Macdonald Randolph – hotel review

A slice of five star luxury in Morse's favourite establishment

If there’s one thing the British do well, it’s upholding tradition, and the Randolph Hotel in Oxford is quintessentially British in every sense. A five star neo-gothic build, it’s considered to be one of the city’s finest hotels – and after an indulgent weekend’s stay there, we can see why.


Although the hotel’s central-Oxford location and period charm are a real draw, the Macdonald’s claim to fame is of course the hotel’s Morse Bar – named after the Inspector Morse series, which the bar regularly featured in. Take a leaf out of Morse and Lewis’ book and enjoy a tipple by the open fire, or for a more structured evening, register for one of the bar’s whiskey tastings or cocktail making classes.

Beyond the bar, the property is everything you’d expect from an establishment frequented by Morse – all wide staircases, sash windows and traditional decor in the communal areas, with a few extras (iPod docking station, flast screen TV and other mod cons) hidden away in the rooms. A four poster room is an option when booking, but if you feel like splashing the cash, plump for an executive suite. Here, you’ll find a bedroom, dining area, lounge, and bathroom with a mini-survival kit (we can’t see Morse getting much use out of the emery board, but it was a nice touch). Wi-Fi is accessible 24/7 on a complimentary basis and there is a turndown service offered on check in; we loved returning to a slumber-ready bed after a busy day sight seeing.

If you fancy some pampering, head to the critically aclaimed rated spa. Facilities include a Jacuzzi, ice fountain and sensation shower. Packages start from £74 per person. There’s also the chance to work off the extra holiday calories in the mini gym.

Food and Drink: Treat yourself to a reasonably priced afternoon tea in The Drawing Room, with champagne as an option if you’re toasting a special occasion. Or, for an evening of fine dining, book a table at the double AA rosette awarded The Restaurant. Regal red drapes hang aside windows, and painted shields on the walls represent each of Oxford’s reputable colleges. After admiring the decor and tucking into some delicious warm bread and butter, we sampled the john dory with an indulgent chocolate dessert to finish.

Price: A classic double room costs £309 per night

Address: Macdonald Randolph,Beaumont Street, Oxford, Oxfordshire, OX1 2LN, 01865 256 400,

Radio Times Travel Rating: 8/10  An upmarket city break at an Oxford institution with a rather costly price tag.