What: I didn’t get into Cambridge University. I was ill and spluttered my way through the interview, I also said that I thought 1960’s architecture was a mistake, I knew from the professor’s raised eyebrow that was not the right answer…how was I to know at 17 that the building was Grade II listed? For some reason though, just as we seem to cling to all the things that don’t want us, I’m still fan, I still support the light blues in the boat race and when I was invited to stay at Tamburlaine, the city’s latest hotel I, of course, said yes. Just as I judged the 1960’s building, you may well judge the Tamburlaine. From the outside it’s all glass walls and striking lines, but once inside you find yourself greeted with the warmth of a traditional hotel.

New? In hotel terms, yes. They’ve recently just celebrated their first birthday; everything is still new, there are no scuff marks and no worn patches on the carpet skilfully hidden with a chair, but there are a few things missing, dressing gowns for one, although we’re told they are working on these.

Where? Just a two minute walk from Cambridge station and a twenty minute walk from the City centre, you’ll find the Tamburlaine at: 27-29 Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2FB, www.thetamburlaine.co.uk

The Room: The 155 rooms range from Fresher Rooms up to Dean Suites but all feature marble bathrooms, bespoke King Koil beds, Roberts Radios, a Cambridge blue palette and pretty china, rather than your standard hardwearing white mugs.

We were staying in a Fresher Rooms, they may be the smallest rooms, but there is still plenty of space and they still have the king beds. We need to talk about the beds first, because they are the crowning glory and so they should be. The mattress is so high that sitting on the edge of the bed my feet couldn’t reach the floor (I’m 5ft’8” for context), I had heard that the beds were meant to be comfortable, but with the addition of a 7mm duck down topper these really were superb. Calming greys and Cambridge and duck egg blues are met with dark polished wood, thick wool blankets and a marble bathroom stocked with Noir by White Company products, it’s all very Instagrammable. Floor to ceiling windows, in theory, are wonderful but in practise, well 1) everyone can see you walking around your room  (that is of course unless you have the curtains constantly closed) and 2) it looks out onto a large construction site…cheery on a Sunday morning. Besides this, there is space for an armchair, so you can look out on the building work.

The Restaurant: I so wanted to be the restaurant to be good. It certainly looks the part, as if Martin Brunizki had designed it. There’s a slight train station feel to it, with touches of brass, leather banquettes and frosted glass partitions between the booths. And it’s big – very big. For some reason we were stuck in a corner which was quite empty. We had a good view out across the restaurant but felt rather out on a limb, it also made it rather hard to get the waitresses’ attention. Things didn’t get off to the best start when our red wine was not only chilled but also came complete with cork bobbing in the glasses. Our replacement took a while to come, mainly because no one saw us trying to get their attention, luckily second time around there was no cork, but it was still cold. We decided to leave it to warm up -we were pretty sure the third bottle would have been equally chilled. Never mind, on to the food. The menu seemed a little confused, there was everything from steak to fish and chips, burgers, curries and sandwiches. Sandwiches? In the evening?

We started with duck breast which was neither here nor there, and a baked camembert. Although delicious I felt they could have pepped it up a bit, with some herbs, garlic, cranberry or a little truffle oil. Still oozing, rich camembert and bread is always a winner.

A Dingley Dell pork burger with wholegrain mustard was excellent. A hearty patty full of flavour and thick cut chips. If in doubt, go for a burger. Meanwhile the steak was well cooked and the crispy fries, were just the right amount of crisp and fluffy.

Like the main courses, there were an awful lot of puddings to choose from, in the end we went for the passionfruit crème brûlée and it appears they had gone rather overboard with the extras, it was served with two types of coconut, two types of banana and mango sorbet, but unfortunately lacked that all important hard sugar topping – in Cambridge of all places. And, by the time we were finished, our wine had warmed up, so we drank it in the library.

There’s an ample breakfast buffet, the only thing I would say is that juice and water should be left for people to help themselves, you don’t want to have to wait to be served (again not nearly enough staff) when it takes so long each time to get a drink.

Things To Do: Cambridge is about as quaint as cities go, with its cobbled streets, imposing colleges and cosy tea shops, of course all this means that it makes for being tourist central, then again chances are you too are playing tourist. If you decide for some reason not to leave the hotel, then you’ll find it has a gym. Hidden away on the second floor, it’s excellent. Not just your run of the (tread) mill hotel gym, you’ll find TRX machines and plenty of space to work out. If you don’t want to exert yourself then take a drink and a book and curl up on a sofa in the Library. With its leather armchairs, velvet sofas and bookshelves stocked with old hardbacks (potentially more for show than reading) it’s a snug spot, a welcome changed from busy hotel bars. There’s also the very pretty Garden Room, with trailing plants and dusty pink sofas, which serves afternoon tea.

Go With: Its proximity to both the station and the city centre make it ideal for those in the city for business and those here to punt, eat Chelsea buns at Fitzbillies and attend their university interviews – just remember 1960’s architecture isn’t all bad.

Final Word: Besides the couple of mishaps with the wine and the confused menu, we enjoyed our stay. It’s well situated, it’s got a warmth about it and you’ll find it hard to get out of bed in the morning.

Like This? Try These: Check out our guide to the best hotels near London

Tamburlaine: 27-29 Station Road, Cambridge, CB1 2FB
www.thetamburlaine.co.uk


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