More about Macdonald Randolph Hotel
Scary at times, nice concierge, most other things terrible
The Randolph was always considered the classiest hotel in Oxford (this honour seems now to belong to the new Malmaison), but that's strictly in history - whilst the staff attempt to maintain an atmousphere of glamourous service, and mostly fail, and many foolishly ignorant but upmarket customers waft around trying to look posh - who clearly haven't heard about the changes in the hotel pecking order in these parts.
My recent week-long stay went badly almost from the start. One concierge told me to wait at the carpark entrance for him. The other shouted at me to drive in. "You can listen to me, not him!" he yelled as a queue of frustrated drivers formed. This is one of the busiest corners in Oxford, so they have to be efficient, and it wasn't a promising start.
Once inside, good news. I'd been upgraded to a superior room! Fantastic! Once in it, I quickly realised that the boiler-room temperature could not be alleviated as the windows couldn't be opened other than by a Russian weightlifter and the radiator couldn't apparently be turned off. "Oh, yes, we know about the radiator" was the response when phoning reception. I now realised the reason for the "upgrade" - evidently everyone was "upgraded" routinely to the sweat lodge bedroom until some customer, presumably from Lapland, was located who could tolerate being pan fried alive in bed. "Don't worry sir, we'll move you to a room of similar standard at once." I was (you've guessed!) moved to a much smaller room where the heating did work.
Later irritations included (in memory order) - staff who ignore "do not disturb" signs repeatedly, hammering on the door like Roman legionaries demanding entrance to a brothel in the new TV series 'Rome'; hidden charges like the unannounced £20 a night for car parking (fight it - they never tell you in advance); incorrect billing; missing newspapers; the main dining room has a bad smell which staff tell me is caused by the new "spa" being somewhat unhealthily located next door to it; rude receptionists; cleaning staff removing trivial items of personal property from the bedrooms such as own toilet rolls and mugs. I could go on.
Then there were the fire alarms - three in two days. Caused apparently again by the new spa, where there is a tendancy to throw charcoal brickettes onto the sauna fire. Which causes the alarms to go off regularly. And about which nothing at all appears to have been done. On each freezing cold occurence of which we were joined on the street by ladies evicted from the spa, shivering in their bathrobes.
It would be funny if it wasn't so --- annoying.
Rude staff, freezing cold, terrible service
Had an awful long weekend here recently. It was a particularly biting cold English weekend anyway, but the hotel's heating wasn't working (although they didn't bother to tell us this until we complained on check out).
All staff except the receptionists were rude.
Our experience at breakfast the first morning was nothing short of appalling. We waited 25 minutes for our breakfast order to be taken. When it arrived 15 minutes later it was the wrong order so we sent it back. Then the waitress who had taken the order came over and told us off for complaining, when we explained what had gone wrong, she walked away tutting and eventually the exact same wrong breakfast arrived! The coffee was also cold. We gave up in the end and the next morning we went to a local cafe for brunch.
We complained in writing on the feedback form and face to face on check out, but we have received no response, so I am going to write to head office to complain instead.
On the plus side, it's a stunning building in a perfect location and the room was nice and quiet, but would personally never stay there again.
My friend and I stayed at the Randolph whilst flat-hunting, and I can genuinely say it was a superb experience. The Randolph is an impressive neo-Gothic building right in the heart of Oxford, directly facing the Ashmolean Museum, and a short walk away from the colleges and covered market. Its prepossessing facade is confirmed by the lavish decor inside - deep coloured wallpaper, faux-medieval chairs in each hall, a wrought-iron staircase which acsends dramatically to the floors above.
But, for me and my friend, is was the exceptional courteousy of the staff which made this an excellent hotel above all. The concierge was extremely helpful, the reception welcome was indidividualised, polite and warm. We had been complimentarily upgraded to a superior room, which - although on the new wing - was clean, tastefully-decorated and had a view of the Ashmolean and street below. The ensuite was lovely, very luxurious, great toiletries rather than the dreadful astringent and foul-smelling liquids that sometimes turn up in hotel rooms across Britain. The room was quiet - you could hear traffic faintly - the windows opened, the ambient temperature was good (outside it was a bitterly cold day in Oxford). The beds and bedlinen were excellent - incredibly comfortable, clean and well-arranged. Everything in our room was wonderful. Though the standard rooms can be small, this was an excellent accommodation.
Although I didn't use the Spa, we did have a meal at the restaurant in the Randolph. This has won an award recently, and it is easy to see why. The food is fantastic, beautifully made, and with incredible attention to detail. The wine list is fine, and the staff were, as they were throughout our stay, amazing - courteous and attentive without being obsequeous. I loved my stay here, and am already planning to return.
Loved the Randolph
I really loved my time at the randolph. Its in a prime location in oxford, ideal for the shops and sights. The staff were friendly and it was lovely to be welcomed in by the doormen. The room was very nice. The bed was huge! And the mini bar was a big bonus. The bathrooms are marble, and very clean. I would reccomend anyone to stay there.
Probably had it's day
Stayed here for the last weekend of March to attend SunTimesLiteraryFestival. Would have opted for better rated alt hotel but unsurprisingly they were all fully booked. Beware; the cost of parking can go up to £24.50 if like us you’re directed off to the NCP parking around the corner from hotel because the hotels lot is full. They complete a card for you to put on display in your windscreen and it’s charged to your hotel bill. Wisely, as it turned out, we left our bags with concierge to take to our room while we went of to park. Was a good choice as our room was in the new block which, as mentioned in previous reviews, it’s up one flight, through various corridors, about 5 fire doors, downstairs, across, up stairs...
Was a bit disappointed on reaching the room, but mainly because we were hoping for something with a bit of character and being located in the new part of the building it was very clean and functional but lacked any views (overlooked sort of patio area surrounded by other floor to ceiling windows of other rooms, couldn't even see the sky). Good sized bathroom with well powered consistent shower cubicle. Rang service to change the tv remote because it didn't work (batteries not very held in with tape), and booked table at hotel's restaurant for that evening. The big upside to this place is its location. Very central and easy to navigate your way around.
The 'Morse Bar' also a bit disappointing as it is right by the reception with no barrier between the bar and the entrance, also not very big so got quite full quite quickly. Drinks and nibbles nicely presented but pricey. Dinner also a blotch on overall experience. Dining room was pretty vacant when we went to our table and the room has a very drab feeling. Service very amenable but pricing and quality of food doesn't match what could be found elsewhere in town. Retreated to our room feeling a bit deflated by the whole experience. Then had very uncomfortable night as room was too warm and although we spent most of the night fiddling with the aircon, and propping curtains around chairs to let some air in from the windows without exposing ourselves to the neighbours (floor to ceiling windows on ground floor!)couldn't get the temperature to drop. I gave up and listened to a podcast of Melvyn Bragg over and over in the hope it would send me off to sleep! In the morning, the requested Sunday newspaper didn't materialise so reported to reception when we went down to breakfast. Paper was brought to breakfast table but later discovered it was added to final bill twice. Somehow with a few pre-dinner drinks, parking, meal in restaurant/nightcap and breakfast we had managed to rack-up another £150 in charges on top of the room rate for a very unappealing experience.
Reception staff a bit surly but efficient enough. Gents on concierge very pleasant but must be run ragged carrying luggage with the distance to those rooms.
Overall, not nearly worth the cost. Would stay somewhere better even out of town and travel in if there wasn't an alternative in central Oxford.
Faultless service at a price
Couldn't fault the sevice in any way. The staff (mainly foreign) were very efficient and charming. The room was very clean and quiet. Everything seemed to work. The hotel is within walking distance of just about everywhere. All this comes at a price but, for a special occasion, well worth it. If you have a car, take it to the Park and Ride where you can park it for 60p per day plus £2 for the return bus fare. You will have to return each day to renew the parking fee. The hotel charge £23 per day!!! for parking and you have to book in advance.
I stayed for a weekend in July 2005 with some female friends. Great location and offered valet parking which is a bonus. It's a very grand hotel which I'm sure American tourists love, and the afternoon tea is lush. We stayed in the renovated part of the hotel, so we could not fault the rooms. They were of a good size, decorated to a tastefully high standard (I would say 4*) and with a good sized bathroom. The service was good as was the breakfast in the morning! The only fault I thought was that the lobby carpets looked slightly worn which seemed a shame for an otherwise lovely hotel.