The city of dreaming spires is packed with great places to visit. This hotel made a welcome base for our adventures…
Product: www.hawkwell househotel.co.uk Price: £169.00 Rating: ★★★★☆ (4/5)
Leafy Iffley, a few miles south of Oxford town centre, is the perfect getaway if you’re planning a weekend in Oxford. It’s close enough to the sights to be convenient, with a regular bus service stopping nearby, but it's also an escape from the hustle and bustle of what is a very busy city.
Hawkwell House Hotel has 62 bedrooms including two luxury suites, but it doesn’t appear large from the outside. It’s set in its own grounds on the side of a hill and the owner has made use of the space available to create rooms below ground level. I stayed in a newly refurbished Superior Room, which was one of these, and had a skylight rather than windows. While a novel idea, I found that once the ceiling blinds were closed the room felt a little claustrophobic – and I do like to be able to open a window to get a breath of fresh air.
The room itself was beautifully appointed with a very comfortable bed and luxurious bathroom which would not be out of place in a boutique hotel costing considerably more.
All the Superior rooms have a lounge area, with stylish furniture, plus flat-screen televisions, free WI-FI, luxury eco-friendly toiletries and a modern iPod dock and digital radio.
There are a further 15 bedrooms in the adjacent Elm House – once the home of the Antarctic explorer Francis Bickerton – which would be convenient if you are travelling as a family group and wish everyone to be housed together. However it is a bit of a walk from the main hotel.
As with most hotels, it’s the staff at Hawkwell who make the experience really special. We found them very attentive, pleasant and quick to answer any questions.
Once we’d checked in, we left our cars at the hotel and walked the short distance back to the main road and caught the bus into town, a really convenient way of reaching the city centre. After visiting two of Oxford’s most fascinating museums, the Ashmoleum and Pitt Rivers’, and stopping off at the Eagle and Child pub (where JRR Tolkien met with his fellow Inklings in the Thirties), we returned to the hotel.
That evening we dined at the Iffley Blue restaurant, where we very much enjoyed a sharing platter of prawns, smoked salmon, pickled samphire, and various other tasty treats. For the main course we both chose the monkfish from the specials’ menu, which came with a creamy sauce and was served with green beans and Jersey Royals. We were far too full for dessert, but there were plenty of options!
As in the main part of the hotel, the staff couldn't have done more to make us welcome. The food was served very promptly and the portion size was very good. Ideal for a romantic meal or a family get-together.
I'd definitely recommend Hawkwell House Hotel as a stopover if you are thinking of visiting Oxford, particular highlights were the food and the comfy bed! It's also only a short walk from an idyllic stretch of the River Thames - perfect for watching the world go by.
To book your own overnight Oxford adventure, call Hawkwell House Hotel on 01865 749988 or visit www.hawkwellhouse.co.uk