Mollie's motel and diner: hotel and restaurant review
Eat, sleep or drive through at Oxfordshire's casual-chic motel and diner from the Soho House Group
Mollie's Motel in a nutshell
A stylish, American-style roadside motel and diner from the Soho House Group livens up the A420 motorway outside Oxford.
A neon sign welcomes drivers to Mollie’s from the A420. Though purposefully low-key (to keep rates affordable), this unique space is sealed with the signature Soho House Group stamp. The lobby-cum-lounge-cum-general store is a calm, contemporary hang out with squishy leather sofas, a large reclaimed oak table, self-serve tea and coffee station, and retro shelves lined wit jugs, plants and books.
Across the car park, the motel’s main dining space, Mollie’s Diner, is full of locals venturing out for a casually glam dinner, Soho House members, and people passing through on their travels (there’s even a drive-thru option).
Which room should I book at Mollie's Motel?
The 79 rooms are compact and simply furnished while maintaining a homely style – blonde wood panels adorn pale green walls, peachy velvet chairs sit in the windows, and globe wall lights cast a warming glow. There aren’t lots of extras, but luxurious touches come in the form of Egyptian cotton sheets on kingsize beds and Cowshed toiletries in epic rainforest showers. Everything else (body scrub, Hershey’s chocolate, bottles of Patrón) can be purchased in the general store or ordered from a handy app. Choose between standard doubles, interconnecting twins and bunk bed rooms that sleep four (ideal for fun road trips or families).
The food and drink
In Mollie’s Diner, hungry punters slide into teal-blue booths around Formica tables (guests can book via the app). Chefs in caps and Mollie’s t-shirts man the fryers and grills in an open kitchen that spans the whole of one side of the room, and a DJ plays at weekends to add to the buzz.
Start with a round of cocktails (smooth espresso martinis or the refreshing Mollie’s Margarita) and some cheesy nachos before tucking into diner classics. Super succulent chicken was a highlight, covered in Mollie’s secret sticky marinade (it crisps up on the rotisserie over hickory wood and charcoal). Go the whole shebang with Mollie’s Chicken Tray, complete with grilled corn on the cob, a pile of crinkly fries and a refill of your choice of soda. Thick-cut maple glazed bacon and American cheese are welcome additions to the double bacon cheeseburger (we found the simple ‘dirty burger’ a little bland).
It’s worth saving room for a slice of homemade apple pie, spooned out at the table from a huge ceramic dish. Pieces of cinnamon-laced apple are covered with crusty pastry and served with a dinky jug of cream.
Breakfast is served back in Mollie’s Diner, with an all-day menu of fry-ups (try the veggie platter laden with grilled corn on the cob, avocado, Portobello mushrooms, croquette-style hash browns, eggs and toast); and Bargain Baps piled with the likes of smoked salmon and cream cheese or sausage and egg. The waffle dishes would have benefited from the waffles being made in house. House Press juices make a refreshing start to the day – try the red (beetroot, carrot, ginger and pineapple) or toughen up with a hard green (broccoli, celery, spinach and parsley).
What else can foodies do?
Mollie’s is designed as a stopover for road trips, so it makes a great add-on to a British foodie adventure. Drive 20 minutes north-west to Artist Residence Oxfordshire for Sunday lunch in a community-focused pub, or, if the sun is shining, a pint of ale from Churchan brewery in the Artist Residence’s rustic beer garden where chunky timber tables overlook a collection of raised beds planted with herbs, veg and gooseberry bushes.
Otherwise, head into Oxford for a glass of rosé and a slice of rhubarb pavlova at wine bar Pompette, creamy flat whites in chic Society Café and a mooch in the city’s covered market (pop in to Objects of Use for some seriously stylish kitchen accessories).
Is it family friendly?
There are both interconnecting rooms and stylish bunk bed rooms for large families. The casual diner is as much a natural habitat for children as it is for adults. There’s a dedicate Mini Mollie’s menu, with smaller burgers, cod goujons and mac ‘n’ cheese served with crinkle cut fries and mini sodas.
Don’t miss the classic drive-thru experience – grab a Bargain Bap, along with a soda or coffee in a bespoke paper cup, to fuel your onwards journey.