Home

Malmaison, Oxford, England (Supremely Cool Shower)

May 5, 2014

Sunlight came bright and early this morning in Oxford.

Sunlight came bright and early this morning in Oxford.

The usual Europe from the East Coast of North America problem applies—namely, the flight is too short. So you finally get to sleep and then it’s time to wake up. This seems to happen no matter how careful or conscientious you are. My United flight (great crew BTW, but a broken business class pod) arrived way too early in the morning. Here in noplasticshowersland we are desperately trying to stay awake somehow.

Early arrival on a bank holiday means that the hotel is full and you have to wait to check in until some other guests check out. I would much prefer to have a shower. I ended up hanging out after a leisurely breakfast in the lobby for 2 hours. At least there was decent net!

Finally, management took pity on me and allowed me to use room 121 for a quick shower. Boy did that feel good. Room 121 like many of the standard rooms at Malmaison is constructed out of old prison cells. The hallway is incredibly cool.

The prison cell hallway of the Malmaison Oxford.

The prison cell hallway of the Malmaison Oxford.

121 was a welcome respite from the clothes I had been trying to sleep in on the plane.

Room 121

Room 121

121 Bathroom tub

121 Bathroom tub

121 had a really very good glass shower

121 had a really very good glass shower

Drench showerhead, plenty of hot water, and a glass shower cubicle—what’s not to like? And the actual human cage? So much better appointed than the typical Marriott hamster cage design it is hard to fathom.

Door to 121.  Peephole has been reversed.

Door to 121. Peephole has been reversed.

Refreshed and clean, I wandered out into Oxford to try to stay awake. A visit to the Ashmolean museum was well worth it. The place was not at all crowded (usually closed Monday and open for the bank holiday). There was reasonably authentic Italian pizza at White Rabbit. There was good espresso at Combibos Coffee. There was still a zombie-like state. I mean “is.”

The front desk called and let me know that my actual room 402 was ready. This room is a split level suite overlooking the Oxford mound. Excellent style and the coolest shower I have seen in some time.

Upstairs in 402

Upstairs in 402

Downstairs in 402

Downstairs in 402

The magnificent shower in 402.  LED lighting.

The magnificent shower in 402. LED lighting.

The rest of the bathroom.  All doors are translucent glass.

The rest of the bathroom. All doors are translucent glass.

But wait, there’s more.

View from the catwalk in 402

View from the catwalk in 402

In general, there is nothing not to like about the Malmaison. Five showerheads and a flashy LED light show! Lets see how the meeting space goes…

View from the catwalk in 402

View from the catwalk in 402

The meeting space goes very well indeed it turns out. The Malmaison is a great place to host a meeting. Everyone in our spoiled group of world travelers was impressed.

Now some other data from Oxford. Avoid Quod (the restaurant) even though everybody says it is good. Somehow they managed to make the worst risotto we have ever had—think watery oatmeal with soggy overcooked Shiitake heads floating on top. We’ll put them in the same league as the Scots WRT cooking skill. Not good. On the other side of the eating spectrum Brasserie Blanc is very good indeed. Go there.

When it comes to mixology in Oxford, your best bet is the bar at Malmaison. This is a surprise since you would expect a great bar to exist somewhere in this college town other than a hip hotel. Raoul’s Bar has a good reputation but frankly it is no longer deserved. You can get some tiki that is not bad, but the terrible staff managed to create a watered down awful Sazarac that chased us out the door. How a table at a bar (with potentially big spenders) can sit with empty glasses for 20 minutes is beyond me. Congrats Raoul’s, we’re never coming back.

To end on a positive note, barman Michael Davidson at the Malmaison is the best in town. Michael is an enthusiastic and experienced fellow who has big plans. FWIW, the Malmaison would be wise to develop the bar with a few more top end ingredients. Sandra is also very good and was willing to work on a Nevada until we got it just right.

What would a visit to Oxford be without a pub crawl? After a visit to the BBC Oxford studios…

BBC Oxford radio host David  Prever wearing google glass

BBC Oxford radio host David Prever wearing google glass

Remote TV studio modeled by a fellow high geek

Remote TV studio modeled by a fellow high geek

The actual radio show console.  Ah 1972! The code is 6089 BTW.

The actual radio show console. Ah 1972! The code is 6089 BTW.

We headed to the Eagle and Child (where JRR Tolkein used to hang with his buds), and the Lamb and Flag (where we were surrounded by Oxford dons from the Neuroscience Department). Worst dinner yet in Oxford was served at the Turf Tavern Pub! Amazing how bad English cooking can get.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: