‘The Room With The View’. It’s name alone presumed that this was no ordinary hotel suite, but somewhere rather special. It even has its own website ‘theroomwiththeview.com’.
This unique penthouse at the five star Old Bank, arguably Oxford’s smartest hotel, has only recently opened.
What had originally been planned as an upstairs bar when Jeremy Mogford’s boutique hotel was launched 20 years ago, has finally been transformed into a space to talk about, to aspire to, to escape through.
And despite such an extensive build-up and lofty expectations, on arrival it’s views still defied belief.
I couldn’t quite believe how majestic the space was, the entire facing wall being made of glass, framing the spires of Oxford’s High Street.
Dreaming spires indeed, stretching out into the distance, magnificent to behold. The spire of St Mary’s Church, the Radcliffe Camera and All Souls College quad were so close you felt you could reach out and touch them.
And then as dusk approaches and night falls, their illuminated shapes were as impressive as their daytime counterparts.
This was “the room with the view” indeed.
We didn’t dare mention that we had trumped her, that you could go one better, that there was somewhere even more elegant and luxurious from where to enjoy Oxford in the utmost style
Views aside, the accommodation experience was as gratifying, and nothing had been left to chance. There was a patio area with sunbeds crying out for a hot sunny day or even a crisp, cold clean winter one with blankets.
Art framed the walls, as we have come to expect from all of Jeremy Mogford’s Oxford hotel interiors. From The Old Parsonage to Quod and Gees, great onus is placed on the visual details.
The same principle applied to the furnishings; from the glass table, velvet sofa, electric curtains and bed linen; luxury is evident at every turn.
Three hotel staff appeared to turn down the beds and settle us in for the night, the two fridges were stocked with drink and food – elegance, class and that understated sophistication that Mogford is so good at, were evident in bundles.
We could have gone out, toured the streets, stretched our legs, but upon arrival such was the luxury and comfort, the vista and relaxing vibe of the room, that we chose instead to catch up in our very own “room with the view’. Why venture anywhere else?
As dinner dawned, we dressed up, enjoying the sumptuous bathroom before descending to Quod, Oxford’s celebrated bustling contemporary restaurant.
Also framing the street, albeit at a lower level, its horseshoe bar and surrounding tables were as popular as ever with the upmarket, well dressed clientele, young and old, local and visiting, tourists, weekenders and residents alike, all enjoying the buzz.
But first a cocktail.
It’s a lovely menu at Quod, relying on fresh local produce: octopus with split peas and paprika, globe artichoke with parmesan, walnuts and celery, the only restaurant still to feature avocado vinaigrette and to do it brilliantly, salmon ceviche, steak, burgers, risotto, their famous fish cakes, pizzas, salads, puddings galore.
We dined, drank, caught up, laughed and relaxed. It’s a wonderful environment to do all of the above, perfectly combined with a real sense of occasion.
After a very good night’s sleep, we awoke, pressed a button on our remote (I kid you not!) and the views immediately slid back into range. Arising refreshed, and equally as impressed, we then descended downstairs to enjoy the wonderful breakfast; fruit and granola, freshly made juices, kippers…. enough to bolster us up for a long overdue walk around the city.
We ambled down under the Bridge of Sighs, peeping in at The Turf Tavern, popping back out at the High and on through to Christchurch, our steps slowing as we reached the hotel, the discreet door leading to the sleek reception where our bags awaited, knowing the end was was nigh.
We shared a taxi to the station with a lady from a Japan, who couldn’t rate her stay highly enough. We didn’t dare mention that we had trumped her, that you could go one better, that there was somewhere even more elegant and luxurious from where to enjoy Oxford in the utmost style.
The Room With The View indeed. And yours for the taking.