Nanford Guest House

137 Iffley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX41EJ, United Kingdom
#12 of 107 hotels in Oxford
Poor (1.5 out of 5.0) 10 reviews
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Based on 318 reviews
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My Big Fat Gypsy Hotel

Bad (2.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on January 24, 2011

Booked for 1 night in order to attend a friend's birthday. Wanted a cheap accomodation within walking distance of the city centre, and this was by far the cheapest. Bearing that in mind, you can't expect anything good. Simple as that.

We would only spead minimal time in the room/guesthouse as wanted to explore Oxford and the celebrations would bring us back late at night. £50/room per night seemed reasonable.

The chap who owns it wasn't rude, but IS decidedly odd. He also looks like Steve Martin, but that's neither here nor there.

Bear in mind the following:

- They advertise parking, which IS a bonus if you're bring your car. However, it's advertised on the sign as 'garage parking' which it ISN'T. Basically they have a a small, odd-shaped yard at the back where you can park. Because of the odd shape, skip & abandoned caravan, it's awkward getting cars out once they are in, and once others have parked there. Because of this they want you to leave after 9:30am and if you want to leave before then you need to tell them so they can sort it out. Not really a problem for me, as breakfast is 7-9 and then we wanted to pack up, so it's roughly when I wanted to leave anyway. It is very awkward to get back out again. You pretty much have to back out the whole way, and do a lot of shunts to get into position to do that. Thankfully the street you emerge onto seems pretty quiet so not having much vision of what's coming wasn't too much of a problem.

You have to drive past the hotel, first left then left again and down 'Denmark Street'. I was concerned that I might not recognise where I wanted to go, but then I saw an opening & gate decorated with a shopping trolley that had a bicycle wheel in, and I knew where I was.

I've read on other reviews that the owner has insisted on taking your car keys so he can move the cars if he needs to, but this did not happen to me.

- He showed us the room before asking for payment. It was one of those rooms where it looks okay at first glance, and then you begin to find odd things. Like the wall light above the bed, which has one of those pull strings. It had part of the original pull, then a shoelace, then another shoelace. For some reason this small light was much brighter than the main light.

The 'en-suite' is one of those where they've knocked up a small room within the room to accomodate it. The shower took up most of the room, and the toilet took up the rest. We're both pretty small but my other half had to do an odd wiggle to get his trousers down and sit on the loo, as once sat your knees are pressed against the wall. He tells me the plumbing work was a bit odd, and apparently more of the pipework was exposed than is traditional.

They evidently then remembered that it's usual to have a sink, which they put outside in the main room. It seemed to be a bit blocked - it did eventually drain, but took a little while. The furniture was a bit eclectic and had obviously seen several years of use. For some reason there was a fridge by the bedside, which appeared to be plugged in as it did emit a low-level hum but there was no light inside and it wasn't cold. There was, however, a table cover thrown over the top, so we presumed that this must be performing the role of bedside cabinet.

The view was that of the back yard, which offered delights such as the skip, the caravan, various bits of rubbish and several cats who appeared to be having a whale of a time. When I mentioned we had a room with a view, my other half pointed out that at least we could see the car.

- The chap who runs it. I've seen a lot of reviews since getting back (that perhaps I ought to have read before going) that tell of extreme rudeness on his behalf, charging extra money for no reason, etc. I did not find him rude, he did not charge us more than the originally agreed rate. He is very strange, and I can imagine that is off-putting for people.

When we first arrived, the sign on the door requests to ring the bell for attention, which we duly did. He opened the door seconds later in much the style of a Hammer Horror and asked if we'd come about the room. Quite what else we might have come about, I'm not sure! Not rude, but decidedly odd.

He gave us the keys to the room and pointed out the front door key. Why they bother including it I don't know, as we came back around 4pm and the door was open, and then at about 1am and it was still open.

When we arrived back in the afternoon, he was wearing a massive jumper and a woolly hat and said 'oh, I'll just put the heating on'. Again, not rude but I did wonder if he'd been sat in all day with the heating off all bundled up.

- Breakfast. It was okay, nothing spectacular but it wasn't crawling with maggots or anything. My other half used to work in the hospitality industry and has several qualifications in food hygiene - he had a quick peer into the kitchen after seeing the rest of it and seemed to think it was okay to eat the food. Breakfast room is plastered with photographs, paintings and posters of Mt. Everest, which the owner has apparently climbed. Several photos feature him posing, looking far happier than he does in the guesthouse.

- Bed was actually pretty comfortable.

Room rate doubles when you arrive - avoid

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on September 23, 2010

We arrived today (the allotted date) to be greeted by the owner telling us that the room rate was double what he had quoted. He is a thoroughly unpleasant man who was quite happy to see our son out on the street without accommodation unless we paid double what he had quoted. His reply to my tearful pleas was "that's tough i have a business to run, i can charge what i want". He had decided to double the rate and had not contacted us to inform us about his change of business rate. We had arrived after a three hour journey from near Exeter to Oxford with a car boot full of my son's possessions. We got the impression that this is his stunt and most desperate and unfortunate customers fall for it because they have no choice - in my opinion the man is a monster. The hotel was disgusting, dirty, shabby and you would not want to stay there.

Quite frankly I am appalled that the authorities in the UK allow it to stay open. What a poor reflection of us in the UK!

Unique Quality: There are no redeeming features peeling paint, shabby furniture, it smells and the front door has a 1inch gap above it.

nanford hotel was horrible

Great (4.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on July 23, 2010

it was the most horrible stay i have ever had i was only ment to stay there for 1 night i was going to a wedding at 4 pm the oner of the hotel said to me that he doubled booked i was so pist off he said that him and another hotel were working together so we went to that hotel and said to him what had happened he said we have no spair rooms so from 1 pm till 4pm every thing was booked so we went to the hotel and asked him what to do he said its not my problem we went to the hotel that was joined with him this was around 6 pm we asked him if we could rent a flat for 100 pounds and he said yes so we were around 3 hours late

Unique Quality: it was crapppp
the man that owned it was crazy

Horror film set

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on April 14, 2010

Bart Cronin needs serious professional mental health assistance. I have never met a more abhorrent man in my life. the only time I ever saw a smile from him was from the child-like arranged photos (of Mt everest exp) in the breakfast area. Otherwise he walked around in the same clothes day in and day out with a face like a smacked bottom with a mouth full of wasps....
He was rude and seemed to treat everyone as an inconvenience racing off to show people their rooms. Every morning around 0945 he would blast music from his quarters probably recalling his former years. ( Drug abuse?? who knows how to explain his mental condidtion!).
Parking was a nightmare once you were in you were stuck. I eventually found a nearby road after finding a permanent reminder of my stay on the rear of my car.
Cold and the window was not able to close properly.
I do have a dust allergy (no fault of derranged Mr Cronin) and immediatly began to sneeze once thrusted into our room. I moved the broken bed away from the wall to reveal a grey dust carpet on top of the carpet (new experiences build character) which looked like it had not been vacuumed in say 5 years. The same applied to the closet and chest of drawers.
The bathroom was cold with a dribble of water coming from the limescalled showerhead. Broken faux marble lined the walls with builders foam ejecting from cracks.
Room service was not daily as promised on the web page/advert but rather intermittent. I would imagine that the poor exploited polish lady could not cope and she was apologetic when I did see her.
After waking up from a bad night's sleep to Cronin's derranged melodies, I looked out my window to be reminded of the old program I loved.. Steptoe and Son.. There was more crap (organic & inorganic) around the yard to make 5 sets for the hit show and that is excluding the daily refuse bags in excess of 20 that lay there while a group of cats , around 10, would fight and growl and hiss.. Cat's choir.

The breakfast.. was not bad I must admit. The Polish lady was smiley but overworked so the service did lack a bit.

How he is still operating and not been shut down by the local health authority, God only knows.
I was not a religious man before staying there but I prayed everyday and everyday sincew not to send me back...
Nightmare over..

Unique Quality: Uniquely sub-human standard

Directions: Aproach Oxford and turn left at the sign indicating 'Hell'

shameless place in UK

by written on November 12, 2009

The place is horrible, the manager seemed to be aware, and yet he was rude to us. did he make any effort trying to impress us? no. it's making money from hapless travellers.
So should we let a place like this continue to accommodate people? NO.

Unique Quality: terrible. not uniquely terrible, but plain terrible. SO don't think OH I WANT TO TRY UK'S WORST HOTEL, IT'D BE AN EXPERIENCE!-it's not worth it my friend

Health Hazard

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on January 22, 2007

There are already enough negative comments about this place that I needn't say more, but it was so bad that I'm compelled to add my story to the lot.

Nanford Guest House is a health hazard.

We got in late and paid for two nights in advance before realizing how bad the place was. When I woke the second morning strep throat because of the horrible mold we packed and left. It was the worst sore throat I've had in years and threatened to ruin the whole trip – devastating when you’ve planned all year and traveled from the States, etc for this holiday.

The Nanford Guest house has two things going for it – a good breakfast, however, considering the state of the rooms the cleanliness of the kitchens is very much in question. It is also walking distance to Oxford City Center. If city center is what you want I suggest paying more for a better place or find a place further out and take the bus into the city – there’s plenty of good public transport.

Under no circumstances should you stay at the Nanford Guest House – you’re taking a great risk with your health.

Unique Quality: Unique qualities of the Nanford Guest House? Undoubtedly it has the greatest collection of mold varieties known to science.

It is also the cheapest accomodation near Oxford City Center. You get what you pay for.


Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on August 22, 2006

I stayed here with other members of my family and paid in advance, otherwise we would have turned on our heels and left. This is the most disgusting accommodation I have ever stayed in. The overpowering musty smell and peeling wallpaper are the first things to hit you. The beds are uncomfortable - my daughter had to put a spare duvet on her mattress to cover the springs - and it is doubtful the beds have been changed between guests. My niece's bedcover was badly stained with what looked like bodily fluids. My son moved his bed and there was a black and mouldy sandwich on the floor. My sister opened her wardrobe and it nearly fell on her. The smoke detector in her room was taped over.

The carpets were filthy. The bathroom - O MY GOD! Toilet badly stained, filthy grouting, broken tiles, rusty shower fitment.

We went into breakfast but I was so bothered by the hygiene of the place that I couldn't eat it.

On top of all this, the owner was sullen and unfriendly.

Unique Quality: Filth and squalor are the only outstanding features that come to mind and best feature of the stay was the new bar of Imperial Leather soap.

Directions: I wouldn't want to be responsible for directing anyone to this place.

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Beer and Breakfast

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on May 12, 2006

I had some threatening mails from the owner of this guest house complaining that the negative reviews shared by members were not true. In a rude, and threatening manner, he claimed that his place is above reproach and insisted that all reference to his place be removed from the site. I asked VT Locals about the place just to see what the real facts actually were. Here is a sample of the reviews that I got. It sheds a lot of light on the subject! This is from a VT member who lives in Oxford and who has occasion to go to the Nanford Guest House often in his capacity as a public official.


"The Nanford Guest House is a rundown Victorian terraced house. I have never stayed at the Guest House but I have been to the location a number of times to arrest people or
search for evidence. The main line of business for the [owners] is to
provide rooms for homeless people for which they are paid by the local
authority. Unfortunately homeless people bring their own set of problems and a
record of property crime, violence, drugs & drunkeness. If you stay at the
Nanford, you run the risk of having property stolen & the room may be dirty
because of the previous user may have a bladder problem after a few cans of
Special Brew Lager.
The only good points are, it is within walking distance of the city centre, it
is on a bus route and you can share breakfast with some of Oxfords more
colourful characters who will be more than happy to share their experiences with
you over a can of lager.
I'm sure by now you get the picture of what this place is like and it is the
last place in Oxford I would recommend anyone to stay at. I have seen some of
the reviews on VT & [other sites] and they paint a true picture of what the place
is like." A VirtualTourist Member from Oxford.

Directions: Near the Center.


by written on August 9, 2005

This was the most horrendous and depressing place I have ever stayed in my life. The rooms have not been decorated (or cleaned) for several decades. It is really hard to tell what the original brown patterned carpets looked like in the 70's as they are coated in thick wadges of grey dust. On the pillow when we arrived, I found a pile of somebody's cigarette ash and I had to check the beds over several times until I was satisfied there were no bed bugs (barely a saving grace for this place). I suspect they do not change the bedding between guests, no, I am sure they don't. We asked to see another room, which turned out to be equally vile, but basically we were trapped as Oxford books up in the summer and we had nowhere else to go. I had to stay as I was there for my graduation from the university, but I must say, it really ruined this one-off experience for me. I definitely could not bring myself to even contemplate eating breakfast here - we went to the supermarket instead!

Unique Quality: This place is uniquely grotesque - please, noone give the man any more business!!

Oxford's worst accomodation

Terrible (1.0 of 5.0 stars)
by written on June 9, 2005

The Nanford Guest House located in Iffley Road is the most disgusting guest house I have ever been in. We were shown several rooms by a very rude Mr Cronin and they were all really tatty with scraps of carpet on the floor and all smelling of stale urine. He even said that one room was ok to smoke in as the smoke alarm was faulty!
We got the chance to see into the kitchen as there were open doors from it on to the street. On an open shelf was a large cooked joint of meat attracting flies and, in a frying pan of congealed grease, was a load of half cooked mushrooms. We saw this on Saturday evening and assumed that it would be Sunday's breakfast. We were genuinely shocked that this establishment has been allowed to trade in such a squalid state

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Nearby Nanford Guest House

Nanford Guest House

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

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  • Nanford Hotel Oxford
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Address: 137 Iffley Road, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX41EJ, United Kingdom

Amenities at Nanford Guest House

  • Continental Breakfast
  • Pets Allowed

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