Hotel of the Week: The Old Parsonage
Sunday 29 April 2001
A wisteria-smothered 17th-century building with its roots in the 13th century, located near the centre of Oxford, behind St Giles's church, between the Woodstock and Banbury Roads.
A wisteria-smothered 17th-century building with its roots in the 13th century, located near the centre of Oxford, behind St Giles's church, between the Woodstock and Banbury Roads.What's it like?
The first thing you on arrival is a blazing log fire, and the second is a well-stocked bar. Once you're in, you know you won't be going anywhere for a while.Ambience?
A haven of tranquility, the Old Parsonage is a thoroughly grown-up establishment which feels like a countryside retreat despite its urban location. Classics undergraduate Oscar Wilde checked in here when he came up late to Magdalen, and stayed a term, entertaining regally in room 26. The building also gave sanctuary to persecuted clergy from nearby St Giles. Nowadays it does the same for visiting academics.Rooms
As cosy as can be. A thick checked quilt, a mass of cushions, and a plump, pink sofa all contributed to the feeling that we were staying in the guest room of a particularly house-proud friend. There were even books on the shelves, though nothing you'd actually want to read. It's not cheap, though single rooms will set you back £130 and double rooms start at £155. The bathroom was light and clean-looking and came with all those helpful bits and pieces: cotton buds, shower cap, a sewing kit. All in all virtually perfect, apart from an ill-fitting plug that made a soak in the tub annoyingly short-lived.Service
The staff are young and full of smiles. The service was slightly groggy at breakfast on Sunday morning, but spot-on for the rest of the time.Food and drink
Thematically, the dining area lies somewhere between the Royal Academy and an old-fashioned gentleman's club, with its leather armchairs, and burgundy walls crammed with old manuscripts, prints and paintings. Still, the atmosphere was warm and comfortable rather than stuffy. It is a testament to the quality of the food at the Old Parsonage that a large number of diners are locals. The food is reasonably priced, fresh and unfussy. My golf ball-sized scallops were simply served with a light coriander pesto and a salad absolutely delicious. The wine list was comprehensive and not too pricey.Clientele
The place is scattered with kindly eccentrics peering over their specs and idly leafing through books and newspapers. It is also frequented by middle-class media types and well-heeled Americans in search of some high-brow peace and quiet. Children are welcome, although I would suggest leaving them behind as they would be bored out of their tiny minds.Things to do
Oxford's main tourist attractions the Bodleian Library, the Ashmolean Museum, the Radcliffe Camera are all within walking distance, as are the University's colleges. Alternatively, you could nip across the road to Little Clarendon Street, home to an array of appealing cafés, scandalously expensive furniture shops, and the much-vauntedGeorge and Davis Ice Cream Bar.Address
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 2 This is what the photographer has to say about the picture of a weasel riding a woodpecker
- 3 Delhi bus rapist blames dead victim for attack because 'girls are responsible for rape'
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 Average penis size revealed: Scientists attempt to find what is 'normal' to reassure concerned men
Luggage: The journey from canvas rucksacks to carry-on capsules
Eurostar re-opens between London and Paris after person killed by train in Kent
The world's 10 most expensive cities
The Atlas of Beauty: Photographer travels around the world to capture cultural diversity through stunning portraits of women
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
'Jihadi John': CAGE representative storms off Sky News accusing Kay Burley of Islamophobia
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
£12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Hotel Receptionists...
£12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...