Nineteenth-century British poet Matthew Arnold's words about Oxford -- "that sweet city with her dreaming spires" -- would be as accurate if he had written, "that sweet city with her dreaming guests." Tucked among the bookstores, churchyards and museums in the ancient university town of Oxford are some of England's most luxurious hotels. Designed to anticipate their clientele's every need, they ensure carefree nights of sweet dreams.
Macdonald Randolph Hotel
Five-star Automobile Association (AA) accommodations, a spa and hospitality that has welcomed world leaders await guests of the Macdonald Randolph. All accommodations at the mid-19th century establishment, a five-minute stroll from the Oxford Railway Station, have flat-screen televisions, seating areas with armchairs and Wi-Fi (fees apply). Upgraded amenities include robes, luxury toiletries and four-poster beds. Children younger than 12 receive free accommodations, breakfast, bubble bath and activity packs. Dogs are welcome (fees apply). Subtle music and lighting set the mood for treatments at the spa. The hotel offers a fitness room and discounts at a nearby, full-service gym. Boasting two AA rosettes, the Restaurant at the Randolph serves modern British cuisine. The Drawing Room provides light meals and traditional afternoon tea. The Morse Bar, the watering place for iconic television detective Inspector Morse, serves cocktails. The Randolph has several paid parking alternatives.
Housed in Oxford's transformed Victorian prison, the Malmaison has 95 guest rooms, and some are original cells, complete with bars. All have wine and snacks, mood lighting, Wi-Fi (fees apply after 30 minutes), designer toiletries and DVD players. The Robins suite features a private cinema, freestanding bath and four-poster bed. Children younger than 3 stay free; those younger than 15 stay at a reduced rate. Pre-booked, paid parking is available. The candlelit Brasserie serves locally brewed beers. Snacks, lunches and dinners highlight fresh local ingredients. Fillet of sea bream with fennel puree, braised fennel and corn salsa is a typical entree.
Old Parsonage Hotel
Dating to 1660, Oxford's Old Parsonage Hotel has 30 luxury rooms five minutes from the city center. All have handcrafted beds with cotton duvets, marble baths with luxury toiletries and linen robes, free Wi-Fi and homemade shortbread. In-room beauty treatments and massages are available. The hotel provides free bicycles and complimentary walking tours of Oxford. The Old Parsonage restaurant combines fresh seafood, meat or game with fresh seasonal produce in dishes like salmon fishcakes and spinach and sorrel sauce. The walled terrace is a popular dining venue on summer evenings.
Burlington Hotel Oxford
Five-star AA bed and breakfast Burlington House Bed and Breakfast combines Victorian charm and mature gardens with bold, contemporary guest room decor. On-site parking makes this a rare property in Oxford. Twelve rooms greet guests with homemade cookies and fruit tea. Other amenities include free Wi-Fi, televisions with CD and DVD players, power showers and bottled water. Children older than 12 are welcome. Rates include a breakfast choices of free-range eggs -- including a marmalade omelet -- freshly baked bread, freshly squeezed juice and other cold and hot options. The casual Portabello restaurant, within a half-mile, offers steaks, fresh seafood dishes and desserts.
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