Despite its grandeur, the hotel is reassuringly relaxing (Image: PR)
This being Cambridge, one of the UK’s most prestigious seats of learning, interior designer Martin Brudnizki (whose projects include The Ivy restaurant, Buckingham Palace), working alongside Classical architect, John Simpson, has introduced scholarly elements.
Photographs of crews of the legendary Cambridge teams; of Winston Churchill resplendent in a favourite siren suit; another, an extraordinary alfresco lunch for 32,000 on Parker’s Piece celebrating the coronation of Queen Victoria and various botanical prints and old maps are a nod to quintessential Cambridge and its Britishness.
Some of the original features of the building remain: a massive fireplace in the library, where distressed leather sofas sit on reclaimed parquet floors and original stained glass windows, featuring college crests overlook Parker’s piece.
Despite its grandeur, the hotel is reassuringly relaxing and its 192 rooms and nine suites ooze luxury.
Mine, the Charles Darwin suite, featured a nod to the great naturalist with well-chosen books relating to natural history such as dinosaurs and woodlands.
Lighting emanates from wrought-iron chandeliers powder-sprayed in pillar-box red with dinky shades and industrial-style lamps.
Bedside lighting is mismatched, as are the bedside tables, avoiding looking too contrived. The hypnos beds are superb, as is the silky linen.
Black marble bathroom basins work beautifully against white tiles and come with superb rain showers, claw-footed baths and smellies courtesy of D. R. Harris & Co.
Corridors of carpet in deep blue and rust stripes representing the Cambridge University Tie connect the rabbit-warren array of hallways and the hotel’s recurring colour, uplifting Cambridge (Tiffany) Blue, pops up in trays and Dutch bikes available for guests.
The property's 192 rooms and nine suites ooze luxury (Image: PR)
COVID CHECK IN
Apart from a couple of staff wearing visors, hand sanitiser and a sign detailing what measures the hotel has taken, Reception appeared to be relatively ‘normal’.
I loved the very ‘Royal Birth Announcement’ ornate easel featuring details of the Covid app as well as decals of characters from Wind in the Willows on the floor tiles reminding guests to be considerate of others. Many amenities were removed from the room, such as bathrobes and body lotion. These are however, available on request.
Drinks and food is left on a tray outside your door and rooms are serviced after three days and are thoroughly cleaned and left to sit for 24 hours after guest’s departure.
Parker’s Tavern has a very relaxed French bistro feel with white linen tablecloths, banquettes and Wainscot walls adorned with Cambridge-themed scenes (more rowing and old photographs of the city) under gigantic circular ‘chandeliers’ of wrought iron.
Each second table was left empty to encourage social distancing but this didn’t detract in any way from the appealing atmosphere.