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“Just The Ticket” 5 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
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
“Just The Ticket”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 25, 2014

This is the perfect spot for staying in Cambridge. It's right in the centre of town and on the river. Breakfast is served in the River Bar / Restaurant, and a table by the windows is a great place to sit and look out on the river and across to Magdalen College.

Rooms aren't huge but very nicely appointed and our room had a lovely view across the city. It is worth asking for a room on an upper floor.

Valet parking costs £19.50 and, as anyone who has been to Cambridge will know, parking can be a nightmare, so this is a sensible option as it can be even more costly to self-park.

The bedrooms have tea and coffee making facilities, including a cafetiere.
The roof terrace bar looks great with fantastic views over the city, but unfortunately wasn't open at the beginning of April. There is also a spa, which we only walked through to get to the river bar.

The hotel is quite expensive but is in the best location in town.

Room Tip: Choose an upper floor for great views.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 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 Ian_Rowan
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,189 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)
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English first
UK
Level Contributor
127 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 81 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2014

I absolutely enjoyed my own night stay at this hotel in March. Very classy, wonderful personal service, a lovely room and right in the centre of the beautiful city.

The rooftop bar areas was closed during my trip but I was allowed to pop up and take a look at the views of the city. In good weather this would be a fantastic place to enjoy a drink or eat.

I absolutely recommend this hotel for it's all round value and truly first class service. I expect to return when a corporate client holds some events. It's soooo much nicer than the larger hotels.

Room Tip: Upgrade to one of the mid range rooms.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled on business
    • 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 2912Uk
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Uxbridge, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
18 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 10 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2014

I thought this hotel was ok, but definitely not worth the over-inflated price for a standard room. I expected luxury and got a relatively small and basic bedroom, which overlooked the workers alley where they empty the bottle bins late at night, and the staff stand chatting on their cigarette breaks.

I also think it's funny that they call themselves a spa hotel, as the only facilities they had was a very small sauna and steam room, and a jacuzzi which wasn't working at all during our two night stay. The spa is also situated around the corner from the hotel, so you have to wade outside in your slippers and spa wear!

On the plus side, the staff are friendly and attentive, and the location is perfect for exploring the town, with all the popular sights and attractions right on the doorstep.

This was booked as a birthday treat, and was quite a disappointment.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank anne_robinson82
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
42 reviews
17 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 23, 2014

My husband and I stayed at the Varsity hotel and spa as a surprise treat that I planned for his 30th Birthday – in March 2014. We stayed for one night, on a Friday, which was also our six month wedding anniversary. I had emailed the hotel a couple of weeks in advance to advise of this and they upgraded us to the penthouse suite on arrival. We had a bottle of cava waiting for us in our suite with a lovely hand written note. It all made us feel very special. The whole of our stay the hotel staff were very attentive and friendly.

We used the valet parking; which was much cheaper and easier than trying to make our own parking arrangements. We had a massage in the spa which was lovely. We also went for dinner in the steak restaurant. It was a Friday night and we had not made a reservation. The restaurant was busy…but on hearing that we were guests at the hotel we seated. The food was delicious, service spot on and the cocktail menu was very extensive.

The continental breakfast was lovely too. Not the full English, but still a good selection, that was topped up regularly. After checking out we stopped by the roof terrace for a glass of champagne. We then left our luggage with the valet whilst sightseeing.
We had an amazing break and are already planning when we will go back. I would recommend this hotel to all of my friends. It was a boutique look and atmosphere, but was in no way pretentious or intimidating.

It wasn’t the cheapest break that I could have planned, but I think it was 100% worth the money was a special treat. This is the first time I have left a review for a hotel. I always forget, but felt compelled this time.

  • Stayed March 2014, 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?
2 Thank Nathalie K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kimbolton, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2014 via mobile

The hotel in essence is very good, staff were great etc etc, it just has an odd setup.

The room (Superior) was very good indeed with a decent size bathroom, with roll top bath and separate shower cubicle. Strange when you consider the lady who has recently reviewed the suite - without separate shower.

Going back to the rest of the hotel. The Roof Terrace was not open, i think they were missing a trick, considering the recent good weather.

There is no bar! You have to use the hotel restaurant which is around the corner, personally I think you're better off to use one of the many local bars, if you wish to have a drink.

We didn't try the restaurant as it is heavily weighted to steak, which is fine, if you fancy it.

Stayed April 2014
Helpful?
2 Thank John W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
455 reviews
105 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 268 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 20, 2014

We stayed in one of the Masters Penthouse suites, which afford stunning views of the city of Cambridge, with floor to ceiling windows on three sides of the suite, it is situated on a corner. The suite is arranged in a totally bonkers way, which has not made best use of the massive floor space available.My major gripe is that for a large suite "costing a lot" the bathroom is "tiny" there is a shower over the bath and one small wash basin and toilet and that is it?? The shower has a pretty pathetic flow rate too.There is ample floor space for a stunning huge double ended bath to utilise the views in the master bedroom area, why not??and there is room to extend the bathroom into the lounge area to accommodate a separate shower. Then there is a large deckchair in the bedroom, which is useless to sit on very uncomfortable, a sofa to lounge on and then in the lounge area, another sofa to sit on?In the lounge area is a fridge, computer, another massive TV, Tea and coffee makings and an exercise bike?? what is that all about? There is no where for a girl to sit and do her hair , make up etc ie no dressing table, yet masses of useless stuff and space. The suite is so badly designed that behind the fridge is a mass of plugs, plugged into an extension cable, one socket of which you need to use the hair-dryer because the only useable mirrors to blow dry your hair are either standing in the hallway or in front of the tea and coffee machine.
Be warned the huge four poster bed is fitted with a very firm mattress, the worst nights sleep in a suite I have ever had, felt like sleeping on concrete.
There is some lovely outdoor terracing in front of the suite, but it is not private, as you are overlooked by the roof top terrace bar and barbecue, slightly disconcerting, as no privacy, whilst outside on your terrace.
I also found service to be really slow, I had to ask for my luggage to be brought up twice and it took a while and later I asked for Champagne glasses and ice, which took so long I cancelled the request.
I mentioned my problem with the mattress on checkout, but it was brushed aside, as that is the way the mattresses are.
Such a shame really, held such promise but failed to hit the mark.

Room Tip: Penthouses have stunning views, but are expensive and badly designed.
See more room tips
  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 1 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank LADYRAWDON
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guildford, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
405 reviews
64 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 149 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 16, 2014

Smack bang in the centre of Cambridge. On arrival we just gave them the keys to the car and it was dealt with. A fairly modern comfortable hotel, it was quiet and we had a good nights sleep in a comfy bed. We were having dinner across the park, just a 15 minute walk but before setting off decided to have a pre-dinner drink on the rooftop of the hotel. What a delightful spot, the sun was out and the view across either the city or the park is excellent. Quite expensive nibbles but enoyed the olives none the less. There was always lots of staff around, opening the front door and in reception and nothing was any trouble. On a saturday afternoon they offer a complementary guided walk at 2pm. We were the only two so we had a great 1hr private tour. Why no one else wanted to go I don't understand. Breakfast is next door, easy to get to, a decent buffet and hot food which you can order (which we didn't) in nice surroundings. A small hotel, quite a homely feeling even though modern and very good staff. Certainly where I will stay next time in Cambridge. Wifi in the room free (as I expect) and works. The only negative is a surcharge for using Amex, but they warned me so I gave them a different card.

  • Stayed April 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Mike C
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 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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