We were looking for a relaxing break to an historic city, and this deal at 99 pounds to stay at 'probably the best hotel in Cambridge' seemed to good to be true. And it was.
The pictures on the website are very misleading as they show one side of the hotel overlooking a pleasant green area. What they do no show is the other side of the hotel overlooking Cambridges answer to Magaluf.
But lets start at the beginning of the god awful hotel. After parking in the tightest car park in the world (think sardines in a crusher) we were told we would be charged 16 pounds to park there overnight (although I could barely here the receptionist due to cheesy classical music blaring out in the corridor. We got in the lift, which was like the ones you get carted to the operating theatre in at your local NHS hospital, and took a ride to our room on the second floor.
The room was very basic with a nice view of the wall opposite above a sainsburys. The room was unbearably hot and there was a broken airconditioning unit in the corner with a note on top telling you that it was indeed a broken air conditioning unit, but that a fan had been provided for your convenience to make up for it. I opened the top of the window (which was also broken, to be greeted by a wall of noise of the buses and cars coming from the high st.
This was not the relaxing break I had planned.
I had a shower, then needed another shower once I had dressed to remove the sweat I had built up getting dressed because of the intense heat in the room.
Headed to the bar and was greeted by a very pleasant barman who told me that every one of the draught lagers was not working, except the Stella Black which promptly packed up as he tried to serve me a pint.
Decided to get out of the hotel and head into Cambridge and actually had quite a pleasant evening.
Got back to the hotel and had just entered my room when the fire alarm went off. Evacuated the hotel and along with about a hundred other guests just drifted around aimlessly outside for a while with seemingly no direction from anyone at the hotel. After about 15 minutes the alarm stopped so went back inside. Got back in our room and the alarm went off again, and again, and again and again. Finally stopped after half an hour.
The room was now melting in places from the heat with the wallpaper coming off the wall behind our broken air conditioning unit. I opened the window and found that although it was now 12o'clock the noise from outside had now quadrupled in sound with the sound of the buses and cars being accompanied by the dulcet tones of our darling british youfs swearing and jeering each other on the way home from whatever den of inequity they had been dwelling in that evening. This went on for about another 3 hours and with the heat even with the window open and complimentary fan on full meant no sleep for me apart from a couple of snatched hours between four an six till the buses started up again (which at this point I decided to go to the toilet and was greeted by a massive cockroach running around the toilet bowl)
Now in case you think I'm some delicate flower from the country I lived in east london for 25 years so am used to sleeping with some street sound. But never as bad as this. And there was me thinking Cambridge was going to be a bit posh.
Went to check out and to be honest was so tired I didnt have it in me for an argument. It was now 10.30 so I said to the receptionist I was going to head out to get some breakfast then would come back and pick up my car. I was told that if I didnt move it by 11 am I would be charged a parking fine of 60 quid as the hotel car park was run by an outside company.
I would be better off going and parking up the road as parking is free on sundays in Cambridge.
I wearily went back in to the hospital lift and down to the basement and then me and the wife spent about 30 mins trying to negotiate our way out of the car park nudging backwards and forwards until we somehow made it out of there without nudging or scraping any other cars which is a feat I challenge any of you out there to match.
Got parked in the car park and went for breakfast got the car and was duly charged another 6 quid for parking for 2 hours.
Needless to say I have certainly been 'educated' enough by this Cambridge Hotel to know not to go back there ever again. You have been warned!
- 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