Head of the River pub bids to add more bedrooms

Head of the River deputy manager Paul Tyrer on Folly Bridge with the pub behind

Head of the River deputy manager Paul Tyrer on Folly Bridge with the pub behind

First published in News Oxford Mail: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter covering West Oxford and Botley. Call me on (01865) 425425

A POPULAR riverside pub in Oxford is planning to expand its hotel operation with more guest rooms.

Fullers Brewery has approved money for alterations at the Head of the River pub by Folly Bridge, but plans are in the early stages.

A planning application is yet to be submitted to Oxford City Council, but the pub wants to convert existing space into more, less expensive, bedrooms.

The bar and interior could also be in line for a revamp.

On the pub’s hotel wishlist are several business rooms in what is now the staff block, and an upgrade of existing bedrooms.

The pub currently has 12 ‘luxury’ rooms with ensuite bathrooms, which cost about £120 per room per night on a weekday and upwards of £180 on Fridays and Saturdays.

A spokesman for Fullers said: “It’s all in the very early stages at the moment, the existing building and unused space we want to convert into extra bedrooms.

“Oxford is a good area for us and we’d like more bedrooms.”

Deputy manager Paul Tyrer said: “We can’t give away too much at the moment, but we’re excited to have the thumbs-up [from the brewery] and it’ll be nice to have some work done and nice to have a change.

Giles Ingram, chief executive of Experience Oxfordshire, said: “The more hotel rooms, the better Oxford will be able to compete and attract a broad range of visitors.”

He added: “We conducted a survey last year of UK visitors to Oxford and their experience in the city.

“A wider variety of accommodation to suit needs was one of the top points in the survey highlighted as an area for improvement, in particular accommodation at the budget end.”

Oxford was voted the UK’s seventh favourite city in the annual Condé Nast Traveller Readers’ Travel Awards. London came top, with Edinburgh second and Bath third.

In last year’s awards Oxford came eight.

Last month a survey by travel website Trip Advisor had Oxford as the fourth most expensive UK city for a weekend away, behind London, Cambridge and Edinburgh.

One of the reasons was the shortage of hotel rooms.

Budget hotel chain Travelodge recently won permission on appeal to build an 83-bed hotel in Abingdon Road, by the Redbridge park-and-ride, at a cost of £5.5m.

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