From £152
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You'll have little need for escape plans once you're holed up in Oxford's most quirky hotel set in a former Victorian prison. Stay in a converted cell, eat in the former solitary confinement wing, sip cocktails in the visitor's room and laze in the sun in the exercise yard.

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Rooms available from £152 per night

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Etain O'Carroll
Travel Writer
Etain O’Carroll is a freelance travel writer and photographer based in Oxford with a passion for wild places, human stories and how travel affects the world



Set in central Oxford, the city's colleges and attractions, as well as the bus and train station, are all within walking distance. The hotel is part of the Castle Quarter, home to Oxford's 11th-century castle, as well as bars and restaurants, and is a short stroll from the Westgate Shopping Centre. The renowned Ashmolean Museum is a ten-minute walk away, as is the Victorian Covered Market with its varied independent traders.

By car: The hotel is 1 hour 30 mins from London and 1 hour 20 mins from Birmingham. There is some paid parking on-site.

By train: London Paddington or Marylebone to Oxford takes around 1 hour. The hotel is a 10-minute walk from the station. Book trains to Oxford.

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An unbridled celebration of prison chic, Malmaison Oxford has all the crushed velvets and deep armchairs the chain is known for, but here they're teamed with original cell doors, windows framed by iron bars, and metal gantries, and somehow, it all works. Think Porridge with a heavy touch of urbane sophistication.


There are few extra facilities here, no gym, no spa, no pool, and parking is limited, but in summer the former exercise yard comes into its own with film screenings and theatre performances al fresco. Apart from that, additional facilities are limited to room and laundry service.

  • Restaurant
  • Bar
  • Garden
  • Pet-friendly
  • Parking
  • Free Wi-Fi


Rooms in A-Wing, in the original cell blocks, offer the most character with two cells knocked together, and a third converted into a bathroom. Those in the House of Correction and Governor's House around the original exercise yard are more spacious and similarly styled but aren't quite so quirky.

Room types: Standard Double House of Correction, Standard Double, Club Double, Standard Double Cell Room, Club Double Cell Room, Suites

Key amenities: ensuite bathroom with shower, TV, tea and coffee facilities, free Wi-Fi


The rations at the hotel's below-ground brasserie have improved greatly under its new masters. There's a seasonal, modern European menu and you can dine on the terrace in warmer weather, while the sultry bar (the former Visitors Room) has a double-height ceiling slung with giant tasselled lamps, and a large pool table.

Chez Mal: modern brasserie-style dining, European dishes, burgers, steaks, bar snacks. Open daily for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Mains from £12.

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