Firstly, no I can’t believe how lucky I was to be invited to such a gorgeous place for the night, and to eat three different meals there?! SUCH a bloody treat and I can’t wait to tell you all about it!
We arrived on a rainy Saturday afternoon, very happy to escape the drizzle into such a beautifully manicured building.
We were warmly welcomed by smiley staff, who took our bags and coats and led us to our afternoon tea in The Drawing Room. This room was interior goals x 100. If I ever make it as a millionaire, you bet my house will be based on that room.
Stunning, no notes.
The afternoon tea vibes were immaculate – sparkling wine, gorgeous china, and a live pianist – had I been transported back to Bridgerton times!? Lady Whistledown, where you at?
The food itself was a lovely balance of sweet and savoury and we could tell everything was freshly prepared. They don’t scrimp either, you get a good amount of food and a lovely selection. I couldn’t eat it all and to this day I regret not putting some cake into a napkin for later (reader, she didn’t need cake later as there was even more food to come).
We were served a beautiful sparkling wine to accompany the food – Coates and Seely, an English sparkling. It was crisp, fresh and gave hints of apple (here’s me giving wine reviewing a go again!)
Our server was incredibly knowledgeable about the history of the wine and explained all about the founder to us which was brill, he also knew exactly when I was after a top up – even more brill!
The afternoon tea starts ar £39 which I think is pretty reasonable as so many are now into the £100s. With Christmas coming up, this would make a lovely gift for your mum, grandma, a friend… or yourself? (no judgement from me, I’m deffo going back).
After a glass of sparkling or 5, we were invited to check into our rooms. Two words: wallpaper goals.
It felt like we’d fallen into Alice’s wonderland. The room (and whole hotel really) is full of lovely little nods to Carroll’s legendary tales, which makes sense, as you may or may not know, Oxford is where the inspiration for Alice’s adventures began.
The bed was comfy, with those hotel-level cushions that you sink into and immediately feel like you’re somewhere fancy. You forget you’re in the centre of Oxford and could stay in the hotel the whole time if you wanted to, but are also a stone’s throw from all the lovely shops, colleges and parks – the perfect location for a city break.
Next up – cocktails and canapes in The Snug
The Snug is yet more interior goals – at this point there’s nowhere in this place that isn’t!
Chilli Mi Amore cocktail – agave, Ocho blanco, lime, raspberries, triple sec, and a honey chill rim. I have struggled in the past, acting cocky ordering a spicy marg only to pass it off to one of my more hardy friends when realising I can’t handle the heat, BUT this cocktail had just the right balance between hot and sweet. A winter warmer!
The Herbivore – homemade basil syrup, No 3 gin, rose and lime cordial. This was a really fresh and punchy cocktail, the syrup giving it a real velvety feel. The kind of cocktail you could drink 4 of and forget there’s alcohol in it. Dangerously good.
We were lucky enough to dine in The Alice’s private dining room – shocker but… stunning! Top-tier festive vibes; Christmas wreaths decorating the long dining table, gorgeous tall candles flickering away, a beautiful trio of chandeliers and wallpaper that potentially wins first place (still undecided, I just want them all).
- Wood-fired scallop, sea vegetables, lime and soy butter
- Market fish (plaice) dressed with green salad, lemon, and caper burnt butter
- Christmas pudding tart, brandy cream and prunes
It was all gorgeous, but the scallop won the show. It was crispy yet creamy and left me wanting about 400 more. The lime and soy butter had the perfect level of tang, and complemented the natural sweetness of the scallop flawlessly.
I did find myself getting some serious food envy of those who went for the robata grilled chicken, chanterelles and vin jaune for their main – the earthy, umami aroma of the mushrooms filled the room.I was quite full by the time dessert arrived so didn’t manage to finish the Christmas pud, but it made me very excited for Christmas! Bring on the puds!
Safe to say we rolled into bed after a brilliant day of food, drink, and more food!
Breakfast was the last meal of the visit, and it didn’t disappoint.
There’s a cooked breakfast buffet, a spread of cold meats and cheeses, fruit, pastries – you name it, they’ve probably got it. After dinner the night before I told myself I’d go light and just have some fruit and yoghurt the next morning.. not sure who I was trying to kid, I somehow still had an appetite and tried the cooked breakfast – it would be rude not to?
The Alice is where we had our breakfast but is also where you can have lunch and dinner. The decor, once again, is stunning. Pastel pinks and blues, beautiful bar and a ceiling you could stare at for a good while. They offer a few different deals (steak nights, pre-theatre offers and set menus) that make it more affordable, so definitely recommend having a look.
If you didn’t realise already, I had a fantastic time and would HIGHLY recommend a visit.
Christmas specials at The Randolph By Graduate
- Festive menus go live on 27th November and will feature a contemporary Alice twist on Christmas classics
- Festive Afternoon Tea will be available throughout December – a wonderful Christmas treat or break for those visiting historic Oxford. Music from a live pianist will accompany afternoon tea on Saturdays and Sundays, 12-4pm with regular breaks for the pianist
Fancy a trip out of Oxford? Why not try Graduate’s Cambridge hotel?
Bitten were invited as guests of The Randolph, and all views are our own