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“Ideal location, great views and staff who cannot do enough to help ....”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Welwyn Garden City, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
“Ideal location, great views and staff who cannot do enough to help ....”
Reviewed 27 February 2011

We arrived around 5pm for our 21 year anniversary weekend in Cambridge to be told that our room has been refurbished but not to worry they would upgrade us to one of the larger suites. This was a classy gesture. The room was fantastic and views from balcony spectacular. Car parking was no problem, a few mins walk away in the Castle car park - only £3 and free all day Sunday. My wife waited in the lounge which had a good selection of drinks and magazines.

The staff on sat evening were very accomodating and sunday extremely helpful and friendly. Could not fault any of them - 10 out of 10.

Breakfast was buffet style and everything you could need sat alongside the river. Getting to the breakfast room was a bit weird through the spa entrance but it was not a problem once we knew the way.

We were so close the city that we spent all our time out eating, shopping or at the cool Picturehouse cinema and forgot to even try the hotel Spa. Maybe next time ..... will definitely return if we can get a room !

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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Helpful?
Thank BenjDitoSmith
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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English first
High Wycombe, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 27 February 2011

I was really impressed with this hotel, from the moment we arrived the staff made us feel welcome and the room was lovely. Would recommend a meal in the restaurant too, the food was delicious. Would definitely stay again.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Jayne033
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cambridgeshire, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
75 reviews
38 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2011

Please note we did not stay at the hotel but had hoped to visit the hotel for a drink and something to eat having read many good things about the hotel on Trip Advisor and I thought it might have been a nice place to have a meal and to stay on another occasion.

The approach to the hotel is down a narrow side street with some attractive period buildings. The hotel by contrast is an ugly modern block (in my opinion) that looks out of keeping with its surroundings and looks like a block of flats rather than a hotel and reminded me of so many of the modern soulless buildings that Cambridge has in abundance. The hotel appeared to be doing some work and the pathway at the side of the hotel had been dug up. The front was very plain and quite scruffy looking with not even a place to pull up in a car.

We entered through a very unpredisposing entrance and went down a corridor to the Reception. I approached the gentleman on Reception and asked where we went for a drink. We were told that the hotel does not have a Bar and that the Lounge was for Resident's only. This seemed strange as the website makes no mention of this and indeed refers to the River Bar Steakhouse and Grill and nowhere on their website could I find reference to the hotel being for Resident's only.

Even so, it would have been nice to perhaps have been offered a small tour of the hotel and I am sure the hotel could have run to a cup of tea! Surely, this would have been a nice way to promote the hotel as it is hardly going to get a lot of passing traffic being where it is.

We found the entire experience very disappointing and thought the hotel - what little we saw of it - had a very strange and unwelcoming atmosphere with staff just hanging around.

Oh dear if this is the best Cambridge has to offer then I think we best avoid Cambridge altogether.

We will not be going back.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Location
    • Service
Helpful?
10 Thank Piers G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
80 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
Reviewed 27 February 2011

Stayed here for one night this weekend, visiting a student studying at Cambridge like many others. Lovely clean, spacious room and en suite. Unusual to have clear glass in your bathroom window, but takes seconds to roll down the blind if you think you are overlooked. The full English breakfast used good quality sausages, which can often be the downfall of a good breakfast and was served hot. Our coffee cups were refilled regularly by friendly, relaxed but very professional staff. A very enjoyable evening spent in modern, comfortable surroundings.

  • Stayed February 2011
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Wintersportsfan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed 26 February 2011

We were looking for somewhere central and a little bit special for a short break and certainly found it. This really is a boutique hotel in the very best sense.

Greeted by really friendly and helpful staff who gave us excellent advice on parking as Cambridge can be expensive.

The room really was stunning. We were lucky enough to stay in the master suite which has floor to ceiling panoramic views of the city and a large decked area outside (was a little too cold to make proper use of!) Lovely styling and all the things you'd expect plus a few more; complimentary DVDs, illy coffee machine, 2 televisions and a vintage telescope for the views! Bathroom was also lovely.

Breakfast was served in a light and airy room with views of the river. The reception area was not massive, but there was a lounge on the 2nd floor which we didn't investigate as we didn't want to leave the room!

Really great find in the perfect location. Can't recommned enough.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank TravelLouLondon
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed 23 February 2011

Well where do i start about my stay. how about, it was extraordinary!
the rooms that we stayed in were great. one was quite large with a king sized bed, massive glass window with a spectacular view of the canal and over-looking the colleges. it is very nicely furnished and designed. even the corridors of the hotel seemed like an art gallery. moreover a spacious gym and relaxing spa which gives a calm atmosphere to the place.
i received very good hospitality from the staff. they were very welcoming and helpful. including room service,
the restaurant was very artistically designed with the blend of old and new. it was a complete menu including a variety of different foods to everyones taste.
with a request we were able to have a peek at the penthouses and roof terrace with an amazing view of the city. it came to our knowledge that the roof terrace is going to become a cafe and sandwich bar in coming spring.
the location was fab. located in the heart of cambridge and walking distance from all the famous colleges and sites.
on a whole i would definitely recommend the Varsity Hotel because it is a package of excellent service, beautifully designed rooms and a stunning location. i personally am going to return in the summer.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled with family
    • Location
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Helpful?
Thank Saj34
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bishkek
1 review
Reviewed 22 February 2011

Sometimes a stopover turns out to be better than the final destinations, sometimes you wish it had been the destination; the Varsity Hotel in Cambridge is such a place.

After 3 days of traveling and probably looking and feeling like it's actually been a week, this is the place where you drag your weary broken body through the door; finally lay to rest your North Face bag which in the last 72 hours has doubled certainly as a bed, mostly a millstone, occasionally a bag and once or twice through sleep-deprived hallucinations - a travel companion and after all that they 'have a cancellation and have upgraded you to the penthouse suite' - I could have broke down and hugged the woman!

Their friendly and professional approach is vastly different to the usual 'upselling' in many hotels I've stayed in. My guess is that all sorts come through Cambridge and the staff at the Varsity are pretty good at assessing who would enjoy a spa treatment, who would like to take their prodigious son/daughter out for a meal and who, like me want nothing more than to hit the sack and get a decent breakfast.

My millstone was quickly despatched to the suite which to be fair was bigger than many apartments I've had and had all of the independent hotel 'touches' that stand out from corporate hotels.

The room and the views were something else and given the short 24 hour stopover - Backberry got charged, iPod found it was compatible with the in-house music system, Mac picked up the wireless and the min-bar got emptied.

Even jet-lag turned out better than expected - woke to the sun coming up over Cambridge and perfectly framed by the rooftop views of Cambridge colleges and the river that runs through. Through floor to ceiling windows or from the full length balcony it was a idyllic stopover.

I was first in for breakfast at the River Bar and as I stood unashamedly puffing on a morning Marlboro outside I was taken aback how many people were heading for the spa or spin class, or other cruel and unusual activities.

The breakfast was beautifully presented, the staff friendly and courteous and given the conversation between a fellow guest and clearly a rather well-informed waiter about the latest 'Marriage of Figaro' adaptation by the University operatic society I hazarded a guess a couple of poached eggs would be quite within his skill-set.

They were and that is true of all of the staff I encountered at this hotel. Friendly; courteous; efficient and above all great people-skills. Couple that with an amazing facility and a position to match you get a great hotel.

I wish I had stayed longer - but no doubt it will be around for a while yet - perfectly nestled within old Cambridge - the stopover you dream about.

  • Stayed February 2011, travelled on business
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank roadlesstravelled35
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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