A hotel just over 15 minutes walk from Cambridge Rail Station and on the edge of the city centre. It backs onto a large green open space and is close to all the colleges, good restaurants and so on. In short it is in an excellent location.
The front entrance on Regents Street could be mistaken for a low rise 70's car park and so it is a pleasant surprise to discover a much grander interior reflecting the earlier original building which runs on through to the back of the hotel. With big red leather seats, ornate ceilings and dark polished wood, it has the feel of an old fashioned hotel or gentle men's club.
However just like so many old hotels and clubs, it appears to have struggled to keep up with the times. My room was in the front modern extension on the 3rd/top floor. It was accessed by a slow lift with walls that had been carpeted to match the upstairs corridors.
The room was dark and the decor tired. Coffee and tea making facilities were provided but that utilised the only obviously available spare socket unless either the TV or Freeview receiver was unplugged. So charging up the laptop and phone was an unhelpful irritation.
The bathroom was clean with quality soaps and shampoos and the shower effective albeit old. The toilet was positioned side on at the end of the bathroom and flush to the lower wall. It was physically impossible to sit on it straight without having to keep the right leg raised in the air; fine for a small cheap quirky B&B but surely not for a hotel charging in excess of £100 per night.
The bed was very comfortable but even after a long day at the office, not enough to prevent me being woken almost hourly by raucous shouting and chatting from groups hanging around the neighbouring Pizza Hut and open space. I was there for two nights and was woken intermittently through to 4am on both days. Granted the hotel cannot control what happens in public spaces but they could fit some better sound proofed windows.
Breakfast was included and was taken in a fantastic big old ballroom overlooking the open space. The tables are set up in regimented rows but nevertheless it is a great room with a better than average view. A fairly standard buffet of juices, cereals and breakfast baked items was on offer. Toast was on a cook yourself rotisserie. Coffee came after 15 minutes with no milk and the porridge I ordered followed a further 10 minutes after- nice but nicer had it been hotter than Luke warm. I did not venture to ordering cooked fair but fellow work colleagues also staying advise me that the kippers were suspiciously like boil in the bag products found in supermarkets but the poached eggs were OK.
Perhaps the most damning thing however was when telling locals where I was staying, the uniform response was ' Oh. Why?'
I feel sorry for the staff because all of them tried their best to deliver a good service. However when the core product is so tired there is a limit to what they can hope to archieve.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- In the heart of medieval Cambridge, set back from the hustle and bustle of the town and bathed in green lawn lies this rather special historic hotel. It’s an education in quirky British charm and is famous for its hospitality, not to mention its guests over the years from the Beatles to the Krays. Luxurious rooms full of character await, spiral staircases and of course all of Cambridge’s attractions right on your marble doorstep. Take a punt on University Arms and you won’t be disappointed. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Hotel De Vere University Arms