Oxford is one of Englands most beautiful cities. A definite must visit for anyone travelling to United Kingdom. We are only a short train ride away from London, making it a convenient destination for even the shortest of trips. Saying that, I would like travellers to steer away from seeing Oxford as just a day trip. Once you visit, you will be wishing that you had made the time to stay overnight in our historic city.
A city filled with parks, meadows and pubs. Incredible architecture and breath taking views. Oxford will have you falling in love from the very first day.
Oxford can be travelled both on a budget or in luxury. Today I want to tell you how to travel in luxury, more specifically, sleep in luxury. For the finest, five star accommodation in central Oxford you really only have two choices.
Both hotels, Old Bank Hotel and Old Parsonage Hotel, are part of an independent company that has been paving the way in Oxfords hospitality sector for over 30 years- The Oxford Collection.
I have worked on reception in both hotels now and have been there for over a year. Meaning, I know every corner of these buildings and am the most qualified to recommend them to you. You can trust me because I am simply the receptionist, not a marketeer, I have no obligation to write these glowing words.
But which is number one? Both hotels have a unique character and a rich history. They are sisters who have been raised with the same class but developed their own style. So lets break them down a bit to help you decide which one will best suit you.
Old Bank Hotel
Comprised of three buildings that date back to the 1700’s, these walls are not short on stories to tell. Supposedly even with one ghost.. I wouldn’t normally tell my guests that though. The owner of the Oxford Collection, Jeremy Mogford, has been adamant on staying true to the historical integrity of the building. Classic architecture is modernised by chic interiors, the result is a perfect combination of elegance and style.
With 43 beautiful bedrooms and an exclusive ‘Room With The View’, the Old Bank caters to the needs of everyone from business men, to families, newly weds to A list celebrities.
Looking for a quiet room but don’t want to compromise on your view? Ask about the back facing Superior Deluxe rooms- featuring bay windows looking out onto the Quod Restaurants Italian terrace and Merton College tower. These rooms are south facing too, ensuring you get the best of the suns light.
Maybe you’re after the iconic Oxford views? The Old Bank has 15 bedrooms of different categories that face directly out onto the high street. Meaning you have the option of a fantastic view if you book anything from a Classic Double upward.
Now let’s move onto the Room With The View. Can you imagine waking up amidst the dreaming spires? Your breakfast is already on the way up, all you have to do is relax and take in the view from your private balcony. Your balcony that looks directly out onto Oxford Universities most stunning and famous buildings. It is the, without a doubt, the best place to take in this cities unrivalled architecture.
The balcony is the perfect spot for sunbathing in the summer months whilst enjoying Quods champagne afternoon tea. In the winter months you can spend a romantic evening cuddled up in blankets, warming up more and more with every bottle of wine.
I would recommend The Room With The View to any couple wanting a special romantic getaway. It truly is the most remarkable view of the dreaming spires and that is coming from a girl who has seen just about every view of the Oxford there is.
If that is not enough to convince, here is my favourite part, you can even control every function of the room from bed with your remote. Of course, closing the curtains with a remote was what sold me on the room as a young receptionist.
Old Parsonage Hotel
Parsonage is the elder, more traditional sister. Set in a charming building that dates back to 1660. Just on the edge of the city centre, Old Parsonage is the perfect haven away from the busy streets.
Immediately behind the walled entrance is the stunning courtyard. In warmer months, when the white table cloths are out, it is a favourite dining spot amongst locals. Parsonage Grill is renowned for its afternoon tea and when you try the homemade cake selection, you will see why.
The entrance to the building is like that out of a fairy tale with an old Wisteria tree, climbing the stone wall. In summer it paints the Parsonage a beautiful shade of purple and in Christmas it sparkles golden with fairy lights. As you enter, you will be immediately greeted by the friendly reception team and invited to dine in the fabulous restaurant.
Old Parsonage is the purest definition of cosy. The bedrooms are warmed with deep reds and purples but filled with natural light. How often can you stay in a city centre but wake up to no noise other than sound of birds outside your window? Alright, on Sunday there will be church bells, but that is only to ensure you don’t sleep through breakfast time. After all, you wouldn’t want to miss a Parsonage Full English.
Parsonage has everything you want from a traditional English country house yet retains the modern luxury of a five star hotel. When you book, be sure to ask about the suites with their romantic, marble fitted bathrooms.
Stay at the Old Parsonage and spend an evening in the library playing chess or reading your favourite book. Dine by the fireplace in Parsonage Grill. Spend summer evenings in the private garden, enjoying your tranquil escape from the outside world. Or… stay just be able to tell the tale of when you slept in a building that Oscar Wilde once lived.
We may not be able to travel right now but we can certainly fantasise about when we can. At least, that’s how I’m spending my quarantine days.
Looking for more UK travel inspiration? Check out my 4 Reasons to visit the British Coast.