This is where the 'still-very-close-but-just-out-of-town' hotel works like a charm. A quick hop skip and jump and you're quickly whisked from buzzing hubbub to countryside idyll. It's not always the cheapest option if you're planning a long stay and need to take transport back and forth, but if you're going for just a weekend, it's a great way to get the best of both worlds.
The Oxford Thames Four Pillars Hotel is such an establishment and is only a short taxi or bus ride from Oxford city centre.
Mixing 13th Century barns with sympathetically modern architecture, it's set in 30 acres of gorgeous peaceful parkland, perched on the River Thames and is a total haven from the touristy hustle and bustle of the University town.
The hotel boasts several wings of rooms, all recently refurbed and each one tastefully furnished. There's a few options to suit various pockets, but if you're after a deluxe rural experience, then upgrade yourself to one of the College Hall bedrooms, housed in a grade II listed building dating back to the 15th Century, and complete with original features such as exposed beams. Each one is named after an Oxford college, and has a distinctly different interior, so if you're after something specific, do your homework beforehand so you can make an educated (no pun intended) decision.
The garden rooms, where we stayed are equally luxurious. Tastefully decorated in a more modern manner, with lots of eye-catching quirks and details, you're guaranteed a peaceful night's snoozing in their huge, marshmallowy beds. Ground floor rooms have their own mini patio – perfect for sitting out with a G&T when the weather is wonderful.
The River Room restaurant has a fantastically extensive menu. Everything is beautifully presented, steaks are perfectly cooked and vegetarian options are nicely creative. If you can, save space for a decadent dessert – they're well worth it! There's lots to choose at breakfast time too, after that hard time slumbering.
If the weather's cold, cosy-up in the wood-beamed bar – grab yourself a spot near the roaring fire for some old-fashioned romance. Or for some real pampering, head to the Beauty Suite for a luxurious massage or treatment.
In the summer months, request a Garden Room on the ground floor with a river view and your own patio so you can make the most of the sunshine. When the weather is cooler, the wood beams and warm original features of the college rooms lend themselves perfectly to snuggling up.
Prices from £110 per night for a classic double room only, based on two adults sharing.
See oxford-thames-hotel.four-pillars.co.uk or call 01865 334444 for more details.
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