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I naively assumed that getting accommodation at short notice in Central London would be easy - WRONG!!
No amount of trawling could throw up something with availability for three rooms. I thought I had struck gold when the Premier Travel Inn, Euston showed availability on-line, BUT by the time I got to confirming the rooms, they had gone.
The Thistle Euston was found on our behalf, at a rather steep £120 B&B it was this or nothing. Now I've stayed in a few Thistle hotels, and their quality does seem to vary somewhat, so it was with some trepidation that I set off on the 200 mile journey.
====================LOCATION & ACCESS This hotel, as its name suggests, is literally a couple of hundred yards from Euston Station, and about 10 minutes walk from Euston Square Underground. So if approaching by public transport, getting here is easy. On this occasion, for various reasons, I took the unusual step of taking my car into the city. Access to the hotel from the M4 is frighteningly easy, taking you past some of London's famed attractions such as the Planetarium and Madame Tussauds.
When you turn into Cardington Street, if you are anything like me, your initial response could well be horror, the building on the corner is, shall we say derelict, making the whole demeanour of the surrounding area look really seedy.
Arrival to the front of the London Thistle therefore is very welcoming, more reminiscent of an opulent 4 star outlet rather than its proclaimed 2 stars, the concierge are on hand to assist with luggage and parking.. There is ample on-street metered parking, free until 830am, and there is a small compact car-park in the basement of the hotel. If you are struggling, there is also a multi-storey adjacent to the Ibis a few hundred yards away charging £24 for the privilege of a days parking. If you are lucky enough to park under the hotel, it will set you back £15, and they are very forthcoming in allowing you to leave your vehicle there while you go off and do your business in the city. The concierge are more than happy to take your luggage during the day, so no need to panic about lugging suitcases around the city, or worrying about them in your car.
CHECK-IN This was a little cumbersome, because of a rather long wait. The receptionists were very friendly, if a little uninformed of the hotels actual room facilities. The customary swipe of the credit card is required should you wish to obtain extras. The hotel brazenly advertises Thistle high speed internet access in the rooms, but the receptionist had no apparent knowledge of it.
====================THE ROOM Being a smoker, my room was on the fourth floor - as only one lift was working, I had long wait versus four flights of stairs. Even after departing the lifts, I had about a good 5 minute trek to my room - my first thoughts on opening the door being, 'cat' and 'swing' just wouldn't work in here.
The room had windows that opened; overlook a very 'un' salubrious kitchen area and alley-way, causing some rather unpleasant smells to waft upwards. There were also very effective radiators, which when combined with the rooms size created something of a sauna effect. Thankfully, there was also air conditioning, which worked quite well, keeping the temperature down, at what was a rather warm period for the UK, although I know some of my colleagues didn't exactly have the same experience.
Despite its rather compact size, the room offered everything you would expect from a business hotel including a very comfortable double bed, trouser press, work bench area, telephone, tea and coffee making facilities, wardrobes, and HIGH SPEED INTERNET ACCESS (silly receptionist). This is priced at a staggering 50p per minute, or £15 for 24 hours, and the cost is added to your room bill.
In keeping with the room, the work area was rather small, making any type of constructive undertakings rather more difficult than anticipated.
The room was en-suite offering bath with powerful over-shower, toilet & sink, and a range of quality toiletries - midget size towels were also supplied.
From my room I heard very little noise from the train station, but I suspect there would be a different story if in a room at the front of the hotel.
====================ROOM SERVICE & DRINKS As per usual, I took advantage of the hotels room service, and enjoyed a well done steak meal for £17, easily comparable with hotels I've used in 'lesser' cities, although I did have to send it back once for re-cooking, clearly their idea of well done and mine were completely different. Drinks were reasonably priced at around £3 for a pint of lager and £5 for a glass of wine, and service keeps going so long as there are customers present. I was a little surprised however to discover they don't keep Gordon's Gin.
BREAKFAST As would be expected from a hotel with nearly 400 bedrooms, breakfast was buffet style, offering fruit juices, a huge range of fresh fruits, yogurts, pastries, and the usual cooked affairs of bacon, sausage, hash browns, mushrooms, beans and various forms of eggs, washed down with freshly brewed tea or coffee.
====================BUSINESS MEETINGS Although we didn't take advantage ourselves, there are 11 air conditioned meeting rooms at the Thistle Euston all offering high speed internet access, combine this with the easy access to the rail and tube network, not to mention local (if rather expensive parking) and this has to be close to the top of people's lists when seeking a central London meeting venue.
There are no leisure facilities at the hotel, but that said, in this location, I am sure that leisure travellers will not be short of things to do.
====================MY VERDICT Easy to access by road, outside the congestion zone, and in a good location for public transport, despite the small rooms, if I needed somewhere to stay near the centre of London, it would definitely deserve more than a slight glance, although I would be hoping for rates below £120 B&B.
Interested in finding out more?
Thistle Euston Cardington Street, Euston, North London, NW1 2LP