Tried & Tested

Hotel review: The Fellows House Cambridge, Curio Collection by Hilton

1 Sep 2021 by Tom Otley
The Fellows House Cambridge

Background

This new-build opened in July 2021 as one of Hilton’s Curio Collection. It is Hilton’s second hotel in Cambridge (after the Hilton Cambridge City Centre) and is an apartment-style property, appealing to those wanting to stay longer than in a traditional hotel but not needing to stay for many months on secondment, for instance.

Where is it?

About a 15-minute walk to the town centre across the River Cam and through Jesus Green, yet in a residential area that has the feeling of being a suburb of Cambridge. There is secure, covered car parking available beneath the hotel (£21 per day) and electric car charging ports.

What’s it like?

In design, it is both modern and stylish, yet with quite a lot of artistic whimsy. Its theme is indicated by the name of the hotel, with dozens of artworks celebrating both the University of Cambridge and its fellows (senior graduate members of a college). In reception, there is a large colour portrait of Davidson Nicol, the first African to graduate from Cambridge with first-class honours and be elected as a fellow, and coffee tables display art and architecture books.

Our stay was in August 2021, so Covid-19 precautions were in place, with Perspex screens at reception and staff wearing masks. We arrived early, left our bags at reception and went off to explore Cambridge, returning at 3pm when the room was ready. Staff were helpful throughout the stay and were genuinely welcoming and proud of the hotel, which is certainly stunning inside – cleverly designed, with so much to explore that much of it you only notice the second or third time of looking.

As one example, there’s a wall by the lifts that has been hand painted to look like the plaster has been removed to reveal a brick wall with the faded crests of the university colleges on it. The hotel also has an outdoor area – the Fellows Garden, with sculptures dedicated to astronomer William Herschel and planting inspired by his wife Mary, along with a covered area called the Observatory.

The Fellows House Cambridge

Rooms

There are 163 rooms across 11 categories, including king rooms (24 sqm), studios (26 sqm) and one-bedroom apartments (32 sqm), together with duplex apartments. The room types are named after people associated with the city and notable Cambridge fellows such as Kipling, Newton, Gormley and (David) Attenborough. Many of the studios and all of the apartments have fully equipped kitchens with a kettle, toaster, hob, dishwasher and full-size fridge (in the basement is a laundry). Many of the rooms are large enough for families, with these rooms also having sofa beds and the option of connecting rooms.

Food and drink

The Folio Bar and Kitchen has an excellent menu, particularly if you like eating healthy, plant-based food, with locally sourced ingredients. Main courses cost £12.50-£32.50. I tried a squash and lentil bowl with green Puy lentils, roasted caramelised butternut squash, grilled tofu steak, courgette ribbons, spiced crunchy chickpeas and pickled radishes (£14.50). It was busy both of the evenings we ate there, and while the room can get very loud, it works well at keeping the place vibrant, as does the attractive lighting. Service is enthusiastic, but food and drink were slow to be served.

The Fellows House Cambridge

Meetings

The hotel’s Hawking Suite seats up to ten people and doubles up as an event space and private dining room.

Leisure

There is a small indoor swimming pool (pre-booking required because of Covid-19 restrictions), gym, sauna and steam room, as well as bicycles for hire.

Verdict

This is a really well-thought out hotel that delivers on the Curio promise of being “one-of-a-kind”, yet also reflects the town it is in.

FACT  FILE

  • Best for Its location is perfect for those needing to drive for business or leisure, with its underground secure parking, yet also close enough to walk into Cambridge and then retreat when the crowds return
  • Don’t miss The artworks, and vegetarian and vegan food options
  • Price Internet rates for a flexible midweek stay in November started from £200 for a Kipling King room
  • Contact 33a Milton Road, Cambridge; tel +44 (0)12 2394 9499; hilton.com
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