The Top Luxury Hotels in Cambridge
By Maria Fedele
Just shy of an hour by train from central London, Cambridge in England is an enchanting haven from the chaos of the big city. It’s a destination rich in history and that famous ‘old English’ charm, and is renowned for its world-class universities. The likes of Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and 13 British Prime Ministers studied within the perimeters of this Cambridgeshire town where the grand buildings date back to the 12th century, and punting on the River Cam is the pastime of choice.
British poet Sophie Hannah once described Cambridge as “heaven… it is the nicest place in the world to live. As you walk round, most people look incredibly bright, as if they are probably off to win a Nobel Prize.” However, you need not be a student to enjoy the bohemian lifestyle. Cambridge has an extensive range of accommodation to suit everyone, from quintessentially English townhouses, quaint cottages, romantic luxury hotels, and luxury vacation homes for rent, which all equally reflect the town’s tranquillity and charm.
Use our list of the top luxury hotels in Cambridge as your guide to finding the perfect hideout during your visit to this beautiful city.
Hotel Felix (Featured Destination)
Hotel Felix is a grandiose Victorian mansion set amongst three acres of beautifully landscaped gardens approximately a mile outside of Cambridge’s city centre. Originally built in 1892 as a family home, it has now been transformed into a luxury boutique hotel with 52 rooms, an award-winning restaurant, as well as catering for weddings, meetings, and celebrations.
The grand entrance opens up to two modern wings, as well as a cocktail bar and fine-dining restaurant. Expanses of sunlight flood through the large ornate windows and create a warm glow, giving the hotel a touch of opulence. The lavishness extends to the hotels rooms which are all stylish, spacious, and adorned with tasteful artwork. The penthouse suite is the pick of the bunch with an oversize modern bathroom, king size bed, and a bathtub-mounted TV.
In addition to strolling around the immaculate gardens, guests are also able to sit on the Garden Terrace or the Orangery which overlook the grounds and enjoy a light snack or afternoon tea. The Graffiti Restaurant also has views of the lawns and serves up modern dishes with a fresh Mediterranean twist.
Read More: LuxuryUK – Peace and Luxury at the Hotel Felix Cambridge
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Book a Room: Felix Hotel Cambridge
Situated a stones-throw from Cambridge’s main station, the Tamburlaine Hotel is one of the newest accommodation options in the city, opening its sleek glass doors in March of 2017. Named after a play by Christopher Marlowe who studied at Cambridge’s Corpus Christi College, the hotel boasts 155 crisp rooms categorised into the aptly titled Fresher, Scholar, and Dean Suites. The hotel’s interior draws its inspiration from the ancient Asian ruler, Tamburlaine, from the play it is named after. Hence the lashings of regal red and deep mahogany furniture, fine bone china adornments, lavish lighting fixtures, and plush carpets.
The rooms are also decorated with personalized furnishings, including large ornate king size beds and marble bathrooms with splashing’s of intense blues and egg-shell greys. Floor-to-ceiling windows provide an ample amount of natural light, with the Dean Suites offering the best views of the city and its surrounds.
From the lobby, guests have the option of four dining choices. The sophisticated library has the ambiance of a private lounge with deep-seated leather armchairs, an open fireplace, overflowing bookcases, and comfortable lounges. Whereas, the Colonial-style Garden Room located on the terrace caters for afternoon tea, light lunches, and drinks. For a hearty meal, Tamburlaine’s Bar and Restaurant serves locally sourced, classic English fare in a lovely, casual setting. The impressive horseshoe shaped marble Cocktail Bar serves up delicious innovative cocktails, fine wines, and local beers.
Rates and Reviews: Tamburlaine Hotel
Anstey Hall Hotel
This sprawling 17th century Victorian mansion is situated just outside of Cambridge in the nearby town of Trumpington. A former country house which was once owned by the writer and poet Christopher Anstey, Anstey Hall is now one of the most breathtaking hotels in Cambridgeshire. Boasting 22 stunning bedrooms along with 10 acres of lush gardens, a library, saloon bar, and ballroom, the estate is also often used as a gorgeous location for wedding receptions.
Although there is not a restaurant on site, the hotel does provide a scrumptious breakfast and there are three bistros in the village just a short five minute walk away. While the rooms in the main manor offer beautiful views of the garden, guests are also able to stay in the stables located across the courtyard across from the main house. The suite and the superior king rooms occupy the main bedrooms of the manor which feature elegant four-poster beds, separate living areas, and palatial en-suite bathrooms. All rooms are full of vintage character – think dark oak, deep reds, polished gold trimmings and opulent antique furniture.
Rates and Reviews: Anstey Hall Hotel
University Arms Cambridge
Built in 1834, the University Arms is the oldest hotel in Cambridge and the building is one of the most historically significant in the city. Over the years, it has undergone several refurbishments, but the latest transformation, completed in 2018, is the most prodigious. Located alongside the open space of Parkers Piece, architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brundnizki have collaborated to revamp the hotel into a sprawling complex including 192 rooms and suites, a restaurant, bar, gym, library, and conference facilities.
The striking neo-classical exterior is congruent with the traditional architecture of Cambridge and designed to reflect the literary heritage of the city. The interior is framed by high ceilings, grand lofty spaces, ornate light fixtures, and a dramatic combination of dark timber, plush velvet, and rich leather.
The ground floor Parker’s Tavern, which can seat over 100 people, serves up traditional English dishes from Cambridgeshire-born chef Tristan Welch. Welch serves up delicious, no-fuss food cooked with locally sourced and season ingredients in the lavish setting which has also been decorated to reflect the interior of a University college. Guests also have the option to purchase a picnic basket and enjoy dining al-fresco in the park opposite the hotel.
Rates and Reviews: University Arms Cambridge
Built in approximately 1860, Duke House is an ode to the rich tapestry of history that is evident everywhere in Cambridge. Situated in the centre of town and right on the edge of the sprawling gardens of Christ’s Pieces Park, this five room B&B is a rare find. Initially home to the Duke of Gloucester, the current owners have completely renovated the townhouse without losing any of its original allure. The rooms are decorated in a remarkable combination of simple tasteful décor paired with effortlessly stylish luxuries, such as ornate chandeliers and plush furnishings.
As well as offering a grand self-catering apartment, the Cambridge room is the height of luxury. Tastefully decorated in soft pastels with lashings of gold, brass, and marble in the bathroom, there is also a sitting room and private outdoor decked area which fills the suite with light and creates an airy, romantic quality.
The friendly hosts warmly welcome guests with a drink on arrival, tea in the reception and a delicious hearty breakfast in the morning. On sunny days, guests are also able to make use of the snug balcony which overlooks an inner courtyard.
Rates and Reviews: Duke House
Hilton Cambridge City Centre
Hilton Hotels are renown for style, sophistication, and class. The Hilton Cambridge City Center is no exception, its riverside location on Downing Street within walking distance to all of Cambridge’s main attractions, particularly the famous King’s College Chapel and the Market Square.
The neo-classical 1990s façade of the hotel features towering columns and stately arches which frame the entrance to the grand open-plan foyer. However, by contrast, the interior is modern and chic with a vast atrium flooding the entire first floor with natural light. Guests are also able to enjoy the Bar and Lounge for refreshments, small bites, or afternoon tea, as well as the acclaimed Bull and Bass Restaurant, serving traditional hearty English fare.
All 200 of the Hilton Cambridge’s spacious rooms feature a sleek, contemporary design with neutral colours and modern amenities. Guests are also able to enjoy the onsite gym, meeting/business facilities, room service, and buffet breakfast. When booking the executive suites, guests are also treated to unlimited drinks, canapés and snacks at no extra cost.
Rates and Reviews: Hilton Cambridge City Centre
Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge
The Hotel du Vin is an authentic part of Cambridge’s rich past. Formerly university quarters, this grand Georgian building has been masterfully remodelled into a boutique hotel and bistro. Perfectly nestled along a cobble-stone street within close proximity to the city’s most famous landmarks, the hotel faces the Fitzwilliam Museum which houses an impressive collection of arts and antiques.
Inside is a maze of staircases, hallways, hidden alcoves and dimly lit corners interspersed with intricate paintings, exposed brickwork, and the occasional fireplace. The 41 rooms and suites are laced with character and named after various winemakers and champagne houses, an ode to the hotel’s well-stocked Cellar Bar. The Krug suite is a stand-out with its own mini cinema, private terrace, original fireplace, and king bed.
The hotel’s acclaimed Bistro serves divine French cuisine in a relaxed, elegant setting, and the underground cellar bar has an exceptional range of wines. Private dinning is also available as is a buffet-style breakfast and 24 hour room service.
Rates and Reviews: Hotel du Vin & Bistro Cambridge
Quy Mill Hotel & Spa
The 4-star award-winning Quy Mill Hotel and Spa is a former historic watermill converted into a luxury, stylish haven on the outskirts of Cambridge. Surrounded by five acres of pristine gardens, the historic building has been masterfully redesigned to include 51 rooms, a restaurant, lounge, bar, health spa, indoor swimming pool, and is also accommodating to weddings and large events.
The rooms, which are spread through the main house and across the courtyard in the converted barn, are elegantly decorated and tastefully designed for upmost comfort. Each have large beds (some with four-poster beds and garden views), stylish en-suite bathrooms, and generous lounge/sitting areas.
The Mill House Restaurant is housed in the original Miller’s House and has been refurbished to incorporate both formal and casual dining areas, as well as a large outdoor terrace with views of the expansive gardens and the Mill Race River. Food is prepared to a high-standard with ingredients being locally sourced and the bar stocked with over 50 varieties of malt whiskey, as well as wines and Cask Marque real ales.
Rates and Reviews: Quy Mill Hotel & Spa
Like many of the grand historical buildings in Cambridge, the Gonville Hotel was built in the early 1800s by Gonville & Caius College as a house for one of its Senior Fellows. Since 1972, when it was opened as a hotel, it has undergone several renovations to forge a stylish, sleek establishment with 73 fitted-out bedrooms, two dining areas, and a bar.
The neutral colour palette in the rooms creates a relaxed, comfortable aura whereas the virtual concierge service, provided through iPads in every room, is a creative and modern touch. The iPads can also be used to order room service and access information about the city. Guests can also choose their own pillow from the pillow menu and each room includes a desk, king-size bed, and lounge. Additional luxuries also include the use of the hotels Bentley S1 and bicycles, which are both available free of charge for guests.
The vast lobby opens up to the conservatory Atrium restaurant and a bar where free jazz concerts are held on Friday and Saturday nights. The Atrium brasserie caters for relaxed, intimate dining with a menu loaded with traditional British pub dishes. The nearby bar has an extensive and creative cocktail menu as well as an impressive selection of gins. For fine-dining, guests and visitors are spoiled for choice at the hotel’s wildly celebrated Cotto Restaurant. The menu, which has been crafted by Master Chef Hans Schweitzer, offers a selection of beautifully prepared food in a modern, elegant setting.
Rates and Reviews: Gonville Hotel
The Varsity Hotel and Spa
The Varsity Hotel and Spa is a luxury boutique hotel located in the historical heart of Cambridge with views onto Kings College Chapel, Trinity and St John’s College. Built in 2010, the hotel is modern and comprises of 48 individually crafted rooms which all draw upon the academic theme of the city.
The ample rooms, which are named after different Cambridge colleges, all feature floor-to-ceiling windows, contemporary furniture, and sleek bathrooms. Some rooms open up to a wooden decked area where guests are able to enjoy unparalleled views across the city. Neutral tones are offset by splashes of colour in the patterned wallpaper, plush furniture, and striking artwork.
The hotel’s restaurant and spa are housed in a former 17th century brewery. The River Bar restaurant is a steakhouse and grill which serves up generous portions of hearty food in a relaxed setting with panoramic views of the river. The Glassworks spa offers a wide range of treatments to guests including day packages, sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, studio classes, and a fully-equipped gym, all in a peaceful setting with views overlooking the River Cam. The focal point of the Varsity Hotel is the rooftop terrace which opens up to 360 degree views across Cambridge. The terrace also features a restaurant and bar, serving up delectable cocktails and superb dishes with a trendy, chic ambiance.
Rates and Reviews: The Varsity Hotel and Spa
Contributor Maria Fedele is an adventurous traveller and freelance writer from South Australia who has lived in Paris and currently calls London home.