The Gonville Hotel

Cambridge, East Anglia, United Kingdom Book from Book from £119 per night

Immaculately run boutique hotel with supremely comfortable rooms, a small spa and convivial restaurant
Cambridge is having a bit of a moment. Lauded for its venerable history and iconic colleges, punting along the Cam and vibrant arts scene, the city is also home to scientific and technological innovation - the epicentre of Silicon Fen. The Gonville Hotel epitomises this winning combo of heritage and high tech. Sited on the south side of 500-year-old green space Parker's Piece, it began life in 1830 as a Senior Fellows house for Gonville & Caius College.

The intervening years saw an evolution from guesthouse to contemporary 92-room hotel - family-run now for over 50 years. There's a welcoming restaurant and bar on the ground floor serving good all-day bistro fare as well as high quality dining - perhaps on the terrace on a fine evening. Following the acquisition of neighbouring Victorian villa Gresham House, a delightful wellness spa was added into the mix, along with a further eight botanically themed and romantic rooms, and a garden for outdoor movie nights in the summer.
Covid-19 update: some services and facilities may be changed as a result of Coronavirus measures.

Highs

  • A good range of rooms to suit all budgets
  • Lots of thoughtful details in rooms including iPad concierges
  • A good breakfast buffet and the excellent Terrace Restaurant; on Fridays and Saturdays there's live jazz in the convivial Atrium Bar
  • Easy to get to: the railway station is a few minutes' walk away and there's car parking on site
  • Lovely friendly staff who strive to go above and beyond

Lows

  • Not in the very centre, it's a 10-15 minute walk to the colleges
  • Classic rooms are compact
  • Faint traces remain of The Gonville's former life as a chain hotel; these are being expunged over time
  • Car parking costs extra

Best time to go

Cambridge is great all year, with centuries of history and beautiful colleges to discover. Whether you're here during term time or in the university holidays, the city is busy with tourists; some prefer the bustle of student life as a backdrop, others like having the colleges more to themselves when visiting. The Cambridge Science Festival (March), Cambridge Beer Festival (May), Strawberry Fair, Midsummer Fair and Cambridge Folk Festival (all in summer) attract visitors from all over.

Our top tips

In term time there are daily choral services (plus organ recitals on Saturdays) at King's College Chapel, the most iconic building in Cambridge. The quality of the music and choral singing is sublime, well worth booking a ticket for. The Chapel also has daily Evensong services and a sung Eucharist on Sundays, as well as concerts by ensembles and orchestras year round, which are open to the public.

Great for...

City Style
Eco
Foodie
Spa
  • Boutique Hotel
  • 92 rooms
  • Restaurant and bar
  • All ages welcome
  • Open all year
  • Pool
  • Spa
  • WiFi
  • Pet Friendly
  • Disabled Access
  • Beach Nearby
  • Off-street Parking
  • Restaurants Nearby
  • Air Conditioning
  • Guest Lounge
  • Terrace
  • Garden
  • Gym
  • Bicycles Available
  • eBikes
Room:

Rooms

Most rooms are found in the main hotel building and come with a luxury liner Art Decor vibe in their padded headboards, mirrors, statement lighting and side tables. Expect Cambridge themed vintage photographs and posters, bold blues, eau de nil greens and flowery cushions in all. We loved our spacious Superior Deluxe with its in-room tub, powerful rainfall shower in the bathroom, supremely comfortable bed (all rooms have Hypnos mattresses), and view over Parker's Piece.

The adjacent Victorian villa Gresham House, a recent addition to The Gonville following careful restoration, houses the on-site spa alongside eight botanically themed Feature Rooms. Perfect for couples seeking more seclusion and space, these also have direct access to the garden behind.

Every room has a plethora of amenities including iPad concierges, USB ports, pillow menu, blackout curtains and ESPA toiletries in the bathrooms.

Features include:

  • Air conditioning
  • Bathrobes
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Desk
  • DVD player
  • Hairdryer
  • Iron
  • Phone
  • Radio
  • Safe box
  • Satellite TV
  • Toiletries
  • WiFi

Eating

The star of the show is the elegant Terrace Restaurant, which faces north towards Parker's Piece, with classic bistro-style food. For lunch Mondays-Thursdays, there are 2- or 3-course set menus. In the evening we enjoyed fine fare: lobster tortellini and beetroot-cured salmon followed by cod with chicken crumb and kale veloute, and beef with pommes Anna in a peppercorn sauce. The mulled wine poached pear and some lovely vintage wines rounded off the meal.

Dine inside or al fresco on the terrace - even in winter, thanks to a convivial tent with patio heaters, blankets and fairy lights. Don't forget the Atrium Bar for drinks: we loved our Bramble (gin, lemon, chambord) and Hugo (prosecco, elderflower, mint) cocktails.

Breakfast is taken in the conservatory behind reception; select from the buffet laid out in the bar and a hot dish from the menu - such as Eggs Royale, the Gonville Grill or Pancakes with maple syrup.

There are plenty of choices for eating out in Cambridge; reception can book for you.

Features include:

  • Bar
  • Children's meals
  • Coffee / tea making
  • Coffee maker
  • Restaurant
  • Restaurants nearby
  • Room service
  • Vegetarian menu
Eating:
Activity:

Activities

  • Gresham House Wellness has six treatment rooms, the ESPA spa menu ranges from facial treatments to massage and make-up
  • Borrow bikes, tandems or e-bikes to see the sights of this historic yet dynamic town, or book the Bentley to do so in a more lordly manner
  • Sights include the stunning university colleges and quadrangles (the oldest dates to 1294), the excellent Fitzwilliam Museum, and the Scott Polar Research Institute next to the hotel
  • Explore the 'Backs' of the river Cam by punt; look for the covered Bridge of Sighs (St John's College) and the Mathematical Bridge (Queens)
  • The square green space opposite, Parker's Piece, where the original rules of Association Football were drawn up, is popular for picnic and games
  • In summer months, the hotel hosts movie nights outside Gresham House
  • Take a day trip to Ely, the Imperial War Museum at Duxford, or pretty Grantchester

Activities on site or nearby include:

  • Boat trips
  • Cycling
  • Historical sites
  • Museums / galleries
  • Nightlife
  • Private guided tours
  • Shopping / markets
  • Well being

Kids

Kids are welcome at The Gonville, although this is more of a couply / special-occasion hotel. There are bikes to borrow in a range of sizes, including tandems, as well as extra beds and baby cots (complimentary). Kids under 6 breakfast for free, while those aged 7-12 are half-price.

Best for:

Teens (over 12)

Family friendly accommodation:

A couple of the Superior King rooms have a sofabed which can sleep 2 children up to the age of 12; the others in this category can take an extra bed for 1 child only. The Classic King/Twin rooms can also take a child on an extra bed.

Children's meals:

Kids menu available for lunch and dinner; kids options available at breakfast

Kids Activities nearby:

  • Punting
  • Zoology museum
  • Parker's Piece opposite is a large green space with a skate park
  • Walking along the Cam
  • Cycling
  • Clip and Climb
  • Escape rooms
  • Ice skating rink 5km away

Families Should Know:

The hotel is on an A road, but is set back with car parking and a driveway.

Distances:

  • Airport: 40 minutes (Stansted)
  • Hospital: 10 minutes
  • Shops: 3 minutes
Kid Friendly:

Location

The Gonville Hotel is on the edge of Parker's Piece green space, a short walk south of Cambridge's historic centre.

By Air
Fly to London Stansted and pick up a hire car from there. You can also fly to London Luton or London Heathrow. Airport transfers can be arranged.

By Train
Cambridge station is a 15-minute walk (1.1km) from the hotel; the station has direct fast connections into central London and Stansted airport (40 minutes). The hotel can offer complimentary collections subject to availability.

By Car
There is limited parking on the premises at additional cost.

Detailed directions will be sent to you when you book through i-escape.

Airports:

  • London Stansted 45.0 km STN
  • London Luton 52.0 km LTN

Other:

  • Beach 100.0 km
  • Shops 0.1 km
  • Restaurant 0.1 km

Rates for The Gonville Hotel

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