Hotel du Vin hotel, Cambridge, review

Hotel du Vin is a group of hotels that have several things in common: they’re usually in converted old buildings with a bit of history attached to them, they’re always comfortable, they have a certain level of style, and the standards are reliable.

In a city famous for its historic university which dates back to the 13th Century, it seems apt that the Cambridge Hotel du Vin is housed in old Grade II listed college buildings.

Hotel du Vin hotel, Cambridge, review

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Open since 2007, the contemporary hotel has 41 bedrooms, a French-style bistro and basement bar.

Hotel-du-vin-review

Where is the hotel?
The hotel is located on the medieval Trumpington Street which leads on to the famous King’s Parade and in close proximity to the city centre.

How to get there
The nearest train station is Cambridge with good connections across the UK. Hotel du Vin is about a mile from the train station, so a 20 minute walk or a five minute taxi ride. Parking is limited and there are lots of complicated one-way roads; if you want to drive the best thing to do is use one of the city’s many Park and Rides and get a bus to the hotel. The nearest airport is Stanstead – a 30 minute bus/car journey.

What’s in the area?
There is so much to see and do in Cambridge and lots to learn about the old city. Most is accessible by foot so take a stroll from the hotel and walk into town or take a leisurely amble along the leafy Backs and watch the punts go by. Go and see one, or all, of the colleges and learn about previous alumni including Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, Ian McKellen and Stephen Fry. Climb the steep and winding staircase of St Mary the Great church for views over the city. Relax in one of the many bars, pubs, cafes and restaurants the city has to offer.

While we were there we visited the Eagle, where graffiti from WWII airmen covers the walls and ceiling, and it is also said to be place where Watson and Crick proposed the structure of DNA. We had an incredible lunch, as well as some mighty fine gin cocktails and craft beers, at The Pint Shop. And the market is not to be missed for bargain fruit and veg and locally sourced meats.

How was the room?

Hotel-du-vin-bedroom

Our ample-sized room had all the basics including large wardrobe, air conditioning and TV. It was a little tired around the edges but cosy and relaxing. The bed was huge and extremely comfortable but the pillows were wafer thin and lacklustre so a few cushions were needed for a boost. Sleep was restful and with breakfast served until 11am we were in no rush to wake from slumber.

Were there good amenities?
There were free tea and coffee facilities including a Nespresso machine for those who prefer a proper caffeine kick to start the day. Everything you would expect to find in a hotel room were there; hairdryer, iron, safe and mini bar included.

How about the bathroom?

hotel-du-vin-bathroom

The bathroom, came with the option of roll top bath or rainforest shower. We didn’t get an opportunity to check out the freestanding tub but the shower was powerful – just what you need to blow the cobwebs away. The bathroom was toasty warm with fluffy white towels, dressing gowns and toiletries from Miller Harris.

How was dinner?
The French-style bistro is on the ground floor of the hotel and has breakfast, lunch and dinner sittings. The menu changes daily. The chateaubriand for two caught our eye but after deliberating I chose a lighter lemon sole with caper and brown shrimp butter. We then loaded the table with side dishes including fries, cauliflower cheese, vichy carrots and spinach gratin. The cheese trolley is a must, you can choose three or five and they come served with biscuits and chutney. With the help of the waiter I opted for three British cheeses – and of course a glass of port to finish the meal, and almost me, off.

hotel-du-vin-dining-room

How was breakfast?
Breakfast isn’t included in the cost of the room but well worth indulging in. There’s a ‘country table’ continental breakfast which includes cereals, pastries, muffins, yogurts, fresh berry compotes, freshly squeezed juices and hot drinks as well as a cooked breakfast menu, for £16.95, which includes all of the above and your choice of a hot dish. We had the Severn & Wye smoked haddock with hash brown and poached eggs and a Hotel du Vin healthy breakfast consisting of a spinach and egg white omelette, veggie sausage, confit tomatoes and grilled mushrooms. Needless to say we were well and truly stuffed after a good feeding.

What’s the damage?
Rates are from £169 for room only. The country table breakfast costs £13.95 or the hot breakfast is £16.95. We also paid £3.95 for a big bottle of sparkling water from the mini bar in our room. Cocktails in the basement bar cost £8.50 each.

Overall thoughts
Hotel du Vin offers a great place to rest weary legs after a day of exploring the beautiful city packed with things to do. The room was comfortable and quiet with everything you need not to leave for the whole weekend… though you most definitely should get out to discover the delights of Cambridge. The restaurant has a huge range of French/British classics to choose from and the late night basement bar was great to unwind with an espresso martini after dinner. Staff were pleasant and helpful and we were thankful for a late checkout at noon; after breakfast we went for a nap – the enormous breakfast feast knocked us out.

Hotel du Vin
15-19 Trumpington Street
Cambridge
CB2 1QA
01223 227 330
www.hotelduvin.com

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