August 31, 2018
If you're a history buff, the United Kingdom is the kind of playground in which you love to play. There are tons of old churches, like the Temple Church in Central London, which was established in the 12th century; scores of old castles, like Bodiam Castle in Sussex, which was built in 1385; and oodles of ancient sites, like the Roman baths in Bath, which date back to first century.

 And, of course, there are scads of historic hotels, too -- like University Arms, Cambridge, which has just joined the Autograph Collection, its collection of independently owned boutique hotels, Marriott International announced this week.

 Located in the center of Cambridge, where it overlooks Parker's Piece -- a 25-acre commons in the heart of town -- University Arms is newly transformed thanks to an £80 million renovation led by architect John Simpson and interior designer Martin Brudnizki, who have replaced the hotel's 1960s and 1970s extensions with a brand-new yet classically-designed building that perfectly complements the neighboring architecture. The hotel offers 192 guest rooms -- each of which has been redesigned -- as well as a destination bar and restaurant, a library, underground valet parking and a fitness center.

 The hotel's new rooms feature a "playful" design, according to Marriott, which says accommodations feature bespoke furniture, statement chandelier lighting, a private library curated by beloved London bookshop Heywood Hill, and a color scheme consisting of Cambridge blue, yellow and red.

 The hotel's library, meanwhile, pays homage to Cambridge's academic and literary history. Also curated by Heywood Hill, it features bookshelf walls, traditional timber paneling, an original wood-burning fireplace, solid-wood parquet flooring, tassel-trimmed lamps, and seating in the form of both deep sofas and cozy armchairs.

 The bar has marble-patterned wallpaper that's reminiscent of antique book covers while the restaurant, Parker's Tavern, harks back to the communal dining halls found in the dormitories of the University of Cambridge, with a mix of canteen-style seating and traditional free-standing chairs.

 For meetings, there's a 10,000-square-foot ballroom for groups of up to 200 people standing.

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