Advantages Fab location, luxurious rooms, nice breakfast
Disadvantages A little expensive if you can't find a deal
|Value for Money|
My husband and I recently spent a few days in London for my birthday and stayed at the four star Kingsley by Thistle hotel in Bloomsbury. We got the hotel at a special rate of 50% off in a Thistle sale. Even though it was on a room only basis, I have to say that it turned out to be excellent value for money because the hotel was lovely and in a great location.
Like I said, the hotel is in the Bloomsbury area of London on Bloomsbury Way itself. This location makes it fabulous, particularly if you are thinking of seeing a show if you are there. We went to see Shrek at the Royal National Theatre on Drury Lane, which was just a ten minute walk away, even if you are walking fairly slowly. There are lots of nice little restaurants and coffee shops in the area and it is also within walking distance of China Town so there is plenty of places nearby to eat out.In terms of exploring the city, it is just as easy because there are two Tube stations within five minutes of the area. Holborn station is on the Central and Piccadilly lines and Tottenham Court Road on the Central and Northern lines. From either of these stations, you can get to all of the main sights in London, many of them without changing trains.
The hotel is in a lovely old Edwardian building. It is actually part of the literary history of the area, previously being home to one E. M. Forster. Inside though is in complete contrast to the traditional exterior of the building because everything is modern and clean. The lobby is large, bright and welcoming, with lots of nice touches giving the impression of luxury. There are huge vases filled with fresh lilies and I absolutely loved it from the moment I stepped in there.Checking in was easy. The staff on the two reception desks are friendly and very welcoming. We just had to give our booking confirmation and we were checked in. At check in we were offered the chance to pre-book breakfast for £10 per person (full price is £16.95, so it is well worth pre booking if you are planning to eat breakfast at the hotel).
There are two lifts up to the rooms as well as a large sweeping staircase. On each level the common areas are well decorated and in keeping with the style of the building – luxurious carpets and big comfortable sofas. I was surprised at the amount of open space there was in a city centre hotel, especially in London but I really enjoyed it I had to say – I have stayed in my fair share of pokey little hotels with no room to swing a cat in!
To be honest, calling it a room is a bit of understatement. The bedroom was just part of our ‘suite’ which also included a bathroom, walk in wardrobe and a lounge area with its own TV and a rather large three piece suite. The bedroom was well equipped and it was clear that no expense had been spared on either the decoration or the furnishings. The bed was huge and so comfortable and came complete with a pillow menu – I love that! The showerhead was massive and having a shower was rather more like standing under a waterfall and very relaxing after a long day sightseeing. The walk in wardrobe contained so much storage space that it seemed a shame that we only had two nights’ worth of clothes to put in it. In fact I’d have quite liked to have spent more time in the hotel in general because it is so comfortable and welcoming. There is also an electronic safe in the wardrobe that is free and very easy to use.
The breakfast is mainly a buffet – both full cooked English and continental versions are available – however there are other cooked to order options available for a small surcharge of £3 - £4 each (and you can still get anything you like from the buffet as well). The cooked to order dishes included things like Eggs Benedict, Eggs Florentine, Smoked Salmon and Smoked Kippers. Neither myself nor my husband opted for any of the extra dishes because we just didn’t feel the need – the buffet included everything that we wanted and lots of it. There was a wide choice of hot breakfast items as well as cereals, fresh fruit, pastries and breads, cold meats and cheeses and juices. It was quite clear that the best ingredients were used in all cases – the food was delicious and well-cooked and it was a great way to start the day. We actually found that we didn’t eat anything else until the evening, which is obviously a great way of saving money in London!
There is a restaurant in the hotel and if you make a reservation the night before, as a guest, you get 20% off the total bill. We didn’t eat in the restaurant, but the menu looked lovely and there were lots of choices whether you wanted a light bite or something more fancy. I also noticed that the prices weren’t too steep – you are looking at between five and eight pounds for a starter and between fifteen and twenty for a main course. If the breakfast was anything to go by, I would imagine that the standard of food would be excellent.There is also a bar in the hotel which we used after we had been to the theatre. It was a lovely place to get a night cap before bed as it was so cosy and comfortable. There were huge sofas covered with over stuffed pillows and low glass tables that went perfectly with the ‘luxurious comfort’ theme that seemed to run through the hotel. The prices here are pretty steep though. I had a glass of Pinot Grigio that was £8 and my husband’s beer cost £4. They also automatically added a 12% service charge to the bill, which we didn’t notice until we had already left a tip and gone back to the room – I think we ended up leaving a £5 tip on a £12 bill – the service wasn’t that good!! I must admit I dislike that immensely when service charges are automatically added to the bill. I am not shy of tipping but I don’t like it when how much I tip is dictated to me. I have to say though, that is the one and only gripe I have with the hotel and with my stay there.
The advertised price for the Junior Double Suite that we had is £276 per night, but in the sale we only paid £101 per night. Both of these are on a room only basis, but I think you can see what good value we got. There are actually lots of different room styles available and you can get a single room from £185 per night and a king room for £192 per night. They do often have sales and discounts available and it is absolutely worth looking out for them because, as you can see, the savings you can make are quite incredible.
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