OXFORD'S world-famous Randolph Hotel has been bought by an American chain which could ditch its historic name.

Graduate Hotels, owned by Adventurous Journeys (AJ) Capital Partners, has announced that it has acquired the Macdonald Randolph Hotel in Beaumont Street.

And it looks like the new owners could ignore tradition and abandon the Randolph name for the same of upmarket branding.

In a statement the new owners said: "Graduate Hotels announced that it has acquired the Macdonald Randolph Hotel in Oxford, England.


"This marks the second Graduate Hotels property to launch outside of the United States, following the announcement in July 2019 of the forthcoming Graduate Cambridge.

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"Renovations will begin in fall 2020, and the 151-key hotel will open as Graduate Oxford, part of the Graduate Hotels collection, in early spring 2021."

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Ian Green, chairman of Oxford Civic Society, said the new owners should leave the Randolph name alone.

He said: "Changing the name would go down very badly and I would urge the new owners to reconsider.

"It's known worldwide as the Randolph and always will be, so changing the name would be pointless."


Staff at the hotel said yesterday they were aware of the ownership change but not the proposed name change.

One staff member said: "We are pleased with the new ownership because hopefully it will mean significant investment. "Some of our guests come from Dubai and China and there are certain expectations when it comes to service levels."

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He added that staff would be briefed on Wednesday by the new owners in two groups of 30.

Phillip Allen, Graduate Hotels chief development officer in international markets, said: "We are thrilled to announce the continued international expansion of the Graduate Hotels collection into one of the oldest and most prestigious university communities in the world.


"Our team is incredibly inspired by the people, places and institutions that call this dynamic destination home and look forward to creating a hospitality experience that speaks uniquely to Oxford.”

The chain said the design of Graduate Oxford would take inspiration from centuries of Oxford University history and tradition, 'paying homage to creators, innovators and notable alumni'.

The chain added: "Guests can expect intricate architectural details complemented with spirited hues and bold fabrics that tell the stories of Oxford’s remarkable past.

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"The hotel will undergo comprehensive interior and exterior renovations that will include all guest rooms, the lobby and common spaces."

Graduate Hotels, launched in 2014, operates 21 hotels in university towns across the United States.

Macdonald Hotels Group released a statement confirming the sale.

It said: "Macdonald Hotels, one of the largest independent hotel groups in the UK, has completed the sale of Rusacks Hotel in St Andrews and the leasehold interest of the Randolph Hotel in Oxford to Chicago-based AJ Capital Partners for an undisclosed sum."


The group's deputy chairman Gordon Fraser said: "This is a superb deal for the business, which allows us to reduce our borrowings significantly while we progress a number of very positive options for the refinancing of the group.

"The scale of the deal reflects both the long-term performance and enormous potential of these landmark properties and I am confident they are in very good hands."

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MHG, founded 30 years ago by Donald Macdonald, has grown from its roots in the North East of Scotland and now features 39 properties throughout the UK and Spain, employing over 3,000 people.

The Randolph's entrance canopy in Beaumont Street was recently removed so it could be restored and is now back in place.


The Grade II-listed hotel was built in 1864 by William Wilkinson, an architect who also designed many other buildings in Oxford.

It has a simplified Gothic design similar to the Oxford University Museum of Natural History and the Oxford Union buildings.

A £1.5m restoration project for the stonework was due for completion earlier this year.

The best stonemasons in the Cotswolds were brought in to clean and repair the Beaumont Street and Magdalen Street frontages.


Ian Green of Oxford Civic Society.

A major fire in 2015 was sparked by flambéed beef.

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Following the death of long-serving manager Michael Grange in 2017, Simon Drake was appointed general manager in 2018. He was replaced by Jonathan Lowrey earlier this year.

In May the Randolph was awarded a five-star food hygiene rating after receiving a two-star rating the previous November after being hit with a critical food hygiene report.