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Home, home on the train


Errr .  .  .  .  Near Euston?

Near Euston, expensive, small rooms, tatty facilities, dodgy location

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This weekend just gone it was one of my missus' mates' birthdays, and as is the norm we all decided to go out on a fun night of drinking. Rather than shell out the extortiante taxi fare home (at least £35 back to my part of West London!), we decided to book a hotel in advance and then wander home on the tube the next day.

Booking the Hotel

We booked the hotel through Lastminute.com's Secret Hotels. The idea behind this is that in return for not knowing the hotels' name until you have booked, you get cheaper rates on the room. The Thistle was described as a 4 star hotel just behind Tottenham Court Road at a rate of only £69 - cheap for London. We booked there and then, and were a tad disappointed to say the least when we discovered we were staying at the Thistle. We have used the Secret Hotels before and stayed in some pretty nice places, however felt that maybe we were mislead on this occasion. A quick glance at other online reviews showed that not only was the Thistle rated as a 3 star hotel (as opposed to the 4 advertised) but also not too many people enjoyed their stay there.

Oh Goody, the joys of Euston

Saying the hotel was behind Tottenham Court Road is a bit of a misnomer - it is in fact right next to Euston Station, with Tottenham Court Road a good 10 minute walk down Euston Road. The location is a bit poor, although convenient for business travellers I guess. The only place to grab lunch (short of the hotel, whose food I'll come to later) is actually…. Euston Station! Hardly the place for a nice romantic lunch. Well I lie; there is a small, random, community (almost like a mini village) down some winding backstreets with a couple of curry houses, but really. That's it.

I suppose being so near the tube is good, you can literally jump on it and go to…well…. Anywhere else. Which you should do, I hasten to add. However hearing the Euston Tannoy every 10 minutes announcing the 10.27 to Birmingham is ready for boarding is…well…. Off-putting, to say the least.

Lastly, the street the hotel is on did have some rather unsavoury characters wandering down it - not a problem for a big strapping lad like me :) but maybe people travelling alone and late at night should be concerned, especially since there is no swipe access to the hotel. You hve to ring a bell and wait for someone to let you in.

Sounds Fabulous! Or not….

So. We arrived at around 1pm (check in was 2pm) and were pleased to see that we were able to get a room straight away, we were hoping to just store our bags and come back at 2. There were plenty of staff on duty, which was in contrast to the other review's we'd read. After check-in (and the offer of a newspaper - I asked for FT and the receptionist looked at me like I was insane, so I changed to the News of the World) we were offered the help of a porter to take our bags up. This is a first for the hotels in the UK we've stayed at, and something I was quite impressed by. The lobby itself is quite traditional, but clean. There was a moderately-priced bar, and a restaurant downstairs.

A restaurant? Why not eat there?

For 1 very simple reason. A restaurant that prints its menus from Word, describing a main course as "Pan-fried Omelette" (no further details such as what's in it or sides) and then attempts to charge you £11 for it, well, I for one was not impressed. Pan fried omelette???? How else do you make it? In a kettle? Bah.

I can feel the venom rising as I breathe (or, what's the room like?)

We stayed in what was known as a Deluxe room. I hate to think what the standard rooms were like.

The first word that comes to mind is….. small. Tiny, in fact. If the room were a bloke he'd be shy about going into the communal shower. There was just enough space for the bed, with maybe 1.5 feet around. How they got the bed in the room in the first place, I'll never know. You have a TV and desk, and a chair (which was wedged between the bed and the wall. All of this was a bit tatty and generally not very nice. The TV was badly tuned and had little choice in terms of channels, although you had the standard overpriced movies. You do get a hairdryer though. So that's a good point. Unless you're bald. Like me. In which case it's irrelevant.

The bed itself was ok, nothing special, a little lumpy. It IS small, since I'm only 5'8'' (yes ok I lied earlier when I said I was strapping) and my feet dangled of the edge. Plenty of pillows are provided, but to be frank they weren't great. Hard and lumpy, I chucked mine away and slept on my towel.

You do get the bog standard tea/coffee and obligatory biscuits, along with very skanky kettle.

The bathroom was a little nicer, with a combined shower/bath and tiny (small really is the theme) bottles of shower gel and shampoo. Good water pressure - I mention this since again previous reviews I read stated the opposite.

Err… that's about it really. The décor in the room is bland, very brown and not at all nice. Be warned, the maid service start going round at 8 in the morning, so make sure you put your "do not disturb" sign up.

Food man food!

Room service is an option I guess for food. But an outrageously expensive one. A burger weighed in at £12.99, PLUS tray charge of £2, so that's £14.99! I can't say for sure, since the prices scared the crap outta me, but I'm quite certain given the other aspects of the hotel the portions would be… tiny. Other items on the menu included sandwiches, pizzas and steak, at a whopping £17 for an 8oz. Hmm.

Breakfast is available, but again expensive.

Lets get this over with

To be honest this hotel left me feeling cold. There were very little redeeming characteristics about it, and to be honest I've stayed in cheaper hotels that are better. The City Inn, for example. The location is poor, the price is not value for money and the final nail in the coffin is the fact that you can stay in the Ibis next door for £72. I know where I'd go.

One last point to note is that the hotel is quite old, and as such there are stairs everywhere. I'm sure you can ask for an easy access room, but if you have mobility problems then...well…stay clear.

I hasten to add that the rate we paid was heavily discounted. The standard rate for the room is somewhere around £90, with the Rack rate being £170. At those prices, there is simply no excuse for the quality of the facilities.

Finally I'd like to reiterate my dissapointement with Lastmiunte.com for selling this as a 4 star when it's clearly not. As a 3 star hotel its pricey but just about tolerable, if you get a really good rate. As an advertised 4 star, well its nothing short of shocking.

Avoid - unless you really really really like trains.

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Comments about this review »

sue.51 26.12.2006 20:36

Laterooms are not the best for an interpretation of star ratings, as I do believe this outlet is actually a 2 star. I stayed here in June, and was quite staggered at how 'compact' the rooms were - although my bed was extroardinarily comfortable. £17 for a steak is about the going rate in hotels, so for (almost) central London, in comparison with outlying areas, this is scaringly quite reasonable.

Nar 21.07.2006 00:14

lol omelette in a kettle; stranger things have happened to me when trying to poach an egg in self catering accomodation and forgotten to bring a pan.. A very good review - thanks for the warning.

Amazingwoo 20.07.2006 11:09

Think places like this rely on tourists fresh off the plane/train who don't actually know any better. Loved the way you wrote this review, very enjoyable read.

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Product details

Rating 2 Stars
Rooms 362
Type Hotel
Address 43 Cardington Street, Euston, London, NW1 2LP
City London
Country England

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This review of Thistle Euston, London has been rated:

"very helpful" by (100%):

  1. sue.51
  2. frkurt
  3. heatherrr13

and 29 other members

The overall rating of a review is different from a simple average of all individual ratings.

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