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“Great location, clean, nicely furnished, great breakfast & nearby parking”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Ottawa, Canada
Level 6 Contributor
131 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Great location, clean, nicely furnished, great breakfast & nearby parking”
Reviewed 1 October 2012

For tourists who want to be in central Cambridge but who are lumbered with a vehicle, this is a great venue. Parking is a short way up the hill, in a cheap long-stay car park. It's easy to off-load right at the hotel, and the park the car. The wonderful staff journeys up to the car park early each morning to buy another day's stay, saving guests the trouble.
The hotel has a very scenic location that backs onto the Cam near Magdalene Bridge, a very easy walk to St. John's, Trinity and King's Colleges.
Rooms are very nicely furnished, and very clean. My only compaint would be the lack of good lighting in the bathroom to put on makeup, or a ledge to hold all the cosmetics.
The full English breakfast, included in the rate, was wonderful - too big for me, so after the first day I ordered smaller portions.
The staff is unfailingly welcoming and helpful.
A WORD OF WARNING to drivers - our GPS made an error, trying to take us to the hotel from Jesus Lane, to the south of the hotel. This won't work because of the pedestrian precinct! Approach from the north, going south on Bridge Street and turning left onto Thompson's Lane.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Naomi R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
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  • Sleep Quality
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  • Cleanliness
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London, United Kingdom
Level 3 Contributor
22 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed 29 September 2012

The reference to South Beach is slightly tongue in cheek, but the vibe of the impeccably designed and executed roof terrace/bar on a sunny autumn day as you take in the spectacular views is just a bit reminiscent. This is an elegantly designed boutique hotel in the heart of Cambridge and the few drawbacks are vastly outnumbered by the benefits. On the downside, we were told on checking in that we'd been upgraded. I can only take it that this was simply a reference to our being on the 4th. floor with an attractive view as the room itself was pretty small (albeit well appointed), as was the shower-room (no bath). For this we paid £175 for a night, not cheap, but this included a really excellent breakfast - including the best scrambled eggs I've ever been served in a hotel - and the fact is British hotels are expensive. However, here ends the criticism. In every other respect I can only warmly recommend the Varsity. The staff were uniformly friendly, helpful and efficient and, although we didn't make use of it, the spa, through which you walk on the way to the restaurant, looked appealing - especially, the jacuzzi beneath a large circular window affording the slightly theatrical/surreal view of punts gliding past on the Cam. Difficult to fault the decor, furnishings and service. I'd be happy to return.

Room Tip: Ask for the largest room available in the price band and on the highest floor available.
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Service
Helpful?
Thank krichefski
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Palo Alto, California
1 review
Reviewed 26 September 2012

I spent six nights at the Varsity (I was attending a class in Cambridge) - two in the penthouse and four in one of the fellowes' suites. (I agreed to the high-end accomodations because the less expensive rooms were all booked up.) I came away feeling that the hotel, albeit very comfortable, clean, and well-appointed, is vastly over-priced. Perhaps part of this is due to the exchange rate between the British pound and the dollar. While the experience was overall quite enjoyable, there were some features I found disappointing: the desk staff, consisting of pleasant young women, would often drop the ball on requests. For instance, I informed one of them that I would be checking out three days early. This information was never put in the computer. In my second room, there was no decent reading light by the bed. My request for a normal light was graciously accepted in the morning, but not acted upon until I made a second request that night. While my breakfast tray arrived right on time, the coffee and the juice were often both room temperature. My cereal was often accompanied by ketchup and brown sauce, but no sugar. So, many little details need work. All in all, a pleasant, albeit expensive, hotel. The views from the upper floors of Cambridge are spectacular!

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
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    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank Mary C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rutland, England
Level 4 Contributor
40 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 29 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 September 2012

Brilliant location (if you can park - always a problem in Cambridge City Centre), and made all the more so by the best rooftop location in Cambridge. This large bar area makes for a fabulous spot with the sun setting over the City.

Oh, the British weather in the summer of 2012....dampens the whole experience.

Pricey, certainly, but for a splash-out it is special, and will be memorable!

  • Stayed June 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Marro
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cork, Ireland
Level 5 Contributor
95 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed 24 September 2012

An excellent hotel located close to the centre of Cambridge. Strongly recommend it, especially in Cambridge where the overall standard of accommodation is poor. Bedroom (a double) was spacious, modern, and very bright. Roof terrace for lunch was a treat. Breakfast is good, but with somewhat limited choice, eg they might consider offering pancakes or french toast.

Staff were all really friendly and helpful. But some attention is needed. For example the uniforms appear to be quite worn, and I noticed that the shoes of several staff in the restaurants were dirty. In addition, some attention regarding training may be in order, notably regarding the serving staff - eg bringing a bottle of water to the table but not bothering to open it for us, touching the coffee cup by the rim while giving a refill. Small things indeed, but for an expensive and high-standard hotel the standard for service must also be high.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
1 Thank ballinora4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level 3 Contributor
11 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
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
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
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Alastair M
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 Business Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Family 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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