Malmaison Oxford Castle
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Historical Traveler Reviews Malmaison Oxford Castle
Get me out of jail quick
Major disappointment staying at this hotel. We booked instead of staying at our usual hotel the Old Bank. Our daughter had specifically visited the hotel to make sure we were booked into a cell room in the main wing area. When we arrived, we found a reception area - if that is what you can really call it - more akin to the Little Britain travel agent sketch. The room we were given - room 102 - was so dark that the only way we could read a newspaper or anything other than at the desk was to remove the lampshade from the standard lamp. This made it marginally better. Everywhere in this hotel is dark. Not a place to stay if you need to read anything.
The staff at the hotel all seemed to be junior/at an early stage in their training. When we were woken up at 01.30 by an impromptu fire alarm, the staff seemed not to understand where we came from. We managed to put them at rest by telling/showing them that our room had its own fire escape - but no dressing gowns so we had to respond to the fire alarm by first putting on some clothes. Next day no apology or indeed any recognition that there was an alarm problem was made. Fire alarms do sometimes go off unannounced but in other hotels I have always been given an apology and some form of explanation.
The hotel needs management. We ordered a taxi at the non-existent front desk. When it arrived it seemed to be a surprise to the other staff in the general front office area. In summary, a hip and 'trendy' hotel that fails in getting the basics right.
Getting the old 'Ball and Chain' off to a great start!!
My husband and I decided to 'honeymoon' at the Malmaison Oxford Castle, feeling that this magnificent converted prison would make a grand setting to begin our 'life sentence' together. It certainly did not disappoint.
From beginning to end we had a fabulous stay! The hotel itself is magnificent and has undergone a careful conversion to its present state. We spent one night in a standard room in the 'C' wing overlooking the old exercise yard. A second night was spent in one of the above-standard rooms off the main corridor. Both rooms were equally comfortable, the second having the added benefit of slightly more room to manoeuvre and a roll-top bathtub and separate shower. Useful room amenities included: an iron and ironing board, a personal safe, a minibar, a kettle and selection of teas, coffee and hot chocolate, and a selection of bathroom toiletries that you're encouraged to take away with you. We found the hotel staff extremely friendly and helpful and always full of smiles.
What to do in the evening if you can escape your cell? The visitor's room on the third floor is a hidden gem that has been converted into a large lounge area where guests can relax in plushly upholstered chairs/sofas, enjoy a drink/cocktail, play pool, chess, monopoly, etc. The dark and moody ambiance of this room is fantastic.
How was the prison food? We opted not to get room service but did investigate the menus and were astounded at how reasonably priced the food was. The breakfast -- though not cheap -- was marvellous with a buffet of fresh fruit and cereals, lovely French yoghurts, honey 'straight out of the comb' and a choice of freshly squeezed juices. All of this was accompanied by tea/coffee and a cooked breakfast of your choosing.
Would it be bad to say we look forward to making this prison a 'home away from home'? Highly recommended!
The teething problems continue...
In summary, it is clear that Malmaison do some things very well but others poorly. The hotel itself is a stunning and sensitive conversion of a former prison, managing to retain the signature Malmaison style and blend it successfully with the form of the original building - the menacing facade,internal galleries and vaulted stone cells (3 per room). The bathrooms are good, the decor stylish and the minibar replete.
However service, though generally prompt, is a little awkward - be warned it costs an extra ú20 to leave your car overnight and you might have to wait a while for the valet to locate it again at the end of the trip. Also beware the breakfasts - expensive and bland - how difficult can it be to cook an egg properly?
I've been lucky enough to stay in some of the best hotels in the world and can honestly say that this is the best I've ever experienced.
The staff are friendly, helpful and above all enthusiastic. I ordered room service after a long day's work and travel, expecting standard fare. The food arrived prompltly, was delicious, perfectly comforting, and reasonably priced.
What really bowled me over about this hotel was the attention to detail... I was shown to my room and given a brief history of the building (the original movie The Italian Job was filmed there)...When I entered my room, the lights were low, and soft music was playing on the in-room CD/DVD player...Breakfast was delivered in a picnic hamper... Even their compliments slips carry the message "You look a million dollars" !!!
Thanks to all at the hotel! I was only there for one night ... I hope I get the opportunity to come back...
Luxury Retreat for Grown Ups
Stayed 2 nights at the Mal Oxford. Check in is easy and you get to sit on comfy seats while they check you in on their ultra slinky flat screened computers. All the staff here seem to be very good looking too! Small lounge with papers, books and TV on ground floor. Lower ground has a small-ish bar and the brasserie but would advise booking as they were fully booked all weekend, smelled lovely. 3rd floor has the visitors room which is a very high ceilinged room with drinks and high backed chairs in dark blues. Looks like Harry Potter should stroll in at any moment. Our room was in the original prison section - A-wing, room 128. The only conceivable fault with this room is that the lift was very close-by and it beeps loudly when first pressed and then again when it comes. This beeping can be heard very clearly in the room and all through the night as people come and go. I ended up using foam earplugs and this did the trick. The room had it's original cell door and a beam in the middle of the room where the 2 cells have been merged. The bed was massive and comfy with loads of pillows and a super soft duvet. The original cell windows had custom made wooden shutters. There was original lighting all over the room which made it look cosy and romantic. The bathroom lighting was wonderful and there was an option for only having a small light by the bath and one on the wall which was like having a candle-lit bath - sumptuous! The mini bar had loads of nice soft drinks - pago orange, old fashioned lemonade as well as coke, real ale in a bottle, a 700ml bottle of Malmaison white wine and some chocolate milk. There was also a bottle of red wine on a tray along with 2 large wine glasses and a corkscrew. The wine costs ú12.95 to buy from the room which is quite reasonable. There was a large flat screen TV and DVD player cunningly hidden away underneath and the room had a CD already in it with ambient tunes. You could hire CD's and DVD's from reception, they put ú20 on your bill then take it off when you return them. We watched Mr and Mrs Smith in bed - great! The bathroom also has a lovely heated tile floor, a funky square sink which takes a while to figure out and the biggest power shower. The toiletries were: Large shower gel, large body lotion and grapefruit soap. There was also a shower cap and facecloth but no shampoo or bubble bath which would have been nice. The wardrobe had a safe, plenty of hangers, a full sized ironing board, iron, proper hairdryer with many settings, show shine mitt, large mugs and a selection of teas, coffees and hot chocolates and a kettle. There was only one small drawer on the desk and a small shelf in the wardrobe so ended up using floor of wardrobe for smalls etc. Lighting quite dim in main bedroom so need to use bathroom for putting on make-up etc. Room service took 20 minutes. We ordered a burger with fries, the fries were home made and gorgeous, the burger was lovely too. Check out is noon so there is plenty of time to get ready and snooze. They are happy to keep your luggage till you are ready to come back and get it. The location is excellent being on the main street for shopping and near loads of bars and restaurants. My only tip about restaurants would be to book for meals as most were full and we tried loads till we got in. There were lovely places in the courtyard near the hotel - Carluccios which does decent Italian food and also does nice breakfasts. There is a Tootsies which does lunch and dinner - burger type fare. There is a Pizza Express, a Ha Ha Bar and Canteen, a tapas bar, a Prezzo and Living Room bar and coming soon in March a Krispy Creme doughnut shop. We will definitely be returning to this hotel - never spent so much time in our room!
A great hideaway in the centre of oxford
The best thing about this hotel is it's location, style and quirkiness. It couldn't be more central - at the end of New road, one of the main shopping streets, 5 minutes from the heart of Oxford and a 5 minute walk from the station. It has the characteristic dramatic Malmaison style with restful tones and big chairs. Its quirkiness comes from being an ex-prison. I'd recommend taking a room in the A wing which is the original prison and has the most charachter. We in fact down-sized from the suite when we got there, as it was a small, modern split level room. There was actually less room in the bedroom in the suite than in the A wing room (ú160).
The service was fantstic and loved the dark atmospheric visitors lounge. We didn't try the dinning room as it lacked atmosphere and had nothing for veggies (room service did)
Not like Porridge at all!
Sumptious conversion of this former prison, has been very tastefully done to provide a stunning centre-piece to this revamped area of Oxford. The hotel had only been open for 3 weeks, so staff were still finding their feet, but were very freindly and helpful. Although I checked in at 4pm, our room wasn't ready, however we were offered an alternative suite, but we waited for the original prison cell room, and it was worth the wait. Prison rooms are converted from 3 cells, all very tastefully done with sumptuous bathroom. Lighting in the room is very moody, or could also be described as dim! In room DVD player was a nice touch, with DVDs on loan from reception. Teething troubles with the minibar not working were quickly rectified, with an ice bucket and chilled wine. The visitors room, which is a resident's lounge offers a snooker table, comfy chairs and very relaxed chill out area. The roof terrace will be great in summer, although not yet completed, nor was the fitness area, although I believe it should be done by the end of the year. A must stay location if you get the chance.
Unique and Stunning
This converted prison is stunning. Brand new, well planned and decorated rooms, perfect location.
A real treat for an 'Adult Weekend' with large comfy beds, large showers and LCD TVs & DVD player.
The lack of parking will put some people off but that is Oxford all over - get the Park & Ride!
Not a great experience
This is a clever conversion of the former Oxford Prison and the rooms are nicely converted. However, our stay was marred by:
1. poor reception staff, who had no idea when our room would be ready at 3pm in the afternoon suggesting we might like to go shopping while we wait,
2. a lack of parking even though there is plently of space outside the hotel and numerous cars were there overnight,
3. the fire alarm system going off at 1am. When the alarm stopped as we left the building, no staff were available in person or on the phone to confirm that this had been a false alarm.
4. an incredibly annoying hissing noise coming from the room's heating system which then kept us awake all night.
The manager was very understanding and removed all accommodation costs from our bill without question.
Hopefully these are just teething troubles but I very much doubt that I shall be visiting to the Malmaison in Oxford again.
Absolutely fantastic hotel!
Wow- this was the the best (and definately most swanky) hotel I've ever stayed in. Can't reccomend it enough. Spotless, stylish and gorgeous rooms with mood lighting. Lovely bed with 100% cotton sheets, giant cusions & throws. Spacious bathroom with panhead showers & big bath. The staff were uber-helpful & polite. We had a standard double room and were bowled over by how lovely it was. Its really unusual too as its in an old castle and one time prison. They have done an excellent job of renovating. Its also in a great location, really close the the city centre (about 3 min walk & your in the hub of things. It was just lovely in everyway (your even encouraged to take the high quality toiletries with you. It is expensive but I think worth it. Bear in mind this sort of hotel is normally just out of my price range so my gushing review come from the perspective of someone who hasn't stayed in many hotels in this price-bracket. But I have stayed in lots of hotels across the globe generally & I can't see what someone wouldn't find lovely about it?!
TripAdvisor Reviews Malmaison Oxford Castle
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