Oxford, United Kingdom

The Old Bank

Price per night from$285.42

Price information

If you haven’t entered any dates, the rate shown is provided directly by the hotel and represents the cheapest double room (including tax) available in the next 60 days.

Prices have been converted from the hotel’s local currency (GBP219.05), via openexchangerates.org, using today’s exchange rate.

Style

Smart money

Setting

Town and gown

The vaults of the eponymous institution are nestled under the restaurant of Oxford’s Old Bank Hotel, part of the elegant Oxford Collection, but today some of the building’s most notable investments are hung on the walls – the owner’s impressive modern-art collection adorns every hanging surface and quirky installations nod to loyal guests and classic Oxford pastimes. Many of the rooms look out over the city’s storied spires and there’s an adjoining Mediterranean restaurant; enjoy leisurely dinners there after days spent traipsing about pretty college grounds or curled away in the hotel’s own library. Forgot your holiday read? Don’t worry, you’ll easily get a loan of one here…

Smith Extra

Get this when you book through us:

A collection of locally sourced gins in your room on arrival, and a cocktail of your choice

Facilities

Photos The Old Bank facilities

Need to know

Rooms

43, including one junior suite and two suites.

Check–Out

11am, but flexible, subject to availability. Earliest check-in, 3pm.

Prices

Double rooms from £230.00, including tax at 5 per cent.

More details

Rates generally exclude breakfast (£15.95 for a Full English, £13.95 for a vegetarian breakfast, or à la carte options from £5.50).

Also

Charles Lutwidge Dodgson – more famously known as Lewis Carroll – banked on these premises in the early 1800s.

At the hotel

WiFi, a library and Velorbis bicycles to borrow. In rooms: a flatscreen TV, tea- and coffee-making kit, Noble Isle bath products and a minibar stocked with local goodies and free bottled water; suites also have a Nespresso machine.

Our favourite rooms

No need to climb St Mary’s tower if you stay in the Room with the View – you’ll get sweeping views of the Oxford High Street, libraries and spired colleges from your private terrace.

Spa

In-room treatments can be arranged on request.

Packing tips

Stylishly scholarly tweeds and your best straw boating hat.

Also

There’s a fully accessible Deluxe Double room – with soaring ceilings and views of the inner courtyard – on the ground floor.

Children

Cots can be arranged on request, there’s a children’s menu in Quod and babysitting is available for £15 an hour, with a week’s notice.

Food and Drink

Photos The Old Bank food and drink

Top Table

Snag a seat by the window for a view of the pretty high street, or an alfresco table in the courtyard if the weather suits.

Dress Code

Kit yourself out like a roving art historian or resident novelist – a dash of artistic flair works well here.

Hotel restaurant

Quod restaurant serves up Mediterranean-inspired seasonal fare to guests and locals for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start your day with eggy favourites, fluffy buttermilk pancakes or a hearty Full English. Later in the day, snack on roasted beetroot and goat’s cheese tarts or handpicked potted crab on sourdough toast; for the main event, order colourful pizzas, expertly grilled steaks or fish flanked by seasonal veggies. Afternoon tea – dainty sandwiches, homemade scones and all – is available every day; take it in the library or on the Italian-style garden terrace. Something to celebrate? Tea time’s as good as any to pop the champagne…

Hotel bar

The bar is part of Quod restaurant; pull up a stool and order classic cocktails, velvety wines and local lagers. Try a few modern twists – a salted caramel macchiato cocktail or a Seedlip-based ginger pear punch; there’s an oyster bar too, if you’re feeling particularly decadent.

Last orders

Breakfast is served from 7am to 11am; order from the all-day menu between 11.30am and 11pm. Sunday roast is available from noon to 3.30pm and afternoon tea is available each day from 3pm to 5pm.

Room service

Order from the dedicated room service menu any time of the day or night. Your minibar is stocked with drinks and goodies of both the sweet and savoury varieties.

Location

Photos The Old Bank location
Address
The Old Bank
92-94 High St.
Oxford
OX1 4BJ
United Kingdom

Old Bank Hotel is on Oxford’s historic High Street, opposite the University Church of St Mary.

Planes

London’s Heathrow International Airport is about an hour away by car; hotel transfers can be arranged on request.

Trains

Trains from London, Birmingham and Manchester regularly pull into Oxford Station, which is five minutes by car from the hotel.

Automobiles

The car park is at the rear of the hotel, off Magpie Lane, and has a slightly different postcode to the hotel – use OX1 4ES as your destination. Guests park for free, but you’ll need to reserve a space. If you’re arriving via St Aldates, you’ll need to call the hotel to have the traffic bollard in Oriel Square lowered.

Worth getting out of bed for

Take to the windy River Thames on a student-propelled boat for a leisurely float through Christ Church grounds; extra points for remembering your straw boating hat. Get a mini-history-degree (and visit some famous literary and film sites) with a walking tour of central Oxford. Art history buffs – fans of the Pre-Raphaelites, especially – can make their way through the many levels of the Ashmolean Museum. Bibliophiles, architecture enthusiasts and film buffs alike will find something that fascinates them on a quick tour of the Bodleian Library – home to the university’s impressive archive.

Local restaurants

Swing by Society Café to fuel up for your rowing excursion with rich coffees and trendy pastries. Homey Hamblin Bread serves breakfast, lunch and, on Saturdays, pizzas – all carb-laden goodies are made in house, of course; the café is closed on Monday and Tuesday. For locally inspired dinners, book a table at the hotel’s sister restaurant The Parsonage Grill, on the north end of the city centre. On cooler nights, select a snug table in the portrait-lined restaurant, or head out to the courtyard for leisurely summer evening meals.

Local bars

Wander under the Bridge of Sighs, which connects two parts of Hertford College over New College Lane, down a narrow alleyway (now marked for your drinking convenience) to historic pub-meets-beer-garden the Turf Tavern, where former President Clinton allegedly ‘did not inhale’. Pass on the grass and opt for ales and pitchers of fruit-logged Pimm’s. Chilly out? Head to the Bear Inn – a classic, cosy Oxford pub lined wall-to-wall-to-ceiling with the clippings of ties (the former barter-price of a drink).

Reviews

Photos The Old Bank reviews
Alexis Williams

Anonymous review

By Alexis Williams, Wandering publisher

For the last 15 years, I’ve navigated the complex high-to-low-end travel sphere. As a regular business traveller, budget is king and luxury is out of the question –a sadly necessary corporate-induced rule. So, when I travel for pleasure, the bar is set high enough to ensure the experience feels entirely different from work.

Like many Brits, taking all your holidays abroad has become déclassé, so taking at least a short local trip is not only necessary for any self-respecting, self-aware person, it’s also reassuringly on-trend and eco-friendly. Most importantly, though, it’s also increasingly affordable, relatively speaking, given the unstable pound.

‘Hurrah,’ I thought to myself, ‘I’ll discover these fair isles.’ But then, like any Brit who’s made the smug decision to book a climate-emergency-inspired staycation, I felt a prickly cold sweat of dread. I had the realisation of the stark reality that, while we Brits are known for many things globally – we punch well above our weight in arts and culture, have an embarrassment of historic hotspots, and we’re brimming with interesting and eccentric people – hospitality, on the other hand, did not instinctively seem like a nationwide strength. Naturally, the safest option was to pursue something stamped with Mr & Mrs Smith’s seal of approval. Fortuitously, I was given the opportunity to stay at the Old Bank Hotel in Oxford and accepted immediately.

The drive up to Oxford from St Albans was dreamy. The Sat-Nav had directed me away from the soulless motorways and onto the idyllic country roads that wound their way through the Chiltern Hills. It was a journey that would set the tone of the weekend: idyllic, and spent edging along narrow lanes. Arriving at the hotel was a simple task. The charming lady on the phone, when I called the hotel ahead to make some enquiries, had already warned me not to take the car on the historic high street to avoid getting fined, and gave me alternative Sat-Nav coordinates, which took me directly to the secure backstreet-courtyard parking. She had helpfully reserved a space for me, too.

A few hairpin turns later and I was approaching a collection of vintage sandstone buildings. I had arrived in Oxford. On entering the hotel, my initial impression of the space boiled down to this: understated, upmarket, with very smart artwork – Observer-reader territory. My fellow Smith glanced around and gave the place an approving nod. For the record, he’s a stoic Yorkshireman who is rarely impressed with anything (especially my spending habits), so this was a win.

The general atmosphere of the hotel supported my initial good impression. Contemporary modern carpets were plush underfoot, discreet design pieces were scattered throughout, blue-chip art adorned most walls (well, it is owned by prolific art collector Jeremy Mogford). Even better, we’d scored a room upgrade for the first night, and as we were escorted to our new digs, I witnessed Mr Smith’s shoulders relax – a very good sign.

The Room with a View, as our luxury suite is called, is magnificent. The namesake view (comprising St Mary’s Church, the Radcliffe Camera and All Soul’s College quad) is impressive indeed, and the complimentary perks so generous that we cancelled our plans that night, preferring to lounge in the room, take in every aspect of Oxford from each window and terrace, and then gaze at the stars through the thoughtfully provided telescope. That thoughtfulness is present everywhere in the hotel, from the turndown service offered, to the relatively healthy minibar offerings – I say ‘relatively’ because the wine selection is rather well thought out too.

As the publisher of fashion and design magazines, names can be an important hook. The hotel has chosen to work with a considered range of brands. I spy brushed-chrome Vola taps, extra-fine Merino-wool throws from Johnstons of Elgin, low marble tables by Eero Saarinen – all refined choices. But, I picked up a few new names, too. It’s worth flipping through the coffee-table books lying around to put the head-turning artworks and sculptures into context. Our first room had a tome dedicated to Helmut Newton, which I now need to buy so that I can finish reading it; the second came with a selection of short stories. The hotel’s taste in flowers was excellent, too, with elegant rare breeds displayed in each room.

The first morning we opted for breakfast in bed – we didn’t want to take our eyes from the view and we weren’t too fussed if our day started late, which it did… After a thorough study of the city of dreaming spires, we arrived back at the hotel that evening expecting a comedown. We were checking into the original room we had booked, and we weren’t sure how it would match up to the previous one. But, we needn’t have worried – although smaller, our ‘regular’ room was luxurious, well proportioned, exquisitely decorated, and had a magnificent view of the local architecture.

What made this experience most enjoyable was the understated yet efficient service staff provided. They were knowledgeable, friendly, eager to please, and proved that staycations and top hospitality aren’t mutually exclusive. The Old Bank is a great comfortable base, and I believe sophisticated couples will enjoy the discreet refined atmosphere of this special place by the ‘wolds.

Price per night from $285.42

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