Located in Oxford’s city centre opposite the Ashmolean Museum, the 5-star Macdonald Randolph hotel is a listed building exuding elegance and charm. Following a fire in 2015, the hotel underwent an extensive £6.5 million refurbishment completed in April 2016 and this year the Macdonald Randolph celebrates its 150th anniversary.
General manager Michael Grange is proud that the hotel was only closed for a three-week period immediately following the fire and that, as the historic landmark returned to its former glory, most visitors who have stayed at the hotel during the refurbishment would only have experienced a very mild disruption at the usually impeccable venue.
Grange says: “The staff at the Macdonald Randolph have always been known for their excellent customer service, but they have been particularly outstanding during this difficult period. It has been extremely satisfying to hear from customers that they are still delighted with their experience whilst staying at the hotel during the renovations. Most recently the excellent service of my front of house team was awarded with a Catey – the hotel industry equivalent of an Oscar. I am excited that the iconic Randolph is now returned to its former glory, with 150 beautiful refurbished rooms, a new restaurant and a bar which we are sure will become one of the city’s favourites.”
The Macdonald Randolph is home to the 90-seat Acanthus Restaurant, serving mouthwatering seasonal à la carte menus which include only the finest Scottish beef and the best British lamb and pork, as well as sustainably sourced British wild white fish. Dishes on the menu include plump Cornish Oysters, sustainably sourced Lemon sole with brown shrimp, earthy woodland mushroom and truffle macaroni and, of course, mouth-watering filet of beef au poivre. Desserts are a delight that include the divine chocolate fondant with salted caramel and chocolate sauce. The day menu also features a number of dishes to share such as a deliciously gooey baked Camembert in hay.
Macdonald Hotel Group Chief Operating Officer Robert B Cook says: “This is the second of our Acanthus restaurants and is a fantastic example of the type of dining that our guests are looking for. It makes use of only the finest ingredients, responsibly sourced from around the UK. We have worked closely with our new wine supplier, Bibendum, in order to curate a fantastic wine list which can be seen in the unique wine cellar in the Randolph’s Acanthus restaurant.”
The Cartoon Bar, which opened in the Spring, is so named for the collection of cartoons hanging on the wall by a range of artists from when the hotel first opened in 1866. The bar is Oxford’s newest home to a collection of world class champagnes and gins, boasting more than a dozen champagnes and 35 types of gin including the local Cotswold Dry Gin. A range of cocktails are also served in the bar including classics such as the Bellini, as well as house cocktails Oxford Blue Martini and guests can even create their favourite glass of champagne by adding from a range of liqueurs.
Six beautifully appointed function rooms, capable of accommodating up to 400 guests for conferences, business meetings and weddings offer the perfect setting for any event including the dazzling Ballroom, the grandeur of the Lancaster Suite and more intimate St John’s Suite which is a popular choice with the Randolph’s politician guests. This magnificent hotel has played host to prime ministers and presidents, and the renowned Morse Bar is instantly recognisable as the watering hole of Colin Dexter’s world-famous detective, Inspector Morse.
As a listed building, the renovations have involved more than 235 tradesmen over 11 months to ensure that the building looks exactly as it did before the fire. The renovations to the building have included a complete rebuild of the 150 year old roof, using the same building techniques and materials as when it was first put in place in 1860.
On the launch of the new venues, Macdonald Randolph hotel general manager Michael Grange said: “Bringing a beautiful new restaurant and stylish bar to the city is a perfect way to mark our extensive refurbishment and start our 150th birthday celebrations.”
The SLOAN! Review
Upon arrival it was instantly apparent that service excellence is of the utmost importance to the Macdonald Randolph and its team. Staff were welcoming and friendly and we were immediately made to feel at home.
The exceptional level of service compensated for the little niggles we experienced such as the issues with breakfast.
We were booked into the luxurious Presidential Suite. As we started to unpack our luggage in the bedroom, can you spot Sloan’s personalised suitcase?
Yes that’s right, Sloan always travels with her lovely ClaireaBella personalised suitcase… the team at ClaireaBella captured my lady so perfectly that’s she’s even wearing her favourite colour dress…
Waiting for us in the room was a bottle of champagne, chocolates and fruit bowl in addition to complimentary bottled water.
Take a closer look at the lid of the chocolate box… the mortar board design celebrates the fact that we are in the world famous university town of Oxford…
The spacious suite was impressive with a dining table for 6 people and a flat screen mirror TV. Not forgetting the little touches that made things feel homely such as this posy vase of beautiful hydrangeas…
The Presidential Suite has an adjoining private lounge with comfortable armchairs and a nice blend of traditional and modern furnishings…
Looking out of the window, we had stunning views of Oxford…
The calm and tranquil spa provides the most luxurious of retreats from the hustle and bustle of everyday life creating the perfect oasis to unwind and relax. In addition to steam room and sauna, there is a jacuzzi, ice fountain and sensation shower. We were surprised somewhat that the hotel claims that the spa has been voted amongst the top 50 best spas in the world since it lacks a pool and the jacuzzi was relatively small in size. Spa treatments use Elemis products and we indulged in a relaxing and rejuvenating facial. I experienced the Super-Charge Facial for Men which is a high performance facial for men to de-grease, de-age and calm a stressed, dehydrated skin. It energises the skin with a complex formulation to firm, de-age and hydrate the skin, rich in Kalpariane Allantoin, and Salicornia. Whilst a powerful trio of steam, ultrasonic peeling and galvanic current deep clean, exfoliate and power-up the high-potency plant actives help reduce all visible signs of ageing. My lady indulged in the Elemis Biotec Facial which left her skin looking more plump and luminous, reducing the look of any tiredness around the eyes.
We sampled a three-course dinner at the recently opened Acanthus Restaurant at Macdonald Randolph Hotel, one of the newest restaurants in Oxford, offering the perfect blend of contemporary city centre bistro combined with unique character and seasonal British cuisine. This new addition to the city retains many of the features that made it part of Oxford’s illustrious history.
From a varied hors d’oeuvre menu I chose the Deep-fried crisp cod cheeks with samphire and sauce ravigote…
My lady enjoyed the Shrimp cocktail with sauce americaine, jumbo sized shrimps, crisp lettuce and avocado with tarragon and cognac sauce…
For the entrée my lady went for the Lemon sole with brown shrimps, cucumber and samphire…
Whilst I chose the Pan seared halibut served with fondant potato, spinach, pickled shitake mushroom and port wine sauce
Accompanied by some moreish truffle and parmesan fries…
For dessert we shared the Chocolate fondant and chocolate sauce with that modern menu staple of salted caramel.
And so our time at Macdonald Randolph was drawing to a close. All that was left was a comfortable night’s sleep followed by breakfast and the journey back home to London via the luxury shopping delights of Bicester Village and its designer outlets.
Macdonald Randolph Hotel
Beaumont Street, Oxford OX1 2LN
0344 879 9132