The Oxford Malmaison is the former city jail, which at least means that the walls are solid. It's a beautiful building set at the back of a courtyard which has a positively Mediterranean feel about it. A pity that there's a Krispy Kreme concession there too, but otherwise one could be in a medieval French town.
Overlooked by the Castle, in fact virtually within its walls, the location is superb just a few minutes' walk from the centre of town and yet with an atmosphere of its own. The public areas are not bathed with natural light – after all, what would you expect from a prison, but they are luxuriously and tastefully appointed in the style synonymous with the Malmaison chain.
Bedrooms are beautifully appointed with qualtiy fittings, fluffy towels, soft pillows, minibar, tea-making facilities, and are of a reasonable size.
The restaurant is in the basement (dungeon?) and the quality of the buffet breakfast is excellent.
Easy flat access makes this hotel suitable for travels of limited mobility, especially with such a short walk to the centre of town. I'm told that the hotel gets very booked with the parents of students and can well imagine that those who can afford the prices would choose to stay nowhere else when visiting their brainy offspring.