Hotel Review: Varsity Hotel & Spa, Cambridge

Sample the intellectual hub of Cambridge from this riverside boutique bolthole.

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Accommodation


Quirky and comfy, the rooms at the Varsity Spa & Hotel celebrate the cultural heritage of the historic city. I stayed in Christ’s, which is decorated with statement purple wallpaper featuring string instruments and a canvas featuring a cross section of a heart and Charles Darwin's portrait.

The standout feature is a massive walk in monsoon shower which takes up the entire back wall of the bathroom. There is also a bathtub with feet and complimentary Elemis Spa toiletries.


Meeting spaces


The dedicated meeting space, The Trinity Room, can hold 16 to 60 guests. The intimate setting provides privacy and quiet, with balcony doors which can be opened up on warmer days.

For those long summer nights, the Rooftop Terrace is suitable for up to 140 for drinks and BBQ, weather permitting. Delegates can watch the sun go down over the spires of Cambridge while toasting to a successful event.

For colder days, SIX Panoramic Bar & Brasserie has capacity for 140 with stunning views over the river and city centre. The River Bar Steakhouse and Grill can be partially hired or hired out exclusively for private dining for groups of up to 130, overlooking punters on the river.


Food and beverage

The hotel invited me to sample a three course meal with a bottle of wine at SIX, its panoramic brasserie. Being a pescatarian, I enjoyed a starter of creamy burrata with wild rocket, followed by prawn skewers served on a bed of giant couscous, wrapping up with a naughty ice cream sundae drizzled with butterscotch sauce and whipped cream.

For carnivores, the restaurant also serves a selection of delectable meats from its wood stone oven, including steak, crispy pork belly, leg of saltmarsh lamb and roasted salmon, which can be paired with one of 49 cocktails or over 30 speciality gins.


Location


The hotel is centrally-located within walking distance of several of the colleges, the high street and covered market.  A variety of walking tours explore the history and culture of the city, or alternatively, hire a bike to whizz round the best city for cycling in the UK.

If you’re interested in fine art, old artifacts and suits of armour, head over to The Fitzwilliam Museum for hours of cultural amusement. Outdoorsy types can sightsee the traditional Cambridge way by taking a punt down the river.

For those that just want a bit of rest and relaxation, the Elemis Spa attached to the hotel offers a gym, fitness classes and jacuzzi overlooking the Cam.

 

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