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“Ideal location”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Kimbolton, United Kingdom
Level 4 Contributor
27 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“Ideal location”
Reviewed 21 April 2014 via mobile

The hotel in essence is very good, staff were great etc etc, it just has an odd setup.

The room (Superior) was very good indeed with a decent size bathroom, with roll top bath and separate shower cubicle. Strange when you consider the lady who has recently reviewed the suite - without separate shower.

Going back to the rest of the hotel. The Roof Terrace was not open, i think they were missing a trick, considering the recent good weather.

There is no bar! You have to use the hotel restaurant which is around the corner, personally I think you're better off to use one of the many local bars, if you wish to have a drink.

We didn't try the restaurant as it is heavily weighted to steak, which is fine, if you fancy it.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank John W
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
  • Rooms
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  • Value
  • Cleanliness
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (573)
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Leeds, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
539 reviews
119 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 318 helpful votes
Reviewed 20 April 2014

We stayed in one of the Masters Penthouse suites, which afford stunning views of the city of Cambridge, with floor to ceiling windows on three sides of the suite, it is situated on a corner. The suite is arranged in a totally bonkers way, which has not made best use of the massive floor space available.My major gripe is that for a large suite "costing a lot" the bathroom is "tiny" there is a shower over the bath and one small wash basin and toilet and that is it?? The shower has a pretty pathetic flow rate too.There is ample floor space for a stunning huge double ended bath to utilise the views in the master bedroom area, why not??and there is room to extend the bathroom into the lounge area to accommodate a separate shower. Then there is a large deckchair in the bedroom, which is useless to sit on very uncomfortable, a sofa to lounge on and then in the lounge area, another sofa to sit on?In the lounge area is a fridge, computer, another massive TV, Tea and coffee makings and an exercise bike?? what is that all about? There is no where for a girl to sit and do her hair , make up etc ie no dressing table, yet masses of useless stuff and space. The suite is so badly designed that behind the fridge is a mass of plugs, plugged into an extension cable, one socket of which you need to use the hair-dryer because the only useable mirrors to blow dry your hair are either standing in the hallway or in front of the tea and coffee machine.
Be warned the huge four poster bed is fitted with a very firm mattress, the worst nights sleep in a suite I have ever had, felt like sleeping on concrete.
There is some lovely outdoor terracing in front of the suite, but it is not private, as you are overlooked by the roof top terrace bar and barbecue, slightly disconcerting, as no privacy, whilst outside on your terrace.
I also found service to be really slow, I had to ask for my luggage to be brought up twice and it took a while and later I asked for Champagne glasses and ice, which took so long I cancelled the request.
I mentioned my problem with the mattress on checkout, but it was brushed aside, as that is the way the mattresses are.
Such a shame really, held such promise but failed to hit the mark.

Room Tip: Penthouses have stunning views, but are expensive and badly designed.
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  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LADYRAWDON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level 6 Contributor
471 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 162 helpful votes
Reviewed 16 April 2014

Smack bang in the centre of Cambridge. On arrival we just gave them the keys to the car and it was dealt with. A fairly modern comfortable hotel, it was quiet and we had a good nights sleep in a comfy bed. We were having dinner across the park, just a 15 minute walk but before setting off decided to have a pre-dinner drink on the rooftop of the hotel. What a delightful spot, the sun was out and the view across either the city or the park is excellent. Quite expensive nibbles but enoyed the olives none the less. There was always lots of staff around, opening the front door and in reception and nothing was any trouble. On a saturday afternoon they offer a complementary guided walk at 2pm. We were the only two so we had a great 1hr private tour. Why no one else wanted to go I don't understand. Breakfast is next door, easy to get to, a decent buffet and hot food which you can order (which we didn't) in nice surroundings. A small hotel, quite a homely feeling even though modern and very good staff. Certainly where I will stay next time in Cambridge. Wifi in the room free (as I expect) and works. The only negative is a surcharge for using Amex, but they warned me so I gave them a different card.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mike C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 10 April 2014

From the minute we arrived at the hotel we were greeted by friendly staff who welcomed us. During our 2 night stay, the staff did their utmost to make us feel comfortable and added lots of nice little gestures to make our stay special. All of the staff were great from the hotel to the spa to the restaurant, all of them offered an impressive customer service. The superior room we stayed in was amazing, great size and comfortable and clean. The rooms are pricey but the location and layout of them along with the great staff makes the stay worth it. We thoroughly enjoyed Cambridge and the hotel, spa, and river bar restaurant combination was simply sublime. We can't wait to visit again this summer to check out the roof top bar and spend more time in this lovely place.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank V T
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Uckfield, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed 9 April 2014

I booked one night here to explore Cambridge with my family before my son goes to Anglia Ruskin in September. I usually stick to chain hotels but decided to be adventurous and I really couldn't fault the place. Yes the cost was a bit more than I'm used to, but looking at other hotel prices Cambridge isn't cheap, especially if you wan't a good location. And what a great location, overlooking the river, restaurants and pubs just around the corner. We made use of the valet parking which was only a couple of quid more than the public car park which was two minutes walk away but a convoluted drive. Our rooms were superior doubles on the third floor, both individual in that one had a roll top bath in the bathroom, the other had two showers and underfloor heating. I had the biggest, comfiest bed ever! There was some noise in the early hours from binmen emptying a bottle bin but it was only once and it didn't bother me. Breakfast was served in the restaurant accessed around the corner from the hotel. The bowler hatted doorman escorted us there personally! Adequate selection for our needs and good quality hot food. There were plenty of staff to assist with queries (I agree with a previous review that there were sometimes too many in the small reception area, but they were all friendly and approachable).
We were unable to use the rooftop terrace bar due to it being out of season (weekends only at this time of year), but we were offered a visit to the terrace to look at the view if we wished.
Whilst waiting for our car to be brought to us after check-out we accessed the lounge on the first floor. This was the only downside; the hot water put out for tea/coffe had gone cold. I'm sure this would have been quickly dealy with should we have pursued it, but we only had a ten minute wait so we didn't bother.
We didn't use the spa so can't comment....maybe next time!
All in all a lovely stay and I would definately return.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank BobnMags
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Mendon, Vermont
Level 6 Contributor
193 reviews
47 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 April 2014

I booked a Masters Suite for 450 GBP per night. The room was nice (as it should be at that price) with floor to ceiling windows providing excellent views of Cambridge. Similarly, the bed was very comfortable and the bathroom was very modern. Most of the staff were friendly and helpful. Also, the hotel is conveniently located close to the center of Cambridge. Those were the pros of the stay.

Now for the cons: (1) it's not that easy to find by car - having said that, a quick call to the reception put me on the correct course after being led astray by the GPS; (2) although the hotel accepts AMEX, it informs you at check-in that they charge guests an extra 2.5% surcharge for using AMEX. A hotel that holds itself out as a luxury boutique hotel should not say that it accepts Amex on its website and then impose a penalty for doing so. This left an extremely "bad taste in my mouth" at checkout. Frankly, the Amex surcharge imposed by the hotel is tacky at best. It's also penny wise and pound foolish since, although the charge was only 12 GBP, I do not intend to stay at the Varsity on my next visit to Cambridge as a result. Amex users tend to be very loyal to their card - it's just a matter of principle.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank flabrit
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dover, United Kingdom
Level 1 Contributor
4 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed 8 April 2014

After little to no sleep on our first night due to noise coming from an air conditioning unit (that wasn't used at any point during our stay), the problem wasn't fixed. The second night of our stay was worse. Whilst around half of the second night's stay was refunded, we felt this wasn't enough, especially from a hotel that declares itself the best in the city.The room was smaller than anticipated for a premium, as well as a little tatty around the edges. The weekend doorman particularly unpleasant, though the weekday doorman was extremely helpful and polite, as were most of the staff.

  • Stayed April 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Eric S
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 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#1 Luxury 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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