The Randolph Hotel, by Graduate Hotels

The Randolph Hotel, a distinguished landmark in Oxford, England, seamlessly blends historical elegance with modern luxury. Now under the umbrella of Graduate Hotels, The Randolph Hotel continues to offer an exceptional experience that captures the essence of this storied city. This article explores the rich history, architectural grandeur, and contemporary features that make The Randolph Hotel an enduring icon.

Historical Background

Early History and Construction

The Randolph Hotel, named after Dr. Francis Randolph, a notable benefactor of the University of Oxford, was designed by architect William Wilkinson in the Gothic Revival style. Construction began in 1864, and the hotel opened its doors in 1866. Its location, directly opposite the Ashmolean Museum, placed it at the heart of Oxford's cultural and academic life.

Notable Guests and Events

Throughout its history, The Randolph has hosted numerous illustrious guests, including royals, politicians, and celebrities. One of the most famous visitors was President Bill Clinton, who stayed at the hotel during his time as a Rhodes Scholar at the University of Oxford. The Randolph has also featured in various literary works and TV series, notably the British detective drama "Inspector Morse."

Architectural Significance

Gothic Revival Design

The Randolph Hotel is a prime example of Gothic Revival architecture, characterized by its pointed arches, intricate stone carvings, and ornate detailing. The exterior of the building features a striking combination of local brick and stone, giving it a distinctive and grand appearance.

Interior Design

Inside, the hotel boasts a blend of historical charm and contemporary sophistication. The public spaces, including the lobby and drawing room, are adorned with antique furnishings, rich fabrics, and period artwork. The attention to detail extends to the guest rooms, each individually designed to reflect the hotel's heritage while offering modern amenities.

Transition to Graduate Hotels

Acquisition and Renovation

In 2019, the Randolph Hotel was acquired by Graduate Hotels, a chain known for its boutique properties in university towns. Graduate Hotels embarked on an extensive renovation project, aiming to preserve the historical integrity of the building while updating its facilities to meet the expectations of contemporary travelers.

Reimagined Spaces

The renovation introduced a variety of new spaces and services, including a revitalized lobby, new dining options, and upgraded guest rooms. The hotel's famous Morse Bar, named after the fictional detective, has been restored to its former glory, retaining its cozy, intimate atmosphere.

Contemporary Features and Amenities


The Randolph Hotel offers a range of accommodation options, from classic rooms to luxurious suites. Each room is uniquely decorated, combining vintage charm with modern comforts. High-quality linens, bespoke furnishings, and state-of-the-art technology ensure a restful and enjoyable stay.

Dining and Drinking

The hotel's dining establishments offer a variety of culinary experiences. The Alice, the main restaurant, serves a menu inspired by traditional British cuisine with a contemporary twist. The Drawing Room provides an elegant setting for afternoon tea, a quintessentially British tradition. The Morse Bar remains a popular spot for cocktails and light bites, renowned for its extensive selection of whiskies.

Wellness and Leisure

Guests can unwind at the hotel’s wellness center, which includes a fully equipped gym, spa, and sauna. A range of treatments and therapies are available, designed to relax and rejuvenate.

Event Spaces

The Randolph Hotel features several event spaces, suitable for conferences, weddings, and private gatherings. The Ballroom, with its high ceilings and elegant décor, is particularly popular for large events. Meeting rooms equipped with the latest technology are available for business functions.

The Randolph Hotel in Modern Oxford

Cultural and Academic Connection

The Randolph Hotel remains closely connected to the University of Oxford and the city’s cultural institutions. Its central location makes it an ideal base for exploring Oxford’s historic colleges, museums, and galleries. The hotel often collaborates with local organizations to host events and exhibitions, further cementing its role in the community.

Sustainability Initiatives

Graduate Hotels has implemented several sustainability initiatives at The Randolph, including energy-efficient systems, waste reduction programs, and a commitment to sourcing local and organic produce for its restaurants. These efforts reflect a broader trend in the hospitality industry towards environmental responsibility.

The Randolph Hotel by Graduate Hotels is a testament to the enduring appeal of historical charm combined with modern luxury. Its rich history, architectural beauty, and commitment to providing exceptional service make it a standout destination in Oxford. Whether visiting for business or leisure, guests can enjoy a unique experience that celebrates the heritage and culture of this iconic city.

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