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“Made to feel really special”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Harlington, United Kingdom
1 review
“Made to feel really special”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

The whole experience at the Varsity for our wedding anniversary was excellent from arriving at the hotel and being greeted by the doorman, the valet parking, the excellent staff, the special touches in the room, the meal at the restaurant, the massge at the spa and the breakfast in bed on the day we checked out.

Would recommend this hotel to everyone.

  • Stayed May 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank DeanJohnson2014
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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2,223 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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English first
St Albans, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 June 2014

I spent two nights here in order to attend Graduation. First impressions of the backstreet entrance, tatty carpet and very small, dark reception area were not encouraging.I really thought my taxi had dropped me at the trades men's entrance!
Check-in staff were welcoming and efficient. The hotel suffers from being restricted in size which gives a claustrophobic feel. The single lift is small and well-used by all and sundry wanting to get to the roof terrace. Be prepared to wait or walk. The room was small but comfortable. Bath robes were provided but no slippers. There is no mini bar or magnifying mirror which is inconvenient. General fabric of the accommodation needs an update. There is an excellent staff/guest ratio and the position of the Hotel is ideal. I got the impression the Hotel thinks it is a lot ' posher' than it actually is.

Room Tip: I stayed for two nights at The Varsity Hotel and my first impressions were not favourable. When my t...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Christine B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
edinburgh
Level Contributor
36 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 June 2014

Our previous visits have been excellent but recent two day stay felt underwhelming. Due to graduation the hotel was packed which made the tiny reception and lift area seem less charming and more cramped. On the positive side the roof terrace is wonderful in summer although access is challenging. Dinner in the restaurant was good.
On a negative note breakfast is not a pleasure. Serving staff seem inexperienced requiring constant prompts to remove dishes, bring coffee etc. Despite an expensive bed and breakfast rate my husband was abruptly told that his first two choices from the cooked items on the menu weren't included in our rate. Very strange.
Despite booking six months in advance and requesting a larger corner room we were allocated a cramped standard room with few surfaces, one non opening window and a small double bed. A real lack of sockets.
Special mention to the charming and helpful doorman - could teach colleagues about 5 star service.
Location is ideal but an expensive option not reflected in level of luxury.

Room Tip: Corner rooms are bigger but a premium is charged. No advantage in early booking.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank EdinburghMrsd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
46 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 June 2014

Stayed just one night at this lovely lovely hotel. The staff were great, from the guy at the door who saw to our car, to the staff serving gins on the roof terrace. This is how service at hotels should be. The room was large, the bed very comfortable and it was clean and modern. It all worked, the freebies were nice and the roof terrace (although busy) was wonderful for a pre dinner drink. The breakfast was lovely with a view of early punters on the Cam. Great location added to a great impression all round and made our weekend in Cambridge.

Room Tip: We had a nice quiet room on the side away from the road, and the river, cool, shaded and very quiet
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Drnigel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
california
Level Contributor
20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2014 via mobile

I spent two nights here. Location is good on quiet street one block from Cambridge main shopping street and backing up to the river. Mid size room on fourth floor with windows on two walls overlooking treetops. Weird bathroom with tile floor but no separation from shower so water just spread. Hair dryer with one speed-cool.
Hotel has one tiny elevator which also serves guests to rooftop bar but bar restrooms are on first floor so there's lots of going up and down. Strange breakfast room location out the hotel door, through the spa and up the stairs. Hotel service was not very good.
Had just stayed in London where I thought I had a much better hotel for only a little more money, but I couldn't find much choice in central Cambridge.

Stayed June 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank rmfish
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2014

We chose this hotel as part of mini honeymoon and we couldn't have been happier. The location is excellent for exploring local shopping, restaurants and punting. However what made the break special was the wonderful service of all the staff at the hotel. Evertone went out of their way to help us and make the experience special.

The rooms were stunning and the roof top terrace excellent. Dinner at the adjoining hotel was excellent again with great service.

I would definitely recommend The Varsity to any couple wanting a romantic break in Cambridge.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Rav316
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 20 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 15 June 2014

I chose this hotel as part of a birthday celebration for my husband accompanied by dinner at Midsummer House. After finding the hotel in a narrow street we were greeted by a charming doorman. He gave us clear concise instructions re check in and valet parking and helped us into the hotel. [ a better fitting hat and jacket would definitely be deserved for such good service.] So far so good.
On walking into reception my initial impressions began to plummet. Such a cramped space and a receptionist who remained seated throughout her check-in procedures although they were completed efficiently and with courtesy and politeness. This space was too small for desks and not sure how it fitted in with the general feel of the hotel.
Next step our room. We were pointed in the direction of the lift via a cramped lift lobby and left to it. Nobody assisted with our bag which considering the cost of the room, £345, was a little unusual. The lift was used by staff to deliver food, drinks and maintenance items.The room was fine. I loved the large windows and balcony. Bathroom was fine too although the shower pressure was a little lacking. In the bedroom the bed was fine, iron and ironing board fine, hair dryer fine. But when drying your hair nowhere to rest the brush etc.,or place to put make-up bag by mirror when applying make-up. There is a distinct lack of accessible electrical sockets in the room. If you order room service for food where do you eat it? The room was quiet and unfortunately the balcony remained unused.
The roof top bar is an excellent facility, in fact an extra reason for me choosing this hotel, but oh dear lacking in so many essentials. There are plenty of staff but that does not mean swiftness of service. No napkins were given with the olives and nuts. The drinks are not especially expensive but several things were unavailable and on a Friday in high season that seemed odd. The bar is also popular with non residents so we could have visited without staying! However on a baking hot Friday with sunshine blazing and stunning views I wouldn't have missed it.
No matter the reasons, having to leave the hotel to have breakfast is bizarre. The service was shabby although I didn't find it unusual to pay for cooked options as so many other guests did. There was also no ambience in the breakfast room. At best it felt like eating in a bar. My husband felt it was like TGI which we would visit with our children!
Overall this hotel has so much going for it but tiny little things spoil it. There are clusters of staff everywhere, adding to the overcrowded feel in small spaces, although the service is not especially representative of such high numbers. My husband felt it was five star price for three star service.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank cuthbert15
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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