What type hotel is the Thistle?

Old Jul 31st, 2003, 07:28 PM
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What type hotel is the Thistle?

My wife and I are considering a vacation package that includes lodging at the Thistle Kensington Park. When I began looking into the Thistle I saw quite a few. I'm wondering if this is just a chain with no real personality of its own. Any experiences and/or comments?
buerkle is offline  
Old Jul 31st, 2003, 07:40 PM
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Check a post about this hotel a few minutes ago.
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Old Jul 31st, 2003, 09:40 PM
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The Thistle hotels in London are nineteenth century hotels which 150 years ago had a great reputation as independent hotels, the leading hotels of the city in their time. As decades passed Marriot, Intercontinental, Sheraton and others built their large places, and these hotels stayed unaltered and went down in the lists of precedence. Some twenty years ago the Thistle chain (who I think are Scottish) started to buy these grand old hotels and refurbish them. They kept all the ornate Victorian decoration in the public rooms, but I do not know whether they modernised the appearance of the bedrooms. I do know that they provided the bedrooms with all the gimmicks and aids normal to a big hotel these days ? minibars and all that. They seem to have kept the pick of the old staff, though most staff are young. I can say they have gone downhill in one way. Thirty years ago they served tea made from loose leaves: now they use teabags. London going to the dogs, again.

The correspondence under this one is a cross letter from a guest at the Thistle Westminster, originally the Grosvenor Victoria, hotel for passengers on the Golden Arrow Pullman train to Paris and the Riviera. His wife opened a cupboard door and it fell on her toe, giving great pain. I am sorry for them, but have to say that this is not usual.

Thistle hotels are three-star and used to be expensive. But since the 11 September attacks they have cut their rates a great deal, and strike me as a good offer if you want to be central to theatres, restaurants, and tourist attractions.

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Old Jul 31st, 2003, 11:53 PM
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To add to Ben's history.

The Thistle Hotel group was a division of a brewery company. It acquired all sorts of different properties - and swapped properties with other chains as enthusiatically as we used to swap gigarette cards. When part of the brewery it was, frankly, appalling. Even its beer was badly kept.

It's now, in my experience, OK. But without a doubt characterless. And like any chain of any service in London, standards can vary widely - even from day to day (ask the chambermaids why)

Can I strongly suggest to buerkle that, unless you're paying serious money at Claridges and the like, "personality" is the last thing you want in a London hotel.

You'll find lots of personality in the things you come to London to see and do. "Personality" in most London hotels means characteristics you don't want to find in a hotel. Stay somewhere reliable (Hiltons, Holiday Inns and the like are just fine) - and save your personality hotels for Salzburg or that great coaching hotel you've read about in Lower Snettsbury under Woldsworth.

For what it's worth, when I stay in a London hotel (damn train system means I have to for early morning meetings) I frequently stay in Thistles. Perfectly happy with them these days (and even happier with their prices)
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Old Aug 1st, 2003, 12:42 AM
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In London, the Thistles actually range in rating from 3 to 4.5 stars, with the Thistle Royal Horseguards being the top rated hotel in it's chain. Each hotel maintains it's own old world charm. I've been in a few of the Thistle hotel lobbies, but I have only stayed in the Thistle Bloomsbury, which is an Edwardian-style hotel, and I would immediately return as I found the hotel to meet my requirements and price. I've recommended this specific hotel numerous times for those that plan to spend many evenings at the theater.

I'm not sure what your vacation requirements are, but if you're going to be in London, you'll most likely spend time only in your room to sleep and shower. Thistle runs par to course with the hotels like the Sheraton and Marriott. Therefore, you should be looking for the best location and value.
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