Within the Ring Road, south of the Thames and just off the Abingdon Road. A long driveway past the field of a horse sanctuary isolates the hotel from Oxford traffic. Behind the hotel is a footpath down to the River Thames - I thought this a real plus. It’s a 15-minute walk, maximum, to Folly Bridge and the beginning of the tourist sights.
There are 170 bedrooms in total - 128 “Classic” double rooms painted blue and 36 “Connoisseur” rooms which are larger and more individual. Some have four-poster beds, others have balconies or patios. There are also six suites.
The bright, tall lobby leads on to Deacon’s Bar and Deacon’s Lounge where a pianist plays on Friday and Saturday nights. Beyond that the dining room, Deacon’s Restaurant, is pink-tiled and well-lit but otherwise unremarkable.
Eating and drinking
Casual dining in the Deacon’s Lounge (10am – 10.30pm) offers just about everything from a morning cappuccino to Afternoon Tea (with whipped rather than clotted cream), from sandwiches and baguettes through to minute steaks. Of more interest is the restaurant which asks for customers’ patience as all meals are cooked to order. Among the dinner delicacies are ostrich steak (cooked “pink”), red snapper with caper salsa, pork belly with fondant potato and venison burger. Three courses cost £26.95. On Sundays the restaurant offers a three-course carvery lunch for £14.95 pp.
Willows Club has a large indoor pool (decorated with four pillars) a steam room, sauna and well-equipped gym. Beauty treatments are also available.
The staff wear navy blue suits and blue ties and are amiable. The restaurant can feel understaffed at busy times.
Who stays there
During the week this is predominantly a business hotel but the semi-rural setting and relaxed atmosphere makes it good for young families too. The hotel is popular for weddings and does not encourage coach parties.
Basic rooms are called Classic and the next grade up is Connoisseur. Both styles are inoffensive and comfortable. There are also some suites with greater individuality.
Continental Breakfast is £9.95pp extra and Full English £12.95pp. WiFi is complimentary throughout the hotel.
- Business travellers
- Families with younger children
- Mature travellers
- Escaping the crowds
- No fuss
- Nature / wildlife
Pros & Cons
- Free parking
- Good for business travellers and families too
- Convenient for ring road and motorways
- Some distance from the city centre
- South of the river is the less interesting side of the city from a tourist point of view