WHILE Inspector Morse was always happiest in the bar of the Randolph Hotel in Oxford, ‘where they serve a decent pint’, the 140-year-old establishment has so much more to offer than a good tipple.

Set in the heart of the charismatic city, the hotel is one of the most exclusive of Macdonald Hotels & Resorts’ portfolio with no stone left unturned in its quest to deliver five-star service – pampering which has been enjoyed by Prime Ministers and, only recently, a former US President.

The hotel features 151 beautifully styled rooms and suites, all of which have air-conditioning, flat-screen TVs, fridges, wireless Internet access and bathrooms with designer toiletries.

And to ensure a good night’s sleep, all the beds boast deluxe mattresses and Egyptian cotton sheets.

Situated opposite the world famous Ashmolean Museum and just metres away from the University of Oxford Colleges, the excellent service at Macdonald Randolph Hotel is apparent as soon as you pull up outside (where the hotel’s valet parking service will take care of your vehicle).

When you take your eyes off the impressive Victorian gothic-style facade and walk through the imposing entrance, you quickly get a taste of what is a very special destination.

Five-star welcome out of the way, we headed off to our room(s), we’d opted for an executive suite – with adjoining lounge and dining area – which can sleep two adults and two children.

Cavernous was the first word that sprang to mind once inside.

Being a dual aspect suite, there was a breathtaking vista of the university colleges and Ashmolean Museum.

Continuing the luxury theme, the hotel’s basement was like a different world. Here, in the building’s former vaulted cellar, with its lantern-lit walkway, lies the spa with four treatment rooms, aroma steam rooms, bio and rock saunas, ice fountain and hydrotherapy Jacuzzi.

Deciding, as I have for most of my adult life, to swerve the gym, I opted for a back massage and men’s facial.

While I couldn’t possibly claim to have returned to our room looking years younger and with the flexibility of a top gymnast, the treatments had certainly reversed the aches, pains and stress caused by a recent house move.

With time to kill before dinner and a bit of a thirst coming on, the Morse Bar had to be cased out.

While Colin Dexter’s famous detective character would often enjoy a pint of Oxford Gold – there is no such beer, it was created for the books, so for us an ‘Oxford Blue’ and ‘Morse Bar Champagne Cocktail’ duly hit the spot.

Our pre-dinner wander around Oxford gave us the opportunity to marvel at the city’s architecture as we built up an appetite.

While you won’t be overwhelmed by the choice on offer in the hotel’s two AA rosette restaurant, you will be blown away by the quality – and all served up in a traditional English room with double length windows and walls lined with oil paintings.

My starter of home-cured breast of Gressingham duck, white asparagus, crisp quail’s egg, grilled sweetbreads and pork crackling was sublime, while my partner’s hand-carved John Ross Jr smoked salmon and traditional garnish was clean and fresh on the palate.

For mains we both plumped for chateaubriand of 21-day aged beef, slow-braised beef cheek, bone marrow, tartare, tongue, bacon wrapped green beans, triple fried chips, onion rings and sauce bearnaise. Delicious.

Full up? Of course we were, but having experienced such an impressive startermain double there was no stopping the hat-trick bid as we chose from the dessert menu.

Nightcaps in the Morse Bar duly gave the perfect ending to our day.

I really can’t think of anywhere else where the traditional is blended so well with the modern... but don’t just take my word for it – I’ve heard they serve ‘a decent pint’.

• The historic five-star Macdonald Randolph Hotel in the heart of Oxford is ideal for exploring the City of Dreaming Spires and you can save on a luxury break there.

From just £175* per night (or £230* per night Friday and Saturday) you can enjoy an extremely comfortable stay and full English breakfast, plus two tickets for the open-top bus tour of Oxford.

And if you book a three-course evening meal in the restaurant, you will also get a complimentary  half bottle of wine per person (dinner not included in the rate).

This offer will go fast, so to book visit MacdonaldHotels.co.uk/randolph and quote QU7 – Oxford Summer Explorer or call 0844 879 9132, with the same reference.

For hotel details visit: MacdonaldHotels.co.uk/Randolph

• Offer (based on two adults sharing a twin/double Classic bedroom) valid from July 1 until September 30, 2014, subject to the availability of allocated rooms.

Spa visits must be booked in advance and treatment charges apply. Full prepayment is required
at the time of the booking, which is nontransferable and nonrefundable.

A single supplement applies.