Oxford

Oxford's Randolph Hotel renovation complete following fire

Randolph Hotel
Image caption The roof of the Grade-II listed building has been completely rebuilt

The £6.5m renovations at a five-star hotel in Oxford damaged in a major blaze have been completed.

The fire at the Randolph Hotel in April 2015, sparked by a flambéed beef stroganoff in its kitchen, ripped through three floors.

The Grade-II listed hotel was closed for three weeks, but scaffolding remained during the repairs afterwards.

Manager Michael Grange said he was proud the 150-year-old building was back to its former glory.

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'Too much cognac'

He said staff had been "particularly outstanding" during the "difficult period".

"I'm absolutely elated like all the team. It's been a long process and it's absolutely wonderful."

He explained how the fire began "when the chefs put too much cognac in the stroganoff, and the rest is history".

Beef stroganoff is no longer on the menu, he added.

Though only about 5% of the building was damaged, an 11-month revamp of the hotel in Beaumont Street took place, with all bedrooms refurbished and a champagne bar added.

The roof was also completely rebuilt.

Image caption The hotel remained in operation apart from a three-week period following the blaze

Steve Wearing, project manager from Robertsons Associates, said the restoration was challenging.

"We try as much as possible to follow the methods of work they used in the old days and also the materials used.

"The roof timbers that were rebuilt were analysed, found to be pitch pine, and it could only be sourced in Germany.

"The bricks are as rare as hen's teeth these days and it took weeks to find.

"But it's been a pleasure to get the scaffolding down and gone, and see the hotel as it was prior to the fire."

At the height of last year's blaze 14 fire engines were on the scene and more than 80 people were evacuated.

Thick black smoke spread across the city as crews battled the blaze at the Victorian Gothic building.

Image copyright Jenni Shaw
Image caption On 17 April 2015 thick black smoke billowed from the Randolph following the kitchen fire
Image copyright Anabel Bacon
Image caption Eyewitnesses on the Ashmolean Museum's roof terrace watched the scene unfold
Image copyright Steve Lambourne
Image caption The street was closed both ways to allow emergency services access to the building
Image copyright Alice Beech
Image caption Hundreds of onlookers in the city centre watched as the area was cordoned off
Image copyright NPAS Benson
Image caption Smoke spread across Oxford as firefighters tackled the blaze at the 150-year-old hotel

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