Inside the new University Arms in Cambridge

After two years of renovations, the University Arms has reopened, featuring parquetry floors, plush fabrics and a very British aesthetic.

By Helen Anderson
Parker's Tavern at the University Arms, Cambridge
Parker's Tavern at the University Arms

The spot that might best define the University Arms in Cambridge is its library: wood-panelled walls, a wood-burning fireplace, deep sofas, and a collection assembled by London bookshop Heywood Hill, including works by literary figures with suites named for them.

The university city's first hotel, opened in 1834, reopened recently after an £80-million transformation by architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki.

Simpson has replaced 1960s and '70s extensions with a façade that complements its Regency-era neighbours, while Brudnizki has evoked a British style inside with parquetry floors, brass and leather details, crests and accents of Cambridge blue. Some of the 192 rooms have private libraries and views of Parker's Piece common.

Order a punting hamper for a river jaunt or take a canteen-style seat at Parker's Tavern, the hotel's Hogwarts-esque brasserie with original stained-glass windows and more crests.

Rooms from £210. University Arms, Regent St, Cambridge, universityarms.com

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  • Author: Helen Anderson