The Old Bank Hotel

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Address: 92-94 High Street, Oxford, OX1 4BN, United Kingdom

Star rating:
4 star hotel

4.5

A trendy central Oxford hotel that still manages to be comfortable.

The Old Bank was the first Oxford hotel to seriously challenge the grandiose [node:170936] for pre-eminence. Opened in the 1990s on a High Street site formerly owned by Barclays – hence the name – the Old Bank and its restaurant Quod were a bold move by Oxfordshire restaurateur, Jeremy Mogford who already owned the [node:164122].

While its sister property, the [node:164122] might be called a cosy Cotswold refuge, I'd claim the Old Bank is brassy and sassy without being vulgar. It also has what is, by Oxford standards, a huge ground floor restaurant blitzed by modern art works from the Mogford collection.

National recognition for the Old Bank has followed. Recently Jeremy Mogford collected the César Award for ‘City Hotel of the Year’ as judged by the UK's Good Hotel Guide 2011.The César Awards given annually to what are judged to be the ten best hotels of the year.
 

Location
4.6
90%
Eating/drinking
4
90%
Leisure facilities
n/a
90%
Service
3.7
90%
Value for money
3.5
90%
Bedrooms
4
90%
Public areas
4
90%

Location

Opposite the gargantuan baroque facade of All Soul's College and next to University College on the city’s busy High Street. The presence of Old Bank has exerted a gravitational effect on Oxford, pulling trendy eating places down to the rather dour southeast corner of the old city. Head left towards Carfax and you’re soon into cafés, exotic diners and expensive clothes shopping. Head right towards the Thames and you’ll soon be at Magdalen College and the Botanical Gardens. There is also some gorgeous walking in the lanes and meadows behind the Old Bank.

Bedrooms

All the bedrooms have original artwork, The décor by Dido uses the same beige and cream background palette as the [node:164122] with similar splashes of incidental colour. The big difference is the rawness of the modern art over the Parsonage’s restrained prints. Views are important so ask for a room at the front. My all-time favourite is No.45 on the fourth floor, which has the best view from any hotel room in Oxford. Good tea and coffee-making facilities, free WiFi and comfy sofas complete the picture.

Public areas

Paddy Summerfield’s black and white photos of contemporary Oxford are everywhere. You can’t really escape the Quod Brasserie either, which spills out on to the heated terrace behind the hotel. What hotel guests enjoy exclusively is the Library Bar, a large black and grey room at the back of the hotel where you don’t have to buy a drink. You can read, write or just admire the Stanley Spencer sketches and the Wyndham Lewis portraits.

Eating and drinking

Quod is a lively bar and brasserie taking up much of the ground floor of the old Barclays Bank. Comfortably padded leather sofas line the room and big paintings shout for your attention. There’s good range of pizzas, some hefty main courses – sea bass, duck confit, steak frites, loin of pork - and hamburgers too. They also offer a Graduation Afternoon Tea between 3 and 5.30pm. A Children's Menu is always available.

On May Day Quod is open for breakfast at daybreak. It’s a noisy but fun place. You don’t have to be young but you may wish you were.

Leisure facilities

No gym, pool or spa but you get free use of the LA Fitness centre up the road if you’re determined to stay fit.

Service

Hotel staff are dressed aux Men in Black (sharp black suits, white shirts and black ties). Quod waiters favour the black tee shirt with artfully groomed “bed-head” look.

Who stays there

Families find it friendly, people who read hotel reviews like to be seen here and the hotel is a refuge for those who might feel constrained by the [node:170936]. As with the [node:164122], the free parking facilities makes this hotel attractive to those seeing England by car.

Price advice

Rooms are Standard or Deluxe. All prices are room only, inclusive of tax. Continental breakfast costs £12.50 and Full English £13.95, or you can order a la carte.

Amenities

Recommended for

  • Couples
  • Culture vultures
  • Honeymooners
  • Romance
  • Shopping
  • Trendiness
  • Art
  • Design and architecture

Pros & Cons

  • Central location without being surrounded by tourists
  • Free parking
  • Energetic
  • Noisy in the evening
Book now (price from £138.00)