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“Underwhelmed”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed 2 March 2014 via mobile

I'd not return to this hotel.
5 star is all about getting the detail right and this hotel doesn't.


The good things
1. Location
2. Nice decor
3. The bar staff
4. The view was nice from the room

The bad things
1. The room was too small for the price.
We paid £200 per night and got a tiny bed, a double, really? Is it the 1950's? In a modern new hotel? The room was so small width wise that we bashed our shins on the bed several times, there was room enough for a kingsize if better furniture had been chosen though so why put huge furniture and a small bed?

The bathroom was tiny, not enough room to hang the towels up, the spare toilet roll was put on the handle of the toilet brush, uck.

2. Breakfast was awful, charging extra for a cooked breakfast in a 5 star hotel? Good grief, get your act together, an earlier reviewer mention the Ryanair business model and I agree, the 'free' continental breakfast was 3 star, very limited choice, not great quality. Poor coffee, not leaving a pot on the table means that the staff should come and refill but no, too few staff to do that. Warm poor quality orange juice, oh but you could have freshly squeezed for an extra £3.50.
Awful.

3. Housekeeping.
It's normal to have trolley in the corridor so that the rooms can be cleaned but this hotel has foiled the trolley with linen and then the rest of the corridor with bags of other supplies, vacuum cleaners, crates etc, it looks a mess and is there for hours. A fire hazard and awful to look at. It's lazy, no one is paying attention to the detail or appears to know that a 5 star hotel should run smoothly without being noticed.

4. Reception.
Door man is only there part time and when he is he's not paying attention half the time.

The staff sit down at large desks but there are only two chairs in reception, not fit for purpose.
Reception staff are okay, not an awful lot of warmth or humour. They barely acknowledge you as you leave and arrive once checked in.

5. The roof terrace, from the website this is one of the highlights, but it is shut for the winter, it's still in the room guide though with a menu. Details.
As we were leaving we heard on of the front desk staff explain to a customer that they could go up but would be accompanied by Amber if staff, it would have been nice to have done that ourselves if we had known.

It's a shame about The Varsity, they've taken their eye off the ball, the staff should be retrained by someone who knows how a true 5 star should be run and the prices should reflect the room sizes.

The room was worth £100 a night, and that should have included a cooked breakfast.




Stayed: March 2014
4  Thank Brightredangel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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1,325 - 1,331 of 2,385 reviews

Reviewed 28 February 2014

We stayed for only one night last week. We had such a lovely time the location, room, spa and restaurant were all absolutely beautiful !!!!! We stayed in room 511 and it was gorgeous, breathtaking infact ! We walked in and just couldn't believe our eyes the views and bathroom were just exquisite !!!! Me and my Boyfriend will be back again sooner rather than later ( I hope, I'm already nagging to go back !) so if your reading this and thinking where shall we stay in cambridge ?? I 100% recommend The Varsity, you will not be disappointed !!!!

  • Stayed: February 2014
    • Value
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1  Thank Empy-impy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 28 February 2014

Had a graduates room in the hotel, awesome view and balcony, very comfortable room, well appointed, great bathroom. Brilliant location for central Cambridge, highly recommended.
Sadly due to work didn't get to use the spa, but looks ggo, thats the only reason I haven't rated it.

Room Tip: Ask nicely!
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled on business
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Thank bryan_lightbody
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 26 February 2014

I came here with the missus, to celebrate our anniversary. Wow did I pick the right spot. I live in cambridge, have done for a few years since moving here and this place is easily one of the best places to go. I only came to the top floor open area for drinks, but I could tell The Varsity has style. Well worth a visit. If you looking for somewhere to take the lady, then bring her here. She'll be swept off her feet!

  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank JamesEarnshaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2014

Had a brilliant time here, we decided to have a romantic break to celebrate our engagement. The hotel was just perfect. The staff were just brilliant. The food was great. Bed comfy & spacious room. loved looking round Cambridge at this time of the year. Weather was poor, lots of rain but managed to find cosy coffee shops.
Am looking forward to going back when the weather improves.
People all friendly.
We have recommended this hotel already to friends and hope to return later in the year.

Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
Thank John D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 23 February 2014

I stayed here with my friend a few weeks ago and we had a very comfortable stay. The outstanding aspect of the hotel was undoubtabley the staff who couldn’t have been more helpful and went out of their way on numerous occasions. It is well located for Cambridge centre - an easy walk or cheap taxi ride from everything. Our room was a good size with a large balcony (a senior fellows super king room) with plenty of storage and a decent sized bathroom. As girls a few extras like shower caps with the bathroom kits and hot chocolate as well as coffee would have been nice but the comfy bed and design of the room made up for this. Rather than have breakfast in the restaurant we had it brought to the room which was very efficient and looked beautiful however the cooked breakfast was quite dry - maybe they could offer beans to combat this? Also - Im sure this is a problem many hotels are now facing - the iPod docks do not fit the latest couple of models which was a shame. The hotel itself is beautifully furnished but as the reception is quite small and the overall layout not very simple it felt a little disjointed. For example the lounge area on the first floor didn’t appear to get much use as you had to know where it was and want to sit alone in it. As there are no mini bars in the rooms there is a large fridge in the lounge and a telephone to call for assistance (rather than an honesty bar). The spa is located adjacent to the hotel (so you get changed there) and due to the opening hours we were unable to make use of it (on weekends it closes early at 6.30 and doesn’t open in the morning until 9am). Overall we had a lovely time at the Varsity and it is by a long way the most modern and welcoming hotel in Cambridge and if I couldn’t stay here I wouldn’t come to the city at all! I look forward to returning...

Room Tip: Go for a good as you can afford - if its nice weather go for one with a balcony for sure
  • Stayed: February 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Thank PopiB
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 21 February 2014

We enjoyed our stay at Varsity hotel. The room was fine for our needs, nice personal wall paper and very comfy bed. We particularly liked to have a chance to use the gym and steam room next door. The breakfast was good quality but only continental, cooked breakfast was not included in the price. The location was very central and convenient. We unfortunately did not see the rooftop bar as it was January and raining. But Cambridge was charming nonetheless.

  • Stayed: January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
2  Thank satusilvia
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

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: £137 - £372 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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