Cambridge, England, Europe and Middle East, Hotel Reviews, Newsletter, United Kingdom

University Arms Hotel. Hidden within Cambridge’s enchanting alleyways.

28/02/2024 by .
University Arms Hotel

Melania Guardia Ceccoli stays at the University Arms Hotel. Cambridge’s oldest hotel.

Nestled amidst the historic alleys of Cambridge, beyond the iconic doors of the world’s most renowned colleges, stands the University Arms Hotel. A testament to time, this historic establishment, first opened in 1834, has undergone a transformation in 2018 by the acclaimed architect John Simpson and award-winning interior designer Martin Brudnizki.

Claiming the title of the oldest hotel in Cambridge, the University Arms Hotel  began its journey as a coaching inn, providing respite for travelers on the arduous journey to London before the advent of rail networks. Evolving with the times, the hotel converted stables into garages in 1904, anticipating the rise of motorcars. Always at the forefront of innovation, it became the city’s first hotel to feature electricity and toilets on every floor.

University Arms Hotel

University Arms Hotel

Upon entering beneath the grand portico that once welcomed carriages, guests are enveloped in the unique scent of geranium, a subtle touch from London perfumer D.R. Harris & Co. The meticulous attention to detail is evident throughout the hotel, with a large print at the entrance depicting 32,000 people gathered on Parker’s Piece to celebrate Queen Victoria’s coronation in 1838.

This hotel exudes a charming, old-world allure, where even the public restrooms are accompanied by the genteel narration of Alan Bennett reading “Wind In The Willows.”

The University Arms Hotel boasts 189 rooms and suites, each offering a distinct charm. Suites feature private libraries curated by Heywood Hill, with top-floor options providing access to private balconies overlooking Parker’s Piece. The original domed turrets house bathrooms, adding a touch of historical charm.

University Arms Hotel

A highlight is the Library, a homage to Cambridge’s academic legacy, curated by Heywood Hill. The library has been in existence for 177 years, since the hotel’s beginnings. Here, guests can engage with a Book Butler while enjoying tea or coffee, discussing literary interests. The Book Butler will then hand-select a personalized collection of books from the library, delivered to the guest’s room on a silver platter.

The Cambridge book butler is not just a person. This is a range of staff who have been trained for the role and will be available on a rotating basis whilst juggling other duties.

Call the front desk and a list of available titles will be sent to your room. There’s a wide range of fiction and nonfiction titles on that list, in categories like art and design, music, culture, biography, romance, and philosophy, among others.

University Arms Hotel

University Arms Hotel

Suites are named after writers, including Virginia Woolf and Stephen Hawking, who have passed through the city.

I stayed in a Terrace Suite, with a terrace overlooking the park and a bathroom in one of the towers. The room is large and spacious, with a sofa, desk, a large bed and a large romantic bathroom fitted with gold taps and very smart black and white tiling. The bath with scented salts is unforgettable!

In the room there is also an area for coffee or tea. The cups are custom made for the hotel, decorated with the hotel’s facade on the cup and saucer, with amazing attention to detail. A cup of tea and a buttery shortbread biscuit provided the perfect break to wander around and peruse the stacks of books in the room.

For a city with great bike paths, the hotel offers free bikes to guests and also arranges free daily tours of tourist attractions.

Tell me more about the University Arms Hotel in Cambridge.

University Arms Hotel, Regent Street, Cambridge CB2 1AD

T:+44 1223 606066

Rooms from £204 per night or £255 with breakfast.


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