Malmaison Oxford – the comfiest incarceration:
Malmaison Hotels have a good reputation – but did anyone ever tell you that if you go and stay in the Oxford Malmaison, you might get locked up.
You will be staying in what was Oxford Prison, a rather grand old building very close to the Station. The Oxford Malmaison is right next door to Oxford Castle and much of the building has been restored and retained original features.
Of course, if you are lucky enough to be given a cell room as I was, you will have the grand total of three cells…one for your personal washroom and the other two to accommodate a large comfortable double bed with cotton bed linen and down duvet. You’ll find that HM has been kind enough to grant the modern prisoner wi-fi, a flat screen tv, mini bar and all kinds of nice extras. Some will cost you. But, not so much that you’ll need to rob a bank.
As you may gather I rather enjoyed my stay at Malmaison Oxford. Just one night and with absolutely no need to eat porridge for dinner, as we’d been wine tasting and playing with fire at the Weber Barbecue Academy all courtesy of Casillero del Diablo. Had it been a longer stretch things might have been different;)
I did indulge in a light (hey I didn’t have the eggs) full English breakfast. I could be a little picky here and point out that the toast was just a bit on the pallid side and was the sliced white variety (I was offered brown) and the black pudding something of an apology (sorry…I’m half Scottish and I know a good black pudding when I’m served one). And, I do think if a guest forgoes one of the major elements offering extra mushrooms or tomato is good practise. But the rest of the breakfast was pretty faultless. The leek and pork sausages were really very good and the bacon was the real deal, properly cooked and generously portioned. There was an appetising and nicely laid out continental option available too, along with other cooked breakfasts (mostly egg based). This was not a Felin Fach gourmet affair, but, the basics like ensuring your guests don’t die of asphyxiation while dining were covered. And for my money, that’s probably a better option.
I also browsed through the dinner menu. All standard bistro fare, but if it matches up to the breakfast then it won’t disappoint. The ubiquitous Donald Russell steak (those cows seem to get everywhere these days) and some nice, safe chicken and fish dishes.
This is a hotel group that knows its business. Nothing major was out of place…and the things which I found minor irritations would be another guest’s choice.
Afterwards a little wander round. It really is a pretty, if austere setting and although it’s not slap bang in the tourist heart of Oxford it wins by proximity to the station and parking both in the hotel itself if you pre-book or across the road in a large public carpark.