to be two very old buildings which were connected by means of a modern structure and the room that we stayed in was in this part which meant that the 'unique' room was not so and didn't have a different feel to many other places I've stayed at.
That said, the room was very spacious and clean and well appointed. Mini-bar prices were fairly reasonable and the rest of the hotel is very well appointed and a great place to look around.
We are due to go back to Oxford in August and not sure if I would stay here again. If we do it would be in one of the 'cell' rooms, although for the price I am veering more towards staying at the Randolph instead. I would recommend having a look there as well as we called in there for a Morse cocktail and it is a very luxurious place and often the prices aren't too far apart.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank danpne69
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2013

I've thought for some time about leaving this review. We stayed in a cell room for 3 days since we were in Oxford for a conference and evening formal events. We prebooked parking and had a late arrival. When I phoned to enquire about latest Brasserie times the operator immediately tried to amend our booking to a dinner/bed/breakfast rate rather than bed/breakfast. This would have been ridiculously expensive. First impressions on arrival are superb, the foyer and room appear great. Put up with the fact that our room reservation had been lost (but was there when I rang re dinner booking a couple of hours before). Room appears good - we had cell 221. Until you try to unpack - the lighting is appalling - no bedside lights to read with, no make up lights. The windows do not open and the air conditioning was off - when on it was soooo noisy. The towel rail was off so we had sodden towels in morning. The bed!!! one side fine (mine!!) the other a trench. The cut off wires with attractive blue tape and the stain on the carpet not good. Best of all NO DRAWERs at all. £800+ for 3 nights and we couldn't unpack. Service chaotic and no beers in the bar - bizarre!! Then we were overcharged for a room service breakfast at £27 which we didn't have. This is a hotel designed for one night stays - you would have fun if you had an event to go to and needed bed and breakfast. 3 days forget it. BTW I tries to go to the third floor residents bar and no one was serving, the lawn outside at the back was inaccessible due to filming - but no one mentioned the roof lawn as an alternative and there are no obvious signs to this ANYWHERE. No water in the room and 1 biscuit in a double room are silly.We actually had a great time -this could be a fantastic hotel for absolutely no mre investment than decent management and for no extra cost - what a waste of a brilliant concept. This is the only hotel I have stayed in whre I feel that the customer has been treated with total disdain rather than than the profit making force behind the business - a complacency due to the vast make up being overseas tour groups - what a shame when it could be so good with a decent management and effective attention to detail.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank CiceroMT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

Really well located, in the Oxford castle complex so therefore on the doorstep of a few restaurants and bars, although mostly chain ones. City centre is 5-10 minute walk so not bad at all. Situated right next to the historical and atmospheric Oxford castle, the hotel itself is an old prison so a lot of the feature rooms are actually old cells (done up obviously!) but we stayed in the less interesting outhouse section. Room was still nice and modern and comfortable. The best bit about this hotel is undoubtably the location, the walk up to the front of the hotel which has a grand entrance and a huge chandelier!! And the upstairs "penthouse" bar is unmissable. Only accessible by a lift, it's very plush and well worth a quick visit even if just for a cocktail or two (the drinks can be quite pricey in here) food in the restaurant is good..this is in a old part of the prison. All in all a great way to experience the delights of Oxford.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled as a couple
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Thank Catherine S
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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