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Le Grand Magazine

Share Published on March 13, 2019

A Cambridge Landmark

The University Arms reopens after extensive renovations to restore this landmark hotel to its former glory as one of Cambridge's iconic hotels. Located along Regent Street in the very heart of Cambridge, University Arms is a stone's throw from the railway station and many of the city's landmarks including Parker's Piece. The hotel is the perfect starting point to the nearby university colleges, museums and galleries. The hotel originally opened back in 1834 and was the brainchild of architect John Simpson and designer Martin Brudnizki. This unlikely pair with very different design approaches masterfully complimented each other in this project resulting in a unique collaboration that became a 'timeless classic.' "We have created something that feels like it really belongs to Cambridge and always did," described Simpson. The Regency-styled hotel endured for almost 130 years until modernizations in the 19th and 20th centuries were introduced. By the 1960s, Modernist elements were incorporated in a move that was not favored by many, especially as the building's facade was replaced entirely.

In 2014, the hotel closed its doors for a £80 million refurbishment to return to its traditional architectural splendor.University Arms once again welcomes guests with its imposing classical entrance, which recalls the original structure. Past the porte cochere, guests can feel right at home in this authentic Cambridge hotel. Or as Brudnizki explained, "the hotel feels distinguished from the moment the guest arrives beneath the porte cochere." The 192 rooms and 12 suites are decorated in Classic Edwardian style and offer views of Parker's Piece, Regent Street as well as the hotel's courtyard. The rooms are full of natural light offering guests a pleasant sojourn in one of the quintessential university cities. The suites are all named after famous Cambridge alumnus and include curated bookshelves with publications and works of their namesakes, Turing, Hawking, Darwin and others.

In an effort to maintain the hotel's authentic character, the hotel features a library with a huge fireplace that was incorporated into the original hotel project after it was salvaged from a nearby stately home. This is the perfect spot to relax and read a book from the many carefully selected entries available. Adjoining the library is the hotel's bar with its extensive cocktail list and famously-stocked wine cellar. The hotel is also home to the Parker's Tavern located on the ground floor and operated by Tristan Welch. Welch, who was the former head chef of Gordon Ramsay's Petrus Restaurant, brings the essence of Cambridge to his dishes with simple yet elegant dishes from carefully sourced ingredients. For an authentic experience of Cambridge opt for Parker's Picnic and enjoy chef Welch's classics and delicious novelties in a punting hamper in one of the nearby parks. Experience Cambridge in the city's quintessential hotel.

Review by Victor Moreno-Barbera