An Ole Miss alumni created a bed and breakfast five minutes from the Square by “chance” that is still operating 13 years later.
Jean and Randy Abrams, both Ole Miss alumni, own and run the Colonel’s Quarters at Castle Hill at 120 Castlehill Drive in Oxford.
The main house at Castle Hill is what most people see coming from Highway 6. When driving toward the inn, the residence seems to gleam at the top of the hill. The location is what makes it different from other bed and breakfasts in Oxford.
Jean Abrams studied nursing while at Ole Miss. She and Randy Abrams lived in Jackson 20 years before moving to Oxford in 1999. After arriving, they began building their personal residence on the grounds where their bed and breakfast currently resides. In 2003, they built and opened the main house where most guests stay now.
“We got into the bed and breakfast business by chance,” Jean Abrams said. According to their website, Castle Hill is an all-inclusive, Southern-style wedding venue located just outside of Oxford. It has been featured nationally on television and in magazines. Today, it’s also a destination wedding location.
Converting their personal residence into a thriving bed and breakfast and event venue was a relaxed process. “We started very small, lived in the main house, added some,” Jean Abrams said. “It had gradually grown. We added a commercial kitchen, bar, ballroom.”
The ballroom is 4,800 square feet and hosts various indoor events, such as fraternity and sorority formals, luncheons, weddings and wedding receptions, and business meetings and dinners.
Gena Menzdorf, a two-time guest, enjoyed the location. “The antebellum charm of Colonel’s Quarters and the scenic views are enough to make you plan a wedding for your daughter, even if that would be 10 years away,” she said. “… Jean and Randy make you feel right at home, even offering to let you help yourself to the kitchen, should you need a midnight snack.”
The owners of Colonel’s Quarters at Castle Hill say they build relationships with their guests. “I like to meet every guest,” Jean Abrams said.
Their business philosophy is to give “personal attention and great customer service” to each guest who stays at Castle Hill. “The importance of customer service is such a big part,” she said. “It wasn’t easy in the beginning, but the biggest lesson I’ve learned is how to be customer service on steroids.”
Jean said the location is unique. “You don’t feel like you are in Oxford when you’re on the grounds,” she said, because of the peaceful lakes and greenery surrounding the residence.
The regular staff at Colonel’s Quarters at Castle Hill includes Jean and Randy Abrams, an event coordinator, two cleaning staff members, cooks and servers who vary in number depending on the size of the event.
In the main house, there are two rooms and a suite. Each room is named after someone. There’s the Peggy room, the Diana room, and the Rachel suite, named after Jean and Randy’s daughter. The Rebel room, the Dixie room, and the Delta room are the other rooms available in Castle Hill’s guesthouse.
Jean and Randy Abrams said they work to create the best experience for each guest using Southern hospitality and excellent customer service to build positive relationships. “The best thing [about running a bed and breakfast] is the friendships we’ve made from guests who stayed with us,” Jean Abrams said. “We’ve ended up visiting friends in other states.”