Stay in the rural heart of the city while enjoying the delights Oxford has to offer
Product: Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel, 01865 324324, www.oxfordspires hotel.co.uk Price: £190.00 Rating: ★★★★★ (5/5)
Oxford Spires Hotel
First impressions count and that goes for most things. Especially when it’s a hotel that you may have booked online or over the phone but not actually set eyes on. First impressions of staff count, too, as the welcome you receive sets you up for your stay (whether positive or not!).
We stayed at the Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel in a superior double room with balcony and had breakfast and dinner in the hotel restaurant. And first impressions were very good!
This modern hotel is immaculate, which I loved, and the grounds are very pretty, set in parkland, with plenty of spaces to park. It was easy to find and the entrance was welcoming.
Staff were super-efficient and friendly and our check-in was swift. The hotel, despite being quite large (it has 174 en-suite rooms) was surprisingly quiet considering the amount of guests and cars in the car park.
Our room was very well-presented; spacious well-furnished and decorated, with a wall-mounted TV, plenty of lamps, free Wi-fi, large four-poster bed, and coffee-making facilities (with biscuits and treats included!), a mini bar and complimentary dressing gowns and slippers and toiletries in the bathroom. The room had a lovely view of the hotel grounds – you would never dream you were just a mile from Oxford city centre – and it was refreshing to open the double-glazed patio doors, sit on the balcony and enjoy a cuppa.
The en-suite bathroom was clean, warm and well-equipped and, best of all, had a built-in nightlight next to the loo to aid you on those night-time trips without having to put on the main light and wake your partner! I was mightily impressed by this ingenious factor – it was a nice touch.
Oxford Spires houses the Willows Leisure Club and Spa, which was free for guests and offers a range of beauty treatments including Decleor facials, massages and body treatments. There’s a pool, sauna, steam room and gym. They offer spa days, weekends and breaks as well as men’s grooming.
It took about 20 minutes to walk into Oxford city (we are fit) but you could easily get a bus just outside the hotel (the staff can advise on this) or even a taxi. The River Thames is very close and while we were there, we were lucky enough to see the Oxford University Summer VIIIs so we were treated to some exuberant rowing by the students! This event is free to the general public and we were able to buy a glass of Pimms from one of the stalls, then relax on the riverbank to watch the rowers.
There are very few things you can do in Oxford (or anywhere) that are free but we also managed to find a lunchtime recital too (there were posters in town). Hosted by the EMS – Eglesfield Muscial Society – part of The Queen’s College on the High Street, this is a regular Saturday lunchtime event, featuring top-class musicians in the Shulman Auditorium and they’re completely free, although there is a retiring collection should you wish to support them. We saw a breathtaking performance from Anny Chen on the violin and Dimitris Daskalakis on piano. Absolutely well worth a visit! www.eglesfieldmusic.co.uk
Also free is a walk round the Meadow, which you can walk to from the hotel really easily as you head to the city centre. It’s owned and maintained by Christ Church College. It’s a beautiful park with a herd of Longhorn cattle and a lovely spot to rest or have a picnic. Open to the public until dusk each day, entry is through the Memorial Garden entrance on St Aldates, through a gate between Merton College and Corpus Christi on Merton Lane, or through a gate at the eastern end of the Meadow next to the Botanic Gardens. Rules about access to and use of the Meadow are posted at the entrances.
Back to the hotel in the evening, we enjoyed a meal in the Deacons restaurant with lounge and bar. Very informal but intimate at the same time. it's spacious, light and airy, and family friendly (which may not suit everyone, but you could eat later on in the evening). It very busy but the service was swift, efficient and prompt.
I chose pressed lamb, potatoes, spinach and pureed peas and my husband had Caesar salad, haddock and pureed peas with olives and potatoes. For pud we chose Spires Chocolate plate (mousse, chocolate milkshake, brownie) and Chocolate Nemesis – a chocolate brownie with cream and chocolate sauce. The food was delicious and well-presented with decent portions (always a plus in my book!).
Full English breakfast costs £13 and offers a delicious selection, plus tea and coffee, but there’s a lighter, continental range if your tummy doesn’t feel up to bangers and bacon.
- Oxford Spires Four Pillars Hotel,
- For bookings or more information call 01865 324324
- Visit www.oxfordspireshotel.co.uk
- Superior double room with balcony at Oxford Spires in June cost £190 with breakfast and £220 with dinner
- Shulman Auditorium,
The Queen’s College,
Treat yourself to a city break!
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**Offer is valid for a 10% discount off best available room rates at Four Pillars Hotels, PH Hotels and De Vere Venues on new bookings for stays until December 31, 2015, subject to room availability. The promotional code is: DIRECT1. The offer code must be entered at the time of booking and cannot be added retrospectively. Offer may not be used in conjunction with any other offer, voucher or discount code. Offer does not include travel, additional meals, beverages or activities. Standard booking terms and conditions apply. Please see relevant hotel website for details