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“Great rooftop bar” 5 of 5 stars
Review of The Varsity Hotel & Spa

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
4.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Thompson's Lane, Cambridge CB5 8AQ, England   |  
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Hotel amenities
Ranked #2 of 34 Hotels in Cambridge
Derbyshire, United Kingdom
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
“Great rooftop bar”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 11, 2014

If you're looking for a great place for a drink in Cambridge with views over the town and colleges - this is it. If I was staying in Cambridge I would probably still go for Hotel du Vin which has equally good if not better service in the bar (the rooms are very pricey here and the views from those are not as good as the rooftop bar...though we only had a drink on this occasion)..
It's £10+ for a glass of prosecco but the BBQ is fairly priced.
You're paying for the five star view which is pretty unique in Cambridge and I would say it's well worth a visit for the experience on a sunny day!

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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1,299 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (369)
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English first
Stourbridge, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
29 hotel reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
70 helpful votes 70 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

A bit of a quandary, this review. Okay, I knew the room was going to be £345, and I sort of knew that the valet parking was going to be £19. I also knew that the breakfast in the B&B rate was for continental only, and I had to pay for a cooked breakfast. But so what? I expect that a hotel charging these prices and confident enough to have these conditions would be perfect in every way!

Needless to say…

The rooftop terrace is an amazing space. The drinks are on the expensive side, but I understand that you’re paying a) hotel prices, and b) for the view. The service was pretty good as well. Malik (I think that was his name) gave the impression that nothing was too much trouble.

The room on the 3rd floor was adequate, but no fridge – you can get A+++++ rated fridges you know!

Overall this place leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, with all the extras charged for and the hyper expensive drinks. I’m no slouch when it comes to expenses, but even I had to take a long hard look at the prices on the menu (before coughing up).

It’s a shame as I would not stay here again, it’s more of a shame as there doesn't appear to be any genuine top notch accommodation in Cambridge.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 10, 2014

One of only 2 stylish hotels in Cambridge (the other is Hotel du Vin). Basic rooms are compact but it’s right in the historic centre. Penthouse suites are a great buy compared with London prices – epic college views and private balcony. Rooftop bar, gym, sauna, cool bar/restaurant. Great package. Super-professional staff.

Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
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London, United Kingdom
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

Brilliant location, very attentive and happy staff and exceptional room. We arrived early and wasn't expecting our room to be ready but it was which was great as we had the chance to freshen up before heading off. We used the car valet service, the minute we got there the charming doorman was outside ready to take our bags and sorted the car for us. Amazing views from the rooftop terrace bar especially on a nice sunny day. Overall we had a fantastic stay and will definitely return.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

My husband and I stayed at the varsity hotel & spa as a treat. We were upgraded to the penthouse suite, had a complimentary bottle of champagne on ice waiting for us which was a nice touch. Great location, the room was spacious, very comfortable and spotlessly clean. The staff were extremely friendly and helpful and made our stay special. Service was exceptional and of a very high standard! Views over Cambridge from the Rooftop terrace was fabulous....and you don't need to be a guest at the hotel to visit the roof terrace bar. Breakfast was delicious and delivered to our room on time. Really enjoyable stay, will certainly recommend this hotel and hopefully return soon. Sandy

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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London, United Kingdom
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed August 9, 2014

My sister and I plus our four boys stayed overnight at the Varsity Spa. Having read great things, we were very underwhelmed by the whole experience. The room were cramped and hot and both rooms had a terrible odour coming from the toilets. The reception was unhelpful and ill-informed in the evening, when we asked about Cambridge at night, yet were very helpful in directing us to the hotel when we could not get their due to road closures, Breakfast was poor and unbelievably, did not include hot chocolate in the B&B price, charging £3.50 a cup. The service in the restaurant was excellent and the cocktails too, but it was very over-priced. We both agreed we would not stay there again.

  • Stayed August 2014, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2014

Apart from the central location, the main reason I booked the Varsity was for the huge floor to ceiling windows with views over Cambridge as shown on the website. In fact the only window in our Superior Double room was about three feet across and frosted three quarters of the way up, so there was no view at all!

The roof terrace was lovely on a sunny day (lift up there is very popular though, so space in one may take a while to arrive), but cooked breakfasts and newspapers are extra, there are no biscuits in the room to go with the tea and coffee making facilities and there is no mini-bar.
WiFi and bottled water in the room was included, but at £265 a night, I really felt it was overpriced for what it was and not at all good value for money.

I guess it’s all about managing expectations – when the price is higher, you expect a little bit more and, above all, I was looking forward to fantastic views. So this just didn’t meet my expectations. Our Room (115) didn’t look anything like the ones on the website. Although the room was comfortable and spotlessly clean, I have stayed in equally good/better hotels that cost a lot less.

When we checked out, I asked the receptionist if she could store our bags at the hotel for a few hours so that we could go for lunch before we caught our coach home. She said yes, but there would be a small charge. When I expressed surprise and asked how much, she laughed and said ha, ha – that was a joke - there wouldn’t be a charge at all! Make of that what you will.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view when you book (if that's what you want) and put it in writing.
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  • Stayed August 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
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

Address: Thompson's Lane, Cambridge CB5 8AQ, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > Cambridgeshire > Cambridge
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cambridge
#1 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#1 Business Hotel in Cambridge
#3 Family Hotel in Cambridge
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Varsity Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 48
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. The remaining Colleges are only a leisurely walk away and can be viewed from the hotel. 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. Valet parking available from 7 am to 10 pm ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Varsity Hotel And Spa
The Varsity Hotel Cambridge

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