Oxford’s iconic Boswells store building is on course to become a new 4-star luxury hotel, following the demolition of the inside of the historic building.
The Boswells Store first traded in 1738 and was the second oldest family-owned department store in the World. It announced in 2019 that it would stop trading after almost 300 years.
In June 2021, Reef completed the purchase of the Boswells Department Store as part of a joint venture with La Salle Investment Management and Oxford City Council.
Before this, Reef was successfully granted planning consent for a 101-bed hotel, ground floor restaurant, bar and co-working space.
Shortly afterwards, Reef’s contractor, Gilbert Ash, started work on the site comprising the retention of the historic facades, part demolition and the addition of a fifth floor that will include a rooftop bar and external space looking over the City’s magical rooftops.
The Reef team will operate this new boutique hotel alongside other hotels in their portfolio, including The Gate in London and the Marriott in South Oxfordshire.
Eleanor Alexander, a design director leading the project for Reef, said last year that the company hoped the hotel would be ready to open in the spring or summer of 2023.
Councillor Susan Brown, Leader of Oxford City council, said: “The sensitive refurbishment of the former Boswells department store to create a quality hotel is key to the ongoing rejuvenation of our city centre.
“Adapting the spaces for multiple uses will help ensure that this iconic building thrives for decades to come, and we look forward to the next stage of this project.”