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“Take ear plugs - actually don't worry, they supply them in reception” 1 of 5 bubbles
Review of University Arms Cambridge

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University Arms Cambridge
Ranked #30 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Southend-on-Sea, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
100 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 71 helpful votes
“Take ear plugs - actually don't worry, they supply them in reception”
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 5 October 2013

We were staying here with two sets of friends to attend a function and had booked for two nights. The Hotel is located just a few minutes walk from zillions of restaurants, the main shopping area and the colleges. Sadly that is the only shining light!
The food is ok. Not fantastic, just ok. We had a pre-arranged meal on the Friday night and although the starter and dessert were quite nice, the main course looked like it had been 'keeping warm' for a good hour. The veg were crinkly and crispy and dried out and what was supposed to be a wine jus for our chicken breast tasted like bovril or at best a stock cube. We ordered two bottles of wine which arrived at our table just as we finished the last mouthful of our main course! Not Good.
The one thing I can almost guarantee about this hotel is that you WILL NOT get a peaceful nights sleep. I can honestly say that I have never ever stayed in a noisier hotel room than here, and that includes some located at airports. The hotel sits aside a public park and this also appears to be the main thoroughfare for the 1000's of late night revellers. There was a constant noise all evening but this really peaked around 3am when most of the towns nightclubs and bars started to close. I say started because this stream of shouting, swearing, urinating mob, continued to stream past our room window until 4:40.
We did of course complain to the management but all they could do was to offer to call the police. We asked to be moved but following a fire at the hotel earlier in the week they had fewer rooms available so this was not possible. However, they did offer ear plugs. Looking over other reviews on this hotel, I see this is a common problem.
If you need any sleep at all, this is NOT for you. It certainly isn't for me ever again even if they offered me a free week.

As I write this, all I can think about (with dread) is the lack of sleep I know I will have tonight (Saturday).

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank dumbo56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Manager at University Arms Cambridge, responded to this review, 17 October 2013
Dear Dumbo56,

Thank you for taking the time to post your review, despite your lack of sleep on the morning of the 5th.

You have been incredibly frank if not a little sarcastic in your review, so you wouldn’t at all take offence if I reply in the same way.

Your function for 40 people was booked as a private banquet; this information did not appear to be relayed to the people dining as it appeared to be made up of numerous smaller groups which I assume you were apart of.

The times for sitting and the food arriving did not match any information that we had. You infer that our service delivery was slow and that your wine took a long time to arrive. Well, I feel the need to point out respectively that should numerous smaller groups opt for arriving at different times and your event organiser instructs us to keep to the pre arranged serving times then this is exactly what we will do. I also feel the need to point out the difference between a banquet and a restaurant, but I don’t want to risk sounding obtuse.

You also made the sarcastic jibe in relation to having to wait too long for your wine. I am grateful to state that during a banquet, wines are ordinarily pre ordered and this is the information that we had before hand and that no wine orders would be taken at the tables. This would appear to be confusing between you and your booker. Nevertheless, we always oblige and always help to serve. So please forgive it taking a little over 10 minutes for us to serve the bottle of wine from our cellar to your function room. You also make an inference that our main course looked like it was kept warm for over an hour. I find such statement ludicrous and maybe even mildly offensive.

I also note your sarcastic remarks in relation to on street noise; well I must point out our city centre location and being over graduation, this is something to be expected.

I note that you neglect to mention that my teams in an effort to help you when it became clear we could not move your bedroom on the second night, due to in no small part to having our room inventory severely limited due to the recent fire. My team offered to book you in alternative accommodation and adsorb the additional cost involved! But it become clear all you wanted is your room rate discount, this was agreed with my Front of House Manager. It is interesting that once again you have neglected to mention it.

I would like to suggest that your review was written in sarcasm and spite. At no point do I feel that you have chosen to write a fair and balanced report of your experiences here at the University Arms.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish you the very best of luck with your reviews in the future. It is my sincerest wish you become more practiced, offering a more balanced and helpful critique for your fellow travellers in keeping of the spirit of Tripadvisor.


Matthew
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914 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    3 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    3.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (240)
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English first
British Columbia, Canada
Level Contributor
452 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 191 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 3 October 2013 via mobile

It was quite the place when I was an undergrad and behind the new facade there is found the remains of the day... grand ballroom, gentle mans club feel in the bar, ancient lift, and also ancient plumbing in the bathrooms. I had a soak in the tub on arrival after a transatlantic flight because I couldn't get the shower to work. It seems neither could the maintenance guy who came in the morning. The more I looked the more like Faulty Towers. I half expected Manuel to appear! but he didn't and neither did I see a Bell man to assist with luggage. It was a tortuous route to our room too. We overlooked the green where a Fair Ground was being set up for week end festivities. Looking up from the bed we saw the wall paper peeling off the ceiling and from the on everything looked worse the more we looked. I am glad to read they are undertaking a refurbishment soon. It's location is its best attribute even though you have to be careful how you approach the entrance. Our sat nav took us down a nearby dead end street which was somewhat problematic.
We had booked on line through top secret hotels and the star ratings definitely were misleading. I am glad not to have paid full price. I rarely mark down a place but can't give this a higher rating this time.
The staff we met had limited English. Service was slow in the bar, and confusion existed in the restaurant with the servers having a different specials list than the chef. What we eventually were presented with was a fried pork chop over boiled rice. Not what we would have ordered or wanted to eat. We didn't stay the second night, just cut our losses and went to a college guest room which happily had been re-decorated since our days there. Let's hope this grand old hotel makes a come back soon.

Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank palmpirate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Manager at University Arms Cambridge, responded to this review, 16 October 2013
Dear PalmPirate,

Thank you for taking the time to post your recent review, I am sorry to learn that you experienced difficulties with the shower and I am pleased to see our maintenance team was responsive.

With relation with your comments to overall room décor, it is true that some areas of our room inventory require updating and as you quite rightly point out these plans are well underway. More-over we feel that the above is reflective of the room tariffs we charge and our prices are matched accordingly.

I must confess I am slightly confused with your remarks about my teams ‘limited English’. Cambridge being a multicultural city and naturally our staff intake are reflective of this diversity, but I would not say that any of my team would have ‘limited English’.

Thank you again for your kind remarks,

Matthew Morgan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
melbourne
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 2 October 2013

Institutional hotel like a university halls of residence
Needs a refurbishment and modern management
Good dining room view but breakfast closes too early to enjoy it
Poor old rooms 1950 style
Dont stay on a hot night in summer the airconditioning does not work and windows can only be opened about 6 inches. Most uncomfortable like a sauna.

Room Tip: stay somewhere else
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  • Stayed August 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank eaterMelbourne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Manager at University Arms Cambridge, responded to this review, 16 October 2013
Dear EaterMelbourne,

Thank you for your recent review, I am pleased to be able to report that plans for a comprehensive refurbishment programme have recently been submitted to Cambridge Planning Authority and we are imminently awaiting approval.

Regards

Matthew Morgan
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Minneapolis, Minnesota
Level Contributor
17 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 29 September 2013

It is on a great street for restaurants and convenient for site seeing but also next to a park which is good and bad. Good for views and walking but bad because drunks were shouting in the park all night and made it hard to sleep.

Room Tip: Either get a room on the very top floor or one that does not face the park to avoid night time noise...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Lawrence G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Manager at University Arms Cambridge, responded to this review, 30 September 2013
Dear Lawrence G,

Thanks you for your recent review.

I am delighted that you enjoyed our central location in the heart of Cambridge and the views across Parkers Piece.

I am sorry to learn that your sleep was disrupted, we work closely with Cambridge council to monitor noise from surrounding areas and premises to minimise disruption, wherever possible.

Thank you again for your review and I look forward to the opportunity of welcoming you back to the University Arms Hotel very soon.

Best Wishes

Matthew
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 28 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 September 2013

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.

Room Tip: Ask for a room at the back in the old part of the hotel to limit the impact of the outside revellers...
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank JCHappyskier
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Manager at University Arms Cambridge, responded to this review, 30 September 2013
Dear JCHappyskier

Thank you for taking to time in writing such a detailed account of your experiences here at the University Arms.

I am pleased that you enjoyed our central location, and you found you bed comfortable. It is ture that some of our room require updating; however we believe that this is reflective in the specialist rates we offer. In addition I am pleased to report that plans for a comprehensive refurbishment program are with Cambridge City Council awaiting approval.

I am sorry to learn that your sleep was disrupted; also I would like to thank you for your understanding with regards to this being out side of our control. I would like to mention however we work closely with Cambridge council to monitor noise from surrounding premises to minimise disruption, wherever possible.

I am also saddened to learn that felt your service was slow during breakfast, of course I apologise unreservedly. Also I am grateful for the opportunity to point out that our Smoked Kippers available from our breakfast menu our most certainly not "boil in the bag".

Thank you again for your feed back.

Best Wishes

Matthew
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Travellers are raving about these Cambridge hotels

San Jose, California
Level Contributor
199 reviews
54 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 102 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 September 2013

OK the positives, it's quaint, it has a good breakfast, it's not one of your huge impersonal hotels, it almost feels like a bed and breakfast but on a larger scale. It's conveniently located to the town centre so you're walking distance to some great pubs and restaurants.
Those were the positives, the negatives - it's a bit downtrodden and could do with some freshening and it is the quality level of a B&B without the low price.
Would I stay here again - yes.

  • Stayed September 2013, travelled on business
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
3 Thank GarryPy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Manager at University Arms Cambridge, responded to this review, 30 September 2013
Dear GaryPy

Thank you for your recent review, I am pleased that you found our hotel to offer a personal service and you enjoyed our central location.

It is true that some areas of our hotel require updating; I am pleased to report that plans for a comprehensive refurbishment program are with Cambridge City Council awaiting approval.

Thank you again for you review and I hope that I may have the opportunity to welcome you back to the University Arms Hotel in the not too distant future.

Best Wishes

Matthew
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Washington, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
33 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 September 2013

I booked this hotel with the false impression that it was a DeVere hotel. It is no longer in this chain but it is still able to use DeVere's website to advertise and the new 'owners' have been very selective, naturally, on the photos advertising the hotel rooms. We stayed here one Saturday night earlier this month - very tight car park and no spaces so had to park in an NCP about 15 minute walk away (but worked out cheaper than the £16 we would have been charged if we'd stayed in the hotel's car park). Whilst my husband parked the car, I checked in and went to the room. I was gutted, having just left a 5* Marriot hotel in Ghent, this was a major let down. I have never asked to move rooms - until now. It felt like student accommodation - maybe even worse! The receptionist did offer us another room of a similar standard, it was slightly better (no view of air con units out of the window and there was no wooden curtain pole as was in our original room which would not have kept the room dark at all). Luckily it seems we had a room overlooking the side street, away from the park which seemed noisy on the night.
Breakfast was excellent with very pleasant restaurant staff.
Reception staff were polite but I got the feeling they had to deal with a lot of complaints and were just a bit tired (like the décor) of it all.
Roll on the planning approval from the council. It can't come quick enough and you only get one chance to make a first impression and so I will not stay here again.

Room Tip: Ask for a refurbished room and see what you get!
See more room tips
  • Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Debra P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Matthew M, Manager at University Arms Cambridge, responded to this review, 30 September 2013
Dear Debra P,

Thank you for your recent review following your stay here with us. It is true that we are still listed on the DeVere Website, as we have always been. This forms part of the service agreement between DeVere on our owners.

I am sorry to learn that you felt let down by your room and I am pleased that our team made every effort to change it for you. It is true that areas of our hotel are in need of updating, however we believe this is reflective in the tariffs we offer.

I am delighted that you enjoyed your breakfast and you found our staff to be present and helpful.

Thank you again for your review.

Best Wishes

Matthew
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about University Arms Cambridge

Property: University Arms Cambridge
Address: Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1AD, England
Region: United Kingdom > England > Cambridgeshire > Cambridge
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#10 Luxury Hotel in Cambridge
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): £
Hotel Class:4 star — University Arms Cambridge 4*
Number of rooms: 192
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 
Also Known As:
Hotel De Vere University Arms

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