Varsity Hotel

LOTTIE UNWIN luxuriates in the most wonderful hotel she’s ever stayed in.

glassworks Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen lift spa union jack Varsity Hotel


Clean white sheets with pillows piled high? Plasma screens on either side of the wall of the suite? And with it, the tough decision to watch X Factor in bed or on the plush sofa? Only for the rich, famous or rich and famous parents, right? Well, maybe.

The good things in life aren’t free and The Varsity Hotel is stunning.

Even then, as far as stunning upmarket hotels go, Varsity does something a little unique.

Each room has its very own distinctive decour – plush and tactile in shades of burgundy and blue – and spectacular snapshots of Cambridge from the large, sometimes wrap around, windows. The look is very distinct.


There is something a little Lawrence Llewelyn-Bowen in the Union Jack pillows, flower-pots filled with fake grass and clashing prints. That said, somehow, it really works – and not only because it’s not all made of MDF. Instead the chrome fixtures and fittings, leather armchairs and spreads of glossy magazines feel very expensive, and the look as a whole is very stylish.

It’s as though you’re encouraged to make a home from home for the night. The service is friendly but not over attentive, the rooms have prioritised comfort and the other customers you find yourself intimate with in the lift up and down from the five floors are rightly at ease.

And then there are all the other reasons not to leave: the spa, with its infamous hot tub, the roof top terrace that really is like no where else in Cambridge and Steakhouse (two courses for £15 here), or just the two different ways of making coffee in each room. The question caffitierre or espresso machine is tough enough to make you book in for an extra night.

So is it really heaven? Not quite: the bathrooms are on the small side, dwarfed by the bed sheet size fluffy towels, and the friendly service at breakfast would have gone down better had the tea ever arrived.

Then the price tag… the fact that we can’t buy or experience things that we can’t afford is simple economics, but thankfully there is a catch: parents, Prince Charming or you in 10 years time, if you take the careers service by storm, might make it possible. Chat up that fresher who wore a suit to the mix and mingle and you might find yourself checking in.

The very good news? On a Sunday night the cheapest room, a two course meal and a cocktail before hand is £120, for a special occasion, is not far off your VK bill in Life.

READ: The Tab’s review of The Varsity Hotel Gym and Spa, Glassworks, here

OFFER: Membership to Glassworks only £35/month, here

BROWSE: The Tab’s 40s and 60s fashion shoot in The Varsity Hotel here