Hotel review

Hotel review: Mail inspector calls Graduate Cambridge – but gets bad rating

The inspector calls the Graduate Cambridge hotel, but he gets a poor rating despite a “terrial” location (and not just because of the “undrinkable” coffee)

  • Inspector pays nearly £ 300 for B&B, despite restaurant closing
  • It’s for a private party – “but there’s nothing private about it,” he said
  • He says the bar menu is overpriced, his room “small” and the bathroom “tiny”
  • Remember … the inspector pays his way – and says it as if it were …










It’s such a great idea that you wonder why no one else thought about it years ago. Start a hotel group called The Graduate which focuses its efforts on American college towns like Berkeley, California, and Ann Arbor, Michigan (plus 28 others) then cross the pond to settle in Oxford and Cambridge.

We check in with the latter and are surprised to pay almost £ 300 for the B&B, while the place is still ironing (it only opened in September) a few folds – and when the restaurant is closed for what the receptionist on the phone had called a private party.

There is nothing private about it. The whole ground floor is consumed by the cries of a live band made up of an electrified violin and a too loud saxophone.

One of the bedrooms at the Graduate Cambridge, with a “cheerful” headboard

We do our best to find a quiet spot but after ordering from the overpriced bar menu (£ 10 for four small anchovies, £ 26 for a steak already cut into six small slices) it is a relief from s ‘escape to our room.

But not before you have understood everything. The hotel’s position on the River Cam is great, but how can you call yourself a ’boutique hotel’ when there are almost 150 rooms in one of Cambridge’s ugliest buildings (formerly Hilton Doubletree? )?

Regardless, we love the punts on the walls (Scudamore’s punting station is practically next door) and admire scientist Rosalind Franklin’s DNA double helix model hanging above the reception desk.

But the ceilings are so low in the bar and restaurant (where we have breakfast) that a basketball player would have to dodge.

The idyllic spot where the River Cam passes by the famous King's College

The idyllic spot where the River Cam passes by the famous King’s College

Punting in Cambridge is the ultimate way to take in the views.  Pictured is a Scudamore rowboat station near the Graduate Hotel

Punting in Cambridge is the ultimate way to take in the views. Pictured is a Scudamore rowboat station near the Graduate Hotel

Our room is small, the bathroom tiny. There’s a cheerful headboard, a laminate chest, a comfy armchair, and a framed letter written by Isaac Newton (come to think of it, Stephen Hawking’s face adorns our plastic hotel key).

Breakfast coffee from a common decanter is undrinkable. “I wouldn’t,” warns another guest. But I do and he’s right. After that I order a double espresso for which there is an additional charge.

Things are not going well at the checkout either. I’m charged for a double gin and tonic, which I’ve never had, then notice £ 21 has been added for parking at the yard behind the hotel. “This would have been stated in your confirmation email,” explains the receptionist. It did too, I find out later, but someone should have reported it the day before, surely?

TRAVEL FACTS

The Cambridge Graduate, Mill Lane, Cambridge, CB2 1RT. Doubles from £ 161. For more information call 01223 259988 or visitgraduatehotels.com.

Evaluation:

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