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“The worst service experience in Cambridge for a long time”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Franschhoek
Level Contributor
82 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“The worst service experience in Cambridge for a long time”
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2011

We booked at the restaurant to entertain family who were staying in the hotel.
The service levels in the hotel are non existent from the time we walked in to ask for our family's room numbers and the receptionist was lounging over the desk through the roof top lounge and then dining, service was never offered or experienced.
We had suggested the hotel as an alternative to Hotel du Vin but it simply is not even in the same universe. On a scale of good, bad or never again, this is a definite never again. A pity because the position and roof top are great.
My family said the rooms were good, the air conditioning was inadequate in the one room and the light switch arrangement is a mess.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Bigplatcool
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,223 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (560)
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English first
Downham Market, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
52 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 June 2011

We have recently come back from a weekend away in Cambridge and can't wait to go back soon.
The greeting and check in was fantastic, all the staff were just so friendly and welcoming.
The room was fantastic, great view from the 4th floor with lovely opening doors. The bathroom and wetroom was spotless, room service quick and again very friendly. The rooftop bar is a perfect way to enjoy a pre dinner drink or two and if you can visit Cotto for dinner which is just as good as Midsummer House and half the price.
Breakfast was lovely with great views over the river.
Faultless stay can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed June 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank neil2k
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 June 2011

We just had a lovely two days here as somewhere to stay after a college May ball. The ball was disappointing, but the Varsity Hotel was excellent! In particular, the service was among the best I've ever experienced.

The room was spotless, and very comfortable, and well designed. One evening we took advantage of borrowing a DVD from reception - both the list and the DVD brought up almost instantly by a porter with no fuss (or charge).

The terrace roof bar was especially opened to watch the fireworks for one of the other balls in the evening - a nice touch. And the location was great too - particularly easy to walk to any of the more northern colleges, but very close to the town centre.

If you go, make sure you remember to take your swimming costume so you can enjoy the spa, especially the jacuzzi with a view over the river. As others have mentioned, you have to leave the building then go back into the spa for breakfast, but it is about 10 steps - not a big deal, and the breakfast was a good buffet mix of cold and hot foods.

The only downside was parking. The Hotel has no parking, and Cambridge Park & Ride doesn't allow overnight parking. The Hotel recommend the Castle Clong stay car park, which officially is maximum 11 hours stay. However, it is free overnight, and if you leave your car key with the front desk a porter will go and refresh your ticket every day. It worried me a bit at first, but we did this and had no problems, and the system seemed to work well. This is just one example of nothing being too much trouble for the helpful staff.

I would definitely go back for any trip to Cambridge.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank AWorldGeek
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 June 2011

This hotel was everything we expected it to be. The staff were attentive, polite and friendly, making the visit exactly the luxurious escape we had hoped for. Our room had beautiful views of the town, we could look out over cambridge from our bed! The food was wonderfully cooked and fairly priced and the restaurant fit in perfectly with the style of the hotel. Everything came together to make this a perfect break that relaxed and impressed us. Could not recommend this hotel enough.

Stayed May 2011, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank JosephDonaldson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2011

We stayed here after visiting some friends in Cambridge. We had a very comfortable stay- the staff were very welcoming, the hotel facilities were great- a spa, gym and a rooftop bar- which especially was amazing! The room was very nice and the hotel is in a very central location, so it was easy to go and explore Cambridge. I would definitely recommend for a couples getaway.

Stayed in June 2011 with my boyfriend.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Charli91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
glasgow
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2011

The reception area was very small and looked more like an office than a hotel foyer . Although a lounge /bar area was indicated on the 1st floor this turned out to be no more of a big living room which could not accommodate more than a few people.The room allocated to us although a superior room overlooked an alley way with offices above which meant we had no privacy at all unless we kept the curtains closed .
The roof top restaurant was lovely but unfortunately the weather prohibited us from using it.
To have breakfast we had to leave the hotel, go outside, then go through the spa.The staff seemed to think that was acceptable but can you imagine it on a cold wet day? . The breakfast, when we got there, was good with a mixture of hot and cold food.The restaurant attached to the hotel was a grill bar and again involved leaving the hotel . It wasn't worth the effort with little choice on the menu.
If we had been made aware of the layout of the hotel we could have a choice of whether to stay there or not but none of the brochures on the hotel indicated this.

It wasn't all negative .The staff were very pleasant and helpful but the lack of reception area and having to travel to eat spoiled the experience for us and we won' be back.

  • Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
6 Thank GlasgowWalker
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2011

stayed in one of the suites, gorgeous room with vast private terrace, absolutely awesome views across the colleges. Laying in bed gazing across to King's Chapel is hard to beat. Cambridge is all about the colleges and the city centre and this place is right in the heart of it, right next to the river too. There's no grand lobby or dining room or anything but that's not what this place is about. They have a nice restaurant and spa/gym next door in a cool converted warehouse. Bob round the jacuzzi and watch students punt past on the river - amazing. By London standards it's not at all dear, and most other hotels in Cambridge (with the exception of Hotel du Vin) are very dull.

Stayed June 2011, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank cornwall27
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about The Varsity Hotel & Spa

Property: The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Address: Thompson's Lane, Cambridge CB5 8AQ, England
Phone Number:
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cambridgeshire > Cambridge
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cambridge
#1 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Family Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Business Hotel in Cambridge
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £££
Hotel Class:4 star — The Varsity Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 44
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
The Varsity Hotel & Spa is located on the edge of the picturesque River Cam in the heart of Cambridge and just yards from St John's, Trinity and Magdalene College. Ideally situated for punting, shopping, sight-seeing and nightlife, The Varsity hotel guests are truly immersed in the culture and charm of Cambridge life from the moment they arrive. Recharge in the wonderful Elemis spa before soaking up the beautiful skyline with drinks on the hotel's roof terrace,afternoon tea or dinner in the Six Panoramic Bar & Restaurant. Alternatively, guests can indulge in a hearty meal in the River Bar Steakhouse & Grill. Valet parking available from 7 am to 10 pm for hotel's guests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Varsity Hotel And Spa
The Varsity Hotel Cambridge

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