New developments are opening this year / Oxford Brookes University

With construction work on new halls of residence not due to finish until October, a few lucky students find themselves in somewhat grander accommodation

For most students, cramped living space and kitchens with mountains of unwashed dishes are the norm.

But freshers at Oxford Brookes are beginning university life in a three-star hotel after it emerged their new accommodation site was unfinished.

The university has put up around 40 students in a nearby Holiday Inn, covering some of their costs until new halls are completed in October. It said places in halls were only guaranteed for those who put down Oxford Brookes as their first choice.

It is understood incoming students pay a nominal fee towards the arrangement, which includes breakfast and a shuttle bus to the campus, while a warden is on-site to give advice with housing issues.

Registrar Paul Large said: “Oxford Brookes was a popular choice this year with large demand to study at the university. We have put in place a number of measures to assist insurance and clearing students in finding suitable accommodation. This includes temporary arrangements to secure a small number of hotel rooms for students while new accommodation becomes available in October.” 

Vincent Goodman, whose daughter is an incoming fresher, said he was “a little shocked” by the news but added that the university “has gone out of their way to find suitable accommodation in new halls which will be completed in mid-October”.

“In the meantime my daughter, along with 40 other freshers, is being accommodated at a very nice hotel, some of the cost of which I understand has been subsidised by the university,” he said.

Other first year students are relieved to have any accommodation at all, among them Jamal Antonio.  He said: “With just over a week until we had to move to university, I still had no accommodation. It was one of the worst situations I've ever been in. When I got the email through about alternative accommodation I was ecstatic.”

He added: “Despite it being pretty inconvenient living in a hotel, the university has been really helpful throughout the ordeal, giving us all the information we need and even setting up a shuttle bus for us. It’s going to be pretty difficult here as they don't have a kitchen or any method of cooking or storing food, but I'm just glad I'm not sleeping in a bus shelter.”

Some Oxford Brookes freshers took to Twitter to vent their frustration, with user @sassywhiteboy complaining the situation was “crazy” and that spending freshers’ week in a hotel was “a bit dysfunctional”.