The University Arms has been on my bucket list ever since it reopened in 2018. This hotel sits in the heart of Cambridge and first opened its doors way back in 1834. It closed in 2014 as it underwent an £80 million refurbishment and the new hotel is glorious.
It piqued my interest because the hotel has numerous literary influences, including bespoke bookshelves in every suite, a library and literary cocktails. A book lover’s dream! Cambridge itself is a very literary city as numerous notable authors have studied at the famous university here so it’s the perfect location for such a hotel.
From the moment the University Arms’ tall, heavy doors are opened for you, it’s clear that this place is special. As you walk into the reception area and hallway, you’ll be amazed by how grand and opulent the hotel is. Huge chandeliers, velvet seats and more.
No detail is spared at this luxurious hotel and it’s even got its own scent! The entire hotel is spritzed with a scent from Dr Harris & Co Ltd. in London, which is the same brand of toiletries that is offered to guests in the bathrooms.
The University Arms is the perfect hotel for bookworms. You need only wander into the loos to find out why. Your trip to the loo is accompanied by the sweet dulcet tones of Alan Benett narrating the Wind in the Willows. Yes, they really play audiobooks in the loos!
The hotel also has it’s very own, and very large, library. The walls are lined with bookshelves and there’s an enormous fireplace that I would love curl up in front of in the colder months. There are long sofas, armchairs, window booths, tables. The library is perfect for an afternoon rest and is also where afternoon tea is served! More on that later.
The University Arms is second to none when it comes to attention to detail and that is evident after spending just a few minutes here. It’s a hotel full of books but don’t go thinking that they’re just thrown about willy-nilly – they’ve all been put on their respective shelves for a reason.
Reviewed by Laura Hartley