Luxurious Linens & Succulent Steaks: Inside The Cambridge Hotel With Gorgeous Views

We can all agree that it's been a pretty depressing winter, and the only thing that could me through the cold, wet and drearily dark nights was the thought of a relaxing staycation. So, when the opportunity to visit The Varsity Hotel & Spa Cambridge came up, it felt serendipitous, to say the least; not only is the city home to picturesque cobbled streets, unique cultural sites and those all-important traditional pubs, but the hotel seemed the perfect place from which to explore everything.

The Varsity Hotel Cambridge | DesignMyNight

Some rooms even have cute balconies boasting sky-high views of the city.

After just a couple of hour's drive from London, we arrived at our dreamy destination. Check-in was seamless and we were quickly settled in our Senior Fellows Superking Room (from £199 per night). It felt incredibly homely, while still being luxurious and modern; beams of much-welcomed sun shone through the tall glass doors onto the glorious four-poster bed, which boasted inviting fresh white linens (it took all my power not to dive straight into them). There was ample storage, including vintage-style wardrobes, a chest of drawers and bedside tables. Plus, the bathroom was equally as pleasing, offering both a standalone bath and walk-in shower, not to mention an abundance of Elemis products that I couldn't wait to tuck into.

After dropping off our bags and freshening up, we headed to one of the hotel’s restaurants, The River Bar Steakhouse & Grill. When we arrived at around 7.30pm, the place already had a buzz - it was obviously very popular with the locals and not just tourists, which is always a great sign. As we were guided to our table on the mezzanine, I took in the interiors; in a similar vein to the hotel, it felt both cosy and stylish. Bare-brick walls met with framed images of famous scholars and lines of vintage wine. It also had a lively, intimate ambience, toting low lighting and mellow jazz playing in the background.

River Bar & Steakhouse Cambridge | DesignMyNight

Meat lovers will absolutely adore The River Bar Steakhouse & Grill's menu.

To ease ourselves into the evening, we ordered a round of cocktails. I went for the blueberry amaretto sour (£9.50), which brought a delightful fruity punch. My partner decided on an old fashioned (£11.50) - a solid take on the classic. As we sipped these, our starter, the seared scallops (£15.50), arrived. Presented in the shells, swimming in a pool of lip-smacking garlic and herb butter, they were perfectly cooked, sweet and delicate.

But then came the star of the show: the 32oz tomahawk steak (£84) to share, which was honestly as big as my head. On the outside, it had a moreish charred exterior that married beautifully with the succulent, medium rare bites within. A steak this good is certainly fantastic on its own, but it was elevated even more so when we dipped it into the green peppercorn and chimichurri sauces (£2.50 each). On the side, we had both chips with rosemary sea salt (£5.50) and hand-cut wedges (£5.50). The latter were absolutely delicious - like mini baked potatoes, with crispy skin and fluffy insides. To help wash it all down, we opted for a bottle of the Amaru Malbec (£36.50), a deep, drinkable red that paired with the succulent feast well.

I'd heard a lot about the iconic rooftop bar, so was excited to visit for a nightcap, but unfortunately, due to bad weather, it was closed (classic England, am I right?). But, we couldn't miss out on the views, so we ventured up to the 6th floor, where Six Brasserie flaunted floor-to-ceiling windows at every corner, showcasing a birdseye view of the city.

The Varsity Cambridge Rooftop Bar | DesignMyNight

I'll have to make a return trip this summer to take advantage of the famed rooftop terrace.

The next morning, we headed back up to Six Brasserie for our breakfast (which was included in our stay). There was a lovely buffet spread of fresh bread, boiled eggs, fruit, meats and cheeses, although we decided to order from the a la carte menu. After the hefty meal (and lots of booze) we’d had the night before, I decided to go for something a little lighter – eggs royale with extra avocado and a strong flat white (my partner didn't want food envy so went for the exact same). The poached eggs were perfectly cooked, served alongside a generous portion of smoked salmon and a good dollop of hollandaise.

The DesignMyNight Digest

I returned home from my staycation well-rested, well-fed and completely rejuvenated. Everything was fantastic at The Varsity Hotel & Spa Cambridge, from the beautiful room and lovely staff to the stunning restaurants. My only regret is not visiting the spa - but that just gives me even more reason to visit again, doesn't it?

  💰 The damage: Around £370 for an overnight stay, dinner, drinks and breakfast.

  📍  The location: Thompson Lane, Cambridge, CB5 8AQ.

  👌 Perfect for: Relaxing staycations.

 ⭐ Need to know: It also has a lovely spa so you can get some serious R&R.


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