Visiting Cambridge with your doggie-pal?
Novotel Cambridge North, just 2.2 miles north of Cambridge is a brilliant place to stay. In general, hotels are not often known for being pet-friendly with limits and rules about where your dog is allowed and restrictions on not leaving your pet alone in the room.
The Novotel in Cambridge North however is different, new kind of pet-friendly hotel, where your doggie-pal is positively welcome in most areas of the hotel.
The first time we stayed here we were allocated a room right by the entrance to the 1st floor corridor. While it was convenient, we did not need to use the lift to get to the room, just a short walk up the stairs, it was a busy corridor. With a dog that is sensitive to noise and triggered by the sound of doors closing, this was not ideal. Especially considering that the first floor corridor is also the only way hotel guests could get to the health suite – gym and swimming pool.
On our second visit, we requested a quieter corridor, hoping to be placed a the far end of one of the corridors. We were pleasantly surprised to have been upgraded from a Superior to an Executive room on the 5th floor with a private enclosed corridor for two rooms.
Superior vs. Executive room
The difference between the Superior and Executive rooms are not significant. The rooms are the same size (25 m2) with a queen double bed and a convertible sofa-bed for children. Both had a smart TV with a pre-programmed interface, coffee and tea making facilities, mini-fridge, safe, ironing facilities and hair dryer. The key ‘upgrade’ in the Executive room was the Nespresso coffee machine with 4 pods supplied, These were topped up throughout our stay.
The shower room facilities are also almost exactly alike – a power shower with a rain shower feature. Both also had a detachable shower head. The designer sink and tap was beautiful apart from one small niggle, it was impossible to fill the kettle with water directly due to the short distance between the tap and the sink. The Executive room was also supposed to come with bath-robes, although perhaps because it was a free upgrade, we were not provided with these.
Is the Executive room worth paying for?
Although the Nespresso machine is a nice addition, the rooms are pretty much exactly the same. Depending on what the price difference is when you book, the luxury of the bathrobes, slippers, smart control shower and the Nespresso machine may be a nice addition.
Overall though, there is very little difference in terms of the room itself.
Food and Drink at the Hotel
Breakfast at the Novotel is a self-service buffet-style breakfast with options for a cold continental breakfast (selection of hams and cheese), breakfast cereals, fruit and the full English experience.
A range of pastries and bread are also available. Tea and coffee are self-service using automatic push-button machines.
Lunch and dinner
Lunch and dinner are served from 11am to 10 pm each night.
Lunch options are advertised on a chalkboard just outside the entrance to the hotel. The choices include soup of the day, pizza, and sandwiches.
The dinner menu is simple although has enough choice to cater to a variety of different tastes. Options include steak, pasta and pizza along with other international cuisine choices of Thai curry and rice.
Health suite facilities – gym and swimming pool, sauna and jacuzzi
The health suite consists of a gym and a swimming pool. Both are accessible with the digital key card with no prior booking necessary. Although small, the gym hae good options for a workout away from home including treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary/spin bikes and chest-press machines.
The swimming pool was small and had a built-in jacuzzi with a sauna on the side. It was a hit with families during the school holidays and realistically it was too small for proper lane swimming but was a good place to unwind and relax. Swimming pool towels were provided just before the entrance to the pool and in the separate changing rooms.
The Novotel Cambridge North sells itself as a pet-friendly hotel and it certainly is both new and accommodating to pets. At our recent stay we met at least 5 different dogs on holiday with their owners.
There were no explicit rules about not leaving your pet in the room alone. So we did for short durations to go to the gym and go out for dinner. We did leave the TV on to detract from the noise of other guests coming and going.
In-room pet facilities
Unlike some pet-friendly hotels that provide a pet bed and pet bowls, unfortunately the Novotel does not provide either. So, remember to pack for your pet.
Pet-friendly communal areas
In the lobby there were several lounge and relaxation areas with designer seating and tables and pets were welcome to hang out with their owners in these areas. However they are not allowed in the dining area. There is a side-lounge area within the restaurant that allows pets, so technically you can eat dinner and have your pet with you.
Dog walks in the area and by the River Cam
There are several places to exercise and walk your dog in the vicinity of the hotel.
The car park is relatively quiet as is the parallel road to the hotel. Alternatively following the cycle path towards the city, will also take you towards the river, where there are walks on both banks of the river. In the early morning, we caught several rowing teams training along the river.
Cambridge North Train Station
The hotel is also situated immediately next to the railway and Cambridge North Train Station. We did not find this a problem as the trains pulling away and arriving here can hardly be heard from our room. Being a brand new station, it benefits from modern design, wide open spaces, big bicycle parking facility and nice touches like sculptures as shown below. There is also a Costa Cafe for those who need their morning caffeine fix.
All in all, the Novotel Cambridge North is a great place to stay for families and pets. The rooms are very clean and modern and facilities still very new. It is well maintained with relatively consideration and understanding for pet owners. A thoroughly recommended pet-friendly hotel.
Address: 2, Cambridge Square CB4 0AE CAMBRIDGE United Kingdom
Website: Novotel Cambridge North