How do you decide which hotel to choose in a city of thousands of them? Heading off for a conference in London we needed accommodation for a few days. Having left it very late to book I knew we’d struggle to find anywhere. Thankfully, we found accommodation with Thistle Hotels.
It was the first time we’d stayed at a Thistle, and here we were set to stay at two – the Thistle City Barbican and the Thistle Marble Arch. They had limited availability but between them could accommodate our stay.
It’s easy to consider business style hotels like these to be very similar – to offer little character or features that make them stand out. Yet, the hotels we visited did differ in some respects, but shared a good quality threshold that made our stays enjoyable.
So what makes Thistle hotels a good choice? As regular travellers, we look at the quality of the accommodation, for friendly staff, good management, and good, and free, wi-fi coverage. Many hotels, even five-star ones, claim to have wi-fi, but then often let themselves down by having poor coverage and most bizarrely by charging for it.
Both the hotels we stayed at had excellent wi-fi coverage, and it was free.
The quality of the accommodation ranged from good at the Thistle Barbican to excellent at Thistle Marble Arch.
Thistle Hotels in central locations in London
The Thistle City Barbican hotel is close to the Barbican Centre and three underground stations, which helps with getting around town.
It has 463 rooms which makes it quite large, but it’s in a quiet location. We were not disturbed by any of the big city traffic noise of London. The reception area was large which made checking in and out easy – we especially like the express check-out facilities for when you’re in a hurry.
The facilitates were good with a restaurant, bar and snack bar filled with sandwiches and snacks for anyone with a case of late night munchies. There is also a health and leisure club.
Our suite was large, with a comfortable king-sized bed. The decor was ok, maybe showing its age a little, but nothing that was problematic. We had an adjoining living room with coffee and tea making facilities. But one of the highlights was probably the view over the City with iconic buildings like the Shard in the distance.
After a few nights at the Barbican we checked out and headed over to complete our London stay at the Thistle Marble Arch hotel. The hotel is in a fabulous location right in the heart of the West End, a short walk from Oxford Street, Marble Arch and the underground.
In keeping with its genuine Art Deco style, which is striking from the moment you walk through the doors, the hotel has a Glenn Miller lounge bar, a coffee bar where afternoon tea is served, and even a grill restaurant the Marmor. You certainly won’t go hungry or thirsty here!
A big hotel – it has almost 700 rooms, including deluxe and executive suites, and as we were staying in a suite, we had breakfast in the executive lounge. It was a haven of quiet away from the rush of the hotels busier public areas.
We had a deluxe suite, which was spacious, much more modern than its sister hotel in Barbican, and more luxurious than we’d expected from such a business-like chain. The suite was nicely decorated and furnished, and even had a small well-equipped kitchen, which was very tastefully concealed behind designer doors.
There were complimentary chocolates and cakes to welcome us, plus a giant bowl of delicious macaroons – such a treat!
Next to the extremely comfortable king-sized bed were power points and USB ports for charging phones and laptops – which is so useful to the modern traveller.
All the hotels had helpful concierges, which we found a mine of information.
This was our first stay at any of the Thistle hotels and overall our impressions were very good. On our next visit to London I’ll certainly be checking them out again.