I liked this hotel and would have given 3.5 stars if possible. It's friendly and with a nice 'designy' feel, bordering on luxury. It's wonderfully located in Cambridge (which is a small enough centre to begin with, and this hotel is as central within the centre as can be).
The front of house staff were as charming and helpful as could ever be asked for.
In advance of the stay I had some really helpful exchanges with the team there and Charlotte was great about arranging to give us a reserved area at the bar for a post-dinner party, and utterly helpful about parking and other requests.
Thus far, all very 5* review.
Upon arrival our room was spacious and well-appointed. Good room facilities, solid free wifi and nice toiletries, allied to a very comfortable bed and good soundproofing were all in keeping with the expectations - and also the price. This was not a cheap room (slightly above the Cambridge norm), but I wasn't regretting it.
The service from the rest of the team was, however, less spectacular.
When we arrived at the bar after our dinner with c20 guests the area had not been reserved for us and the staff knew nothing of my reservation. Some persuading later we had a space, but the service was terribly slow. Not horrible, nor rude - just slow and slightly inept.
Breakfast the next morning continued this 'theme of two halfs'. The breakfast itself was excellent and a real standard-setter. The buffet was generous, fresh and interesting, and included in the room rate. The cooked/menu breakfast was excellent and an utterly reasonable few pounds extra. However, the slow service went from comic to frustrating. Asking three times for hot milk to go with the coffee was bad enough, but on our second coffee the waiter somehow forgot that we had milk and the charade started again. Seeking basics like, er, butter took a long time and catching a waiter's eye was difficult - I think they'd had their peripheral vision removed, or were concentrating so hard on standing upright that there was no processing power left for observation...
The manager was great, but the staff looked as if they were slightly worried, bemused and all on their first day.
I've stayed in a number of the Hotel du Vin properties and I think that this is up to par with the others. Premium pricing, near-luxury rooms that are well designed and comfortable, managerial and front-desk staff who are friendly and helpful, and then overstretched staff elsewhere.
The price was not really "worth" it, but in the context of Cambridge (and expensive bubble with limited choice) it wasn't bad and were I to stay in Cambridge again I would look here first for availability.
Hence the 3* rating. It's not bad, it's good value for the city and location, and there are high points. It's just not awesome.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- This beautiful hotel in Cambridge city centre was a former University-owned building on Trumpington Street which has been transformed to enhance its many quirky architectural features.Forty one bedrooms and suites, some with private terraces, have been carved out of the former University-owned building, alongside our trademark bistro with the first Hotel du Vin open-style kitchen and curiously labyrinthine cellar bar. Dating back in part to medieval times, Hotel du Vin Cambridge boasts a cosy library, private events room perfect for special occasions, meetings and events. The bistro and bar are available for residents, locals and visitors alike at Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge. ... more less
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