HOTELS across Oxford are showing their hospitality by opening their doors to key workers during lockdown.

With current coronavirus restrictions banning holidays and overnight stays for leisure, venues are offering empty beds to a range of people, from NHS staff to university lecturers.

St Margaret's Hotel in Summertown shut during the first lockdown, but is now offering three rooms each week to contractors.

Meanwhile, a high number of guests are university academics, so the hotel has improved its internet speed to enable virtual teaching to take place on-site.

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St Margaret's is also advertising on, set up by orthopaedic surgeon Joseph Alsousou who in March was kicked out of his rented room in Headington by a landlady worried about coronavirus.


St Margaret's Hotel in Summertown Picture: Tim Kourdi

Owner Tim Kourdi said: "This time around we know the precautions and how to keep people safe.

"It might not be the nurse that needs the room, it might be their partner who can't stay with them because they're at risk."

The Oxford Times is promoting small businesses during lockdown through our Oxmas campaign, with the city council, Independent Oxford and Experience Oxfordshire.

Oxmas: Support independent businesses during lockdown

But it is not just independent hotels helping out, with the Oxford City Centre Courtyard branch also getting in on the act.

The venue was not instructed to stay open by Marriott Hotels, but has made all 151 rooms available.

Sales manager Christina Irons said: "We felt it was really important to be here for those key workers that needed somewhere to stay.

"We consider key workers as literally NHS staff but it incorporates a lot of different sectors.


Courtyard Oxford City Centre Picture: Marriott Hotels

"It's still very ad hoc, as individual needs are changing all the time because of the changing conditions.

"We have a large number of rooms for the city centre, so as long as we have availability and there's a need then we're there to support that."

Ms Irons revealed an encouraging number of regular bookings have been made for after December 2, when lockdown is set to end.

Unlike Marriott, Jury's Inn decided to keep as many hotels as possible operating nationwide to accommodate key workers.

The Oxford branch has been open since the start of the second lockdown and manager Steven Devine revealed it had proved successful.

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He said: "The hotel has been a lot busier than initially expected and whilst quiet compared to our usual occupancy levels, it has been good to be able to offer a service to those needing to travel.

"It has been very rewarding – it’s good to know that we are here, open and able to offer accommodation to those needing it when travelling and away from family."

Elsewhere, Bath Place Hotel in Holywell Street had its best year in more than three decades in 2019/20, but its reliance on overseas custom has seen bookings drop.

It has been open to key workers since the first lockdown and was 'relatively' busy this summer, said owner Yolanda Fawsitt.


Bath Place Hotel Picture: Google Maps

She added: "This has come as a huge shock.

"I would take any income right now, but I wanted to do anything I could do to help."

All three hotels will continue to offer rooms to key workers beyond the end of the current lockdown.

Mr Kourdi said: "This pandemic doesn't end when lockdown finishes.

"Things won't be back to normal for maybe another 12 months.

"We're trying to build a reputation that we're a safe place to stay."