The Best Luxury Hotels in Cambridge, England

The Clayton Hotel Cambridge features an intimate library
The Clayton Hotel Cambridge features an intimate library | Courtesy of Clayton Hotel Cambridge / Expedia
Photo of Callum Davies
26 November 2020

From the idyllic views of the Backs to the palatial college buildings, Cambridge exudes class. It follows then that there are more than a few hotels in the city that cater to this sensibility, and if you’re visiting somewhere with such rich heritage, why not bed down in style? Here is Culture Trip’s pick of the best luxury hotels in Cambridge.

Gonville Hotel

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Gonville Hotel
Courtesy of Gonville Hotel / Expedia

Right next to the historic Parker’s Piece, the Gonville Hotel was constructed in 1830 as a house for senior fellows of the colleges. It became a hotel in 1972 and is now recognised as one of the best upscale overnight stays in the city, which is evident from the moment you walk in. Upon entering, you are greeted by a grand reception hall that leads to the Atrium Restaurant, in which you might hear a pianist or an in-house jazz band. The rooms strike a delicate balance between classic and modern amenities, including smart TVs and monsoon showers. However, if you want to add to the luxury, take a tour of the city in the hotel’s very own Bentley.

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Clayton Hotel Cambridge

Hotel
Map View
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Courtesy of Clayton Hotel Cambridge / Expedia

The area surrounding Cambridge train station underwent a big regeneration project, not unlike the one Kings Cross saw in London in the early noughties. As well as a smattering of new cafes and places to eat, a new 155-room hotel opened in February 2020. Clayton Hotel is an all-rounder, with a library, restaurant and bar. The rooms range from singles and doubles to suites and come with sleek marble bathrooms and floor-to-ceiling windows. The city centre is a 20-minute walk away, and you can reach the Cambridge University Botanical Garden in less than half that time.

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University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection
Courtesy of University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection / Expedia

If you want to soak up the academic culture of Cambridge without sacrificing modernity or comfort, the University Arms Hotel is the place for you. Built in 1834, it operated very successfully for over a century before a dalliance with modernism in the 1960s saw it fall into disuse. Between 2012 and 2018, it underwent renovation and now stands as a kind of neoclassical monument to Cambridge’s history. The suites are named for famous Cambridge alumni and feature mini-libraries. The lounge is designed to resemble a student library and the restaurant, a student pub. In your room, you can enjoy the huge bed, monsoon shower and stunning views over the city. The city centre is accessible via St Andrews Street in less than 10 minutes, and Parker’s Piece is a few yards from the door.

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Hotel du Vin Cambridge

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
Map View
Hotel du Vin
Courtesy of Hotel du Vin Cambridge / Expedia

Comprising five former townhouses, the Hotel du Vin Cambridge is perfectly positioned for anyone who wants to explore the colleges or visit the world-renowned Fitzwilliam Museum, both of which sit mere minutes away. Inside, you’ll find a huge hive of corridors and staircases, leading to rooms and suites endearingly named after famous winemakers. Each accommodation offers a queen- or king-size bed with otherworldly VI-spring mattresses and drench showers; some even have deep bathtubs. In terms of food and drink, you can either visit the cellar bar or enjoy a full-course meal at the Bistro du Vin. There’s also a lounge area that seeks to emulate a university library.

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  • Madingley Hall

    Budget Hotel
    Map View

    As much a conference space as it is a hotel, the 16th-century Madingley Hall proves that you can still have a luxurious overnight stay in Cambridge without breaking the bank. It sits just outside the city near the village of Madingley and the tourist-favoured Cambridge American Cemetery. There are 62 rooms with big beds, tiled bathrooms and large windows, allowing for lots of natural light and amazing views of the sprawling grounds, which are great to explore on a warm day. However, you can enjoy them just as well sitting in the Terrace Bar Restaurant, which boasts a quirky, international menu.

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    Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel, BW Signature Collection

    Hotel
    Map View
    Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel, Signature Best Wester Collection
    Courtesy of Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel, BW Signature Collection / Expedia

    Part of the Best Western Signature Collection, the Cambridge Bar Hill Hotel is another boundary option, some 20 minutes by car from the centre. It has expansive grounds, complete with an 18-hole golf course, an indoor pool, a spa and gardens. The Brasserie serves a broad range of international foods (including breakfast in the morning), and the Gallery Bar and Lounge offers craft beers, fine wines, pizza and burgers and is a perfect place to take in some live sport if you happen to be staying on a match day. The hotel has 136 rooms, catering to every budget, with the superior rooms offering rainfall showers and huge king-size beds.

    Poets House Hotel and Restaurant

    Hotel
    Map View
    Poets House
    Courtesy of Poets House Hotel and Restaurant / Expedia

    While the Poets House Hotel and Restaurant is in the neighbouring town of Ely, it’s only a 10-minute train journey or a 20-minute drive to Cambridge. Ely itself is well worth exploring, from its ancient cathedral to the Jubilee Gardens. The beautiful Poets House sits almost directly opposite Oliver Cromwell’s historic home (now a museum) and has a blend of ornate and contemporary styles. Each of its 21 rooms features a copper bath, an enormous flat-screen smart TV, a cheval mirror and big windows, which, if front-facing, provides a picture-perfect view of the cathedral. The Dining Room serves sumptuous meals, while the Sonnet Bar & Lounge offers a trendy spot to have a quiet drink, with a jazz singer coming in once a week.

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    These recommendations were updated on November 26, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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