More about Malmaison Oxford
This, along with a raised mound (for another tower), is pretty much all that is left of Oxford Castle. These ruins are just outside of central areas of Oxford.
It played an important role in the city's history
It was built by Robert d'Oilly in 1071.
Although there is very little left of Oxford Castle (the Castle Mound, St. George's Tower, the chapel crypt and well chamber), it played an important role in the city's history. It was built by Robert d'Oilly in 1071 as a royal residence and administrative centre.
Oxford Castle was built for William the Conqueror soon after the Norman Conquest of 1066, in 1071.
A keep was built atop the mound & towers & walls added to strengthen the defences. Eventually the building held courts, then was also a Prison. It remained a prison until 1996.
The existing buildings are about to be converted, along with the mound to become a hotel/leisure centre complex - although this has been disrupted by recent archaeological finds - see the Castle Mound story accompanying this piece.
The O3 Gallery
This was an unexpected find within Oxford Castle, the O3 Gallery is fairly small with two entrances.
Located within Oxford's oldest quarter; the gallery brings a wide range of selling exhibitions by regional artists - they offer some good contemporary, visual and applied arts.
Unlocked: Oxford Castle
The castle, is as noted in it's marketing material, is "so much more than a castle..." - the site is home to 11th century castle fortification (motte and bailey) was the location of Oxfrod Prison until 1996 and now the home to a rather upmarket hotel.
The castle fortification was originally established by Robert d'Oilly (who died in 1091); it was built some five years after the Battle of Hastings (1066). This provided the Normans with an excellent location to strengthen their grip on the country.
Loved the Malmaison!
In a word - excellent!
The receptionist who did our check in then escorted us to our room, which was a very good and unexpected feature.
We were in one of the former cell rooms, which had been done up to a luxurious standard but in keeping with the original features. The climate control worked just right, the bathroom was superb with a huge stand-alone bath and separate walk-in shower, the in-room safe was at head height, and the shutters on the windows worked perfectly to keep the day at bay the next morning. The bathroom accessories were generous.
The soundproofing of the room, being from the former useage, was great - no disturbance at all from elsewhere. Good solid walls.
Highest commendation though goes to breakfast. The service was the best that you can get: swift, informative, attentive, friendly and efficient. The menu was outstanding - all UK hotels have the traditional English Breakfast in one form or another, well the Malmaison had that plus a range of options I have only ever experienced before in the USA, including Eggs Benedict. Excellent!
We will be making up a reason to return there very soon. Highly recommended indeed.
Living it up
Stayed in Oxford at the start of a four-week driving tour of the UK in June 2006. We picked up our hire car at Oxford.
This hotel was one of only two places we booked ahead. It's new (only six months open), chic, modern, and "different". Handy to Oxford station (we walked with our luggage). We liked the luxuries of heated towel rails, a beautiful deep claw-foot bath in a stylish bathroom and plenty of best quality shampoo and soap. Fluffy down pillows (which needed re-lofting a couple of times during the night). Fridge and room safe. Tea/coffee facilities. Huge thick towels. The staff were very helpful, especially after we got lost a couple of times (it's easy in this building, with plenty of 45 degree turns and up and down short flights of stairs). Our room was not in the old jail so I suppose we didn't get the full "experience".
A couple of minor grumbles. The black shades on the bedside lamps certainly looked sexy but were rather impractical for reading. The air conditioning control appeared to make no difference. The down quilts and nothing else on the beds meant that you had a choice of too hot or too cold! And at 140 quid a night, not cheap.
But I'm glad we stayed here. (When we returned the car to Oxford at the end of our holiday we stayed two nights at a much cheaper chain hotel on the ring road. The fact that I don't recall which would indicate that it was a less memorable experience.)
Bit late with this review but hey ho.
Stayed at New Year with my fiance who had booked a duplex suite as a surprise. The room was absolutely amazing, gorgeous decor, huge bed and free standing bath complete with candles!
The staff were really helpful, although the breakfast service left a little to be desired until we actually had a table when it all went back to excellent. There were about 15 of us left standing waiting around for 10 minutes as the breakfast room was so small there weren't any tables. I don't think I'd have minded so much if I wasn't so hung over.
We didn't eat in the hotel but did have a drink where again the service was great. The reception staff recommended some nearby places for lunch so we went to an American Diner on the same complex which wasn't too OTT and the food was average.
The "prison" area of the hotel where the main section of rooms are has to be seen to be believed, it's like being in posh Bad Girls. I've stayed in a lot of hotels and this one stands out for me.
You must try this hotel. I can't wait to go back!
Basically unmanaged with rude staff, nice rooms but surroundings like a circus
The Malmaison in Oxford is in the converted former town gaol, and at times one feels like an inmate. Checking in is just as abrupt, clinical and bossy as signing on at your neighbourhood prison. Politely remonstrating about the 50 pounds per night per room "reserved" on the credit card, given that I don't even use a minibar when I'm in hotels, was met with icy hostility. Most of the staff are young east europeans with difficult english, but the english staff they do have are uniformly indifferent to customer welfare. One parked my car and left it unlocked; complaints about this were scorned. The entrances to the hotel involve negotiating open air public bars with the usual Oxford slightly drunk, slightly threatening locals leering and jostling as you attempt to enter the hotel. Noise levels outside get louder and louder as the slightly drunk dig deeper and get truly drunk.
Corridors in the hotel are unbearably hot and the lifts positively faintingly hot; my advice would be not to risk taking one, as I can imagine that being stuck in one could easily lead to premature death given the obvious indifference of the staff to guest welfare.
Rooms are comfortable and the superior ones spacious, but there are curious problems for a modern "designer" hotel, like air conditioning that doesn't work properly, badly positioned TVs, limited plugs and very small table for working on. So it's not really a business hotel despite the claims. The roof garden and nearby elevated restaurant are both a bit squalid and not clean or looked after properly.
All in all very poor value for the (fairly high) price and another one to miss in Oxford.
Our first visit to Oxford, saw this place in the BA magazine and could not resist it.
Great Place, Great Location, Great Staff and a Superb atmosphere, stepping out of the elevator into the Cell Block was something else.
We stayed on the 4th floor which the receptionist said was an upgrade, rooms were very nicely done 2cells converted into the bedroom with the third as the bathroom c/w bath and large walk in shower.
The hotel's restaurant is very nice too, one recommendation here; don't bother with the all Bed Breakfast and Evening Meal package unless you're on a strict budget as the set menu is very restrictive.
There is a courtyard adjacent to the Hotels with a number of restaurants in it as well.
A must stay Hotel, we'll certainly be back.
Oxford Castle (1)
Oxford Castle (2)