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“Perfect boutique hotel stay”

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed September 13, 2013

Stayed on a Sunday night in August with my girlfriend. Good room, not big but well designed, with cool furniture and nice linen and spotless. Staff friendly and went to roof terrace for a cocktail watching the sunset, be careful you might feel the urge to propose though - I did and she said yes!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Neil L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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1,448 - 1,454 of 2,388 reviews

Reviewed September 12, 2013

Good but not great. Expensive at over £200 a night for double but in line with other hotel prices in Cambridge. We also arrived without realising the £18 a day parking fee so bear that in mind. Not a very warm welcome in reception. Felt like we were just another one of their guests when they knew we had just got married. I've stayed at a much nicer hotel in central London for half the price and so we were were initially disappointed with the room. They were fully booked to get an upgrade when I enquired. I was told we had one of the better rooms anyway. It was ok size but didn't feel or look as we quite hoped. Nothing like the penthouse suite they like to show off on their website so don't be fooled. Difficult to put my finger on it as not much wrong. Just didn't ooze much luxury I suppose and the wood flooring made it feel cold. Bed very solid if a little too hard for us. Air con effective though. En suite bathroom nothing particularly special but very clean. Shower not a power shower so pretty weak and like standing in the rain. Missing hand soap and so used nice complimentary shampoo to wash hands. Not the end of the world and just a small fail that could not go unnoticed. No mini bar in the room as is their policy - something about the environment. They encourage you to reuse your towels for the good of the environment. Really? Probably to save their costs more like. On a positive, it's brilliant location at the top end of the colleges. Punting on the doorstep and roof terrace superb but pricey as expected and with panoramic views across the city. Kings Chapel stands out beautifully. The spa facilities were average and lacking a real luxury feel so pretty standard jucuzzi, sauna, steam room. I would recommend the Varsity and would visit again but with much lower expectations. Finally we ate at the River Bar and the Cheaubriand was perfectly cooked and one of the best steaks we've ever had. The hotel and bars seemed to be very well staffed in numbers.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Paul H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2013

On my second visit to the Varsity this summer, decided to go for the penthouse experience and it did not disappoint. Not for the budget traveler, but in this case, you get what you pay for.
Facility:
The location on the Cam River is off the beaten path but provides easy access to the city center. Small lobby has been commented on several times but is not really much of an issue. The 6th floor room was massive with floor to ceiling windows on one side and a full wall of sliding glass doors leading to the full length deck. Needless to say the view is unmatched. Only complaint would be a lack of privacy when spectators from the roof terrace can look down on the deck. Spacious bath had a tub and separate shower.
Service:
Staff is personable, responsive, and handled several requests promptly. Valet parking delivered the car exactly as requested. Check-in and check-out is quick and efficient.
Restaurant:
Have generally had good experiences with the restaurant, both at dinner and at breakfast. As discussed previously the restaurant is not directly attached to the hotel but is around the corner in an adjoining building. Similar to the hotel, the restaurant is compact but has a nice atmosphere and does not feel crowded. Breakfast is especially relaxed since the hot food is cooked to order and you don’t have the mad rush to the standard buffet.
Rooftop Terrace
Unlike my previous visit which featured inclement weather, the roof terrace was open and quite busy most of the time. On weekdays only the drink menu is available and while the prices are premium, let’s face it, you are paying for the privilege of enjoying your drink with the best view in Cambridge. And on a warm summer evening, you get what you pay for.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled solo
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Thank Gray492
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2013

We just spent one night here and I would stay again. The room was spacious but had no view at all (frosted glass on the one window) which is not pleasant for a longer stay. There is a great roof top bar overlooking the town.Its nice and central, and very close to the colleges. Its a very trendy little hotel (one of the Mr and Mrs Smith properties) and the staff were all very helpful and friendly.
The restaurant is next door at the Riverside which was adequate though not exceptional.

  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled with family
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Thank drt50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

stayed Saturday night for sight-seeing weekend in Cambridge. Lovely hotel in good central location. Valet parking as no on-site car park. Our room had no view indeed frosted glass! This was only gripe as lovely decor and comfortable bed. Had excellent dinner in Riverside restaurant and breakfast there superb!
Bit pricey but all Cambridge hotels more than £200 so worth extra few quid to spoill yourselves!

Room Tip: request room with a view at time of booking
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Stephen_E385
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2013

The Varsity, like many hotels, uses images of it's best rooms on its website and so it's definitely worth managing your expectations if you book a standard double room. You don't quite experience the light airyness of the better rooms, in fact our first room was apparently the 'pokiest' my partner had ever stayed in. To be fair we don't normally opt for standard rooms and had just stayed in a country hotel the evening before, for slightly less money, where the bathroom was almost the size of a standard at the Varsity. The staff were very accommodating and did move us to a slightly larger standard room without any fuss. Talking of bathrooms, it's worth noting that those in the standard rooms are not deep enough for you to stand with your arms spread out, nor are they able to accommodate 2 bathrobes or bath towels (you'll find the missing ones in the wardrobe).

I would have been happy to stay at the Varsity if I was travelling for business and was on my own. The staff are friendly and the service is excellent, especially the breakfast waiting staff and the car valet driver who are to be commended. In fine weather the roof terrace bar looks as if it would be delightful and the Spa jacuzzi is cozy and over looks the river Cam, however, note that the Spa is closed Sunday evening (which is unfortunately when we wanted to use it).

The advice for those on romantic weekends, book a better room or stay somewhere else.

Room Tip: Ask for a room over looking the Cam as it should be quieter - ours over looked a court yard where th...
  • Stayed: September 2013, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank Ketts2012
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 8, 2013

We stayed at the Varsity hotel in late August of this year, and really enjoyed the service and amenities. The location of the hotel is fantastic, and the staff were exceedingly helpful and accomodating. We stayed in the Junior Fellowes suite and had an extra guest staying with us, in addition to our two children. The staff helpfully set up three additional beds, essentially transforming the living room area into an additional bedroom without any fuss and minimal additional expense. The breakfast was very nice, as was the lounge with complimentary hot drinks. The rooftop bar has breathtaking views, although the drink prices are quite exorbitant. Thanks for a great stay!

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled on business
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1  Thank Naamith H
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 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#1 Luxury Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Business Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Family Hotel in Cambridge
Price Range: $187 - $505 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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