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Reviewed September 13, 2018

A beautifully constructed hotel with wonderful big rooms in a great location - and that's where the positives end.

Here are the pros:
- beautiful building
- excellent location
- big and well appointed rooms with heated bathroom floors
- automatic free upgrade to King with Park View for Marriott Gold

And a long list of cons (described in futher detail below):
- massive front doors that require pushing a button to open and no doormen to be seen
- completely disinterested front desk staff
- room not avilable until an hour after guaranteed checkin time (and 2 hours after requested checkin time)
- no recognition of Gold status or description of facilities such as gym, bar/restaurant or free bikes upon checkin
- absolutely atrocious WiFi that disconnected every 5 minutes
- park facing rooms get a lot of noise from loud folks in the park all day and all night
- card and half eaten chocolates for previous guest left in the room
- rock hard bed that is definitely not the norm for Marriotts
- shower has no door so water goes everywhere
- screws holding vanity to the floor were already rusted out despite this hotel only opening months ago
- fire alarm went off briefly in the morning with no explanation

This is an absolutely gorgeous hotel, brand new, constructed and decorated beautifully. Sitting alongside a huge park and on the main road, it definitely draws the eye. The rooms are very well appointed, spacious and very well done. And at £400+ a night that all makes sense - but at £400+ a night you'd expect a certain level of luxury and attention to detail which is distinctly lacking from this property at the moment. The downfall of this hotel begins with the massive front doors that are automatic but with buttons that aren't obvious (and no doormen to be found), so I found myself tugging on it in order to activate the automation. Front staff were disinterested at best, I arrived at 2:30pm having requested an early checkin of 2pm, was told that my room was not available with no apology or apparent care for my request. Was told it was guaranteed by 3pm and to expect a phone call. I strolled around the gorgeous town of Cambridge for a bit, 3pm came and went with no phone call so I circled back round to the hotel at 4pm and was told that my room was still not available. There were 3 employees at reception and none seemed to particularily care that the room wasn't ready over an hour past the guaranteed normal checkin time, nor did they acknowledge my request for an earlier check in, my Gold status or offer any type of compensation for having to wait over an hour. Fortunately, another employee happened to overhear that my room wasn't ready and went off to sort it out, about 5 minutes later my room magically became available. One disinegious apology and my room key was handed to me with no instruction about hotel facilities other than to walk through some doors and find the lift. The room itself was very nice, I booked a Classic Queen using a free night certificate and was automatically upgraded (due to my Gold status, and certainly not due to any manual actions from the front desk team) to a Classic King overlooking the park. The view was great but the noise from outside was quite loud, I could hear conversations in the park and I was on the 5th floor. Along with neglecting my request for a 2pm early checkin, my request for a room with a bathtub was completely ignored, but at this point I was just happy to have a room at all. The bathroom has heated floors which is a lovely touch, and the brass fixtures and exquisite tile are wondeful, but screws on the vanity are rusted out and while the shower looks nice, it doesn't have a door or curtain so you end up with water all over the floor of the bathroom. The desk is elegant and has a very pleasing drawer (closing it is so satisfying, try it!) and I was surprised to find a card and some chocolates on the desk, given the halfhearted attitude of the staff, but quickly realized that they were left from the previous guest, who the card was addressed to, and the chocolates half eaten, a bit of an oversight by housekeeping there (and I guess I'm not worthy of a card and chocolates). And don't get me started on the WiFi which is unsecured and requires no password, cuts out every 5 minutes and is painfully slow even when it is working. I was planning on asking for a late checkout but when the fire alarm went off in my room in the morning for 5 minutes before suddenly stopping, I decided to just get out as soon as possibkle. Overall, the hotel is aesthetically remarkable and in an excellent location, the rooms are very nice (apart from noise and lack of shower door) and it has massive potential but the lack of enthusiasm, professionalism or even standard customer service from the staff is a massive disappointment. Luckily that's something that can easily be fixed and I certainly hope somebody with authority takes a look at this review and sorts things out. They could do with adressing the WiFi, faulty fire alarm, noise from outside and lack of shower door/curtain while they are at it. As it stands, I cannot recommend this hotel until the above issues are resolved.

Room tip: If you choose a park view room try to get one very high up, or expect noise from outside
Date of stay: September 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
    • Value
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
4  Thank danm110
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IanJamesUA, General Manager at University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded September 14, 2018

Dear Dan M,

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us at University Arms.

I am naturally disappointed to read that your experience with us did not live up to your expectations. My team take great pride in providing exceptional service in all areas of our operation and it is most concerning that you did not find this to be the case.

Your feedback is most appreciated and I would like to discuss this further with you, if you could kindly contact me directly at the hotel.
I truly hope to have the opportunity to welcome you back, so we can provide you with the exceptional experience that our guests expect from us.

Kindest regards,

Ian James
General Manager
ian@universityarms.com

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 13, 2018 via mobile

For generations of Cambridge students, the UA has been the go to place to take parents for afternoon tea. Now the hotel has reopened after a multi million pound rebuild. Art Deco style dominates throughout from the furniture to light fittings, artwork, swirly carpets and tiled bathrooms. Had a very comfortable, quiet room overlooking Parker's Piece. Breakfast was good, although the staff seemed to struggle a bit with a large influx of guests. Very centrally located. Friendly and helpful service. Will definitely come back. This is the quality hotel which Cambridge badly needs.

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Traveled on business
1  Thank mike12b
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StevenS5769, Front Office Manager at University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded September 15, 2018

Dear Michael A,

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us at University Arms.

I am delighted to read that you enjoyed your experience with us and that you were impressed with the results of our extensive refurbishment project. I am particularly pleased to note that the team members you encountered were friendly and helpful & contributed to your enjoyment and positive experience.

As a newly opened hotel, I greatly value feedback such as yours in order to enhance our product and continue to develop our service delivery.

I look forward to sharing your comments with the team at University Arms and do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back in the very near future.

With Kind Regards,

Ian James
General Manager

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Reviewed September 12, 2018 via mobile

This is a new (sorry, newly refurbished) hotel. Occupancy seemed low, but it has only been open two months. This will surely become THE place to stay in Cambridge. I was lucky and got an upgrade to a superb room (709) overlooking Parker’s Piece. The room was very quiet and spacious. I would recommend this hotel to anyone wanting a great base in this lovely city either for work or for just for a look around.

Date of stay: September 2018
Trip type: Traveled on business
2  Thank B5079GNpault
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StevenS5769, Front Office Manager at University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded September 15, 2018

Dear Paul T,

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us at University Arms.

I am delighted to read that you enjoyed your experience with us & that you appreciated the space and quiet of the upgraded bedroom.

As a newly opened hotel I greatly value feedback such as yours and I am very excited to share your kind comments with my team.

I do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to University Arms in the very near future.

Kind Regards,

Ian James
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 10, 2018

I meant to write this review a few weeks ago as my wife and I stayed at the University Arms Hotel for five nights in early August, not long after it had opened. We pondered over a few hotels in Cambridge but chose this one and were glad we did. The location is perfect and within easy walking distance for visiting most places that the tourist would want to visit. We arrived by taxi from the train station having flown down to Stansted and received a very warm and courteous welcome from the boys at the main door and Rebecca on reception. It is clear that all staff are very proud of the hotel and quite rightly so - I believe that somewhere in the order of £85M was spent on the refurbishment and it was evident where the money was spent - quality shone through wherever you went. We had booked on a bed and breakfast (continental) basis only as we thought that there would be lots of nice places in Cambridge to eat in the evening, however did have dinner in Parker's Tavern on the first night and thoroughly enjoyed the food, the atmosphere and the service was very skilled and all staff were attentive taking time to have a chat with all guests, so much so that we ended up eating there for three of the nights of our stay and paid more on the other two nights elsewhere at places that certainly didn't have the same ambiance and the food was probably not as good either. Note that a service charge is added to all food and drinks, but that suited me as I felt that it was well deserved and saved me from fumbling around looking for change to tip the staff. Breakfast was likewise a lovely experience with an adequate selection for the continental breakfast with cooked options available at an additional cost and whilst I usually indulge (some may say over-indulge) in a cooked buffet breakfast when I stay at a hotel, I felt the continental breakfast was plentiful and more than adequate and I felt less sluggish during the day as a result.
You may have noted that I haven't yet mentioned the bedrooms and was interested to read some of the other reviews since our stay. My wife had booked a low floor superior room with a view over Parker's Piece and the room depicted on-line shows a spacious room with large bright windows and whilst we didn't expect that particular room as I believe the building layout is unique and probably no two rooms are the same, we were disappointed to be allocated an attic room that had a pokey wee window and the only view you got was if you had your nose hard to the glass - it maybe seemed worse as we arrived on the first day of rain since May and what we actually saw was the rainwater cascading down the slated roof into the gutters. I could see in my wife's face this was not the experience she was expecting. so we went back down to Rebecca on reception who said she would see what could be done whilst we went for a coffee in the bar and after about half an hour at most she came to us with a replacement room, all our luggage had been transferred for us and when went to it found it was stunning and matched our expectations in every way. i wondered if anyone had actually stayed in it before us as everything was pristine and couldn't fault it in any way. As a result, we really did have a fabulous stay here and without doubt, the main strength of the hotel is the staff in all departments and would expect this hotel soon to be the contender for the number one hotel in Cambridge.

Date of stay: August 2018
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank weemanal
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
IanJamesUA, General Manager at University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded October 1, 2018

Dear weemanal,
Thank you for staying with us again and for your positive feedback. We truly appreciate your kind words about our staff. It's definitely a boost for us every time we hear positive reviews such as this. I will be sure to let Rebecca know that she has made an impact during your stay. We hope to welcome you back to the hotel soon!
Kind regards
Ian

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Reviewed September 9, 2018

We initially reserved a 'classic' room with a view of Parker's Green, but on arrival discovered that it only had a shower and wasn't just as bright and spacious as the photos on the hotel's website, so we paid to upgrade to a superior room (no view of the green, but hey). A big improvement, but at £266...I know it's Cambridge, but that's a lot of money for a hotel room that doesn't come with breakfast. The room rate is really the only reason I'm deducting a star on this review. To a one, all the staff we dealt with at the hotel were polite and helpful. The public spaces were beautifully decorated, and our new room was well appointed (large bathroom in particular was gorgeous, with lovely tile work and a pretty clawfoot bath--shame it was acrylic). We also ate in their restaurant, the Parker's Arms, and really enjoyed it though the acoustics in the room make for a cacophonous eating experience!

Date of stay: September 2018
Thank KJ8600
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
StevenS5769, Front Office Manager at University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection, responded to this reviewResponded September 15, 2018

Dear KJ8600,

Thank you for taking the time to review your recent stay with us at University Arms.

I am delighted to learn that overall you enjoyed your experience with us, noting in particular your positive review of our polite & helpful staff and your positive reflection of your bedroom.

With regards to your initially allocated bedroom and the absence of a bathtub; the majority of our bedrooms have spacious walk-in showers with only a very limited number having a bathtub, which we endeavor to allocate when requested - I do apologise that this was not effectively communicated. I have highlighted your comments to our reservations team to avoid further disappointment.

Furthermore, we are currently reviewing our online images, both on our own website and numerous online channels, to ensure that a representation of all of our bedroom and suite products are represented.

I am disappointed to learn that you disagree with the value of the bedroom rate charged - we do believe that we have positioned ourselves correctly within the Cambridge market and that the room rate charged was a fair reflection of our position & product offering; however I thank you for your comments.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to post your review; I look forward to sharing your review with my senior team.

I do hope that we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Cambridge and to University Arms in the near future.

Kind Regards,

Ian James
General Manager

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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