STAFF members turned back time in top hats and hooped skirts as a Victorian hotel celebrated its 150th birthday.

Oxford's prestigious Macdonald Randolph Hotel embraced the milestone with a glitzy party under glittering chandeliers where 180 guests glided around its grand ballroom.

Despite the devastating fire that ripped through the five-star hotel last year, general manager Michael Grange gushed about the hotel's achievements at the bash on Thursday evening.

He told the audience: "Who would have thought 150 years ago that the Randolph hotel would become such an Oxford icon and institution that is treasured by so many people around the globe. I am honoured to serve here.

"Those who love the Randolph as much as we do can rest assured that we shall continue to take great care of this precious building."

He said the ground floor areas and grand staircase are due for refurbishment in the New Year, adding to improvements already made this year with a new restaurant, bar and executive lounge.

The evening of decadent cocktails and dainty canapés also featured a talk about the building's history by hotel ambassador Shamin Durrani, who told guests how it was built in 1864 on the site of King Henry I's palace.

In its 150 years the hotel has been graced by visits from celebrities and politicians including a Spanish king and, Bill and Hillary Clinton and Hugh Grant.

Visitors can now read a potted history of the hotel that was commissioned especially for the event, including a dinner menu from 1897.