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Malmaison Oxford Castle
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Reviews (3,188)
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1,850 - 1,855 of 3,188 reviews
Reviewed December 17, 2013

I stayed here on a Friday evening to enjoy a night out with two old school friends as a Christmas treat. The position of the Hotel in relation to the centre of the City is very good but the inside is all very dark and a little foreboding (it was a Prison until not too long ago).
Some of the rooms are actually made by combining three cells to make space but we stayed in rooms in another area of the Hotel where the rooms are not very large but the bathrooms are (room for a tub and a separate shower).
The beds are very comfortable but nothing makes me think the price is anywhere near justified as I have stayed in better Hotels, even in London, at lower prices.
The bar in the basement is very dark and in the evening, is full of non residents and the other bard was shut as it had been let for a private party.
I am sure there must be better places to stay in Oxford, in both price and overall appointment, so I would suggest you research more than we did before you book here.

Room Tip: If you want the full "Ex Prison Experience" ask for a room in the converted cells
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
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1  Thank WhistlingBear
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 reviewResponded January 8, 2014

Dear WhistlingBear,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review following your stay. I am sorry we did not meet your expectations during your visit. As a destination, Oxford is highly sought after and our prices are in line with rates offered throughout the city.

The cell rooms truly are fantastic as is the renovation from a working prison only 16 years ago, albeit challenges are faced with regard to natural light throughout the property although many find it adds positively to the character of the building. I am sorry that this was not to your taste and that on this occasion the Visitors Room Bar was closed for a private Christmas function.

We do hope that you choose to visit us once again 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.
Reviewed December 16, 2013

I have waited almost one year before posting this review, in the vain hope that the hotel would make an effort to rectify the terrible experience that myself and my partner experienced here, however, they have failed to honour the promises made, and so my only recourse is to warn others of their conduct, so perhaps they might not have to go through the same.

First checking in it was made clear that it made no difference what sort of a customer you are, frequent traveller, or occasional, you will all be treated the same, pay for something, or get nothing, no chance of any little "extras" here, thats ok though, as long as the quality and service of the establishment are commensurate with the price paid.

Next to the the room, or should I say the first room, this had what appeared to be pubic hairs in the bath, this was reported immediately, and we were moved to another room, not upgraded mind you, but moved, the next room had a nasty stain on the carpet by the radiator, however, we did not have time to complain, so we just went out for our little break around Oxford, when we returned, we were too tired to check anything, and slept, the next day on waking, we found that there was no hot water, again this was reported, and a manager type was sent, who apologised, and stated we could be moved, this time we were upgraded, but only because our room type was fully booked. So onto the third room, after a painful and annoying repacking of bags, and moving lock stock and barrel, the third room had clearly not been used for some time, as there were dead insects around, and a thin layer of dust, in addition, a half eaten biscuit on one of the tea cups. By this time we only had one remaining night, and were already halfway through the second day, so decided, just get on with it and speak to the hotel in the morning when checking out.

In the morning we were greeted by being served caffeinated coffee, after specifically asking for decaffeinated, when it was explained that my partner has a nervous condition and cannot take caffeine, an indifferent waiter shrugged his shoulders and said nonchalantly "sorry". Was this an attempt at a final insult perhaps?

So it came to check out time, and after our debacle we were not prepared to go gently into the good night, we requested the most senior staff member available to discuss our grievances, down came a lady who purported to be in a position of authority and who listened to the tales of woe, of disinterested uncaring staff, dirty rooms, cold water, and precious time wasted on a carefully planned holiday.

Her solution was to offer a free stay at a juncture of our choice, and she apologised profusely, stating "this is not the Malmaison standard", and that we should "give them a chance to make amends". We agreed, paid and left, however, does the story end there? No it does not.

So comes the moment where we attempt to claim our "free stay", and bear in mind, after their lacklustre performance, we were concerned they would honour their promises, so we made several calls and were assured that we need "merely inform them when we wish to stay" this sounded dubious, however, we planned another trip to oxford, to stay for just a night, and catch any sights we may have missed on our last trip, and then head to bicester for a spot of shopping afterwards, we contacted the Malmaision of our intentions in March of this year, to visit in June, yet the hotel fell strangely silent.

So by the end of March we were calling every couple of days to speak with either of the two senior staff who promised us our "free stay", and they both were always busy, despite speaking to people who sounded suspiciously like them on the telephone, we were assured that it was not them, and that those individuals were not available, the email address we sent our request to either gave us no response, or, cryptic, odd ones, such as one which read simply "see below", and there was nothing there. Was that a hint of what we would get perhaps? Nothing? Were we just incredibly slow? Finally June passed, and July, and right up until now we have never had our free stay, or returned to Oxford, and still no contact from the people who begged for "another chance".

So in conclusion, I warn travellers to be wary of this hotel, they claim to offer a great deal, with = an attractive building, and have styled themselves in such a fashion as to target higher end travellers, however, it is all window dressing , a thin veneer which conceals a dirty, poorly run hotel with an exceptionally poor infrastructure, which seeks to dazzle its guests to a degree that they do not notice things such as those mentioned here, and when they are picked up on their lack of professionalism, they lie and promise things that they have no intention of doing just to make you "go away".

And just in case anyone thinks "oh its an old building give them a chance, those things are hard to run". Forget that thought, why? Simply because they purport to be a luxury establishment, and charge a premium for every service offered, therefore no excuses are acceptable, and that is not even mentioning their simply lying their way out of an unsatisfied customer.

  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled as a couple
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6  Thank Sebbysebseb
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 reviewResponded December 17, 2013

Dear Sebbysebseb,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review following your stay at the hotel over one year ago. I am sorry that we did not manage to meet your expectations and that you have since had issues in contacting persons within the Malmaison chain.

With your feedback, amazingly given the time that has past, a number of the management team remember you and your stay in great detail. As such I have been able to review the notes surrounding your experience within the hotel from that time.

I would be delighted to discuss this with you. If you could please send any correspondence you have since had, as you have detailed above to pwatson@malmaison.com I would be pleased to resolve this with you.

Kind Regards

Paul Watson

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2013

Just returned from a night at the Malmaison, Oxford Castle.

Good points: 1. The location (right in Oxford town centre) 2. Quirkiness (having been a prison) 3. Food (great quality, good range of choices, helpful staff) 4. Looks good (refurbished to a high standard)

Bad points: 1. Penny pinchers (you have to pay an extra £2 extra for a hot breakfast and whilst there is a bottle of water in the room it is NOT complimentary they charge you £1.65 for it!!) even Holiday Inn provides complimentary water! 2. Cleanliness (there were stains on the furniture and carpet in our room and the sink looked like it needed a clean) 3. Cold showers (I advised reception and they said the pipes are thin because it used to be a prison - apparently this was the cause, nevertheless part of an authentic experience..)

Overall we would go back because the hotel itself and the staff are great however I get the impression that the Malmaison chain just want to get every last penny out of their guests to the detriment of the experience. Less money spent on huge tubes of complimentary shampoo and more money spent on a simple bottle of water in each room would go a long way.

Advice: Don't upgrade your room if you want to stay in a cell, we upgraded and so were not in the cells, which would have been a great experience. Book car parking early - expect to pay approx £28 per 24 hours.

Stayed: December 2013, traveled with friends
2  Thank Charlotte W
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 reviewResponded December 17, 2013

Dear Charlotte W,

Thank you for taking the time to write your review following your experience at the hotel. I was delighted to read of the positive points you have made, particularly with regard to the service you received around the hotel.

I am sorry that you felt the additional charge for the hot food items at breakfast should not be required and that water should be offered complimentary. I will feed these comments back to the Brand team to use to shape our future decisions.

With regard to the room cleanliness and hot water, please accept my most sincere apologies. Cleanliness is of utmost importance to us and I will reiterate this with my Housekeeper. It is unusual for us to have issues with regard to obtaining hot water, yes the pipes are thin however this should not affect our guests getting hot water to the room.

I look forward to seeing you in the hotel again in the future, we will continue to work hard on delivering a great guest experience that offers the value for money you should rightly expect.

Warm Regards

Paul Watson

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 15, 2013

My wife booked an overnight stay to celebrate my 60th birthday last week, how surprised was I when she took me straight to jail! Put any thoughts of discomfort aside, the tasteful renovation of the prison is luxurious but they have maintained the character of the building as it once was. Our 'cell' was on A Wing and was in fact three cells knocked into one. Beautifully appointed bathroom and very comfortable bedroom. We dined in the restaurant and again found welcoming staff and excellent food. This is a real experience and something out of the ordinary. Thank you also for the FREE cocktails you gave us when you discovered it was my birthday!

  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank PotsandPieces
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 reviewResponded December 17, 2013

Dear PotsandPieces,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review following your stay at the hotel. Happy birthday by the way! I was delighted that you chose to celebrate your birthday with us and that you had a great experience.

We do hope to see you again in the near future.

Paul Watson

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 13, 2013

Very unique hotel that has taken a fabulous building and made it into an even nicer hotel. The location is great but in/out if Oxford is just never easy but that is not the fault of the hotel. Relaxing stylish chic hotel

Room Tip: Sorry mistyped pool entry, don't think they have one
  • Stayed: December 2013, traveled on business
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Thank Attymassers
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 reviewResponded December 17, 2013

Dear Attymassers,

Thank you for taking the time to write a review following your stay at the hotel. I was pleased to read that you enjoyed your time with us. We do hope to see you again very soon.

Paul Watson

Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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