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“Great location but patchy service”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
“Great location but patchy service”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 17 December 2013

I have stayed at this hotel I'm more than one occasion. The building is stylish and a perfect location for exploring Cambridge - it is also expensive. On my most recent visit I was unimpressed - a hotel bar on the roof that has run out of water (how can this happen?) and staff refusing to serve coffee to guests. Check out was chaos and I personally felt that it was inappropriate for staff to discuss a very expensive bill with a bride and groom in reception. Not great for the bride and groom to have to publicly discuss their bill in front of other guests the day after their wedding. Time for hotel management to ask if they are truly interested in high quality service delivery? I have had far better experiences in similar standard/price hotels across the UK. Style over substance in this instance. Varsity, your hotel looks cool but could do better.

Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
Helpful?
3 Thank Redcoachh
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,224 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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London
Level Contributor
72 reviews
59 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2013

Great location, close to the centre and near the colleges, but away from the hustle and bustle. We stayed in the penthouse which is expensive, but has stunning rooftop views from three sides. Slightly small and disappointing bathroom, but the service, facilities and location made this a five star

Room Tip: Penthouses have great views and a balcony; well worth it
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SmallWallah
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Sheffield, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
91 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 79 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2013

On our return visit we experienced very similar good service and standards (the restaurant although pricey is still good for meals and breakfast) although at the price charged they should be! Again, the location can not be faulted as all that Cambridge has to offer is on the doorstep.
However, once again my criticism relates to problems with the location of the room. This time a bank of about 6 air conditioning units were very loudly running at full blast throughout the night just below our (open) window (room 319) I hardly got any sleep, especially as the air con unit in the bedroom also rattled and had a loud hum as well! I reported this to the staff member at check out. To be fair my daughter stayed in room 315 and had no problems of this nature.
The reception area is a little cramped when more than a couple of parties are checking in or out and and privacy can be compromised a bit during transactions.
We took advantage of the valet parking this time at an extra cost, but it is a very convenient service when you take into account the parking problems (esp overnight) in Cambridge.
I am not a spa visitor so this aspect of the hotel (and therefore price) was completely wasted on me, perhaps a discount should be given if you don't use the facilities or maybe some sort of swap could be made, for example - a free parking but no spa facilities package?

Room Tip: Take ear plugs just in case!
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank goldfishnot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Angry Londoner
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 10 December 2013

I am surprised with the array of travellers photos that have appeared against this hotel as every single photo of a room that appears in them seems nicer than the room that was given to us so either we were given the crummiest room they had (despite being promised when I booked waaay in advance that we would be on the top floor) or else only people in the more expensive rooms take photos of them.

Meanwhile in other news:

The bathroom was really pokey

I was promised a little complimentary gift for my wife in our room as it was her birthday that WAS NOT in our room when we got there (nor was there a note about me requesting this on their system)

On asking about this we were then told a complimentary bottle of prosecco would be sent to our room whilst we were out.....which never materialised

They tried to charge me £18 for breakfast for 2 as I was checking out which I noticed and queried, telling them breakfast had been included in the price which they looked into and agreed and removed it from the bill...lucky I checked!!

The rooftop bar, one of the signature features of this hotel, was closed when we were there so we couldn't admire the view.

The room really wasn't up to standard for £275 or whatever it was I paid. I have stayed in a lot better rooms for less money.

On the plus side our bed was very comfy....

  • Stayed December 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank imnaffedoff
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
27 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 9 December 2013

I was treated to a week end here with my daughter. It was outstanding. Even the doorman was cheerful on a cold weekend! We had a fabulous meal in the restaurant on Friday night. The breakfast was more than I could eat!

Room Tip: Ask for the super deluxe
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  • Stayed November 2013, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Joyce C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Rio de Janeiro
Level Contributor
110 reviews
66 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 87 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 December 2013

This is a great choice for a short stay in Cambridge.
Very well located and easy walking through the center of town, full of shops and restaurants. The restaurant in the hotel is also very good and we enjoyed dinner the night we arrived and breakfast was full of selections and very pleasant.
The hotel offers a free guided tour around the city with a college professor which was very interesting. Staff was attentive and available at all guests needs.
Rooms are full of character and the canopy king size bed was luxurious!!
I would definitely recommend the Varsity Hotel for visiting Cambridge.

  • Stayed November 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank vsilva
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
251 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 109 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2013

Stayed at the Varsity on a Tuesday night with a work colleague. We had booked two Fellows King rooms which are one up from the basic room in the range of five room types. The rooms and the whole hotel were very clean modern and well fitted out. The bed was a UK Kingsize 5 foot bed and was very comfortable with crisp white linen. The bathroom had the usual amenities, all in as new condition with a rainfall shower over the bath. The bathroom floor was heated. There were top quality TV, radio alarm, iPod dock etc though I didn't use any of them. My only concern about the room was that there was a small window with frosted glass overlooking other buildings. The room photos on the website must be of a much more expensive room. No sign of aircon for the Summer. All the staff were extremely polite and efficient. The valet parking was the only sensible parking option and cost £18 per day, but was very efficient. The hotel has a room set aside as a lounge but no real bar. Next door is an excellent steakhouse restaurant for breakfast and dinner (see River Bar and Steakhouse) and also a spa and gym. I didn't use the gym this time but I did see a whole new set of Life Fitness machines delivered this morning. Sadly the roof terrace was out of bounds during the winter months, shame.

The hotel location is a very short walk from the centre of Cambridge with many pubs, restaurants, colleges and the river very nearby.

I paid £245 each for the room including continental breakfast.

Room Tip: Top quality hotel in a very central location. Great restaurant, spa, gym. No real bar or zircon...
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  • Stayed December 2013, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank EdB222
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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