‘voco’ Oxford Spires

‘voco’ Oxford Spires

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‘voco’ Oxford Spires

A review by Julia Gasper

Imagine you are swimming in a pool in the courtyard of a villa in Tuscany. As you glide from one end to the other you glimpse a landscape of rolling hills and cypress trees through classical columns. Actually you are in the ‘voco’ Oxford Spires , where the mural painting gives a pleasant illusion of such surroundings, complete with amphora holding flowers, and poolside lounge chairs.

‘voco’ Oxford Spires

This hotel, on a site that used to be a farm on the outskirts of Oxford, has recently been bought by IHG and is being re-furbished. It has all the amenities you would expect from a spa resort hotel  – a gymnasium, swimming pool with jacuzzi, a range of grooming and beauty treatments available, including massage, a restaurant, a bar-café with a pleasant lounge, a sunny terrace adorned with flowers and an attentive staff.

Décor combines modern with traditional and although the colour schemes are mainly neutral, the result is not bland. There are always nice touches to look at  – an elegant chandelier, a patterned carpet, framed poems about Oxford on the walls and silhouettes of celebrated people who lived here over the centuries, including Sir Christopher Wren and Lewis Carroll.

The leisure club

The gym is very well equipped and air-conditioned to keep it cool. The swimming pool has private and well-equipped separate changing facilities for men and women, something that has lamentably been phased out at many public pools in recent years. It is not huge but it is quiet and under-populated. Some people might find the water a little warm and the jacuzzi too hot, particuarly if you have worked out in the gym or been pummelled by one of the masseurs beforehand, and just want to cool off.

The Bar

The café has really comfortable seating, whether inside or outside and happily there is no background music, which makes it ideal for a business meeting. I appreciated the fact that although there is a TV the sound was off and it was showing sub-titles, so it was not intrusive.

‘voco’ Oxford Spires
‘voco’ Oxford Spires

You can choose from light bites or main courses for lunch in the café. The smoked salmon cheesecake was delicious, and the butternut squash with quinoa and avocado was a filling but healthy meal. The icecreams were very elegantly served: the vanilla was good, so was the strawberry, the pistachio not so good.

The hotel is a traditional style building with gables and no high rise. Its setting in gardens with mature trees, views of meadows and plenty of comfortable benches is restful and rural. If you come here for a weekend, and the weather is fine, sitting outside is a very tempting option.

The ‘voco’ Oxford Spires formerly the Oxford spires was purchased by IHG in February 2019 and has been undergoing refurbishment of bedroom areas along with the gym and installation of air conditioning.

To hotel is located at Abingdon Road, Oxford OX1 4PS and you can ring the hotel at 01865 324324

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