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“Fab hotel”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
125 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 69 helpful votes
“Fab hotel”
Reviewed 6 July 2014 via mobile

Stayed here one night as were dining in nearby midsummer house.

Loved the hotel, arrived in time for the free walking tour which was v interesting. Had a drink on the roof terrace which had great views and nice atmosphere in afternoon.

Staff throughout hotel were excellent having read some of the other reviews i was worried we might not think it was value for money but this was not case at all. Room was a good size, breakfast was good (it should include the cooked options though really) and valet parking is nice touch.

It wasnt clear on website if spa actually had jacuzzi and steam room etc but it does. Had booked a massage in advance which was v good. Nice touch that free appointments were advertised in lift.

Would definitely stay here again and highly recommend.

Stayed July 2014
Helpful?
1 Thank nicola g
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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Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (567)
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English first
Norwich, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
Reviewed 6 July 2014

This is the fourth hotel I have stayed in in Cambridge and my view is certainly that it is the best one so far. It is expensive; we viewed having a night there as a bit of a treat but felt it was worth the money. Our room on the second floor was really big, with a superking bed and a huge bathroom with an enormous shower and a claw-footed bath. Lots of sockets in the bed room so I didn't have to hunt around to plug my phone in to charge and lots of space in the full-length wardrobe which contained a mini-safe as well as an ironing board and iron. Tea and coffee making facilities were above average with a tea-pot and cafetiere as well as ground coffee. Fresh milk and cookies could be obtained from reception. There is also a room on the first floor where guests can make tea and coffee throughout the day with comfortable seats, newspapers and board games. The bed was really comfortable and everything in the room was good quality and condition.
Continental breakfast was included with the room and there was a very good choice - lovely Brie and some excellent ham as well as a wide choice of cereals and pastries etc. Hot choices were available for very reasonable supplements. Get there early to get a table overlooking the river.
There is no car park but the valet parking was efficient and convenient.
We didn't use the spa although it is available free to guests.
We did use the roof terrace - a lovely place for a relaxing drink with amazing views.
All of the staff were brilliant, very helpful and welcoming.
The only issues for me were quite minor. There was not a shower cap in the bathroom, which did surprise me and the lighting in the room was not great. I struggled to find a well-lit mirror to use for my make-up; there is one in the bathroom with its own light but, because I am short and short-sighted, I could not get close enough to the mirror as it was above a very large sink. We were woken at 6am by bottles being emptied into a skip by the sound of it - it might be worth asking for a room on a high floor.
All in all though, I was impressed. I would stay at the hotel again in a heartbeat and am planning to have a spa day there as soon as I can.

Room Tip: Ask for a high floor to be above the inevitable city noise.
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  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
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1 Thank janeatthepark
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Colchester, United Kingdom
2 reviews
Reviewed 5 July 2014 via mobile

Would definitely recommend, roof top bar was amazing, a little pricey but to be expected!! Staff we're really helpful!!! Rooms we're very up to date and clean! We ate the restaurant next door too, would highly recommend!!

  • Stayed July 2014
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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Helpful?
Thank RachelAlfiecraig1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, UK
Level Contributor
123 reviews
40 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 84 helpful votes
Reviewed 3 July 2014

I don't like writing negative reviews as I hope my history shows. I want to be fair. The staff at this hotel were excellent - from reception, to breakfast to the roof top bar, all of them did their best with a smile on their faces - I can forgive a lot due to this. The hotel location is very good - we found it easily. The valet parking worked well although we had a minor accident ourselves outside of the hotel - this was a combination of our own fault and the difficult access to the hotel. BUT.....the hotel itself simply is not worth the money.

The hotel is an awkward design and cramped. There is no real bar in the hotel. We paid £285 for one night - the first room was just too small for that money and I asked for another. I was moved to a larger room but this room (which I admit I accepted - the hotel was full) not only had no view "over the bins" but had frosted glass as a result. The hotel was spotlessly clean but I would put it at "Sofitel" standard but at twice the price. I cannot recommend this hotel because of the cost/value ratio. If it had cost £200 per night maybe - but it didn't. Also I was not impressed that the breakfast included in the price is a continental breakfast - if you want the hot options you have to pay extra - very mean given the price paid. I'm afraid I was left with the impression that this hotel is all about maximizing what it can wring out of the guest. Maybe this works because of the nature of Cambridge and its passing trade. Sorry.

Room Tip: I was told that the better rooms are allocated on a "first come first served" basis - fair...
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled as a couple
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Helpful?
5 Thank Reluctant_Traveller2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Norwich, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 2 July 2014

Our friends stayed at this hotel and recommended it to us.We were not disappointed , the service was exceptional and the location on the river superb.
Our room was a standard double which was on the third floor, it did not have the views but was more than adequate.The bathroom was well laid out with Elemis products and nice fluffy towels.
We went to the roof terrace for drinks before heading out to dinner , the view was spectacular , worth staying at the hotel for this alone.
We did not use the spa or gym.Breakfast staff again were polite and friendly and selection of food substantial.Great hotel in a great location.

  • Stayed July 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank sharpedward
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Wombourne
Level Contributor
13 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 13 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

Hi - I recently booked two rooms for two nights. First, let me say the good things about the hotel:
1. The roof bar is a lovely place to sit in the evening, although for daytime in the summer the lack of shade can prove to be an issue. Residents have sitting preference and staff sorted that well.
2. The hotel location is excellent, being right on the river near to Colleges.
3. The staff, on the whole were helpful.
4. The room was clean.
Now the downside:
1. The standard double rooms vary in size and quality (from unacceptably small to adequate). From my perspective, ours was too small to be called a double in the modern sense of the word. True there was a double bed in the room, but this meant that there was no room for a second chair? Was the hotel built by 1970s housing estate planners? With two people sharing I think that this is not good. At this price, no fridge in the room (for which there would not have been room anyway - the hotel claim that this is part of their green agenda, but so could a 'green' fridge! All clever people can always justify their inadequacies). Our room did have a shower, but no bath. If this was a budget price hotel (do they do budget in Cambridge?) there would have been some excuse.
2. Getting to the front hotel entrance by car is not easy. You cannot approach from the south because of the Cambridge one way system.
3. The portering service when you have to unpack in the street is absolutely dreadful. No-one to help, no trollies, a doorman that literally holds the door open. When you do get into the hotel, there is only one very small lift. As you can imagine, this is in constant use, making moving baggage less than easy. As this is your first real experience of the hotel it does not set a good precedent.
4. Breakfast is out of the hotel in thorugh the spa next door and out of the other side up some stairs round a corner. Couldn't work out how movement impaired people would manage this. Luckily I am fit and able.
5. At this price, a cooked breakfast should be included in the nightly rate. It was extra.
6. The air conditioning in the room did not work adequately. We asked for this to be repaired. It was not done.
7. The window was adequately sound proofed. We were at the side of the hotel and the bar on the main street empties all of their bottles at 2 in the morning, with the banter that accompanies this. We may have been asleep before this happens......
Overall, would I stay there again - no.

Room Tip: Do not pay for the basic room. If you cannot afford more than the basic room stay elsewhere.
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  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
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Helpful?
4 Thank WonbourneEater
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
london
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed 1 July 2014

This is without doubt the most overpriced hotel I have ever stayed in. First impressions were of a small, cramped reception with generally disinterested staff. The only 'luxury' item is the price. I stay in Cambridge often as my daughter is a student there. As this was graduation weekend we decided to spoil ourselves and stay at The Varsity. The best thing about the hotel is it's position in the heart of Cambridge but with no car park and £20 extra for them to park your car it wasn't worth the £275 we paid for a basic room with a view of a wall. At these prices parking should be free. Don't be seduced by the location. I wish we had stayed at the much more affordable and excellent Felix...a little further out but with a car park. On the plus side our room was a good size but there was no mini bar and the toiletries in the bathroom were basic and didn't reflect the price.
The staff looked generally bored and were inefficient. They managed to give the wrong information to a taxi they booked on our behalf which meant we arrived at a restaurant 40 minutes late. Unbelievably the hotel restaurant where we had breakfast is in a separate building. Nobody offered to show us the way, We were told it was 'around the corner' but the building we entered turned out to be the spa. When we eventually found it the entrance was tatty and with no one to greet us we ended up in the kitchen by mistake. I'm only glad it wasn't raining or the middle of winter.
The roof top bar has lovely views Cambridge but its not necessary to stay at the hotel to enjoy this so stay elsewhere and enjoy the best feature of The Varsity for free.

  • Stayed June 2014, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank viv_acious01
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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