Following the Norman invasion of England and the Battle of Hastings, William the Conqueror was crowned King of England on Christmas Day, 1066. The Norman aristocrats who fought for William expected a little something for the effort, and so William handed out land. This proved unpopular with the subjugated natives, so they did what oppressed people do: rebel. The Normans did what people do when they are rebelled upon: fortified their position by building castles. This was the case all over England until the revolts were finally quelled. In Oxford, castle construction began in 1071 and was completed two years later. It was used as a fortification and administration building before becoming a prison in the 1700s. In 1996, HM Prison Oxford officially closed and this former castle and former prison was redeveloped to include a hotel.
Today, Hotel Malmaison Oxford occupies much of the former prison, which is conveniently located in the center of Oxford. The colleges, shopping district, Ashmolean Museum, Bodlean Library, train station and bus depot are all within a short walk from the hotel. The rooms are spacious and the bathrooms are as big as a typical London hotel room. Breakfast is not included in your rate, but you do get free Wi-Fi. There is a restaurant and bar on the premises but you don’t have to eat there. After all, it is no longer a prison and you lock your own doors.
The cell block rooms have that “I spent the night in prison” quality, and walking out of your room into a cell block is kind of neat, but the rooms in the administration area are nicer and have doors that open onto balconies.
We here at L&A hope that your stay at the Malmaison Oxford is the only time you spend the night in prison.