Malmaison Hotel, Oxford | Valentine's Weekend Away ♡

At the beginning of February, Paul surprised me with a weekend stay at the Malmaison Hotel in Oxford, to celebrate our first Valentine's together. It was the first time anyone has taken me away before, and I was well and truly spoilt! I enjoyed every single minute of our stay and couldn't wait to share the experience with you.

I didn't know where we were going until the day, which was pretty exciting in itself. Paul then shared that the best part of this boutique hotel (and I believe is what sold it for him), was the fact it's a converted prison located in Oxford Castle Quarter, wow! The history is completely fascinating, and what were once prison cells are now 95 hotel rooms. With this in mind, I was so excited to stay, even pulling up to the hotel was a little bit special.

Upon arrival, we were instantly greeted from our car by a valet driver, offering to carry our bags and welcome us to the hotel.  The professional and warm welcome did not go unnoticed. The reception area was unlike any I've seen in a hotel before; instead of desks, there are several large tables and chairs, giving you the opportunity to sit with the receptionist whilst you check-in. This style meant we felt really valued and not rushed at all through the process. In fact, Graciela managed to convince Paul to upgrade our room for a discounted price to a Cell Superior Double. With eight variations of rooms, we weren't too fussy, but we definitely wanted to pay the extra to be within the 'prison' area of the hotel. We also booked a time slot for dinner and had a porter take our luggage, whilst the valet drove our car to secure underground parking. Check in was very smooth and stress-free.

We had an hour or so to kill before our room was ready, so decided to go for lunch and mooch around Oxford. We stopped by the Ashmolean Museum and the Andy Warhol exhibition which is currently on. Once we returned, Graciela was quick to remember our faces, showed us to the lift and walked us to our room through the original prison railings and architecture. We were located on the 4th floor in room 124 and it was absolutely amazing. 
I was really impressed with how they'd kept the original features of the door, high ceiling and windows, yet added a touch of class and style. 

My personal favourite element was the bathroom. With a roll-top bath, walk-in power shower and underfloor heating (heaven on my toes!), I was skipping around in my bath robe for the rest of the afternoon and evening. They even had their own brand of fig & olive toiletries which I loved so much I cheekily took them home (although they do encourage you to keep them!). The room had all the standard elements you'd expect plus, handy items like an iron, ironing board, hairdryer, tea & coffee facilities and apparently wi-fi, although I have to be honest I couldn't get onto this from our room. The bath was big enough for us both, but even had a little caddy if you wanted to read a book or kindle. We enjoyed our own bottle of English sparkling wine, before getting dressed up (Paul looked exceptionally handsome in a suit!) and headed to dinner at the hotel restaurant.

I wasn't going to review the restaurant as it probably warrants its own post, and as the drinks were flowing, I didn't photograph the venue or our meal (although check out my Instagram @brogantatexo for a peak!). I did however want to highlight that the service did not stop at reception and our meal was absolutely brilliant. We went down to the bar half an hour prior to our reservation to enjoy a cocktail or two. I chose the Valentine Rose, a mix of Veuve Clicquot Champagne, raspberry and rose cordial, lavender bitters and a sugar cube. So tasty. Paul had a Negroni. We were seated for dinner, but I didn't particularly notice the restaurant having many 'prison' elements, despite being on the ground floor of the hotel. However, it did had a very nice atmosphere, lighting and friendly service.

For starter, we had olives and crusty bread with an olive oil and balsamic dip. There are several choices for mains including a 'set menu' and an 'A La Carte' menu. We were booked onto a package deal for the set menu however, decided to pay extra and select the Black Angus Rib Eye Steak from the A La Carter Menu. Served with their signature slow roasted onion & soubise purée & homemade steak sauce, we also asked for truffle mash and spinach on the side too. We both enjoy our steaks cooked very differently, I'm more of a medium girl and Paul likes his almost blue/rare. When they bought out our meals, the waiter accidentally got them around the wrong way which wasn't ideal however, once I had my correct steak it tasted absolutely incredible. The sauce was beautiful too. 

Paul is a Sommelier (a wine expert, basically), so we bought our own bottle of red to enjoy. For dessert, we shared the Mal hot chocolate; white chocolate & vanilla ice cream, marshmallows & hot chocolate sauce. Delicious.


I thoroughly enjoyed our meal and although expensive, it was a very special treat from Paul which I will remember for a long time. Overall, I was particularly impressed with the service at reception, the cleanliness throughout the hotel and loved the original prison elements. The room was gorgeous, although did feel small for an upgraded Superior room. The bathroom was the very best I've experienced at a hotel, I'm still not over the underfloor heating which was on 24/7! Massive thank you to Paul for treating me to a wonderful stay and of course, the team at the Malmaison for making it
 special. They have several hotels in cities across the country, so we'll be making it our mission to try another one again in the future!

You can book into the Malmaison here, but I also filmed our stay for my weekly vlog too (which I upload every Monday at 6pm!), so be sure to watch from 25:56 below.

Lots of love,


  1. Oh it sounds like you had an amazing weekend! Funnily enough, my lecturer was telling me about this hotel the other week and I was looking it! I would love underfloor heating in this cold weather.

    Emily // Beauty and Lifestyle Blog


  2. Wow, I loved reading about your stay after catching a glimpse on your vlog and I must say it sounds amazing! So pleased you had a good time. I wouldn’t mind saving up and visiting myself one day as Oxford is somewhere I have always wanted to go. Thanks for sharing your experience <3!

    Christie x

  3. What a lovely treat! I watched your video and it looked like the most perfect romantic getaway :)

  4. It sounds amazing! The hot chocolate at the restaurant sounds like the perfect pick me up as well! :) xx

    Yasmina | The July Journal

  5. Looks amazing! Sounds like the ideal weekend get away! Do you have any tips on putting two pictures next to eachother, i've tried so many times but I still can't figure it out; H xx

  6. The hotel looks amazing and it sounds like you had first class service. I remember thinking from your Instagram photo "are the room sizes actually like a real prison room?" But when I watched your vlog they are a pretty decent size. What did Paul think of the hotel?

  7. The first time anyone has taken you away before?

    On Saturday, Rich took me away to London for 3 days.

    1. You're right. What I meant was, in that relationship he paid for my show ticket and we split the hotel & food, planned it all.

      This trip, Paul totally surprised me and paid for the whole was a complete surprise!

      Hopefully that's a bit more clear :)