The grande dame of Oxford establishments, the Macdonald Randolph Hotel is full of history and character and offers old world charm, a range of dining options, spa facilities and a central location with easy access to the city’s museums and colleges.
Originally a prison and used as a filming location for The Italian Job, Malmaison is a contemporary boutique hotel that proudly makes use of its unusual heritage and history in its stylish, themed decor. Many of the hotel’s rooms are converted from two or three cells which have been combined to create luxurious, en suite quarters, and include playful elements such as converted prison lockers as minibars and tally mark motifs on the carpets and pillows. The former visitors' room makes a stylish bar, while the basement has a well-regarded brasserie. The hotel is located in an 18th-century building in the much older Oxford Castle Quarter, home to the remains of Oxford’s Norman castle which can be seen next to the hotel.
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Most of the rooms are located in the main building, A Wing, and surround a bright internal courtyard typical of traditional prison buildings. These rooms are set in the former cells and are rich in style and character with en suite bathrooms with shower over bath or separate shower and roll-top bathtub. Each room features complimentary Wi-Fi and plasma TV, as well as minibars disguised as prison lockers. Views are either over the former exercise yard, now a tranquil garden area, or to the front of the hotel. The remaining rooms are set in the former Governor’s House or C Wing, and although similar in decor, they have less of a prison theme.
Malmaison is located next to Oxford’s medieval castle ruins and the adjacent modern quarter where there are a number of bars and restaurants to choose from. Alternatively, the heart of the city is just a five-minute walk away and the train station is a ten-minute walk or short taxi ride from the hotel.
Food and drink
The stylish hotel brasserie restaurant and bar is located in the basement. The design is sleek and contemporary with a neon-lit bar, a lively atmosphere and extensive cocktail menu. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, the focus is on classic dishes made from locally-sourced ingredients. There are a number of relaxed lounge areas for bar meals or afternoon tea.
Fun and contemporary, while embracing its jailhouse past, this is a great choice for guests looking for a modern hotel with a historic twist.
Places & hotels on the map
Alternative places to stay nearby
Where possible, we like to offer a range of accommodation for each stop of your trip, chosen by our specialists as some of their favorite places to stay. To help you make the right choice, we give each property a rating based on its facilities and service, but we also look for hotels with distinct character or a location that can’t be bettered.
Originally a coaching inn, the conveniently located Mercure Oxford Eastgate Hotel combines period charm with modern facilities and is home to a well-regarded Italian restaurant owned by a celebrity chef.
A historic building with a contemporary, modern style and a full range of facilities, the Old Bank Hotel has a wonderful, central location offering easy access to the city’s main sights, colleges and museums.
This small, 17th-century hotel is a tranquil retreat in the heart of Oxford. The charming building retains many original features which are combined with rich, contemporary decor to excellent effect.
The Tower House is a small, charming guesthouse situated in the heart of the city. Set among many of the oldest colleges and close to the city's main shops, sights and museums as well as the historic Covered Market, it makes a very convenient base.
Experiences while staying here
The following activities are designed to give you the most authentic experiences of the area where you’re staying. We work with local guides, who use their knowledge and often a resident’s eye to show you the main sights and more out-of-the-way attractions. Our specialists can also suggest outdoor pursuits and activities, such as cooking classes, that will introduce you to the traditions of the area’s inhabitants.
Uncover the fascinating history, frayed relationships and royal connections of Blenheim Palace on a private half-day tour of this monumental country mansion. A Baroque masterpiece home to the Duke of Marlborough, its lavish rooms and elaborate gardens are fabulously impressive.
Discover Oxford's tranquil meandering waterways, glorious architecture and beautiful gardens on a chauffeured punt ride along the River Cherwell. Without the hassle of steering these temperamental vessels you can sit back and soak up the scenery.
Walk through the medieval streets of Oxford guided by a university graduate to seek out some of the city's more interesting colleges, chapels and laneways as you follow in the footsteps of famous writers, politicians or philosophers.