More about Felix Hotel
Over priced but where isn't ????
I took My boyfriend to Hotel Felix for the weekend, we had a wonderful time. Our room was clean and very modern, and a bit different to the usual hotels we stay in - when we usually end up in a Thistle hotel, or one of the big chain type of hotels.
The food was lovely. Although my boyfriend being a bit of a stick in the mud wasn't impressed.
Breakfast was a bit on the megre side but I am not complaining. I had a bit of a hangover so too much food would have been a waste.
The hotel and staff were very nice and it make the weekend very special.
I had a small problem at reception - they overcharged me. BUT they were very quick to amend the bill and give me everything in writing to show that refunds had been made. Hey - we all make a mistake sometimes and they were very good at sorting it out.
Give a dog a bad name...
The dog in question is Felix and the hotel is named after him. During the extensive building work a few years ago a statue of a dog. Felix. was found in the grounds and he now sits proudly at the entrance. But this hotel is a bit of a 'dog' in more ways than one and fundamentally it really doesn't cut it as a luxury 'design' hotel.
At best the Hotel Felix aspires to Malmaison standards but it doesn't really deliver. Put simply, it is dramatically overpriced and the service on the whole is very, very average.
We stayed during a fantastic weekend in July. The weather was wonderful and temperatures reached 28c for most of the weekend - why is this relevant? Well, the first major drawback of Hotel Felix is that there is no a/c anywhere in the hotel. Where you miss it most is if you are staying in one of new rooms in the ugly extentsion. These rooms are doubleglazed and the windows open only a few inches so the room get very hot and airless. In a room costing around £190 per night this is daylight robbery. We simply didn't want to spend any time in the room which is a real shame considering how much we'd paid. Even the Travelodge down the road has a/c in rooms - at less than half the price.
The 'Premier' Rooms (£190 per night) are also relatively small and lack character. Yes, they are relatively contemporary but they still miss the mark. In concept they are similar to a room you'd find in a Hotel du Vin or Malmaison. But they cost more and don't look as good. They could do with a bit of colour, better magazines (instead of local free sheets) or even some fruit. On the plus side the beds are big and linen is excellent - the best feature of the room. Bathrooms are bland, the windows don't open and are small. They're ok. Just.
However what disappoints most is the service. In particular the restaurant & bar service. They are a young team but show none of the enthusiasm for the job or the place you'd expect. We felt we were imposing every time we asked for something and it took an age for anything to arrive. It all felt very amateur. And remember the food is charged at London prices. The food actually is very good but the manner in which it is delivered lets the experience down. Trying to get a drink from the bar during the day is slow as well. In the evening things improve dramatically.
There are good things about the Felix. The reception staff were extremely helpful and enthusiastic. The public areas in the main house are very well done - lots of good touches (why don't they carry these over to the rooms?) and the restaurant and bar area looks great too.
As other reviews have pointed out it is located out of town and you need to get a cab to the centre of Cambridge. But we didn't find this a problem, it's only 5 mins in a taxi and they arrive very quickly at the hotel.
A final word about the new buildings. They are hideous and do the main Victorian buildings no justice at all. Your first impression on arrival is that you are turning up at a conference centre. We kept expecting to bump into 'delegates' in a 'break out session' to 'network'. It's best to close your eyes until you get inside. Maybe Felix was a guide dog...
I never normally write on these sites but felt I must after having stayed at the hotel on the weekend of 18th June. I saw the reviews on this site but ignored the negative ones and opted to believe the Guardian Travel section and its recommendation that Hotel Felix was a good place to stay. Essentially, we found it all very dissapointing. I agree with many of the other negative comments about this hotel. For a start our room was dirty (we asked to be moved). The second room was much better so we decided to be positive. As our stay went on howevevr I would comment on the following:
The food was very average and the staff pleasant enough but not very well trained - forgot orders, very slow etc.
The old part of the hotel is beautiful but the new part has totally ruined the atmosphere - it felt more like a travel lodge rather than a luxury hotel. We knew there werent any amenities berfore we booked a room (no pool etc) -but the fact that the hotel was so average really rubbed in the fact that we must have been done somewhere along the way!
When we have previously satyed in what are meant to be nice hotels it is always the service that really makes an enjoyable break - when therefore you are told that you cant eat certain food outside (eg: you cant have a cooked breakfast outside but continental is fine?!!) you feel a bit bemused. I think what topped off the very average stay was when at the aforementioned breakfast I was told that even though coffee is included in the cost of breakfast - that did not extend to a cappaccino and that I had to pay extra (presumably to froth the milk?) for this type of coffee!!!
We were really dissapointed so as I say please dont waste your money - I dont know what else is in Cambridge but its got to be better than a hotel that is trying to be something when it most deffinitely isnt...DONT GO!!!!!
All these people can't be wrong!
Okay, lining up the caveats.... having exhausted my Mr & Smith guide, in the absence of any similar type hotels in Cambridge, and despite reading the reviews (and thinking that that many people can't possibly be wrong) I decided to give the Hotel Felix a chance. To be honest even before reading the reviews, when I first looked to booking the Felix it was with some degree of trepidation - things just didn't seem to add up. I wasn't disappointed.
Let's get straight to the point. For £190 and upwards (we had a premier room - all the others were booked out) you expect a certain standard. To be honest if you've stayed at places like Hurst House, Blanch House, Babington, Hotel du Vin or Malmaison for business, in rooms at or around £200 you will be disappointed - they all do it so much better. There are so many excellent role models for good boutique hotels in the UK that you wonder how they managed to get it so wrong. It's all about value. Whether money is no object, or you've saved up for a special occasion, if you are not getting value for money you've got to be unhappy about it. I'd pay nearly £400 for a stable room at Babington, £160 for a garden room at Hotel du Vin, or £100 for a room at Driftwood because they demonstrate excellent value for money - you feel it's worth it - and whether you're a prince or a pauper, that gives you a warm glow and a smile on your face.
It's about the whole package, you go to Boutique hotels for an experience. When you feel you are not getting value for money you look for faults, and quite frankly at The Felix they are not hard to find.
The Rooms are uncompromisingly small and dark (although I hear the loft rooms in the old house are better) – smaller in size than say the smallest Malmaison room - whilst the decor is of a reasonable standard it is dull and in want of a few splashes of colour (in stark comparison to the public areas which are well lit and relatively welcoming). The bathrooms are just small. You realise just how far the Felix has missed the mark when you see their ‘King Sized’ beds – whilst these may have the obligatory Egyptian Cotton sheets – a 'King Sized' bed is actually two smaller beds pushed together with no cover to prevent a dip being formed in the centre of the bed. Not uncommon I know but still truly, truly awful.
Dinner was excellent, and the restaurant smart, if not knowingly unostentatious. Executive chef Stuart Conibear used to work at the Ivy and his prestige is demonstrated in an interesting and well-thought menu. The wine list was short but reasonably priced and well sourced – the house champagne is extremely good, and the cocktails fine – demonstrating a element of training (albeit nothing special) amongst the bar staff. The serving staff whilst friendly were slow and forgetful, I twice had to get up from the table to remind them of things we had asked for, simple things like a bottle of water or the lighting of a candle were completely forgotten. This despite the influence of the charming maitre d’ who was attentive and friendly.
We took the continental breakfast (included in the room price) which other than a good muesli and pastries was pretty poor which belies the excellent and clearly well sourced kitchen we found at dinner – a full English was extra at around £10.
The Felix really could be a whole lot better. The building blocks are there, the location is fine (in relation to the centre of town) if the situ is ill-concieved. The extension is very Travel Tavern -esque. They are the only Hotel of this sort in Cambridge (a captive audience!) and they need to demonstrate a bit more savvy in a highly sophisticated boutique hotel market. Frankly, they need to wake up to the fact that we've all become a little bit more sophisticated in what we want as consumers. Starting point, they should look at their pricing strategy (closer to the £100 mark on their lower end rooms - or do some weekend offers), everyone's first complaint is always about the price, if you're not happy about that then everything else will always be having to work so much harder because we will be looking for other areas of fault. The domino effect. Everything needs to be tighter and better.
The only thing that brings this close to resembling a good boutique hotel is the food in the Restaurant. Had my dinner been mediocre there wouldn't have been anything positive to say about this place in its current incarnation. A restaurant certainly does not make a Boutique hotel, and few would book in on that basis alone.
My suggestion would be to stay in London or somewhere within 60 miles, and if you want to visit Cambridge make it a day trip - perhaps pop in for dinner. If you stay at Hotel Felix I can't see how you won't be disappointed.
Stylish with soul
Having read the entries for this hotel on your website, I felt that I had to put the record straight.
Simply put, this is a real find. A wonderful retreat from the mundane and often even down at heal alternatives in one of Europe's most beautiful cities. The stylish interiors could hold their own against many a celebrated "designer" hotel, although thankfully the staff don't suffer from the usual super cool malaise that usually accompanies such style. The beds were beautifully comfortable, made up with high end Egyptian Cotton sheets and the toiletries were not only from a high-end supplier but were in bottles big enough to see me through the following few days of my trip, where the accommodation was as expensive but failed to deliver on the details that made The Felix a joy. The food was generally of a higher standard than one would expect in an hotel in this price range but it was the peaceful location, ten minutes by cab from the city centre, that really won me over. Set in it's own garden, well away from any main road, it was a real pleasure to sit on the terrace, drink in hand, and enjoy the fresh air - free from traffic fumes and the noise of the city.
Apalling service and a dirty room - Don't go!
I agree with several other reviews on this website - I only wish I had read them before booking!
It all started out well, despite the hotel looking nothing like the photos - the old part, which is all you see on websites/publicity photos, is lovely but the extension looks like some kind of recuperative post-plastic surgery hospital ward!
In the evening we had a reservation in "Graffiti" restaurant and despite being seated 15 minutes later than our booking was made for the starters were delicious, but after a 50 minute wait for our main course we were about to go to the bar for my partner to have a cigarette (it's a no-smoking restaurant, which is fair enough) but as we stood to do so the food arrived and was unceremoniously slammed down on the table in front of us in a manner that wouldn't even satisfy a child in a school canteen or someone in a local café ... not good for a supposed "gourment restaurant". We were incensed and in fact this totally put us off our meal. After complaining we retired to our room, our evening thoroughly ruined.
Upon returning to the room the acting deputy manager (or something similar) came by and apologised and offered us a complimentaly bottle of wine and took the food off our bill, however shortly afterwards I had the misfortune to notice that the entire room was covered in about half an inch of dust, as if it hadn't been cleaned in several weeks - disgusting.
At this point we could no longer bear it and so we checked out and took a taxi back to London to stay in the clean comfort of our own flat. At a cost of £95 the taxi was much better value than a ruined night in a supposedly "luxury" hotel.
I shall be voicing my views to Condé Nast "Traveller" magazine and "Which?" magazine, both of which have rated this hotel. Clearly they must have had preferential treatment.
DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!
A Special Place
12 March 2005
We stayed at Felix for one night only, but felt a very special place has been
created. There is a sense of understanding from all staff, set within a calm contemporary environment. as an architect, I was appreciative of the care and attention to detail in all things. thoroughly recommended.
great style, peaceful location, 5 star service
I had to write in after I read the extraordinary review of 14th March. This is an hotel I have visited several times and, whilst there is indeed an external difference between the modern and original buildings, they are both equally well fitted out internally and immaculately maintained. Bearing in mind the considerable popularity of the hotel on each of my visits, it would seem physically impossible for dust to build up as described.
With regard to the excellent food, a number of guides and magazines have praised it far more eloquently than I could. It is, I suppose, possible that your reviewer went on a bad day - all I can say is that in some 8 or 10 meals that I have eaten there, the food and service have far exceeded the quality of anything else I have found in Cambridge.
Previour reviews are absolutely rubbish - this hotel is top draw!
Having read the disparaging reviews on this website, I felt I should add a review on the plus side of the equation. My wife and I have just returned from a superb weekend at the Felix. Staff were excellent from the moment we arrived until we checked out - nothing was too much trouble for them (they even served my wife from the restaurant menu 30 mins after service finshed and brought it to our room). Our room was very clean, very stylish and the bathroom was to die for - largest bath tub and shower I have seen in a long time. Only complaint I have is location - this hotel is advertised as a 3/4 mile walk to town and it quite patently isn't . If you like a glass or two of wine with your dinner and do not want to eat in the hotel restaurant be prepared to pay for cabs (very expensive) to and from town.
Sitting on the terrace surrounded by mature beautiful gardens, sipping a perfectly chilled glass of wine served by a charismatic French Restaurant Manager, this was the perfect English experience.
Why would anyone want to be in the middle of the city, when less than a mile a way you can get the best of both worlds?
English charm at it's best.
Yippee's bar (Freshly Squeezed Juice is a winner!)
Contemplating The Fountains
Our Lady and the English Martyrs
In the Garden
Luton Airport > Cambridge
I'm planning a trip to Cambridge and thinking about taking a flight to Luton Airport.
Does anyone have experiences with busses or trains on this route? Might a flight to Stansted be the better option??
And btw which part of the coast/town/village close to Cambridge is nice for a daytrip and eay to reach by bus/train?
Thanks a lot,
Re: Luton Airport > Cambridge
Stansted is slightly closer to Cambridge, and there are more buses, as well as a train link. There are some direct buses from Luton, though - if you catch one of these it will take you about an hour and a half each way.
You can find details of buses from both airports at:
Ely is a nice daytrip from Cambridge - there's a cathedral and some good riverside walks.
RE: RE: Luton Airport > Cambridge
Thanks a lot, Jeremy!
Unfortunately I can't come over Easter and join your fabulous meeting..:-(
RE: RE: Luton Airport > Cambridge
please check the website of National Rail for train timetables:
Click on "Planning your journey" ...
A train trip from Stansted to Cambridge takes only about 40 minutes (direct trains), whereas a train trip from Luton takes almost 2 hours. The Luton to Cambrige trains go via London, which is kind of complicated.
I hope this helps ...
As far as I am informed
RE: Luton Airport > Cambridge
Stanstead is better as only 40 minutes from Cambridge by National Express Coach and about 30 minutes by train which goes from directly underneath the airport.
I agree with the previous suggestion of Ely as a nice easy day out from Cambridge. I would also recommend a couple of things to do if you have time -
a trip to St.Ives, only 25-30 minutes by car from Cambridge it has a nice river and some good local shops. The Pink Geranium and Sheene Mill restaurants south of the City in Melbourn are both very good.
RE: RE: Luton Airport > Cambridge
Thanks for your help...
Unfortunately my flight goes to Luton, I now that stanstead is much closer :)