New chapter – historic hotel offers “book butler” service

21 January 2023
Boating: Cockwell’s; hand-crafted boats from Cornwall
20 January 2023
Simple elegance: the perfect fountain pen
23 January 2023

Bibliophiles looking for a relaxing break in historic surroundings might want to check out the latest offering from landmark Cambridge hotel the University Arms.

T he venerable property, which first opened its doors in 1834, recently introduced a service called “butlers for books”. Guests have a chat with said literary denizen to discuss what might be the perfect read for them to enjoy during their stay.

The “book butler” then retreats to the hotel’s well-appointed library to pick out a work or works that fits the bill and has it (or them) delivered to the guest’s room – on a silver platter, no less.

This literary innovation was born of a desire to make the most of the hotel’s extensive library, originally curated by famed Mayfair bookshop Heywood Hill – which has also supplied a carefully chosen selection of reading material in each of the hotel’s suites.

These luxuriously appointed rooms are named after famous alumni of Cambridge University and their books have been selected accordingly (and sometimes tangentially). So, for example, Isaac Newton’s suite contains a work on apple orchards.

In addition, each of the hotel’s 189 rooms include copies of classic novels including Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales, AA Milne’s The Wind in the Willows and Tom Sharpe’s Porterhouse Blue.

Originally built during the reign of King William IV (the fourth great granduncle of our current sovereign and the oldest monarch to ascend to the throne before Charles III), the University Arms began life as a coaching inn on the road between London and eastern ports such as Grimsby and King’s Lynn.

The hotel reopened in 2018 after a two-year, £80m transformation.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

eighteen − one =