Nestled on the outskirts of the nucleus that is Cambridge city center in an unassuming residential area, a casual ten minute stroll through Jesus Green until you reach the hubbub of the university city, sits The Fellows House. An aparthotel that promises a home away from home for both short stay city breakers and long haul business trippers. With an array of on site facilities such as 24/7 gym, pool complete with sauna and steam room, coffee shop, restaurant and a luxe bar area, it is easy to see why.
With four categories of room on offer, ranging from standard and studio through to apartments and duplexes there is something to suit all budgets and purpose of travel. Nearly all the rooms are equipped with kitchenettes including hob, combi oven and fridge plus coffee machines, kettles and toasters - perfect for an in room brekkie in your complimentary fluffy robe and slippers. Most rooms also include sofa beds, large flat screen TVs in both bedroom and living space - no TV control arguments during any family stays - rainfall showers and the pièce de résistance, huge, sumptuous king size beds with premium linen, waiting to envelope its inhabitant(s) for a night of uninterrupted slumber. Well thought out additions such as cook books, books on the nightstands and White Company toiletries really do turn these hotel rooms into an extension of your home.
On site coffee shop, Sage is a great addition that sits at the front of the hotel and is perfect for a spot of remote working or a quick caffeine hit before ambling into the city. The barista’s know their stuff and the onsite patisserie chef ensures counter tops are laden with enticing pastries and cakes with a solid vegan offering. I like to do my due diligence on these sorts of things and can confirm I tried every cake available, all sublime, all worth the extra notch on the belt.
The hotel's restaurant - Folio Bar & Kitchen offers all day dining, including continental and hot breakfast for guests on the B&B option. You can definitely feel that the American military audience are being catered to with towers of fluffy pancakes and streaky bacon being replenished every five minutes - no complaints from me, I just wish there had been a jug of maple syrup to drown it all in.
The restaurant's aesthetic is impressive - flooded in natural light from both the huge overhead skylight and glass doors that open out onto the courtyard, it’s a great setting to plan your day of exploring. Bold black and white floor tiles are complimented perfectly by muted sage green booth seating and dark wood furniture. Exposed brickwork and a plethora of plants bring the outside in and a fiery open kitchen with chefs bustling about their business creates the perfect backdrop. At night, the vibe changes, the lighting is low, the flames of the open kitchen are bright and what by day felt like an oasis turns into a cosy, decadent atmosphere - encouraging it’s dwellers to sink into the comfy seating, order another glass of wine and while away the evening.
Chef Kiran Selvarajan boasts to be doing very exciting things with plant based cooking, emphasising a reduction on food waste, using local ingredients and putting contemporary twists on British classics whilst keeping things healthy and nutritious. Dishes such as tofu prawn cocktail, bean risotto and cottage cheese steak pepper the menu. And so, with all these innovative plant based offerings up for grabs, what did I order? Scallops and a steak. You see dear reader, I went with good intentions. I had an assignment to fulfill and I had every ambition of doing so but it seems this carnivore turns primal at the sight of an open grill and all will power flies out the window.
The scallops were fantastic - perfectly seared, sweet and plump, adorning a heady lobster bisque and crowned with crispy sage, this was the standout dish for me. The steak was ok - perhaps the universe laughing at me for ordering the meatiest option available – it was cooked well but lacking that char I was hoping for. A side of wilted baby gem with tahini and dukkah, a welcome accompaniment. Given my menu choices I can’t really comment on the exciting vegan offerings chef is putting forward but what I can tell you about is the chorus of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the fellow journalists who actually stuck to the brief, an audible gasp was heard when the person next to me took her first bite of marinated tofu steak and so, I am planning my return as we speak and this time I promise to stay away from the cow… maybe.
Adjoining the Folio Kitchen is the bar, a gorgeously moody space that gives gentlemen club’s vibes but one where all are welcome. Book shelves are lined with carefully curated works from Cambridge Fellows and scholars alike, artwork of the great academics looking down on guests as they sip perfectly mixed cocktails - lethal but perfect - and nods to the discovery of DNA in the paneled walling. These design features that make the hotel so unique and truly deliver its USP, marry perfectly with atmospheric lighting, low level furniture and a pool table taking center stage. The bar and cocktail menu proving another highlight - not because I could be considered a lush but more because the atmosphere was so welcoming and the menu so well designed. Each cocktail nodding to a fellow, exquisite detail such as hand painted bees on top of creamy foam and a martini as dirty as you like.Given the long stayers within the hotel there is a community here and being in the bar felt similar to university halls but a very, grown up classy version. The concierge team greeting people by name, the pool sharks winding down after a day researching goodness knows what, bar tenders remembering drinks of choice - I’m into it.
The onsite leisure facilities are simple yet effective - a long pool perfect for morning lengths that also doubles up as relaxation pool, a submerged shelf sitting just below the surface lined with jets ready to bubble, flanked by loungers for those who are more of the sitting than moving camp, a steam room and sauna a mere waddle away and should be that way inclined a compact yet functional gym space complete with Peloton bike and squat rack.
With such a plethora of facilities on site plus specially curated activities for both hotel residents and the local community alike such as ‘Cork and Canvas’ art classes and wine tastings, you would be forgiven if you couldn’t pull yourself away from The Fellow’s House but pull yourself away you must - be it by amble or by bike (complimentary from the hotel), Cambridge is itching to be explored. Be it a walking tour to learn the history of the city, a gentle punt on the River Cam complete with picnic and prosecco or shopping the day away with some of the highstreets best plus a great independent scene plus an exceptional foodie landscape, this city really does have something for everyone. The concierge team at Fellow’s House will go above and beyond to ensure you see the best of the city, they will even laden you up with aforementioned picnic and help you book a punt or a tour. And if that isn’t enough, Visit Cambridge are helping drive traffic to local businesses within the city with their ‘Love Cambridge’ card, a pre loaded gift card that can be used in an abundance of shops - the perfect gift if you have friends or family visiting and want to ensure they can have a drink or dinner on you.
And if that's not enough to entice you, you can check out the best Cambridge eateries here.
To find out more about The Fellow's House, you can visit there website here.