The Gonville Hotel in Cambridge, UK

Updated: November 1, 2019

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Review of Gonville Hotel in Cambridge, UK.

The Gonville Hotel – Period elegance and modern luxury meet in this boutique setting.

Originally a nineteenth-century college house, Gonville is now one of Cambridge’s swishest hotels. Think clean lines and period details like crushed velvet armchairs in jewel tones. All rooms are spacious, with sitting areas and artful decor such as classic scenes of Cambridge decorating bathroom walls. Guests can choose between two restaurants, including fantastic fine dining at Cotto. Behind the main building, and surrounded by a peaceful private garden, sits Gresham House, a Victorian villa that now houses eight deluxe feature rooms and a spa. Each room has an individual botanical design, plus creature comforts (cashmere mattresses, Smart TVs, etc.) and standout features – roll-top baths, private patios, and four-poster beds. Attentive service will ensure you feel spoiled.

The Gonville Hotel – Location

  • Address: Gonville Place, Cambridge CB1 1LY.
  • Area: Poised on the edge of the historic center, the hotel looks out over the grass of Parker’s Piece. The best museums, including the Fitzwilliam Museum, are within 10 minutes of walking. So is shopping in the Grand Arcade, and in the opposite direction, the Cambridge University Botanic Garden. There are great places to eat on neighboring Regent Street and independent shops on Mill Road, which starts 6 minutes away on the other side of the green. The central colleges and the river are 15 minutes on foot.
  • How To Get There: If coming from London, take one of the frequent trains from London King’s Cross station to Cambridge. From Cambridge train station, take the Citi 1, Citi 3, Citi 7, or Park & Ride bus to St Paul’s Road, 4 minutes’ walk (0.2 mile) from the hotel. National Express buses are a good transfer option from London Stansted or London Luton airports; these stop on Parkside, 7 minutes (0.3 mile) away. Alternatively, call ahead if you want the hotel to pick you up or drop you off in a Bentley.
  • Handy To: The Polar Museum, Cambridge University Botanic Garden, Fitzwilliam Museum.

The Gonville Hotel – The Basics

  • Ages: Guests tend to be professionals during the week, and couples looking for a high-end, romantic hotel on weekends, though families with children are welcome.
  • View: Rooms at the back of the main building and in Gresham House look out over peaceful private gardens.
  • Private Pools/Jacuzzis: No private pools/jacuzzis.
  • Laundry: Dry cleaning service (additional charge).
  • Parking: On-site parking costs £15.
  • Extras: A tour in one of two Bentleys (worth reserving in advance), complimentary bike hire, turn-down service, pillow menu, and virtual concierge service via iPads in every room. Added to this, feature rooms come with the chef’s ‘Hans-made’ chocolates, coffee machines, and Bose wireless speakers.
  • When To Book: Book 2-3 months in advance for the late June-August high season. Consider avoiding mid-April to mid-June as this is exam term and colleges are closed to visitors.
  • How to Book: Booking.com will have the best rates.
  • Phone: +44(0)1223 366611
  • Email: [email protected]
  • Website: gonvillehotel.co.uk

The Gonville Hotel – Amenities

  • Pool: No pool.
  • Spa: Gresham House Wellness is located in the Victorian villa inside the hotel’s walled garden which also houses the feature rooms. It offers a full range of treatments, from facials and massages to waxing and nails, and uses ESPA natural skincare and beauty products.
  • Fitness Center: No fitness center.
  • Laundry: No common laundry room.
  • For Disabled Guests: A number of rooms come with wheelchair-accessible wet rooms with handrails. Guests can also request adjoining rooms and twin or double beds as needed. There is a lift to rooms on the upper floors in the main building, though not in Gresham House.
  • For Families: For children under 12, there’s a £15 charge per night each, and extra cots or cribs for under-2s cost £15 also. The number of family-sized rooms is limited, so call the hotel to discuss your needs. There are no special facilities for children, but there is a kids’ menu in the Atrium Brasserie restaurant.
  • Activities: Bentley tours, outdoor cinema in summer (for an additional charge).
  • Other Facilities: Dog-friendly – for a £25 charge, your 4-legged friend will receive a welcome pack – a mat, water bowl, and tasty treats. Not available in the feature rooms.

The Gonville Hotel – Food and Drink

  • Restaurants: Cotto, for some time one of Cambridge’s foodie destinations, is now housed in a sleek glass extension adjoining the bar. Chef Hans Schweitzer’s 3-course menu, costing £70 on weekdays and £75 on weekends, offers superb fine dining; dishes have surprising touches, such as venison with juniper berry sauce and roasted cocoa. Advance reservations a must. Open Tuesday-Saturday from 6:30 pm. $$$. • Atrium Brasserie is a more casual dining option, serving up British classics in a relaxing, conservatory setting. Afternoon tea is worth booking in advance. Open noon-3 pm & 6-9.30 pm. $$.
  • Lounge/Bar: Atrium Bar – Relax in a velvet armchair and try a locally produced gin or a bespoke cocktail, such as the Burnt Breakfast Martini. Adding to the cool vibe, there is free live jazz every Friday and Saturday night. Open daily until 11 pm.
  • Breakfast: Continental as well as hot food cooked to order. Option to include in the room rate, otherwise £19.95 per person per day. Served 7–10 am Monday-Friday, 7:30–10:30 am Saturday, and 8–11 am Sunday in Atrium Brasserie. Also available in the rooms.
  • Room Service: Available from Atrium Brasserie around the clock.

The Gonville Hotel – Rooms

  • Room Types: Classic Twin Room/Classic Twin Room with Bath • Classic Double Room/Classic Double Room with Bath • Superior Double Room • Deluxe Double Room • Deluxe Double Room with Balcony • Deluxe King Room (Deluxe rooms correspond to the botanical-themed feature rooms.)
  • Smoking Rooms: The Gonville Hotel is 100% smoke-free.
  • Best Room: Delphinium, Lavendula, and Tulipa are all ground-floor rooms with access to the hotel’s private garden, and Tulipa also features a dramatic 4-poster bed.
  • For Families: No family rooms per se.

The Gonville Hotel – Local Transport

  • Walking: 10-minute walk to the University Museums, the Fitzwilliam Museum, and the Grand Arcade for shopping. 15 minutes to Market Square, the most popular colleges, river, and nearest punting station. The green spaces of Midsummer Common and Jesus Green are strollable. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile) to the central bus station and 14 minutes (0.7 mile) to the railway station. Walking is the best way of getting around central Cambridge with its pedestrianized streets.
  • Bus: Buses from the nearby St Paul’s Road and Downing College stops run directly to the central bus station in one direction and the railway station in the other.
  • Taxis, Uber: A taxi from the train station to the hotel costs around £4. An Uber is in the same range, though cheaper for longer trips.

The Gonville Hotel – What’s Nearby?

Recommended Nearby Tours

  • Punting – One of the most popular things to do in Cambridge (particularly in nice weather) is to go punting: using a long pole to steer and propel your punt along the River Cam, past the city’s many colleges. Punting companies such as Scudamore’s, Let’s Go Punting, and Cambridge Punters are found by the bridge at the top of Bridge Street (0.9 mile, 18-minute walk), at the north end of the city center. Scudamore’s also has a second location by the bridge on Mill Lane, near Queens’ College (0.7 mile, 14-minute walk). You can rent a punt by the hour or else opt for a guided tour, whereby you’ll glide past the colleges and get to hear about their history from your knowledgeable punting guide (often a current Cambridge student).
  • Walking Tours – The tourist office by Market Square (0.6 mile, 13-minute walk) runs a range of walking tours. These range from a quick hour to a more leisurely stroll visiting several colleges. There is also a Friday night ghost tour where you can hear about some of Cambridge’s creepier history. Prices start at £10 per adult and go up to £25 per adult for the longer tours.
  • Hop on Hop off Cambridge Bus Tour – Buy a 24-hour pass for an open-top bus tour that circles Cambridge’s main sights and then some. Take in the river, the medieval churches, even the WWII Cambridge American Cemetery. A good place to hop on is Downing St, a 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).

Best Nearby Restaurants

  • The Oak Bistro – Classy local bistro which simply does fantastic-looking, delicious food. Emphasis is on local produce with big flavors – duck, beef, and lamb. Elegant inside, with a cozy walled garden. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • The Old Bicycle Shop – Industrial chic gastropub – formerly the country’s oldest bike shop – now serving brunch, drinks, lunch, and dinner. Offers tempting vegetarian and vegan options like green tea marinated crispy tofu and pulled jackfruit kebabs. 2-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • De Luca Cucina & Bar – Tasty modern Italian fare, including lunchtime sharing plates – look for the Cicchetti menu. Their top floor piano bar won Cambridge’s Bar of the Year 2018. 3-minute walk (0.1 mile).
  • Parker’s Tavern – New star spot on the Cambridge scene, found inside the historic University Arms hotel. British classics reinvented with precision and attention to detail. For dessert, build your own ice cream sundae. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
  • Smokeworks – BBQ, cooked slow and served fast, to the delight of meat-lovers. Finish off your meal with a beer, bourbon, or alternatively a milkshake (there are alcoholic options here too). 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Bedouin – North African restaurant whose interior looks like a brightly-coloured tent, and whose kitchen serves up generous, flavourful tagines. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • The Tamburlaine Hotel – Hidden inside a swanky hotel by the station is an indulgent afternoon tea venue. The original venue, the pretty Garden Room, is being renovated, but the pink velvet chairs are as soft and welcoming as ever. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).

Best Nearby Bars and Breweries

  • NOVI – Specialty coffee by day; craft cocktails, beers, and organic wine by night. Open till 3 am, a rarity for Cambridge. 5-minute walk (0.2 mile).
  • The Clarendon Arms – Open since 1812, this pub serves up traditional atmosphere, real ales, and a clever food menu. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • The Free Press – Find this backstreet pub and enjoy a beer or ale by the log fire in winter, or in the beer garden in summer, accompanied by delicious food. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Pint Shop – Cool yet friendly bar specializing in craft beer and gin (over 100 varieties). The food – dry aged steaks, coal-cured salmon – is likewise award-winning. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Thirsty and Hungry – This quirky bottle shop/bar/café serves a good selection of low-intervention wines and craft beers from Northern Europe. Oh, and the food is by a Michelin-star chef. 13-minute walk (0.7 mile).

Best Nearby Cafes

  • Espresso Library – Friendly, airy space, where bicycles hang from the ceiling and you can dig into the likes of smashed avo on toast and eggs Benedict, accompanied by specialty coffee (including single origin). Good for vegetarians and vegans. 5-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Hot Numbers Coffee – Chilled out cafe with its own micro-roastery, so you know they’re serious about their coffee. Serves single origin coffees as well as cakes from local favorite Fitzbillies. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).

Nearby Shopping & Cool Shops

  • Grand Arcade/Lion Yard – As close to a shiny shopping mall as Cambridge gets. A good mix of British and international brands, from the affordable (JD Sports, Topshop) to the high-end (Fossil, Rigby & Peller). Tech lovers can head for the Apple Store, Menkind, or Raspberry Pi. 7-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • John Lewis – Taking up a prime spot at one corner of the Grand Arcade is this high-end department store, a British institution. Fashion to furniture, beauty, and electronics across 4 floors. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Chocolat Chocolat – By the entrance to the Grand Arcade, find this charming purveyor of all things chocolate – homemade chocolates, ice cream, and rich hot chocolates. 8-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Ted Baker – Polished but quirky British mens and womenswear designer. By the Grand Arcade. 9-minute walk (0.4 mile).
  • Bene’t Street/Peas Hill – Arty accessories and cute gifts at Podarok and Ark, and handmade jewelry, ceramics, and glass at Cambridge Contemporary Crafts. 13-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Gwydir Street Antique Shops – Head here, part of Mill Road’s vibrant community of independent businesses, to find hidden treasures at Cambs Antique Centre and The Hive. 15-minute walk (0.7 mile).

Nearby Attractions

  • The Polar Museum – A small but rich museum of polar exploration, communities, and research. See equipment and poignant journals from expeditions by Scott and Shackleton; art, scrimshaw, and clothing from people native to the Arctic; and active work by the Scott Polar Research Institute looking at ice, climate, and of course, penguins. 4-minute walk (0.2 mile).
  • Arts Picturehouse – Arthouse cinema with a welcoming café-bar. Screens a good mix of new releases and classics of world cinema, and hosts the Cambridge Film Festival in Autumn each year. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology – Explore 2 million years of human history through objects, including a large collection from the voyages of Captain Cook, and see the work of contemporary indigenous artists. 9-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Cambridge University Botanic Garden – Come for the feeling of finding lush woodland in the city, and discover a diverse plant collection and a rich scientific resource. Children will enjoy exploring different habitats, including the tropical greenhouse, and there are family events, especially during school holidays. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • University Museum Of Zoology – Gasp at mammoths and giant ground sloths and peer at insects and molluscs from one of the best collections of its kind. Connected to the history of the science as it is, the museum holds specimens collected by the great naturalists of the past, including Charles Darwin and Alfred Russel Wallace, which led to their work on evolution. Good for families. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • The Fitzwilliam Museum – One of the first public art museums in the UK, this palatial neoclassical building holds a seriously impressive collection. Choose from antiquities drawn from the Near East, Egypt, and Rome; brightly illuminated manuscripts; artworks that span the 13th to the 21st centuries; and several more treasures. 11-minute walk (0.5 mile).
  • Little St Mary’s Church – Next to Peterhouse and formerly its chapel, this church from 1352 is light and open, with fine stained glass windows. By the entrance is a memorial to 18th-century minister Godfrey Washington, with the ‘stars and stripes’ of his family crest, which he passed down to his great-nephew, George Washington. 12-minute walk (0.6 mile).
  • Pembroke College – The third oldest, and one of the prettiest colleges in town. Golden stone walls, lovely gardens, and a chapel by Sir Christopher Wren, his first completed work. Notice the memorial to the college’s war dead near the front gate. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).
  • King’s College – Unmissable, the most iconic place in Cambridge. The chapel is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture; buy a ticket online or from the visitor’s center across the street, then walk in to stare up at the largest fan-vaulted ceiling in the world. The chapel remains accessible from Senate House passage in spring when the rest of the college is closed to visitors. During term time, fans of choral music can hear evensong sung by the famous choir each day for free; book well in advance for the legendary Christmas concert. 14-minute walk (0.7 mile).
  • Cambridge Junction – Independent arts venue, a little out of the center, but worth it for the range of live music, theater, spoken word, comedy, and family shows on offer. 17-minute walk (0.8 mile) or easy bus ride.

Nearby Markets or Grocery Stores

  • Co-op Food – Small branch of cooperative supermarket. Good selection of groceries and essentials. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Sainsbury’s – Small branch of quality supermarket. Good for essentials. 6-minute walk (0.3 mile).
  • Culinaris – Gourmet grocery selling delicacies, including East Anglia’s widest range of cheeses. Also good for gifts. 10-minute walk (0.5 mile).

The Gonville Hotel – The Hotel

The hotel's 2 Bentleys are parked outside.

The Gonville Hotel entrance, showing off the 2 Bentleys in which guests can enjoy complimentary tours.

Classic Doubles are comfortable.

A Classic Double room is a comfortable size, and can come with twin beds.

Superior Doubles have large sitting areas.

A Superior Double room, with a larger sitting area and a dramatic headboard.

Superior Double bathrooms feature wallpapers.

Shower and bath in a Superior Double, with a Cambridge punting scene decorating the wall and free toiletries.

The Agapanthus Deluxe Double features a cashmere mattress and Bose speakers.

The Agapanthus Deluxe Double comes with a cashmere mattress, coffee machine, and Bose wireless speakers. The individual flower design is found throughout, from the headboard to the custom china.

The Agapanthus bathroom is beautiful.

The Agapanthus bathroom features 2 sinks and a beautiful clawfoot bathtub.

The Tulipa Deluxe Double room has a 4-poster bed.

The Tulipa Deluxe Double room, with its dramatic 4-poster bed, also boasts French doors leading to a private patio in the hotel’s garden.

Gresham House Wellness Spa offers a good selection of treatments.

A treatment room in Gresham House Wellness. The spa offers a full range of treatments, including couples’ massages, as in this room, and uses ESPA natural skincare and beauty products.

The Atrium Brasserie is designed like a conservatory.

The Atrium Brasserie serves breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner in a pretty, conservatory-like space.

Cotto offers exceptional fine dining.

Cotto offers exceptional fine dining in a sleek glass-fronted space at the front of the hotel.

The Atrium bar is bright and colorful.

The Atrium bar, decorated in jewel tones with a parquet floor, is a bright, airy space for a drink.

The Atrium bar serves locally-produced gin.

A cozy corner in the Atrium bar. You might settle in a velvet armchair with a locally-produced gin.

The hotel offers complimentary bicycles to its guests.

Complimentary Gonville Hotel bicycles are parked outside the front door for guests to use.

The Polar Museum is within walking distance.

Turn left out of the Gonville Hotel, walk for 3 minutes, and you’ll arrive at The Polar Museum. It pays tributes to polar exploration, communities, and research, past and present.

The impressive Fitzwilliam Museum is opposite the hotel.

Continue west to the T-junction and head north up Trumpington Street to find the Fitzwilliam Museum, or ‘Fitz’. Cambridge’s answer to the British Museum holds a seriously impressive collection of art and antiquities. 10-minute walk.

Hot Numbers has its own coffee roastery.

On the corner of Trumpington Street is Hot Numbers Coffee: the local coffee kings, with their own micro-roastery. 6-minute walk. They run another branch towards the train station, on Gwydir Street, 11 minutes away.

Fitzbillies is known for the famous Chelsea buns.

Diagonally across the street from the ‘Fitz’ is Fitzbillies, a local institution. Order their famous Chelsea buns – sticky and delightful since 1920. 11-minute walk.

The chapel at King's College is world-famous.

Keep strolling north from Fitzwilliam Museum and you’ll come to King’s College, Cambridge’s ultimate attraction. Here the world-famous chapel is seen from the Backs, in all its spiky Gothic splendor. 14-minute walk.

Cambridge Market is popular through the week.

Just across from King’s College is Cambridge Market, the true heart of the city, that still runs daily. Here you can see Great St Mary’s Church rising behind the stalls. 14-minute walk.

St Mary's tower offers great views.

Scale the tower of St Mary’s Church for wonderful views of the market and the rooftops of Cambridge. 14-minute walk.

The Oak Bistro serves delicious food.

At the crossroads of Hills Road and East Road, the Oak Bistro serves up fantastic-looking, intelligent food, 2 minutes from the hotel.

Old Bicycle Shop serves great vegan and non-vegetarian food.

Just a few steps away is The Old Bicycle Shop, a great food option for vegetarians, vegans, and their meat-loving friends. 2-minute walk.

Cambridge Junction is a great arts venue.

From the crossroads, you can either walk south along Hills Road or take one of the frequent buses (Citi 1 or Citi 3) to Cambridge Junction, a great arts venue, whether you’re in the mood for live music, theater, or a family show. 15-minute walk.

Clarendon Arms serve great ales and food.

Alternatively, from the crossroads you can head across the green of Parker’s Piece for 7 minutes to find the Clarendon Arms. This classy 19th-century pub gives you real ales and classic pub grub.

Thirsty and Hungry has a Michelin-star chef.

Thirsty and Hungry is a bit further, at a 12-minute walk, but here you’ll find low-intervention wines, craft beers and food by a Michelin-star chef.

Pint Shop has a menu selected by the Michelin guide.

Fans of craft beer, gins and food selected by the Michelin guide should all head straight to Pint Shop, just south of Market Square. 11-minute walk.

Espresso Library is a vegan-friendly place.

A quick 6 minutes along the southern edge of Parker’s Piece is Espresso Library, a great vegan-friendly place for ample breakfast/brunch as well as specialty coffee.

Culinaris is a gourmet grocery and deli.

From Espresso Library, you can take a stroll south along Mill Road, one of Cambridge’s main thoroughfares, lined with ethnic restaurants, charity shops, and specialty grocery stores. One such place is Culinaris, a gourmet grocery and deli, great for buying picnic supplies as well as organic chocolate and specialty teas. 10-minute walk.

Bedouin serves good North African cuisine.

Nearby you’ll find Bedouin, one of many dining choices among Mill Road’s Chinese, Korean, Turkish, Brazilian, and other global restaurants. It’s a place to relax on cushioned seats and enjoy well-flavored North African cuisine. 10-minute walk.

Tamburlaine Hotel is known for its afternoon tea.

If you’re leaving Cambridge by train, Tennison Road leads south from Bedouin to the train station. Near the train station is the swanky Tamburlaine Hotel, which serves an indulgent afternoon tea. 15-minute walk.

The Grand Arcade is a popular mall.

North along Regent Street from the hotel, back in the city center, the Grand Arcade is Cambridge’s shiniest shopping mall, with a good mix of British and international brands. 8-minute walk.

John Lewis is housed in the Grand Arcade mall.

John Lewis is a high-end department store, not to mention a British institution. It is housed in a corner of the Grand Arcade. 8-minute walk.

Cambridge Contemporary Crafts sells cute, arty gifts.

Bene’t Street, 12 minutes from the hotel, is the place to go for cute, arty gifts. Look for Podarok and Cambridge Contemporary Crafts (pictured here).

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