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“Jailhouse Shock”

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Malmaison Oxford Castle
Ranked #6 of 44 Hotels in Oxford
Certificate of Excellence
England
Level 6 Contributor
118 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 58 helpful votes
“Jailhouse Shock”
Reviewed December 12, 2013

Our room was in the far corner of the old block and, whilst interestingly converted, was unfortunately very badly designed with a huge outside security light shining through a shower room which had frosted glass on the inside and outside resulting in a permanently floodlit bedroom, even after we had tried covering the glass with towels and bathmats. Our troubled sleep was then rudely interrupted at around 7.00 am by the cacophony of rubbish skip been shaken and emptied right outside our window. When reported to reception in reply to the perfunctory "how was your stay?" it was clear that little notice was taken of the comments so that future guests could be spared. We were shocked to discover that without consultation our car had been moved from the space outside the hotel to a subterranean car-park for which the hotel expected to charge over £20 for one night. When added to the £30 which was added to our bill for breakfast, despite having been shown to a table without any warning that the disappointing spread came at a premium. It is after all very unusual for the greeter not to mention that your breakfast is not included, and very rare for a restaurant with the aspirations of a Malmaison to offer such a limited buffet of croissants and cereal. Because we were so unhappy with our stay, the staff did remove the additional £50+ from our bill, but I doubt we will return t what is otherwise a fascinating hotel in a great location, as the experience left us with a bit of a sour taste in our mouths, which was not wholly down to the breakfast buffet.

Room Tip: Avoid the old gaol house block
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  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Wentworth40
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, December 17, 2013
Dear Wentworth40,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review following your stay at the hotel. I am sorry that we did not fully meet with your expectations. I would be most interested to know exactly which room you were staying in for a floodlight to be shining light in to your room. If you don't mind to do so, please email me on pwatson@malmaison.com so that I can investigate this further for our future guests.

Our car park is a porter service as we must transport cars to the underground car park as well as manage the parking at the front of the property. Clearly it should have been explained to you as you gave your keys to the porters and reception that this is so.

I am sorry that the breakfast team did not explain that you had booked a room only rate. We do have breakfast inclusive rates available on all available booking channels at the point of reservation as well as the opportunity to purchase breakfast on the day.

I do hope that we see you again at the hotel in the future.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Bournemouth, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
369 reviews
82 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 137 helpful votes
Reviewed December 11, 2013 via mobile

After reading the reviews I drove here with nervous thoughts about where I was staying . Let me tell you this hotel is amazing. The experience started at reception, to the valet parking and onwards to the bar staff. The room was amazing and despite the comments re lighting was fine to work from with good wifi. The conference room was good for our small meeting too. Remember when you book this is a boutique hotel experience. If you want a traditional style hotel this is not for you! Well done malmasion another bespoke hotel!

Stayed December 2013, traveled on business
Helpful?
Thank Stuart C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, December 17, 2013
Dear Sjc997,

Thank you for taking the time to write with your review. I was delighted to read that you enjoyed the hotel and the moody feel the lighting creates.

I am so pleased that you enjoyed our hotel so much, we do hope that we get to see you again in the future, perhaps for a leisurely visit next time!

Kind Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Henley-on-Thames, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
15 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed December 9, 2013

As somewhere to experience it is interesting, you don't get to spend the night in a posh prison generally, but that is where the pleasure stops. The service was lacking, doors creaked, information cards in the room were worn out, the room service information was on a torn off piece of A4 paper, lighting in the room was so dim that it was hard to read, the pile of cigarettes outside the door to the building we were in was disgusting and so on.

Considering the cost of the place they could do so much better. Yes it is generally clean, but places like around the corner of the glass shower door had caked on detritus. We also felt that, considering the price, we should not have to pay premium rate to phone the hotel, even after we had booked!

We completed the comments cards, both sides, and haven't heard anything. If a customer of mine had put a single comment about my business I would have been in touch to say that we would at least look into it.

I know a considerable number of basic B&Bs that can be more highly recommended.

Room Tip: Go somewhere else. Mal Maison translates to ill house. How apt.
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank Mike S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, December 17, 2013
Dear Mike S,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review following your stay at the hotel. I am sorry that we did not meet with your expectations on this occasion.

We have been getting some great comments regarding our team recently, naturally I was most disappointed to read we let you down in this regard. We are awaiting new information cards and room service menus die in the New Year, generally on inspection these are still in good order in the rooms although it did become clear a number of rooms required our closer attention and replacement.

I will liaise with the Castle Management with regard to external cleanliness, particularly at this time of year with so many parties taking place for the festive season which always leads to an increase in discarded cigarettes.

Thank you once again for your feedback, we are working tirelessly to improve our service and experience at the hotel to ensure a seamless and consistently great experience for all of our guests.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
100 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
Reviewed December 7, 2013 via mobile

We've been looking forward to this for months, but sadly, our great expectations were not met.
The hotel LOOKS amazing, and the reviews appear good, but these are the things that need to be improved on;

- The whole place is DARK, from the reception to the rooms and bar/restaurant Are lights banned or something. If they are trying to create a moody atmosphere, it's gone too far!
- Myself and my wife both showered in Luke warm water at 8am, having even tried to "dire press the red button for VERY hot water". Really not a pleasant experience.
- The reception staff are RUDE. My wife asked what time check out was and the receptionist answered without even looking up. Unbelievable.
- Even when we tried to check out it took about 15 minutes because the reception staff couldn't work the computer. Our bill was completely wrong and needed fixing by someone from the restaurant (??). Our friends also had to ask for breakfast to be removed from the bill because we didn't HAVE breakfast.

Frankly, the place looks amazing, and, beside the darkness, is amazing inside too, but a few issues spoilt our stay. We will not be returning.

Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank dosso31
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, December 8, 2013
Dear dosso31,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review following your experience at the hotel. I am sorry that our mood lighting through out the hotel was not to your taste and that you experienced issues with the temperature of the water in the shower. It is extremely unusual for us to receive feedback with regard to not having enough hot water and I shall have to investigate this further.

I am so sorry that you found the reception team to be rude and that your bills were not as you had expected. I have ensured the Front of House Manager is a aware of your feedback, it is simply unacceptable that a member of our team should be so ignorant.

Once again I am sorry we did not meet with your expectations though I appreciate you having taken the time to write with your comments.

I do hope we see you at the hotel again.

Kind Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Aylesbury, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed December 6, 2013

We have long fancied the idea of staying at this converted prison, so I decided to treat my husband for his birthday. Work commitments meant I couldn't book early, I checked the website a few days before to see rooms were available but it wouldn't accept my booking, so I called central reservations who insisted on a two night stay for the date in question. Unable to do this I gave up, but checked again on the day we wished to visit. The rooms were still available so as I this was now last minute I thought I would see if there was any flexibility on the price, as a couple of days later the price was substantially less. Again central reservations were nothing but inflexible so I called the hotel direct who were extremely helpful, very accommodating and couldn't be nicer.

We loved the service, the quirkiness of the hotel and the atmosphere and would like to thank the staff of the hotel who did make us feel special. The breakfast was excellent, and the location of the hotel very central, fantastic for walking off too much food. I am so glad I persevered.

Room Tip: Upgrade if you can
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  • Stayed December 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Spanishmari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, December 7, 2013
Dear Spanishmari,

Thank you so much for taking the time to write your review of the hotel. I was delighted to read that once you contacted the hotel directly we were able to meet your requirements and to offer you a room in the hotel.

I was particularly pleased to read that you loved the service, the quirkiness of the hotel and the breakfast. We are very pleased with the breakfast offering we have and it delights me when our guests recognise this, and of course the service we provide.

I do hope we get to see you in the hotel again very soon.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Level 4 Contributor
36 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
Reviewed December 5, 2013

I can only think the whole hotel has been designed by someone who neither reads paper nor applies make up! Our cell room and bathroom were too dark to do either. Why? Guests can always turn off lights they don't want. The tiny downstairs lounge was also too dark to read a newspaper. Weekend cooked breakfast was completely cold by 9.00am. Breakfast tea had to be begged for several times. Only 2 lifts from reception, one of which didn't seem to work all weekend. Fantastic location, but that and the novelty of staying in a cell are its only redeeming features.

Room Tip: Floor 4 is actually ground level at the back & very noisy from outside when we were there. Also...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank awanderinggirl
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, December 7, 2013
Dear awnderinggirl,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review of our hotel. Please accept my sincere apologies that we did not meet your expectations whilst you were here.

The hotel was designed and developed over 7 years ago now. In that time we have received some comments with regard to the mood lighting in the bedrooms and bathrooms. We are currently working through proposals to improve the lighting though this does pose its own challenges with a listed building such as ours.

I was surprised to read your comments with regard to the lifts as these have been in full working order for many months now. With regard to breakfast, over that weekend we did change our service to a buffet, normally we do offer full a'la carte service, it is clear that the a'la carte service works better for us based on the normally fantastic feedback we receive.

Once again thank you for taking the time to write us. I do hope you will give us another chance some time in the future where I hope that you will see the benefits of offering your feedback to us.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sheffield
Level 3 Contributor
21 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed December 4, 2013

This should have been 100% pure pleasure but was tainted by several events. I've waited 4 weeks to write the review and only decided to after looking for another hotel prompted my memory.
The good was very good. The building is stunning and in reality the reason we choose to stay. We were in town for a concert with another middle aged couple staying on the Sunday night deal. I mention this because I felt we were treated as staying on the deal = second class guests.
We arrived at 15.35 and mentioned on check in that we were there for lunch and to go to the Theatre (to see Bryan Ferry). We deposited our bags and went to the bar/restaurant area, ordered a drink by which time it was 16.00 and again mentioned we were there for lunch. Ten minutes later I asked for a table and to see a menu and was told that lunch ended at 16.00! We could eat off the bar menu which, 4 weeks later, was utterly forgettable and waited almost 50 minutes for the food to arrive. During the meal a member of staff dropped a bottle of wine right behind me and they then set about cleaning it up with dettol which stunk the place out.
I went to reception to ask for the manager to make a complaint. A very un-English thing to do I know...
The duty manager was the restaurant manager who had been dealing with us down stairs and to be honest she listened to what I had to say and offered us complimentary breakfast as compensation. Okay, end of the matter.
We returned at 22.30, again went to the bar/restaurant and asked for the bar menu. I can't quite believe this but writing 4 weeks later amplifies the situation, we were told there was no food available! Nothing, no hot food no sandwiches, nothing. In a Malmaison, in a fairly full bar? It's just beggars belief.
The complimentary breakfast was good and we checked out about 10ish.
Whilst checking out the polite receptionist asked how we'd enjoyed our stay. Bearing in mind that we had booked this months before, we're looking forward to the concert and to staying at the Mal and enjoying the Mal life I mentioned that it hadn't been as smooth as I would have liked whereupon she asked for further details. I reluctantly did this (whilst my wife and our friends patiently waited for me to regale the whole 9 yards) and she promised to bring this up with the general manager the following week and write to us.
The reason for my ire is the combined effect of loving the great locations and marketing of the Mal, at which we have stayed in almost all of them now but being terribly disappointed with some parts of the experience. When things go wrong, as they sometimes do, you deal with them. To promise to do something and ignore it when the customer leaves can only be good news for the Randolph for our next visit.
So, to finish, and assuming that the general manager will read this and reply with some comment for all to see, asking me to contact him/her to discuss the matter further, please don't waste yours or my time. A month waiting is, for me, quite sufficient. I'll reluctantly take my custom elsewhere.

Room Tip: You owe it to other travellers to get what you pay for. Please politely complain so we can all raise...
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  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Richard H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paul W, General Manager at Malmaison Oxford Castle, responded to this review, December 7, 2013
Dear Richard H,

Thank you for taking the time to write with your feedback following your stay at the hotel. I am sorry that we were unable to meet with your expectations and please be assured that I will work to improve our service in the areas indicated.

Our Sunday Brunch service runs until 1600 since we have the chefs table. With any food display, the food can only be displayed for a certain amount of time prior to being discarded. I am sorry that this was not explained to you, we should have been in a position to at least have offered you the hot food options.

It is regrettable that, from time to time accidents will occur in the hotel - such as a bottle of wine being dropped. Please accept my apologies that clearing up of this was disruptive to your experience, I was pleased to read that the Duty Manager was able to offer some compensation as a result of this.

I will follow up with my team with regard to the food service at 2230 on a Sunday night. Whilst it is unusual four guests to order at this time, we do offer a selection of hot and cold food throughout the hotel 24 hours per day - clearly this is a training issue with the team. I can assure you that with your feedback, this will not occur for our future guests.

Finally, I absolutely agree with your comment that should something be promised, such as the General Manager to contact you then this should occur without exception. I am sorry that this was not forthcoming since I would have been delighted to talk with you with regard to your experience.

I understand your annoyance and frustrations throughout your stay however was pleased to read that you enjoyed the building and breakfast. I will follow up with my team with regards to the other comments made and ensure these do not affect our future guests experience.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to write and share your feedback. I do hope that you will give us another chance to experience these changes yourself.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Malmaison Oxford Castle

Property: 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 Luxury Hotel in Oxford
#5 Business Hotel in Oxford
#9 Romantic Hotel in Oxford
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
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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