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“Almost perfect” 4 of 5 bubbles
Review of The Varsity Hotel & Spa

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The Varsity Hotel & Spa
Ranked #1 of 36 Hotels in Cambridge
Certificate of Excellence
Level Contributor
22 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
“Almost perfect”
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed November 2, 2013 via mobile

The location, the view, the friendliness of the staff, the appointment of the rooms...all indisputably excellent. And yet... there were a few surprising niggles, surprising given the luxury positioning which the hotel has given itself. All of these we reported to management. We hope these will be addressed, so that we can give a five- blob rating next time around)!

Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Kmckellar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,187 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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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 (552)
Date | Rating
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English first
Cromer, United Kingdom
1 review
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2013

I was taken away here as a treat for my birthday and everything was amazing from start to finish! All the staff were friendly and helpful. the flexibility to check in was great, we left our bags there in the morning and came back when our room was ready later and our bags were already waiting in our room. We used the valet parking service which was excellent and so easy to just drop off the car and have it returned at the end of the stay.

The room was even better than the pictures! We had a deluxe room which was massive and it was great to have a bath and a shower in the bathroom. Having ground coffee and bottled water provided was a bonus. The room was of a very high standard and very comparable to the rate we paid.

Breakfast was great, I think it would have been a bit expensive if it hadn't already been included in the room rate. But it is a buffet so you can eat as much as you can manage, and it was of a very high standard. Breakfast staff were extremely helpful and friendly.
We ate in the restaurant in the night and the food was good, but the staff were not up to the standard of the rest of the hotel and seemed slightly incompetent. Overall though, the meal was delicious, if a little pricey.

It is definitely worth visiting the spa too. Although if you do not have treatments, there isn't much to it, but the Jacuzzi and steam room are so relaxing.

A top notch stay! Will definitely be returning!!!

Room Tip: Pay the extra for a deluxe room, it is well worth it!
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank ambz_alb
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 31, 2013

The Varsity hotel is amazing, the views, the rooms, the location, and the restaurant next door.
The only downside of our visit was that it was too cold to go out onto the roof top terrace and enjoy the views and indulge with the drinks selection. The staff did tell me that the roof top would be open for bonfire night, so if anyone is stuck for something to do I would really suggest you go up there! (You don't even have to be staying in the hotel).

Parking is often a nightmare in Cambridge but this is no problem if you are staying here, the hotel will valet park your car. Just don't expect it right there when you check out, give the staff 10 minutes to fetch it.

Our stay was good, would definitely come back. Even if there were no biscuits to go with the tea and coffee in the room.

Room Tip: Stating the obvious but the higher up you go the better the views, and not every room has a balcony...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank soverall
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
152 reviews
28 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 125 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2013

The Varsity is the best hotel in Cambridge, by far. It's very well located down a side street opposite St John's College, a short walk from Magdalene Bridge, and within easy reach of Trinity Street and King's Parade. It's been open about 3 years and is a modern boutique hotel, with stylish rooms on six floors. So it's a very good base for a visit to the Colleges and the Backs, or a river ride on a punt, the sort of place that puts you in a good mood to start the day while providing an attractive haven at the end. Ours was a special celebration, so we chose a penthouse suite, a wonderfully spacious room with fabulous views, but others in our party were pleased with their more modest accommodation. We found the service extremely helpful. The buffet breakfast was excellent, with freshly made scrambled eggs which were a cut above the congealed offering of many hotels nowadays. Parking can be a nuisance, but that comes with the territory in central Cambridge, a minor inconvenience in an otherwise lovely experience.

Room Tip: Choose the best you can afford, and as high up as possible to enjoy the views.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Horace4590
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Plymouth, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
74 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 61 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 30, 2013

A real joy to stay at the Varsity. We had a balcony room (518) with East views and enjoyed watching the sun rise over the park and over the spires and chimney pots. Sumptuous towels and bedding, good TV and adorned with lovely pictures. Very few decent places to stay in the centre, this has to be one of the best. Attached Spa with lovely staff made for a real treat. We want to return to Cambridge as it is a fabulous place with a rich tapestry of architectural and historical gems and pubs!! Try the "Eagle" for beer, food and WW2 ceiling graffiti. Recommend the punting from the bridge close to the Varsity and pre-booking a tour of Cambridge and "Kings" through the Council/TIC website. Both Excellent!! Hotel roof terrace is fabulous but marred by extortionate prices of drinks. Would have returned with friends if a cocktail had been cheaper. normally cost). Great breakfasts!!

Room Tip: Balcony rooms are nice! on 5th floor. High enough for views! All rooms fairly quiet !
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Chris C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
California
Level Contributor
20 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2013

Stayed here for two nights for business in October. The hotel is centrally located, close to a number of good restaurants and shopping.

Upon arrival, there was no bell person to help with my luggage. When I got to the reception (with my extra large suitcase), the person working simply checked me in and pointed me to the elevator, rather than asking if I needed assistance. The reception area is quite small and only comfortably fits a couple of people checking in. I can't imagine if it were a large group.

The room was clean, large enough for one person for a couple of nights.

It was raining during the trip, so unfortunately they closed the rooftop bar. For limited hotel options in Cambridge, I suppose this is the "luxury" option.

Room Tip: Ask for higher floor for a view.
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled on business
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank travelgirl041984
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
51 reviews
26 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed October 29, 2013

My family (wife and two babies 2 and under) stayed at the Varsity for long weekend. I had visions of another dated country hotel with all that entails... Couldn't have been more wrong. Staff couldn't have been more helpful and responsive to all our requests for cots, blankets etc. Rooms are very comfortable and modern, nicely decorated and spacious. The location is very central. One tip is get valet parking. We only had breakfast in the hotel, but again the restaurant successfully captured a Manhattany feel with the decor and staff were attentive. The breakfast was very good. Exceeded expectations, particularly in terms of the quality of service.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank businesstraveller70
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 Luxury Hotel in Cambridge
#1 Romantic Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Business Hotel in Cambridge
#2 Family 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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