“ Address: Beaumont Street / Oxford / Oxfordshire / OX1 2LN / England „
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As a student at Oxford University in the late 1980s, the Randolph seemed like the physical embodiment of the class divide that seperated poor kids like me who came from state schools and got full grants (remember grants?) from the much wealthier students who took the affluence and grandeur of the city's finest hotel entirely in their stride. I'd never been in such a grand hotel and the closest thing to a grand building in my home city was the local branch of Lloyds Bank.
My flat mates' parents would arrive each term and take us out to the Randolph for rather staid Sunday lunches in the spectacular high ceilinged dining room where we'd sit and watch the world cycle by through the tall windows. By contrast my parents would visit bringing a bag full of fish and chips or a Chinese take-away. I can't really say that we enjoyed the Randolph that much more than a take-away and at least nobody had to stand on ceremony with my folks.
It seems strange from the 2009 perspective that in the 1980s the accountancy and management consulting firms were fighting tooth and claw for Oxford graduates, trying to out-do one another in putting on lavish receptions to try to persuade future graduates to choose their firm ahead of any other. If they wanted to impress, then they hired a ballroom or large conference suite at the Randolph and we'd turn up with no intention of following such a career but in the full knowledge that in return for listening to 45 minutes of presentation about accountancy or actuarial something or other we'd be rewarded with lot of free booze and snacks.
Despite representing a world I didn't think I could ever share, I loved the Randolph on sight, with a visceral affection and longing that surpassed even the fanciest of the university's grand buildings. The Randolph was really something special.
At that time there were no other top notch hotels in the centre of Oxford and visitors had to choose between the glories of the Randolph or a B&B on the Iffley, Cowley, Woodstock or Banbury Roads. The Randolph stood alone in its magnificence but has more recently been joined by arrivistes such as The Bank and Malmaison, the latter housed in the old Oxford Prison prompting lots of suggestions to be sure to ask for 'porridge' at breakfast. A few years ago my husband and I wanted to attend a ceramics exhibition in the city and I was lucky enough to get a really outstanding bargain deal at the Randolph. For only a few pounds more than a grotty B&B, I could finally get to stay in my dream hotel.
I love high Victorian architecture and the Randolph is a fine example. It was built in 1864 at a time when no architect could resist sticking just one more bit of ostentatious ornamentation onto every door, window, staircase or ceiling. Victorian Gothic Revival is probably one of the cheesiest architectural styles but one that I fall for every time. The University's natural history museum on Parks Road is another fabulous example and if you want to try Gothic revival crossed with red-brick kitsch, then Keble College is the place for you.
The Randolph stands on a corner plot on St Giles, with the Martyrs' Memorial to one side and the awesome Ashmolean Museum directly opposite. From the moment you step through the rather small and understated entrance with its canopy to protect you from the rain and the doorman to greet you, you know that you're in for a treat of Victorian design. If you've arrived by car, you could be in for a nightmare though unless you took care to pre-book your parking space at a whopping £25 per 24 hours. The garage is small and you don't get to park yourself as they need to squeeze in as many as possible. The nearest public parking is equally shocking in price but less secure and somehow it doesn't seem right to stay in the best hotel in town and park your car on the city's outskirts in the Park and Ride; it's just not 'appropriate' to take the bus to the Randolph!
But lets not dwell on the parking at a hotel that predates the motor-car. We checked in at the reception, admiring the high ceilings and the gorgeous staircase. I'd prepaid so only needed to leave my credit card details in case of extras. I'd booked one of the cheapest rooms which was on an inner corridor so there were no wonderful views but it was extraordinarily quiet so much so that we didn't even wake up until 10.30 in the morning because the inside location and the deep carpets in the corridors meant we got total silence. The room wasn't very big but wasn't cramped either. The furnishings were quietly understated and of good quality. There was a double bed, side tables, a television and tea/coffee tray and an easy chair. The bathroom was small but spotlessly clean and well equipped. I don't think we had a minibar because I remember putting the bottle of champagne we'd brought with us on the windowsill to keep cool whilst we headed out to explore.
We didn't eat in the Randolph on this occasion. Since I'd spent too much on the room (even at a bargain rate) we popped out to eat in local bars and cafes instead, but I can certainly recommend lunch in the restaurant as a real treat. Sunday lunch is a set price and whilst it's not cheap, it's worth a little extra for the grandeur of the setting. There are two bars, one with a lovely open fireplace. There's a spa and a small gym (really small) but generally you don't go to the Randolph to exercise!
For those with special needs, I'd suggest that the Randolph isn't the most accessible of hotels. They do have some wheelchair accessible rooms and I am sure they do their best but the age and design of this grand old hotel wouldn't be compatible with it being really easy to get around. Guests with dogs can take them for a small daily supplement and kids are well catered for with welcome packs, cots and high-chairs and a babysitting service.
In terms of what to see, the Randolph is perfectly placed in the city centre really close to the main shopping streets and many of the colleges. You really couldn't pick a better location from which to explore the city.
The Randolph hotel is a 5 star hotel located in the centre of Oxford. It is in fact the only 5 star hotel in the whole city. It's a place with a vast amount of history associated with it though, so when I got the chance to stay here I was very excited about the prospect.
The interior is very classic but in a good way with high ceilings and some marvellous decor. Although various parts of the hotel have been refurbished whilst still keeping that historical feel. The rooms themselves are very nice as you'd expect from a hotel of this category. The bedding provided on the bed seemed very nice & you could tell that the towels & gown provided were high quality. Also the bathroom was clean and had a number of shampoos and soaps to use.
All this luxury however does come at a signifiicant price with double rooms starting at £170 and if you want to splash out on the luxuriest suite, that will you back just under £600 a night. Luckily I was staying as part of a works trip, so I didn't have to pay.
This hotel was used as a backdrop for the ITV drama series Inspector Morse and as a result you can find quite a few references to it in the hotel bar. The bar is open to all, and have a lovely feel about it. Drink prices are pretty high as you would probably expect.
So for a taste of sheer luxury in the city, you can't go wrong with the Randolph, however this comes at quite a high price.
We recently returned from a wonderful night staying at the Randolph Hotel (part of the McDonald group) in Oxford. It was the hotel where my husband's work was holding its post Christmas event and we decided to treat ourselves to an overnight stay in the hotel. It was a lovely occasion and I came home feeling thoroughly spoilt.
The Randolph is an old hotel in the centre of Oxford. It was actually built in 1864 and although it has been recently refurbished it still retains a lovely old fashioned feel to it. I was surprised to see when I looked at the websites that it has 151 en-suite rooms because it really does not feel that big. Having said that though, we had to go along a couple of rambling corridors on the third floor to get to our room, and it did feel like a bit of a warren so I guess there were lots of areas of the hotel I was not aware of.
The room had all the facilities you would expect in a five star hotel. It wasn't huge but was spacious enough for the two of us. There was a good sized double bed and we had a TV and a CD player. There were a couple of comfortable chairs and also a writing desk with materials provided. There was a trouser press and an iron (very useful) and I also made use of the hairdrier provided. The bathroom had a very luxorious feel and had al the usual things provided - foam bath, shampoo, conditioner, mending kit, soap. The bath was a reasonable size and could also be used as a shower. I preferred to make use of the bath and had a wonderful soak before getting ready for our evening.
The room felt very fresh and clean. We were even visited by a housekeeper making sure that everything was as it should be. When she left she also gave us a couple of chocolates!
At first we thought that there were no tea or coffee making facilities in the room and that we would have to use room service. When we looked at the room service menu we were slightly aghast to discover that a cafetiere of coffee for one or a pot of tea for one each cost £4.50. We did think that was quite a lot to charge but while we were debating whether to splash out or not, we did discover a kettle with everything we needed hidden away in a cupboard. There was also a mini bar but we didn't make use of this!
In the morning after an excellent night's sleep we had a wonderful breakfast in the restaurant. There was an extraordinary array in the buffet as well as an excellent cooked breakfast. I don't normally go for the cooked option, but I just fancied it this morning, and I have to say that it was one of the best cooked breakfasts I have had in a hotel. The breakfast was included as part of our package but I did notice that breakfast normally costs £17.50 per person which does seem just a tad expensive for breakfast!
I cannot comment on the evening meals in the restaurant but the food that we ate at the function we attended was really good. And if you bear in mind that there were 190 people attending, the service was really sleek and amazing. I couldn't fault it at all.
I think that the thing that stands out about the Randolph is the attention that you are given from all the staff that makes you feel really special. From the concierge staff who took care of our car, to the reception staff who booked us in, to the restaurant staff who served us breakfast, they were all very polite and attentive. They were also all impeccably dressed which was lovely to see too.
We didn't have time to use it, but it is worth mentioning that the Randolph also has a spa if you fancy a little pampering. You can also, while you are staying, visit the steam room, bio sauna, rock sauna, hydrotherapy jacussi, ice fountain, sensation shower or mini gym just for an extra £15. I just wish I had had time because it all sounded very tempting!
This is an expensive hotel to stay at though with double and twin rooms starting from £140 per night! That's also the price for a room without breakfast. If you want to book a double or twin with breakfast it's actually £170 per night! We were very lucky to pay much less through my husband's company especially as our deal included breakfast.
I do think the rates are expensive but then it is a five star hotel and you definitely receive five star treatment. I really recommend it for a special occasion or indeed if you are very rich. I loved it but I guess we won't be going there again too often!
A traditional 5 star hotel with 151 en suite bedrooms.