Take the oldest pub in Cambridge, scrap a 60s extension, bring in the foremost classical architect and an in-demand interior designer and you have England’s most anticipated hotel opening of the year.
University Arms, Cambridge has stood at the centre of city life since 1834 in the historic heart overlooking Parker’s Piece, the city’s famous 10ha common.Flash forward and architect John Simpson, who has worked on both Buckingham and Kensington palaces, has overseen the$142 million redevelopment, reinstating features of the original Regency building. Swedish-born interior designer Martin Brudnizki has delivered urbane but quintessentially English interiors that reflect the hotel’s university town locale.
Think Cambridge Blue timber panelling in the lobby, a library, with wood-burning fireplace, curated by leading London bookshop Heywood Hill and marble patterned wallpaper in the bar recalling the endpapers of antiquarian books.
In the 192 light-filled guestrooms and suites, overlooking Parker’s Piece, Regent Street or the hotel courtyard, there are leather-padded writing desks, and in some accommodation categories even a mini-library. The classic Edwardian interiors feature bespoke furniture, signature linens and house unguents by DR Harris perfumers, London’s oldest pharmacy. Several suites on the top floor have private balconies with bathrooms tucked into the original domed turrets.
The hotel restaurant pays homage to those very Harry Potter-type college dining halls with wood floors, stained-glass windows and canteen-style seating. Eat in or have chef Tristan Welch’s team pack a simply spiffing “Parker’s Picnic”.
The hotel opens on Wednesday.