Hotel,Â Category:Â Â£Â£Â£Â
My parents came to visit me from Austria and I wanted to something special with them, so I took them to Cambridge for the weekend. Â We stayed atÂ The Varsity HotelÂ in central Cambridge and even though this hotel looked great on paper (on the website rather), it was overpriced, and we were very disappointed. Â So this will be a little post about where not to stay in Cambridge….
The Varsity Hotel claims to be a luxury hotel. Â Yeah right. Â Paying 180 pounds a night more than 50 kilometres from Central London for a room that is barely big enough to hold a smallish double-bed is cheeky. Â When you add a tiny bathroom with a shower that only produces luke-warm water (in the evening as well as the morning…) Â the 180 pounds hurt even more. Â Then imagine the hotel room being overheated (not the hotel bar mind you, that was freezing) when there is no way in the room to regulate the radiator. Â Opening the window however is a problem, as just below the window (we stayed in 1st and 2nd floor) was a glass bottle collection point. Â It is particularly nice when you have to listen to the lovely crystal Â clear sound of bottles being thrown onÂ bottles ALL NIGHT THROUGH!
You see this beautiful picture of the pool just at the river on the website. Â Reality is a bit different, as firstly,Â the much-advertised spa is in the next building (it was not that great to walk in the rain and 12 degrees in your bath robes) and secondly, even though there is a pool faintly reminiscent of the below photograph, the spa area is smelly and does not invite to linger at all. Â I tried a facial (30 minutes for 35 pounds) which was not very good either.
Breakfast was included in the room rate (hallelujah!) and the breakfast room was lovely with high ceilings and big windows. Â The breakfast itself was confusing. Â My parents who don’t speak English very well and made the mistake to have breakfast earlier without me, did not realise that the English Breakfast was included (for all other egg dishes you have to pay extra) and only had a dry croissant. Â Further no one explained that they could eat a hearty breakfast for free and the menu was not clear on the point if you were not a very good native English speaker. Â Indeed, can anyone explain how a Full English Breakfast (including 2 eggs) can be free but if you wish for less (e.g. 2 poached/soft/scrambled eggs) you have to pay?
I did order the English breakfast which was fine (apart from missing baked beans) but what really tipped us over the edge was the fact that you have to pay extra for aÂ cappuccino. Â I mean honestly, at a 5 star hotel advertising a full free breakfast, isn’t this just outrageous? Particularly as the filter coffee was unpalatable.
It was a small thing, but I found the most annoying and just showing the atrocious customer care and lack of respect for guests with the attitude “if someone can pay 180 pounds a night for a room, we might as well charge extra on everything else”. Â On check in we were asked whether we wanted a newspaper in the morning. Â We happily agreed and you could imagine our faces when 2.5 pounds for the newspaper suddenly appeared on our bill. Â There was no mention that the newspaper would not beÂ complimentaryÂ and to be honest, I have stayed in a lot of hotels but have never paid for my morning newspaper.
What a bloody rip off!
Next time I go to Cambridge I will stay in a small and charming B&B where I will certainly be treated better. Â We as consumers should not tolerate hotels like this that overcharge to begin with and then nickle and dime people without grace. Â Shame on you The Varsity Hotel!
Â Thompson’s Lane,Â CambridgeÂ CB5 8AQ,Â England
TEL: +44 (0)1223 30 60 30