Cambridge’s leading boutique hotel reopens its roof terrace.

For a city so popular with the international crowd – be they tourists or parents of students – Cambridge is oddly light on destination hotels. There’s the University Arms, of course, and then there’s the… Er…  Nope. I’ve got nothing aside from the usual, functional, three star names. Now, however, we can add the Varsity Hotel to the “good” list.

Given the nature of Cambridge’s period architecture, and the constraints and space limitations such things bring, the Varsity is what an estate agent would cynically call “bijou and compact” and hoteliers will declare “boutique.” For those seeking the most mod of mod cons, or whatever else is currently at the bleeding edge of hospitality, the Varsity is not for you. For those seeking charm, unique and artistic design, personal service and, thanks to the recently refreshed rooftop terrace, views across to St John’s and the Cam, the Varsity is a very good option.

Located a short walk from Midsummer House – just across Midsummer Common – the Varsity is well located for Cambridge tourism and the city’s best dining. It also has its own thoroughly decent brasserie, Six – okay steaks, a very-good-indeed chorizo and pea houmous starter, an excellent chocolate mousse – plus the aforementioned roof terrace, which is a fine spot for cocktails or a glass of champagne from a short but solid list.

There is also a spa. Again, those seeking ultra-luxury, the most 21st century of treatments, look away now, but for those who simply want a massage, a facial, a swim and access to a, yes, bijou and compact gym, the Varsity will tick all the boxes.

Should they still be required at the time of reading, all Covid-restrictions were neatly and adeptly handled. Overall, the Varsity is a charmer.