This floating castle appears to be from an enchanted fable, but in actuality it is Europe's best preserved Renaissance water castle.
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Rising from bed at The Randolph Hotel, it’s hard to miss the whimsical decor that envelopes you. A rabbit holds the bedside lamp in place, perhaps anxious to ensure you’re not late to the most important meal of the day. A hanging portrait of Oscar Wilde, the cleverly charming alum of nearby Oxford University, grins, ready to make a witty quip.
Constructed in 1864 to match the surrounding Gothic architecture of Oxford University, the hotel opened two years later, named after Rev. Dr. Frances Randolph. Principal of St. Alban Hall, Randolph donated £1,000 to Oxford to open its own art galleries. The Investment would eventually become the famous Ashmolean Museum of Art and Archaeology as we know it today–which sits right across the street from the hotel.
For much of its history, The Randolph was the lone five-star hotel in the storied university town. With that reputation came a multitude of famous guests from King Edward VII to Jimmy Carter. For many decades, afternoon tea at The Randolph has been a prestigious tradition, welcoming guests to a lavish multi-tiered festival of foods in grand quarters.
Today’s Randolph seeks to showcase the many talents and gifted alumni that have walked through Oxford’s halls. Along with Mr Wilde, another Oxford grad, Lewis Carroll, is honored in the hotel’s spaces. Alice in Wonderland decor permeates throughout the property, from punctual bedside rabbits to its contemporary restaurant, The Alice.
Along with being a home base for Oxford visitors, students, and proud parents, the hotel and its bar also served as a set for the popular detective series, Inspector Morse. The Morse Bar in the hotel honors the detective who imbibed within its quarters, featuring a grandfather clock from the 1850s produced by a hometown clockmaker, Rowell’s of Oxford.
Operated by Graduate Hotels since 2019, The Randolph continues its 150-year legacy at the corner of Beaumont and Magdalen. Encompassed by ornate molding and antique items, hotel guests and locals alike can enjoy a meal or a classy cocktail, but to make things easy for the guest room rabbit, one best not be late for their reservations.Know more? Share with us!
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