Oxford Castle 3 New Road Oxford OX1 1AY 01865 268 400
Spending the night in a cell might not be everyone’s idea of fun for a city break in Oxford, but at this converted jail you can do just that. Rooms have chunky, heavy doors with original ‘prison features’ and date back to the 1800s. The interior design is modern and funky, and the hotel boasts two bars as well as all the usual high-end trimmings. Located in the city centre, it’s a stone’s throw from the main attractions (Oxford Castle Unlocked is right next door). The prison theme is endlessly overworked, but be warned: not every room is a converted cell, so you need to request one specifically if that’s what you want. The modern part of the hotel is close to neighbouring restaurants and bars, which can be on the noisy side at night. Secure parking available for £20 – but you need to book in advance.
This is a great hotel. It's actually known as the The Malmaison Oxford and has a couple of wings from the old Oxford Prison which only closed in 1996. Not all of the rooms are converted cells - mine wasn't - but you can see a preserved prison cell near Reception. The redevelopment of the area includes Oxford Castle Unlocked which is a great family-friendly attraction where you get costumed storytellers to guide you up the tower and down to the crypt.
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