Old Parsonage Hotel
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Historical Traveler Reviews Old Parsonage Hotel Oxford
We stayed at The Old Parsonage for one night in September 2005.
We had no specific grumbles about anything as our small double room was clean and neutrally decorated (if a bit tatty round the edges with, for example, the shower screen leaking water over the bathroom floor).
However, for the price we would have expected a bit more - including breakfast. It is very cheeky to charge £14 a head for a breakfast which (on our quick inspection) you would pay no more than £5 for in a decent cafe. Taking the advice of previous TripAdvisor reviewers we did just this and went round the corner to the lovely Maison Blanc instead.
We also found the unrelenting marketing unwelcome and inappropriate - we had five separate bits of paper in our welcome pack and room urging us to visit again at Christmas and reminding us to "book soon".
Whilst fine, because the Old Parsonage seems to be geared towards making as much money as possible from tourists, staying there doesn't make for a particularly pleasant or relaxing experience.
Exquisite Hotel, Impeccable Service
With over thirty years spent vacationing at the Old Parsonage, I feel qualified to recommend it as the quintessential English country house hotel. The rooms are chic without being over done, public areas are warm and inviting. The staff is helpful, but not intrusive. The location in Oxford is ideal. This is a hotel that is not to be missed.
A wonderful retreat, gorgeous food
We stayed two nights at the Old Parsonage and had a lovely time there. It's one of those places where it really does look exactly like the photos - big, cosy fireplaces, a dining room with the intimacy of a private country house, and no nasty surprises once you get past the beautiful old part of the hotel. So many places have luxurious and olde world public areas but when you get to your room it's no better than a Travelodge out the back. Not so here - our room was in one of the more modern parts of the building but there was no discernible difference in style, quality of fittings and furniture or atmosphere. It was a small room, but quiet, with a little balcony and French doors, a spacious bathroom and just across the corridor was a hidden courtyard, lovely to come out of our room to in the morning.
We found the service to be excellent - discreet, friendly and the fastest room service I've ever encountered. We had dinner on a Friday on the Terrace - I was worried it might be cold or noisy being next to the road, but in fact I didn't even need a sweater as the heaters were turned on as dusk fell, the garden wall and the excellent jazz band meant we hardly noticed there was a road at all. We loved the food, and yes, it wasn't cheap, but the staff know how to make you feel special and every mouthful was delicious. We were told that all the hotel's fish gets shipped the same day from Jersey, so it's utterly fresh - my husband vouched for it with his lobster. And I do have to say that the smoked salmon I had at breakfast was out of this world.
We would like to have taken out the hotel's own punt - kept on the river for the use of guests (complimentary) - but the weather was a bit too chilly! Maybe next time. I wish we could afford to stay at the Parsonage more often! If you're looking for another trendy, anonymous boutique hotel with wall to wall gadgets in the room and sullen service it may not be what you want, but we found it to be a lovely, relaxing and luxurious retreat in what can be a very hectic city.
Agree with most comments on the Old Parsonage
In July 2003 my husband and I spent 2 nts in Oxford to attend my niece's wedding. We researched hotels/inns/b and bs and decided on the Old Parsonage as we liked the description. We are interested in history and charming country inns. My niece,living in the city,had not stayed there but had a meal in the restaurant and felt it was very nice.
She was right,though it was pricey. Service was very good.
However I must agree with the comments made regarding the rooms-ours was on the top floor and was small,dark and definitely over priced.
The comment that was made "flatters to deceive" must be an English phrase as I am not familiar with it but it vividly describes this hotel.
If we return we'll stay elsewhere.
Nice idea but pricey and doesn't quite deliver
We stayed at the Old Parsonage during an admittedly busy Oxford Literary Festival weekend. The building is lovely and the location convenient for north/central Oxford, also near good cafes, delis etc. Most of the staff were friendly. But overall we felt this hotel 'flatters to deceive'. We thought it very expensive (£170 a double a night) for what we got: small, rather dark and overheated room; terrestrial TV only (and that didn't work very well and didn't get resolved during our stay); no radio; no minibar or fridge. These drawbacks were only partially compensated for by the nice bathroom (with Molton Brown freebies), comfortable beds and pleasant decor. Like others, we found breakfast very pricey: £12 for an English breakfast or £10 for a very scanty continental one - and each distinct: if you wanted the kind of full breakfast many hotels serve it would cost £22. Overall, it wasn't awful but really should be quite a lot better for the money.
Charming, quintessential Oxford!
We found this to be an utterly charming hotel.....very much in keeping with the town. We were given early check-in after our overnight flight and found the service during our entire 3 day stay to be friendly and accomodating. Our room at the back of the main floor was lovely, quiet and walked out to a garden sitting area.....not overly luxurious, but very comfortable.
The staff was willing to serve breakfast or tea in the afternoon on our private terrace or out in the wonderful front walled garden. Dining in the hotel is expensive. We enjoyed small simple breakfasts there, but would NOT recommend their high tea. Their neighbouring restaurant "Gee's", however, was fantastic!
After looking forward to staying in the hotel for a few months (a belated honeymoon) we were disappointed that despite asking about car parking(and being told that if the car park was full they could pop us somewhere else) there was not enough space for us to park and were directed by a receptionist to use a pay and display car park a little distance away. Fair enough they did go and collect the vehicle at 7pm but as an opener it had already tainted the stay a little. The Key programming computer wasn't working so we had to wait at reception everytime we wanted to go back into our room, another minor annoyance.
The room itself was lovely, if a little warm and noisy from being on the main road. The bathroom was clean and spacious but not quite the marble extravaganza I was anticipating. However there was lots of hot water and a good shower. The worst part of the trip was breakfast - the room price doesn't include breakfast and breakfast in the hotel is soooo expensive~ go elsewhere and get a pastry and coffee. Being lactose intolerant I asked whether the mushrooms were cooked in butter, to which the surly waitress mumbled yes. No offer of asking the chef if he could do them in oil. Basically for each of us to have 2 poached eggs on toast, a orange juice each, a small pot of tea for husband, a small pot of coffee for me and 1 bowl of cereal we paid £19.95!! It would have been £5 more but I had to challenge the £10 for a continental breakfast when it only involved 1 bowl of cereal (which still cost £5 ~ hope my husband enjoyed every mouthful!!). To conclude this epic - the hotel is very pretty but on a main road, the room was lovely but service inconsistent. I wouldn't stay here again personally but it is in a fairly central location in Oxford. All in all a disappointing stay.
Wonderful restaurant . . . but not impressed with hotel
Excellent setting for meals or high tea. However, buyer beware of the hotel. Our very small room was $220 a night and did not include any breakfast. The service was mediocre (front desk personnel could hardly speak English and had to admit a few times that they just couldn't help us). They were very friendly and overtly apologetic, though. Also beware of their cancellation policy of minimum 24 hour notice (as opposed to notifcation by 4pm on arrival day that is standard for practically every hotel that we have stayed in world-wide). We called at 8 AM on our arrival day to move our reservation to a different night because we were trying to re-arrange our itinerary due to rioting in London about President Bush's visit. We were very curtly told that we were "not following the written rules" regarding changes and that our credit card would be charged the full amount of the room "regardless of whether you lodge here or not." After checking in that afternoon (so we didn't lose our $220), we had telephone problems that they couldn't get resolved, and we were supposed to have a clock radio in our room -- it was never found. The carpets were worn through in the hallways. At 8:50 AM the next morning, the banging fist on our door was the maid wanting to clean our room (we did not have our "make up room" sign out).
Finally, be prepared to pay for your morning paper delivered outside your door. Our final bill had a $1.70 charge for the newspaper--a first for us to be charged for a "complimentary" newspaper.
THE place to stay in Oxford
Before, during, and at the tail-end of a six-week summer program at Oxford University, I and three friends spent much time at the Old Parsonage. The rooms are beautiful, cozy, and unique. The staff is warm, friendly, efficient, and fun-loving. The food and dining atmosphere is superb. (Yes, the High Tea is the best in the city... and we sampled a lot of High Teas.) It is one of the most romantic, old-world, high class places I have ever been. I'm counting the days until I can go back.
Most authentic cream tea
Oxford's loveliest High Tea can be found at the Old Parsonage Hotel, and taken outside the wisteria-draped 13th c. building in good weather in their lovely walled garden. Inside, the Parsonage Bar sports walls crammed with artwork, provides first-rate service, and is available for bar suppers and breakfasts as well. While I have not stayed at the hotel, it has a private car park, always a delight in Oxford Centre, and its location is perfect for walking the sights the city has to offer.
TripAdvisor Reviews Old Parsonage Hotel Oxford
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