Etched with intriguing detail throughout, this four-star property is ideal for both Cambridge fanatics and those simply seeking a luxuriously comfortable getaway. Keen to discover the stories behind both town and gown, Editor Sophie Ritchie checks in for the night…
Blending heritage and history with artistic detail and sultrily stylish interiors, The Fellows House Cambridge, Curio Collection by Hilton aims to offer something for every guest – whether that’s someone exploring the city’s quirky eclectic streets for a brief weekend or the business traveler pitching up for months at a time.
Helmed by a warm and friendly team with the city’s most famous highlights just a short stroll away, one thing’s guaranteed – you’re bound to feel at ease here, regardless of when your check-out date is marked in the calendar.
About the Property
The first Curio Collection by Hilton to open in Cambridge and Hilton’s second property in the city, The Fellows House draws its name (like much of the ambience here) from Cambridge University itself. ‘Fellows’ refers to a senior member of a college, and in most houses (along with the Head) they form the Governing Body for any change, discussions and decisions. Thus indeed, this property takes its guests seriously.
Step over the threshold at The Fellows House and it’s impossible not to miss the amount of carefully considered detail that pays homage to both the city and its famous university. It’s prevalent even at check-in – the wall behind the main desk for example, features a pigeonhole cabinet (created in the style once popular in the colleges) that is labelled with poem extracts from In Cimmerian Darkness by J H Pyrnne, a famous alumni.
With a modern facade (unlike many of Cambridge’s archaic buildings) this contemporary apartment-style hotel creates the ideal base for its residents with 163 rooms – along with numerous lounging areas filled with cozy armchairs and sofas, decadent furnishings, excitingly on-trend culinary options and a sleek wellness space that wouldn’t feel out of place in a fully-fledged spa – with a petite but well-equipped gym, heated indoor pool, steam room and Finnish sauna just a key card swipe away.
Being positioned just a few minutes away from the main bustling centre allows a guest to have their Cambridge cake and eat it too. A ten-minute stroll will take you directly into the action where landmarks, famous sights and endless cafes await, such as Cambridge’s famous colleges, the Bridge of Sighs, the University of Cambridge museums and Botanic Gardens.… but there’s also the added luxury of extra peace and quiet stemming from its more residential location near the river Cam too.
With a wide range to choose from, room categories draw their names from the city’s most famous Cambridge fellows such as Kipling, Newton, Barton, Gormley and Attenborough. There’s the option of ‘standard’ rooms for those staying just a night or two, but most types focus on studios and one-bedroom apartments, together with swoon-worthy Fellows Duplex apartments split across two levels for something extra special.
I stay in a Gormley apartment, inspired by the famous sculptor, which features the same universal minimalistic colour palette of The Fellows House’s abodes – muted grey, mocha browns and black tones with ample space, wooden floors and sleekly comfortable furnishings.
The small but stylish kitchenette immediately creates a home from home feel – although the marble walls are a little less conventional. There’s even a welcome ‘One Pot, Pan, Planet’ cookbook to help guests conjure inspiration at dinner time. Residents can make the fully-equipped areas, featuring an oven, microwave, fridge, dishwasher, hob, pod coffee machine and plenty of surface space. Nigella, eat your heart out.
Decked out with crisp white linen, the comfy bed (swap your usual scrolling routine for the superb selection of bedside books) takes up the majority of the bedroom and will have you snoozing in no time – especially with the addition of blackout curtains.
Bathrooms are on the vast side, where sliding doors reveal spaces kitted out with beautiful grey tiled walls, powerful walk-in rainfall showers, sustainable toiletries from The White Company and ample fluffy white towels. A hidden built-in wardrobe is also discreetly concealed by the wall-length wood panelling back in the bedroom, which makes use of the space and avoids too much clutter. With each area segmented neatly, the room feels refined and composed – the ideal abode for relaxing in after a busy day on your feet.
The Food & Drink
Whilst the offer of a self-cooked dinner via kitchenette might be tempting, the food options at The Fellows House are well-worth sampling – especially for the plant-based crowd. The hotel offers not one but two dining destinations, in the form of chic coffee shop The Sage of Cambridge (found as close to the entrance as you can get) and the larger signature restaurant The Folio Bar and Kitchen, where a buffet-style breakfast is also served daily.
Keeping up with the times, there’s an impressive array of meat-free options at both eateries courtesy of Executive Chef Kiran Selvarajan – and they go far beyond the usual penne pasta or boring salad. At Sage, think fresh, vibrant and colourful creations – the newly-launched menu offers plant-based Mac ‘n Cheese, quesadillas and golf-ball sized falafel to sink your teeth into. Save room for a sweet treat from the pastry counter – you’ll need the energy for a hard day’s exploring, after all.
The Folio Bar and Kitchen meanwhile elevates the dining experience to the next level – featuring glossy banquet seating with Cambridge Blue accents, luxuriant chandeliers and whitewashed brick walls covered with artwork that further reference the incredible talent Cambridge has churned out for centuries. Take a seat and you’ll spot both locals and residents dining here any day of the week. Dishes are of high calibre without seeming overly formal or fussy – and whilst the veggie options are fantastic, there’s still plenty of traditional meat and fish dishes within the menu, such as Corn-Fed Chicken and Trout.
Things To Try
1 Book a walking tour Regardless of whether you’re a history buff or simply a seasoned explorer, book a walking tour with a local guide to immerse yourself in Cambridge’s fascinating history. Discover the nooks and crannies of the city that would otherwise be missed whilst raising your daily step count too – win, win.
2 Go punting: It would be sacrilegious to check-in and not dip a toe (or paddle) in the water. Organise a punting tour via the hotel and be chauffeured around through the historic waterways, learning interesting facts alongside. Sit back, relax and simply drink in the sights as your guide spills the secrets of the city and transports you through time.
3 Get out and run: With plenty of verdant greens and commons, Cambridge is ideal for a morning jog, with a fairly flat landscape and plethora of interesting sights. Dodge the locals and experience the landmarks en foot – there’s also plenty of free running groups if you plan your visit accordingly, such as Up&Running’s weekly 5k meetup.
4 Shop locally with LoveCambridge: If you love collecting a souvenir (or simply picking up something shiny along your travels) then LoveCambridge’s gift voucher scheme is ideal for supporting the local economy and shopping at the same time. Accepted by a wide variety of businesses, ranging from shops and restaurants to cafes and hairdressers, purchase a gift card in advance and support the city centre through a simple swipe. love-cambridge.com
The Wordrobe Verdict
Blending heritage and history with artistic detail and sultrily stylish interiors, The Fellows House hotel in Cambridge delivers a home from home experience with serious style alongside. Etched with detail throughout, this four-star property is ideal for both Cambridge fanatics and those simply seeking a luxuriously comfortable getaway. Drop your bags and get ready to explore – there’s almost as much to see within the academia-inspired walls here as there is outside.
Make it happen
How: Rooms at The Fellows House Cambridge, Curio Collection by Hilton, start from £197 per night for 2 people staying in a Kipling King room on a B&B basis. For more information, please visit https://thefellowshouse.com/ or call +44 (0) 1223 94 94 99.
Where: 33 Milton Road, Cambridge, CB4 1UZ.
Words by Sophie Ritchie, editor