By Tilly Rose
Since setting up @thatoxfordgirl I have been lucky enough to be #invited to some really amazing events and places but I pass nearly all of these on as rewards to the student ambassador team. This weekend I was personally #invited to attend the Grand Opening of The Randolph and wow it was INCREDIBLE.
We were greeted by the lovely staff and shown to our beautiful room, with a magical view of the Ashmolean Museum. All of the rooms draw on the University heritage; we're talking Alice in Wonderland sculpted lamps, college crests and traditional art, blended with bold, modern designs, patterned wallpapers and the comfiest bed I have probably ever stayed in.
Next we headed down to the Drawing Room for a quintessentially English afternoon tea, a gorgeous selection of sandwiches, scones and the tastiest layer of delicate desserts. To really top this off, the champagne was flowing and I mean seriously flowing. The décor was a bold mix of historic portraits, mixed with bright pink velvet sofas and mustard yellow arm chairs. The whole room is a serious statement. If the day had ended there we would have been truly happy but there was more on offer...
The Grand Opening Party was an 'event' in every sense of the word. The Drawing Room had been transformed into a night-time scene of fantasy characters interacting with guests, champagne saucers and oyster platters floating through the crowds, ceilings dripping with the twinkling lights of exquisite chandeliers and a live band adding to the magic. Everyone I spoke to was so excited to be invited, we were at a PARTY after two years of hiding away and this was 100% the best party in town.
On arrival guests were given a key with a time on inscribed on it. Ours instructed us to head to the doorway when the clock struck 8pm. We were then given a tour of the hotel by our lovely hosts - including the show stopping Royal Suite. The tour took us via the Snug, a stunning candlelit bar which I will definitely be returning to, where we enjoyed a spot of whiskey tasting, before ending up at the Spa (yes, really the spa!). We were then offered a mid-party treatment and, of course, said a big yes! So mid-party I indulged in a head massage and couldn't quite get over the life I was living.
After all that excitement we headed to The Alice where we tucked into the creamiest truffle risotto and meaty burger, paired with some gorgeous Oxford-inspired cocktails.
Then it was time to dance. The ballroom had been transformed into a silent disco to finish what really was a night I will never forget.
At breakfast the next morning, a sea of slightly worse-for-wear guests were treated to a selection of continental platters and tasty brunch dishes.
'Madam we're setting up for our next seating now...' was a phrase I realised I heard at afternoon tea, dinner and breakfast. As I looked around the room, on each occasion, I realised we were the last people in the room. Why? Because each and every experience was one I wanted to hold onto, Graduate Hotels and The Alice at The Randolph have created a setting that you really never want to leave.
I cannot recommend highly enough - check them out!