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University Arms Hotel, Autograph Collection Cambridge


BEST FOR:The University-centric location, Edwardian elegance, and the very English breakfast

DON’T MISS: The details – from literary lobby signs to the choice of bedside reading

PRICE: Internet rates for a traditional room start at $155.

CONTACT: University Arms, Parker’s Tavern, Regent Street, Cambridge, CB2 1AD. Phone +44-0-1223-60-62-66.

VERDICT: You can’t pass this hotel without wondering what’s inside; and once you spend the night (or enjoy a meal), you realize just how special this hotel is.

BACKGROUND: Recreated by British architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki, this beautiful hotel is in the heart of this storied university town. Close to shopping and many of the most famous colleges in the city, this charming member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection is the best game in Cambridge.

WHERE IS IT? Adjacent to the illustrious yard known as Parker’s Piece and along historic Regent Street, this hotel has seen new additions and a remarkable redesign.

WHAT’S IT LIKE? Edwardian interiors are the first sign that this literary-themed hotel is the perfect fit for a city like Cambridge. Down to the smallest detail (lobby signs designed like bookshelves and a beautiful library that serves as a bar), guests and locals alike flock here for top-notch dining and perfected accommodations. Even the do-not-disturb signs were designed so they won’t turn around when the door is closed and confuse housekeeping. A manager offers a full tour of the hotel each evening, and occasional lectures or musical performances entertain guests and locals.

ROOMS: The 192 rooms and suites are decked out in light blue and cream colors, and offer oversized beds with thick duvets and pillows. Thoughtful touches include bedside power and USB ports, bottled water on nightstands with vintage books, and reproduction leather-padded desks. Flat-screen cable TVs face the bed while large-paned windows overlook the gardens or Regent Street. Bathrooms feature heated floors, shower stalls with rainfall heads, and London-made toiletries. The hotel’s many suites are each named for well-known authors that studied in Cambridge.

FOOD AND DRINK:  Dining here is a highlight drawing plenty of locals for the hearty English breakfast or a la carte menus throughout the day. Brasserie-style options include everything from seared scallops to a delicious spaghetti Bolognese. The library bar has a bespoke collection of books from the likes of Charles Dickens and Lord Byron and a crackling fireplace where guests can take morning coffee or evening tipples.

MEETINGS: Free wireless Internet works throughout the hotel, and several meeting rooms accommodate small group gatherings. The ballroom features a modern chandelier and restored stained glass windows representing many of Cambridge’s colleges.

LEISURE: The fitness center on the bottom floor offers modern equipment, but a jog around the city is far more exciting.