Opposite the Said Business School and near to where Frank Cooper used to manufacture Oxford Marmalade (now an arts café known as the Jam Factory). Unfortunately the large irregular traffic island known as Frideswide Square isolates the Royal from passing trade. When this is (hopefully) pedestrianised one day, the hotel and its colourful café will become more of a destination venue.
There are 26 en suite rooms, 13 doubles, 10 twins, two family rooms and one single. No room is very big. Those round the inner courtyard of the hotel are quieter; those on the outside get the noise of traffic and late night revellers. Décor is uniformly cream walls with blue bedspreads and an art print on one wall. A generous provision of fruit, water, tea and coffee making facilities and free WiFi make up for the somewhat spartan conditions.
There is a small seating area next to reception, which rather improbably displays the autographed boxing glove with which Henry Cooper sent Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) on to the ropes in 1963. The other public area is the very colourful Café Coco, which occupies what would have been the original ground floor lobby of the Royal. Coco is part of a small Oxford chain, Clinton Leisure, that runs some of Oxford’s most characterful cafés. The company have also just opened Deli Coco, which guests walk through to get from Café Coco to the hotel lobby.
Eating and drinking
A breakfast voucher for Café Coco can be bought from reception for £11 or breakfast can be bought directly from the café or deli. The cheery café bar is Orientalist in décor but provides more standard Mediterranean fare – pizzas and calzone, salads and six choices of red or white wine.
The predominantly Polish staff are smartly dressed in black suits and white shirts. They are understaffed but cope well.
Who stays there
Visitors to the Said Business School, business people attending conferences and visitors to the University. A lot of returning guests too.
Singles are not much cheaper than doubles. There are also larger family rooms for not much extra.
Breakfast vouchers from reception cost £11. Secure overnight parking can be booked in advance for £5.
- Backpackers / Students
- Business travellers
- First-time travellers
- No fuss
Pros & Cons
- Both café and deli are very good
- Cheap parking
- Convenient location for bus and rail stations
- Some distance from the sights
- Uninspiring bedrooms