The city of Oxford revolves around its university, England’s most prestigious alongside Cambridge. Because teaching started in the city in the 11th century, Oxford is filled with historic colleges, many hundreds of years old, and all incredibly beautiful in their architecture. Visitors to the city can walk the cobblestone streets that weave around the colleges, libraries, churches, and museums, and even take tours of the colleges’ lecture halls, chapels, and dining halls. But a day trip isn’t enough to get a good feel for Oxford. Even if the city is only 50 minutes away by train from London, you need to stay in a hotel in Oxford, England, for and take the time to fully explore this one-of-a-kind city.
Where are the best city center hotels in Oxford, England, Located?
The best hotels in Oxford’s city center
We hope you love the hotels in Oxford, England, we recommend! Just so you know, Matador may collect a small commission from the links on this page if you decide to book a stay. Listed prices are accurate as of the time of publication.
The Randolph Hotel, now appropriately owned by the Graduate Hotels brand, is the most famous hotel in the city. Built in 1864 to accommodate the notables on visit to Oxford, the Randolph has done just that for more than 150 years, welcoming the likes of Bill and Hillary Clinton, Mikhail Gorbachev, and Hugh Grant. Like many other iconic buildings in the city, the hotel’s also been a filming location — not for the Harry Potter franchise but for Morse, a beloved English TV series. But even if you’re not a Morse fan, you’ll enjoy staying at the Randolph, if only for its location. It’s right in the center of the city and next door to the distinguished Ashmolean Museum, as well as within a few minutes’ walk of must-see Trinity College, and 19th-century Blackwell’s Bookshop. Beyond its address, the Randolph Hotel is the place you want to stay at if you’re keen to be immersed in Oxford’s atmosphere — the decor is full of nods to the colleges and the city, going as far as choosing wallpapers inspired by the area’s native flowers and birds. There are four food and drinks options on site, including The Morse Bar for pints of real ale, and the Drawing Room for afternoon tea. And because the Randolph is a five-star property, it is home to a wellness center where you can book a variety of body and facial treatments, or just relax in the sauna, steam room, and hot tub.
Where: Beaumont St, Oxford OX1 2LN, United Kingdom Price per night: $359
As its website states, “Malmaison Oxford is not your average prison,” and it’s certainly not your average four-star hotel either. Over its 1,000-year-old history, the building that hosts the boutique hotel Malmaison Oxford has been a castle from around 1071 to 1888, and a prison until 1996. Although guests can tell that the luxury property used to be a jail (it’s part of the appeal, really), the building and its 95 rooms have been converted and renovated to the highest standards with beautiful and elegant furnishings, and fancy bathrooms. You’ll soon forget that you’re in a former penitentiary, especially when you try out the delicious Malmaison Bar & Grill for cocktails and dinner, or sit in the hotel’s garden. While staying at Malmaison Oxford, you can, of course, visit what remains of the Oxford Castle and Prison next door, but you can also easily walk around town to see the colleges, and visit the extraordinary 12th-century Christ Church Cathedral that’s just six minutes away on foot.
Where: Oxford Castle, 3 New Rd, Oxford OX1 1AY, United Kingdom Price per night: $354
Across the Castle Mill Stream from the Oxford Castle and Prison and Malmaison Oxford, you’ll find Courtyard by Marriott, a modern four-star hotel that stands out from the lot thanks to its rooftop terrace and stunning restaurant. The property’s terrace is surrounded by a living wall and offers guests great views of Oxford Castle, while the beautifully decorated restaurant named Kitchen & Bar, is more akin to a garden full of blooming wisteria than a hotel’s dining option. The rest of the hotel, including its 151 rooms, is tastefully decorated, in a simple and contemporary style.
Where: 15 Paradise St, Oxford OX1 1LD, United Kingdom Price per night: $348
Located right in the middle of the city center, next door to many of the colleges, the early Medieval church of St. Michael at the North Gate, and the New Theatre, Vanbrugh House Hotel is a small, four-star boutique hotel hosted in a listed 18th-century building. With only 22 rooms, guests who are looking for an intimate and homely stay would do well to book themselves at the highly rated Vanbrugh House Hotel, where the decor radiates elegant English countryside charm, and where the price is right.
Where: 20, 24 St Michael’s St, Oxford OX1 2EB, United Kingdom Price per night: $287
The George Street Hotel is a five-star property located in the center of Oxford, just a six-minute walk to two of the city’s landmarks: the Bodleian Library and the replica of Venice’s Bridge of Sighs on New College Lane. All the rooms are beautifully decorated and packed with amenities like tea/coffee making facilities and L’Occitane toiletries, but if you can book room with a balcony, do it — the views don’t disappoint.
Where: 15-19 George St, Oxford OX1 2AB, United Kingdom Price per night: $215
The Head of the River is a four-star inn located in the city center of Oxford, along the river Isis and adjacent to the famous Folly Bridge and the beautiful Christ Church meadow. The Head of the River is not just a place to stay, but also a good spot to eat and drink since it doubles as a pub with an excellent menu. The hotel only has 20 bedrooms and all of them are very well appointed and uniquely decorated. The property is near two of the city’s most renowned and strikingly beautiful colleges: Merton College and Magdalen College so make sure to get out and walk around the area to take a peek at these two institutions. When you’re done, try one of the real ales on tap and set yourself in the pub garden for some amazing views of the area.
Where: Folly Bridge, St Aldate’s, Oxford OX1 4LB, United Kingdom Price per night: $198