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“Great place for a romantic break” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Varsity Hotel & Spa

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
“Great place for a romantic break”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 August 2012

Top marks from my other half for choosing this place, to recover from two stints at the Olympics we came up to Cambridge for a restful break. Luckily we had great weather and did the good private tour of the sites on the Saturday they put on. After that, just wanted to relax and what better way than polishing off a bottle of champagne while sitting in the sunshine on the glorious roof terrace. You can actually see all the major sites from this place - it really is breathtaking and even though it was busy very restful. A really special place. Room had all the mod cons you needed. Very helpful French Manager, managed to squeeze us into the restaurant for a very nice dinner even though it was late here when we ate it was busy and had a great buzz. Breakfast had a good choice and lovely staff, did not make it to the spa for treatments or gym as there was champagne to be drunk on our short trip - to celebrate Team GB`s success of course!

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Gareth N
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,184 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 (552)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
110 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 74 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 August 2012 via mobile

Initial room we were offered was very small. Fortunately we managed to move to a larger one. Overall clean and tidy. Breakfast excellent. The absence of a proper bar is a disadvantage as is the layout which lacks an ergonomic feel. We were staying on a humid night so had window open. Lots of banging and crashing of rubbish, bottles etc early in the morning if you're on that side of the hotel. Real disappointment was being asked to pay a 2.5% surcharge for checking out with Amex. The reservation was made with Amex and no mention at that stage. Also, per Booking.com, advertised with no booking or credit card fees....so beware!

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
5 Thank BiggestHank
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
47 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2012

What a stunning surprise this rooftop bar is! It is hidden away in the middle of the city and you have to climb about ten flights of stairs (or get the lift!) but when you get to the top the view is stunning! It's a wonderful place to meet friends for a cocktail or for coffee. It's pretty expensive but worth it for novelty value! Gazing over the city through glass walls, you really do feel you are on top of the world!

  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with friends
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank sallyalex
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
159 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 95 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2012

As a birthday treat, I was booked in for 2 treatments, a full body massage and a facial with time inbetween to spend in the "spa". Upon arrival, I checked into reception to find they had my name wrong. No biggie but they kept calling me another name which was a little annoying. I waited in the reception area which looks out onto the street. This again is fine, but later I find this is the only waiting area and it's not very private when you are sitting in your dressing gown waiting for a treatment. My full body massage was fabulous, one of the best I have ever had. They use Aveda products only, and the oil used is hot and they are very generous with products. I was asked what kind of pressure I liked, but after that I was not spoken to. The therapists don't talk to you at all! I filled in a short health form so I presume that is enough? I don't particularly like a lot of chatter, but I do like to be relaxed in a new environment. There is something very personal about going into a small room with a stranger! The treatment rooms are miniscule!! The tables are laid in a diagonal and are very close to the doors. Very claustrophobic. After my massage I was told I could use the Spa. This is not a spa. Its a small grubby area with nasty blue tiles and framed pictures. The jacuzzi seemed a little smelly and a horrible colour coming from the coloured light at the bottom - makes it a gaggy green. The fun part is looking out the window onto the river and boardwalk watching shoppers and tourists. Many check themselves out in the window. It took me a few minutes to figure out that they couldn't see me! The sauna and steam room were very average. There is nothing luxury or design led about this spa area. The loungers were cheap and uncomfortable. I sat on one for almost an hour whilst waiting for my facial. This spa seriously lacks a chill out zone. It was too warm for me to enjoying reading my book and the noise of the jacuzzi and other people was not relaxing. My facial was nice. I didn't enjoy the facial brushing massage of the face mask. It seemed to go on for ever. The therapist didn't remove my eye make-up (!?!?!) and didn't ask me about my skin type or what products I use, or what issues I have. She didn't talk to me once, other than to ask me to take 3 deep breaths. When I asked her what moisturiser she used on me, she seemed surprised that I asked and didn't offer to write anything down, or sell me any products. Most unusual! I rarely buy after treatments but I do like to know what has been used on me. There was also a lack of water. They could do with a water machine. I had to wait for a glass of water after my massage but I would have preferred to have had it in the treatment room. The spa provide you with a dressing gown, towel, slippers and free locker. I loved the massage but for the whole experience I won't be returning, unless they do a major overhaul of the spa area. Lastly, I would have opted for a drink on the rooftop, which I have heard is lovely, but I would have had to get dressed and walk out of the spa on to the street and into another entrance for the hotel. It is very disjointed.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled solo
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank tallulah_p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bangkok, Thailand
Level Contributor
16 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2012

My son and i visited Cambridge and we stayed at The Varsity Hotel. The room is very spacious. We stayed in Senior Fellow King's room. The view is very nice from the room. The location is very very convenient as it is in the middle of everything.
The service is excellent. Everyone there was very helpful and very .I got sick and they were very helpful finding me doctor within minutes.

The rooftop is gorgeous.

I would strongly recommend anyone visiting Cambridge to stay there. If we ever go back to Cambridge again, we will never stay anywhere else, only The Varsity.

Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
Helpful?
Thank tammy174
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridge
Level Contributor
85 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 August 2012 via mobile

Let me start by saying everything was exactly as it shoukd be from the word go. - efficient check-in, kind upgrade for a special occasion, clear explanation about the porter feeding the parking meter and offer to take bags upstairs.

Clean suite,loved the Illy coffee, Elemis, toiletries, comfortable bed, robes, could go on. Their policy is not to provide mini bars or tuck boxes so you have to ring room service for fresh milk which arrived quickly, but I would have preferred the room to be stocked.

Staying on a super Sunday deal was good value and we really enjoyed the brasserie in terms of food quality and atmosphere. Great cocktails and wine. Will return - we only live down the road, this was just a bolt hole for the night!

Room service breakfast was lovely, still hot despite being carried outside. And this is my only problem........

Reading previous reviews I thought how hard can it be to walk outside to the restaurant? Well, the problem isnt just this. Because reception feels like it had been plonked in a dingy room, the lack of public areas, the slightly unstyled feel to our suite, the combination of these factors gave it the feel of a serviced appartment block. At full price, I don't think I would have liked this.

Had we been able to enjoy the roof top bar we might have felt differently I guess.

To conclude though, the hotel certainly delivered on food, service and amenities and we had a lovely time, despite the layout feeling just not quite right.

  • Stayed July 2012
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank KJAJ1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nottingham
Level Contributor
41 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 August 2012

My wife and I have just returned from a two night stay at the varsity staying in the Varsitys basic double room. The room is very nicely decorated, clean with a comfy bed, all that you could need.

The staff were very helpful. As with most of Cambridge there is no parking but we were directed to a long stay car park which is a 10 minute walk away, very reasonable price and the hotel took care of the parking tickets for us.
Breakfast is served at the Riverside steak bar which is next door, very good breakfast.
The only bar at the hotel is the roof terrace. I'm sure this is very nice on a hot day but that is not too often with the British weather. The drinks are very expensive and I believe that this is the only area that lets the hotel down.
Overall, definitely visit, a great location, good rooms, helpful staff.

  • Stayed July 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank CCandH
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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