The Best Hotels in Cambridge

University Arms Hotel is just one of the best hotels in Cambridge, England
University Arms Hotel is just one of the best hotels in Cambridge, England | © David Burton / Alamy Stock Photo
Photo of Callum Davies
14 December 2020

The city of Cambridge, home to the prestigious University of Cambridge, is also one of the most popular tourist destinations in the UK. For those looking for the familiar comforts and service of a hotel, there are options of all shapes and sizes dotted around the city. From boutique and luxury stays to city-centre digs, here are Culture Trip’s picks of the best hotels to stay in on your next trip to this historic city.

Gonville Hotel

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Built in 1830, the Gonville was originally a senior fellows house for academics, before being converted to a hotel in 1972, and has since cultivated a reputation as one of the most upscale hotels in the city. It’s conveniently located on the south corner of Parker’s Piece, around a 10 minute walk from the centre of Cambridge. The hotel exudes style both inside and out, with the well-preserved architecture and recent refurbishments complimenting each other beautifully. The Atrium restaurant has a classy mid-20th-century atmosphere – further enhanced by the in-house jazz band – and the rooms are sleek and modern without clashing with the rest of the decor. If you really want to feel well-looked after, you can take a complimentary ride in the hotel’s own Bentley S1.
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The Varsity Hotel & Spa

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Who could argue with a hotel that offers a central location, incredible views and a luxurious feel all at once? The Varsity Hotel & Spa sits right next to the River Cam and is only a five-minute walk from Jesus Green. Its proximity to the punt station also means that you have got an authentic Cambridge experience awaiting mere feet from your door. The rooms are sizeable, and some have wood-panelled balconies, as well as monsoon showers in the bathrooms. The hotel’s casual restaurant is twinned with a rooftop cocktail bar, and guests are given free use of the Glassworks gym and spa.
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University Arms Hotel

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The University Arms is the oldest hotel in Cambridge and while for some that might be reason enough to stay all by itself, there is plenty more to entice guests through its doors. Sitting on Regent Street, right next to Parker’s Piece and tracing an easy route into Market Square and the colleges, the hotel was recently refurbished and great care was taken to maintain its authentic feel. The rebuild was done by architect John Simpson, and the new interior now feels like a tribute to Cambridge itself, with the Library public sitting room, Cambridge-Blue adorned rooms with curated libraries and the crown jewel, the Parker’s Tavern, a university watering hole right in the middle of the hotel.
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Hotel du Vin

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Just down the road from the magnificent Fitzwilliam Museum, this hotel is the perfect place to stay if you’re enticed to explore the colleges – the foundations of the city’s world-class academic pedigree. Hotel du Vin has a well-established reputation for creating a boutique atmosphere and the Cambridge iteration is no exception. The hotel’s class and elegance can also be felt in its rooms, which are, somewhat appropriately, named after famous winemakers – a theme befitting rooms with Caesar beds with VI spring mattresses and slipper bathtubs. There’s a cellar bar and bistro on-site, with some interesting dishes such as haddock and prawn gratin alongside classics such as steak frites and turkey ballotine.
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The Waterman

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Blending contemporary style with rustic touches is always a risky move, but The Waterman manages it admirably. Overlooking Midsummer Common, one of the most recognisable green spaces in Cambridge, it offers eight rooms with lots of space, comfy beds and eye-catching artwork, as well as smart TVs and Roberts radios. The bar has a huge selection of craft beer and fine wines, and the restaurant has a variety of different options, including some great dishes for vegetarians and vegans. Special events include sports screenings, bottomless brunches and seasonal menus.
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  • Anstey Hall Hotel

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    Dating back to the 17th century, Anstey Hall is one of the most prominent Grade I listed buildings in Cambridge, sitting in one of the greener parts of Trumpington. The owners have maintained the illusion that it is, in fact, still the 17th century across and around the hotel – think high tea, croquet on the lawn, four-poster beds and vintage furniture all over the rooms and the hallways alike – to say nothing of the post-modernist paintings. There’s no restaurant, but there is a bar and lounge, and breakfast is available there or served directly to your room.
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    Arundel House Hotel

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    With 102 rooms, the Arundel is one of the largest hotels in the city, and it sits right across the river from Jesus Green. Like many others, the hotel tries to embody Cambridge’s classical notes, while also providing as much space and comfort as the antiquated building will allow. The coach house behind the hotel is also set up with rooms, and guests there can rest in the knowledge that they’re inside the HQ of one of Cambridge’s earliest transport companies. The hotel boasts a bar, main restaurant and brasserie, allowing for the optimal dining experience at any time of the year. The menu is varied, and includes a broad range of international dishes.
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    Rectory Farm

    Rectory Farm
    The rolling lawn leading up to Rectory Farm resembles something out of a period film, with the Georgian-style frontage beckoning you inside. A countryside walk will lead you to King’s College in around 40 minutes, and you can expect to see sheep and horses grazing around the perimeter of the gardens. Alongside the 20-ha (50-acre) meadows there are croquet hoops and a heated outdoor pool, and the rooms are split across the main house and a few contemporary chalet buildings. A continental breakfast is offered in the lounge, and special seasonal events are always happening, so it pays to keep an eye on their website to find out what’s going on.
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    These recommendations were updated on December 14, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.