April 27 2011
These are exciting times for flat racing fans. The 2,000 and 1,000 Guineas take place at Newmarket at the end of this month, and then there’s the action on the beautiful July or summer course to look forward to.
But one of the recurring drawbacks about Newmarket is the lack of a really smart hotel. It’s been a similar story in nearby Cambridge, where the accommodation was uninspiring for years. But during the Guineas meeting in 2009 I discovered Cambridge’s stylish boutique hotel, the Felix, which is situated about a mile out of the city, off the Huntingdon Road. The brainchild of Jeremy and Vivien Cassel, who also own the extremely comfortable Grange Hotel in York, the Felix is an unusual mixture. It’s part converted Victorian mansion and part modern extension, but the more you explore it – and I was there again for the Tattersalls Breeze-Up Sales on April 13 – the more rewarding it gets.
The interiors are strikingly modern, with contemporary art in the opulent bedrooms and on the walls of the Graffiti Restaurant, which serves flavoursome Mediterranean-accented food. But there’s also a lovely terrace and garden, complete with gazebo, at the back of the older part of the building and I was able to eat outside there during the recent balmy spring weather.
The Cassels are great racing enthusiasts – Jeremy is overseeing the catering at the revived Jockey Club Rooms in Newmarket – and will be able to advise you on back routes from Cambridge to the racecourse that cut out tiresome traffic jams.
Double rooms from £198.