A luxury hotel that captures the richness of the history, traditions and culture of Cambridge. It is a landmark hotel with world-class facilities and service.
It is a luxury to have a porte cochere or a drive-through archway, for a city centre hotel, but that’s what University Arms in Cambridge is all about. This hotel reopened its door in 2018, after a £80m renovation led by Queen’s architect, John Simpson and Swedish-born interior designer, Martin Brudnizki. It is now part of the Autograph Collection – the luxury boutique hotels arm of the giant hotel chain Marriott.
University Arms Hotel is a modernised quintessentially English hotel. It has plenty of the old-world charm in its classy interiors, its tastefully curated artwork, an attentive service as well as all the modern-world convenience of spacious rooms/suites, comfy beds, mood lighting and scented hallways. All these executed in unison, delivers a welcoming and restful stay to discerning guests in the heart of Cambridge.
No qualms checkin:
Our bags were unloaded promptly and the car valet for a charge of £30. The bell boy was alert to notice that I have left my mobile phone on the navigation dashboard. Check-in was swift and pleasant. A signature and a credit card pin entry later, we were on our way to our rooms.
The lobby is a smart elegant airy room with double height ceiling. It has traditional timber clad walls painted in a calm heritage greyish green shade. There is an imposing Georgian-styled partition wall with windows separating the room into two areas. Crowning the wall is a large analogue clock flanked by two winged sphinxes. A large photograph of Churchill and a few old maps of Cambridge completed the look.
Homely Room with Character and Culture
The large windows fill the room with sunshine and energy. Art pieces showcasing classic nostalgic scenes of Cambridge, such of rowers in an octuple scull rowing boat and the Bridge of Sigh added character to the room.
The bed mattress comes from Buckinghamshire-based family-run bedding and upholstery producer, Hynos, who also supplies them to Buckingham Palace, Windsor Castle, Balmoral Castle and other Royal Residences. I think I am going to sleep like a royalty tonight 👑.
There are complimentary English breakfast, earl grey and peppermint tea from Newby at your disposal. But again University Arms gives a little bit more luxury. Instead of instant coffee sachet, you have both normal and decaffeinated nespresso from Krup as well as fresh milk in the fridge for your enjoyment. Further to that, you have printed mugs and espresso cups as well as the essentially English teapot which doubles up as a kettle, true genius.
Decadent black, white and gold luxury bathroom
The highlight of the room has to be the decadent luxury bathroom. Smart black and white tiles brings out the gold-rimmed mirrors and gold taps and pipes beautifully.
In addition to that, the toiletries are sourced from Dr Harris & Co., the London St. James’s Street-based Royal Warrant as chemists to Her Majesty the Queen of Great Britain. On top of that you get the modern convenience of heated floor, heated mirror, strong water pressure, a powerful Babybliss Pro hairdryer as well as a full size iron and ironing board in the room.
We stayed at the Classic Room. University Arms also offer smaller Cosy Rooms as well as Superior Rooms and Suites. The Suites has large sitting areas and open view of Parker’s Piece.
Sumptuous Buffet Breakfast overlooking Parker’s Piece
The hotel’s buffet breakfast is served in Parker’s Tavern. It has gorgeous big windows which look out to Parker’s Piece. The windows are decorated with stained glasses of the Coat of Arms of the major colleges of University of Cambridge. The walls are filled with seemingly random art pieces. On closer inspection you will notice that they are about the culture, discoveries, adventures and soul of Cambridge as a world-class university.
The spread is sumptuous. On the hot breakfast section, you get mushroom, tomato, bacon, pork sausages, omelette and baked beans. On the cold breakfast section, you have fruits, greek yogurt, cold cuts, smoked salmon, yogurt pots and the full selection of cereals and muesli. There are a few types of bread to choose from as well as croissant, pain au chocolate, muffins and oat milk, soya milk and semi skimmed milk. Fresh cooked eggs and espresso based coffees are also available on order. The service was pleasant but the team did struggled to keep the buffet stocked up in a couple occasions in the morning as guests poured in.
The Bar and the Reading Room
Next to the restaurant, back towards the lobby, you will find the hotel bar and the drawing room. Another two tastefully designed rooms. The bar is classy with a lacquered dark wood counter top lined with little white lamps. Behind the bartender are well stocked shelves with a healthy selection of whiskies, gins, vodkas, brandies and mixers. The bar is well known for its cocktails.
The drawing room is darker and cosier with lower lighting, chunky bookshelves and a playful variety of leather chairs. Great place for an evening brandy or a nightcap.
Let me know what you think about University Arms Hotel. As always, love to hear your thoughts and experience.