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“Good location, nice staff, small rooms, and a couple of glitches.”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
“Good location, nice staff, small rooms, and a couple of glitches.”
Reviewed 24 September 2012 via mobile

We stayed one night in September 2012.
Our room was very small, especially at this price, and over looked a noisy alley (it seemed to be the back of some restaurants.
The staff were helpful (bringing real milk so we could make coffee), but the complimentary "turn down" never happened.
The hotel has only one lift so there could be long waits - we gave up and used the stairs.
There is nothing very bad (or good) about this place, it is just at these prices it should be so much better.

  • Stayed September 2012
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank David898
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
London, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 23 September 2012

Perfect location in the centre of Cambridge and within easy walking distance of all the sights, shops and restaurants.
Fantastic roof terrace - an absolute "must" on a sunny day with teriffic views over the City. Great for a lazy afternoon sipping an ice cold glass of champagne and watching the world go by.
Spotless modern rooms with all the latest facilities.
Staff are fantastic - from the moment you arrive and are greeted by the welcoming doorman.
Undoubtedly the best hotel in Cambridge.
Go there - you'll love it.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alastair M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Nuneaton, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 September 2012

A truly beautiful hotel~the best in Cambridge (and I have stayed in a few) On a sunny day the roof top terrace is amazing. For anyone visiting the city for the first time it is the best place to stay.

  • Stayed October 2011, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank liz582
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Geelong, Australia
Level 5 Contributor
42 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 26 helpful votes
Reviewed 21 September 2012

If you want to see Cambridge then this is where you should stay. It's location is perfect to explore the town or to take a punt on the River Cam.
The rooms were well presented and the check in went without a hitch. Staff were very helpful in suggesting places to see.
The only drawback to the hotel is the lack of parking. The best parking is about 10-15 mins away. To the hotels credit they arranged for a staff member to go up to the car, pay for the ticket and display it on the dash, that is good service.
They have a wonderful bar area on top of the hotel, very overpriced but worth the view.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank davwhite
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 5 Contributor
72 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 41 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 September 2012

We stayed in this hotel for one night in September. On the surface everything was pretty good: beautiful and modern room with lovely decor, great location, and helpful staff but there were some aspects of our stay that - considered all together - mean I wouldn't stay here again given the high cost of the rooms.

Our room was £205 a night. It was very clean and decorated with a very appealing mix of modern and historic decor. It was a very good size for England; my partner and I could have stayed several nights and felt we had our own space. The design aspects of the room really appealed to us. The bathroom was very spacious with a giant shower. I've quickly listed below some things that - in totality - left a rather bad taste in my mouth:

1. Staff very friendly and helpful but a bit bumbling. Everyone went out of their way to help us but this wasn't a well-oiled machine. For example, we couldn't check in until 3 pm so we left our luggage at reception but when we arrived in the room, a bag was missing. Secondly, the reception was overly crowded in the morning and was still very crowded when we went back for our luggage later in the day - but it's a small space.

2. Some strange things in the room - only two tea bags in the tea and coffee. Also, no bath tub, even though the bathroom is huge with plenty of space. Why isn't there a tub? Odd.

3. Hotel nickel and dimes you for EVERYTHING: For example, when we checked in the receptionist asked if we wanted a newspaper in the morning but when I said "Yes", the receptionist said she would have to charge us for it (?!). Similarly, our room rate included breakfast but there was a surcharge of £4 for each of us to have the tray brought to the room.

4. Parking situation not ideal but manageable: it's £7.50 a day and about a 10 minute walk from the hotel. To the hotel's credit, they do have a system for refiling the meter, if you leave your keys with them overnight.

5. One of the reasons we chose this hotel was for the rooftop bar. We tried to have a drink at 9.30 PM on a Wednesday night, but as we were going up, we were told it was "too cold". If the rooftop isn't open when it's 57 degrees F and not raining at the end of September .... well, when could it be open, as this is pretty good weather in England???

6. The restaurant - Riverside Bar and Grill - has a lot of hype surrounding it, like the hotel. Our meal was fine, but we had to wait about 20 minutes for our table, even though I had made a reservation. The restaurant itself is very nice but the entrance is quite awful looking and needs work.

In conclusion, this is a clean, modern, friendly and very safe feeling hotel in a good location (central to Cambridge AND you can get a punt just a few steps from the hotel). I especially liked the decor with all the historic Cambridge touches which were interesting and clever but also aesthetically pleasing (for example, the wallpaper in our room had a pattern of traditional wind instruments along with a portrait of Henry V - which made a whimsical and interesting effect.) There are some nice touches, too, like being able to borrow a hair straightener....

But I don't think it's worth the London-feeling prices for what you get, especially when there is an overall lack of attention to detail in some areas plus all the extra charges - parking, newspaper, tray charge, etc. None of this is the end of the world of course but in totality it leaves behind a bad taste. It was really fun to stay here as a one off but for £205 a night, I would look for somewhere else the next time we're in Cambridge.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank JoyfulWandering
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 18 September 2012

Stayed here recenly just for one night but everything was superbe. Really accomodating staff and wonderful service.
We were lucky with the weather as it was a really sunny day, which made the view from the Roof Terrace spectacular.

I will be definitely going back

Room Tip: Ask for a room looking over the river
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  • Stayed August 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Brian H
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
Reviewed 18 September 2012

Yes, the beds were comfy (and big enough for a family of elephants to roll around on); yes, the shower was so large they could all have happily trumpeted through; and yes, our rooms ticked all the style boxes, and were a stone's throw from the river and the centre of Cambridge...

But the big "thank you" for this hotel goes to the quiet, unobtrusive service. From calling taxis, storing luggage, to arranging easily-accessible tables for our family's needs, to providing maps and directions - the staff were unflappable.

The last word has to be kept, though, for the views. A sunset drink on the rooftop bar, watching the sun dip over the trees and college rooftops below... if I ever throw my dream party, this is where it would be.

Room Tip: The higher your room, the better the view
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank nell b
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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