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“celebration perfect”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Canterbury, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
22 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
“celebration perfect”
Reviewed May 9, 2013

Brilliant service throughout a 21st birthday celebratory weekend, and only a short walk from college! Panaramic views from the top floor penthouse suite. Woke to see the sunrise over Cambridge.

Great celebration meal overlooking the river in the River Bar Restaurant. Porterhouse steak suiting the undergraduates. Loved the freshly made Siclian lemon cheesecake - light and tasty. The bar is well stocked with every brand of gin and vodka going which makes a change from the ubiquitous commercial brands found in the city's pubs.

This hotel is my guilty pleasure. The experience enhanced on every visit. Cannot fault it.

Room Tip: 414 or the penthouse suite 614
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Barbara A
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,218 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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    249
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292
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (559)
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English first
Bishops Stortford, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 7, 2013

We stayed at The Varsity over the bank holiday. The hotel is in an enviable location next to the river. It is a little difficult to find by car though once you get there everything is within walkable distance. When we checked in our room was not ready so we went to the roof terrace for a drink . The staff extremely polite and pleasant took my wife up there whilst i went to park the car.
The roof terrace is quite something else , it was very busy but comfortable , we got chatting to the manager, Hotel guests have priority as it is open to the public and apparently there are queues down the street.
From the BBQ menu we had the steak sandwich and a bagel which were delicious. The reception manager came to inform us our room was ready and led us downstairs.
Our room was nicely decorated with a lovely view. The bathroom was immaculately clean.
After dumping our belongings we ventured back on to the roof where we spent the next 2/3 hours sipping wine and enjoying the spectacular backdrop of Cambridge.
We checked out the next morning feeling thoroughly refreshed. Overall a lovely experience.

Room Tip: You can use the Spa after checkout
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank hill j
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oxford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Perfect location, only few minutes walk to the centre. Clean rooms and very very comfortable bed. Staff very friendly, especially in the restaurant where I enjoyed my dinner and breakfast. Just fabulous. i would definitely come back.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Mima173
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Hertfordshire
Level Contributor
8 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed May 7, 2013

Lovely hotel, gorgeous rooms, nice roof top bar for lunch and evening drinks, ajoining steak bar for great evening meals. Spa pool overlooking the river. Can't wait to visit again. Parking is limited to Valet parking - but hassle free and my car was returned at the exact time I requested it - You could always use the park and ride if you don't have too much luggage.

Room Tip: Ask for a room with a view
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank MarcPSummers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Liverpool, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
20 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed May 7, 2013

We booked a couple of nights at the Varsity as we were on our way to visit friends in Frinton on Sea. It is only a small hotel and there had been a plumbing problem in our room, dismayed we asked for the manager Roberto.
He was excellent and sorted out alternative accommodation for one night, gave us an upgrade for the next night and we were treated like VIPs! We also had complimentary drinks on the rooftop terrace (amazing views) and dinner in the restaurant overlooking the Cam and Magdelene College.
We reflected that you often learn more about a place when something goes wrong than if everything is ok.
The contrast between the Varsity and the more expensive but soulless chain hotel we spent a night in was very educational.
Definitely will return to stay at the Varsity again, a fabulous hotel with excellent staff.

Room Tip: Go for a room on top floors if possible
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Peter G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
18 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed May 6, 2013

We stayed here for two nights over the May Bank Holiday weekend having booked quite late in the day, but been persuaded by it being the number one hotel in Cambridge on Trip Advisor at the time. I can only imagine that most people who have reviewed it have stayed in one of the rooms on the top floors (5th or 6th) because it fell along way short of what I'd expect for the price we paid, especially when compared to the Rudding Park at Harrogate (the No. 1 Trip Advisor hotel in the UK) where we have stayed twice for a third less.

Our room (213) had what is quite possibly the smallest bathroom in the world! The shower was a monsoon shower which I usually quite like, but it wasn't particularly powerful and on the second day, the water ran cold within 30 seconds of stepping in. It was also quite poorly designed as there was no door on the shower which resulted in the bathroom floor getting quite wet. My wife also complained that they didn't even provide a shower hat so that she could avoid getting her hair wet every time she took a shower. This is a given in most hotels nowadays including those at the budget end of the market.

The room itself was also small - much smaller than your average Travelodge or Premier Inn rooms - and presumably as a consequence you only got a double bed rather than a King Size which seems to be the standard at most first class hotels (and a few second and third class ones) I've stayed in over the last few years. Our room overlooked the side of the hotel which, judging by the regular sound of clanking bottles, is where the bottle bank was situated. Perhaps they should consider their guests a little more when doing this job rather than at midnight?
There's no car park at the hotel, so we opted to use the valet parking rather than try to find our way to the public car park which was suggested and whilst it was a good enough service, it added an extra £18 per night to the stay.

On the positive side, the room was well decorated and the location was excellent being close to the main centre and only a short walk from all the major colleges. The breakfast at the River Bar restaurant, which is used by the hotel and is just around the corner, was excellent and generously proportioned. We also had dinner there on the first night, which was a mixed experience and I'll review that meal separately.

The rooftop terrace is impressive and we were lucky enough to have some decent weather during our stay which prompted us to go up and admire the view. However, £3.75 for a soft drink is over-priced by any standard. I wouldn't pay that much in some of the top restaurants in London, so I'm not sure how they can justify it here.

All in all then, disappointing and very poor value. It's a shame as the hotel is so well situated that if they could drop their prices (at least for the smaller rooms) by 30-40% they would probably be on to a winner. However, my advice would be that unless they have a very good deal on, or can guarantee one of the penthouse rooms, you'd be better off putting up with being a little bit further out of town and finding something which offers better value.

Room Tip: Avoid 213 unless you have a fascination with the seeing the worlds smallest bathroom. Although I did...
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  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank MJF0402
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brighton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed April 29, 2013

My husband booked this hotel as a birthday surprise. We arrived quite late on the Thursday night ( please bring back British rail ).The hotel was about 5 minutes in a taxi from the station. The driver was quite chatty so we asked him about the hotel , not wrong.
First impressions were good, our welcome was personal and efficient. We ordered room service from the hotel restaurant within 5 minutes ,20 minutes later we were tucking in. Next day after a wonderful breakfast and late checkout we explored the city , the location is ideal. The University a few yards away. Before we left we came back to the hotel and wandered up to the roof terrace absolutely amazing views that are impossible to describe .We were both very satisfied with our experience at The Varsity and hope to return by Car !

Room Tip: Go to the roof terrace , incredible views
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  • Stayed April 2013, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank smythehenry
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

Property: 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 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Family Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Business Hotel in Cambridge
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Hotel Class:4 star — The Varsity Hotel & Spa 4*
Number of rooms: 44
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. 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. Recharge in the wonderful Elemis spa before soaking up the beautiful skyline with drinks on the hotel's roof terrace,afternoon tea or dinner in the Six Panoramic Bar & Restaurant. Alternatively, guests can indulge in a hearty meal in the River Bar Steakhouse & Grill. Valet parking available from 7 am to 10 pm for hotel's guests. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Varsity Hotel And Spa
The Varsity Hotel Cambridge

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