The Campus Buttery Café spills out on to Broad Street in a roped off enclave of aluminium tables and chairs. Directly opposite is the Victorian façade of Balliol with Trinity to the right and Blackwell's Bookshop and the Sheldonian Theatre further down Broad Street. To the left, along Cornmarket, are some of the most reliable high street shops (Debenhams, HMV, Smiths, Boots) and a lot of good middle-range restaurants are to be found down George Street.
Above the Buttery Café there is a reception and 16 bedrooms decorated in an inoffensive style. Pine-stripped beds, washbasins in the corner and the occasional original detail like a Victorian fireplace or period coving. Flat screen TVs and free broadband are all that mark the rooms out as 21st century. Tea and coffee-making facilities cut down on trips down to the café. Rooms at the front have good views of Broad Street but also the noise of Broad Street at night. The sole single occupancy room is hugely popular and needs to be booked well in advance.
The Campus Buttery Café is the main public area. Reception is on the landing upstairs, a counter cut into one of the first floor rooms which doubles as an office. I had a slight sense when checking in that I was at the doctor’s asking for an appointment.
Eating and drinking
Breakfast is not included but the Campus Battery Café serves baguettes, panini, bagels, jacket potatoes, pastries, soup and salad. The walls of the café are decorated with stills from two episodes of Lewis, the sequel to Inspector Morse, which were filmed outside the Buttery.
The cheery staff in reception and in the hard-pressed staff in the café wear big smiles and navy blue polo shirts emblazoned with The Buttery logo. The café is so well-placed it’s bound to be popular, but there’s usually space in the extension at the back.
Who stays there
As with most hotels and b&bs in Oxford, you get a mix of cultural tourists and parents visiting their children at University. No coach parties here however.
- Backpackers / Students
- Culture vultures
- Stag / hen parties
- No fuss
Pros & Cons
- Good value
- Good location
- Noisy at night
- You share the breakfast room with the rest of Oxford