Stylist’s commissioning editor Alexandra Jones spends a weekend amongst the snappable interiors at The Tamburlaine
A public service announcement for all social media addicts: Cambridge’s new hotel feels like a luxe Instagram feed brought to life. Particularly Tamburlaine’s Garden Room which is a visual dream - millennial pink art deco crushed velvet sofas artfully mixed with rosy-hued frescos, accented by marble tables and a veritable smorgasbord of greenery. At afternoon tea, dainty sweet treats are served on brushed-gold cake stands alongside Champagne and tea. From the red velvet dinner jackets worn by staff to the antique tomes in the library which, the manager explains, were artfully arranged by a book stylist who charged £200 for an hour’s work, the whole hotel seems to have been designed with social media in mind. It is so newly opened when I visited last month that it the whole place smells faintly of fresh paint.
The hotel’s name is taken from the bloody Christopher Marlowe play, the playwright being a celebrated alumnus of Cambridge University. Throughout the 155-room property, the owners have used the university as a reference point using the blue palette of its sporting colours throughout. The rooms come in three sizes: Fresher, Scholar and Dean - even the smallest are a good size and have beds so large that two of you could roll around in them without fear of colliding. And despite being almost self-consciously on-trend, the hotel feels comfortable in the right places: the rooms are cool and quiet, the sofas in the library snug and inviting.
Tamburlaine is in a rapidly modernising part of town, just a few minutes’ walk from the train station where a huge redevelopment project is ongoing. Obviously, this location has its perks - no bag-laden struggle for a taxi - but it does mean that you’re a 25-minute walk to the historic part of Cambridge. This is only annoying if you have to go back and forth, but if you’re happy to set out in the morning and only come back in the evening, then the good news is that Tamburlaine’s cocktail bar provides sufficient entertainment so that you don’t have to venture out again. By ‘entertainment’, I obviously mean cocktails. There’s a comprehensive list (the espresso martinis are superlative) and, as per the rest of the hotel, the bar has a real sense of occasion - certainly enough for you to dress up and feel like you’re ‘making a night of it’, but without having to schlep anywhere.
When you are out, Cambridge is all about ambling: wear your most comfortable trainers and soak up the history on foot. Up until you get to the river, of course, because punting is a must. You can hire your own punt (a flat bottomed boat) if you’re feeling brave or take one with a chauffeur who often act as guides and will entertain you with the city’s history as you idle along. There are plenty of pretty lunch spots near the river, but Bread & Meat (breadandmeat.co.uk) - specialising in roast meat sandwiches - is a standout. On your way back to Tamburlaine, stop in at the Botanic Gardens (botanic.cam.ac.uk). It’s one of the most beautiful and well-stocked outside of London’s Kew. Plus the café serves some delicious, fresh-made cakes. It’s absolutely the best way to finish off a quintessentially English day in the most quintessentially English cities. And it’s almost as Insta-friendly as the hotel.
Rooms at Tamburlaine start at £200; thetamburlaine.co.uk