Historical Traveller Reviews of Thistle Westminster Hotel
Good bargain, great location
I read some reviews of the Thistle Westminster prior to booking our trip through Virgin Vacations, and the information was right on. The location of this hotel is great -- easy access to anything by tube (Victoria Station is within easy walking distance) and even better many of London's attractions in the Westminster area (London Eye, Westminster Abbey, Parliament, Buckingham Palace) are within walking distance. We even walked to Trafalgar Square one evening. The exterior of the hotel is not much to look at, but the inside is clean and the rooms are comfortable. The only downside to the hotel itself is the climate control. It was far too hot to sleep and you couldn't adjust the temperature in the rooms. Opening the windows was an option but the noise from the street made it very difficult to sleep. After an uncomfortable first night, I called to ask about moving to a different room hoping for some relief from either the noise or the heat, but there were none open. They did bring us a fan, which helped a lot. I wish they had offered this when I called on the first day to ask how to turn the heat down.
The concierge was a big help, and booked us for the London Eye and the Big Bus Tour. The Big Bus actually stops right outside the hotel!
The only big disappointment was the restaurant. We had a continental breakfast included with our stay, but it was not clearly marked in the restaurant what was continental fare and what was the English breakfast, and none of the wait staff clarified the difference. Generally speaking the food was less than appetizing, and the "upgrade" to an English breakfast was NOT worth the extra money.
Overall it was a good experience and I would recommend this to anyone wanting a good bargain.
Pleasant 2 Night Stay
from A TripAdvisor Member
Five Seniors from Florida spent 2 nights at Thistle and found it quite acceptable despite reading some negative reviews from others. Our rooms were clean and comfortable, bathrooms could use some updating but were OK. Breakfast was plentiful with a good assortment with a pleasant staff to serve you. If you add hot food (eggs, bacon, etc.) they will charge you an additional 6 pounds, much to choose from if you stay with the Continental.
Front Desk Staff were friendly and helpful, with special thanks to David who was most helpful with information, tickets, and luggage handling. The Cafe for Lunch and Dinner was priced a bit high for that which was offered but the Staff worked very hard to please. In time, perhaps they will change their menu. All things considered, we have no complaints.
Great Location Hotel Run down
I stayed here for twelve nights in December. Staff is great, knowledgable and very helpful. Hotel was obviously once very nice. It really needs a make over.
The location is fabulous. Near Victoria Station, all buses, walking distance to Westminster and Picadilly.
Restaurant is fair, breakfast just OK. Coffee maker etc in room was very good. (coffee,tea, even soup and nice cookies.)
Room was a good size, bathroom was nice, TV had all the stations I wanted. But, room could just need some sprucing up.
I like the area, but, would stay at Rubens across the street next time.
Nice but hot
There is something wrong with the heat there. The common hallways are always hot but thankfully the windows can open and you can sleep in relative comfort, however you become subject to the city traffic that stays fairly constant until 3:00 am. The front desk claims that the heat is timed with the seasons and that the shut off date was a couple of weeks ahead and they then would switch to cooling mode. I just spent 5 days there in March of this year, 2005. The Brits say that it has been unseasonally warm this year but I think it has to do with their tolerance for cool weather. Everywhere we went I was quite comfortable in a long sleeve shirt and no jacket, practically every Brit was bundled up with a coat on.
I dwelled on the heat because that was the only negative we found. We decided to go on a Jack the Ripper tour one night on a whim and went down to talk to the concierge about some information. We were able to book it through the hotel at the tour operators price within 5 minutes. The continental breakfast is similar to what you get in the USA but not all the staff offered us toast with our breakfast. We were able to get it upon request. My wife tried the hot breakfast and was dissapointed.
There is a magazine shop down the street that sells telephone calling cards. Definetly use this option over the hotel telephone line, they charge your room 1 pound each time you make a call. There are two telephone booths directly in front of the hotel. Start with a 10 pound calling card and see how it goes, we came home with a lot of unused minutes. There is HSBC bank currency changer by Victoria undergound that does not charge a commission. There are many currency conversion centers but you have to negotiate to get the best rate. You can also change currency at a post office for no charge. Bring lots of money or be prepared to charge because London is an expensive city.
The tube station is close by and convenient to all sites also there are two doubledecker bus tour operators close by. We went with the "Original bus " because they also offer a free Thames cruise with your ticket.
I am not inclined to revisit London soon but would reccomend the Westminster Thistle to my friends.
What A Dump!
from A TripAdvisor Member
Stayed here the evening of March 5th. As I would only be in London one evening and needed to be close to Victoria Station, I thought that this would be a great hotel - especially based on previous reviews. I guess I should have realized that you certainly get what you pay for and a 77 pound rate in London should have been the tip off! Mold in the shower, the veneer missing in chunks off of the doors, knobs missing off of light switches and heating, only 5 channels of free TV (and no CNN or BBC News Channels). stained carpeting in the halls, hair in the tub.....the list goes on. The worst part is I had to leave the hotel by 6:30am to catch the Gatwick Express and the restaurant didn't open until 7:30am on my departure day. So much for booking a rate that included breakfast! I had the option of having coffee and a croissant delivered to my room at 6:15am but there would be a 3 pound surcharge. Decided to spend the 3 pounds at Victoria instead of wasting any more of my money at this hole in the wall! The only plus to this hotel was that it is only three blocks to the train. I considered staying in Kennsington, but the Circle and District Lines were not operating that weekend so at least I didn't have to shell out for a cab.
dont stay here
from A TripAdvisor Member
My partner and i stayed here for our anniversary this year. We have always been pleased with the Thistle hotels after staying at the Barbican for his birthday last year, the Tower for another anniversary and the marble arch for work and we have always been really pleased with the brand and the quality of facilities. So imagine our dissappointment when we stayed here and discovered the bed in the first room we were given was broken beyond repair so we had to report it and get another room and was promised keys would be up in a minute. Half an hour later the keys arrived and we were told the delay was due to poor heating in the room and they were waiting for a stand alone heater to warm up. When we got in the room we heard a buzzing noise, my partner is an electrician so decided to look at the heater and said it was a health hazard and couldnt use it. We also discovered the tissue holder in the bathroom was falling off the wall, the pedastall bin had no foot pedal on and didnt work as we closed the curtains the tie back hook came out of the wall. I've never felt so let down and being a special occasion i decided to complain to the duty manager in the morning but thought we would wait till after breakfast. The food was cold and hard. We had to send coffee back twice, we asked for fresh toast and it was cold and there were stains on the chairs. Reading reviews of this and as it cost more than the previous hotels we stayed at, we hoped it would be the perfect theatre break we were looking for but there was nothing modern about this hotel and nothing good to speak of either. We complained to the duty manager and she offered us a free upgrade on our next stay here but as i explained, i wouldnt stay there again if they offered me a free night.
My daughter and I spent 1 night in two single rooms in February 2005. The rooms were nicely decorated and quite large. Staff was very unhelpful. Location not great. Stayed there because we were flying out of Gatwick on early flight and wanted to be close to the train. Although the rooms were nice, because of the staff, I would stay here again only if I had to make a train connection.
Better than the victoria thistle!
If you have to stay in a Thistle Hotel in this part of town, then choose this one over the Victoria Thistle.
Thistle Westminster reception was welcoming, room was better than expected, but some minor niggles. Heating didn't work, no room service breakfast and the shower pipe sprung a leak soaking the bathroom. Surely the cleaner would have noticed the problem with the shower if they used it to rinse the bath?
Breakfast was so-so. I must have had the same salt cellar as another reviewer - no salt, no stopper in the bottom - and I wasn't the only one at breakfast to ask for salt for the same reason! Bizarre!
Bed was comfortable & room was clean. it was 100 times better than the abysmal rooms I've had at the Victoria Thistle.
Perfect hotel in London
from A TripAdvisor Member
We stayed a week at the Thistle Westminster Nov.10-18 and found it wonderful in every way. We had a twin room and our daughter stayed in a single. Our room was much larger than expected with a small sitting area with a sofa,chair and table. The beds were quite comfortable and the bathroom in great condition. Our daughter's room was larger than usual also. The staff were excellent from the desk clerks to the concierege,the restaurant staff and housekeeping. I had actually left my wallet one day on the floor of the room with credit cards and cash and thankfully found it on the desk when I returned that night. The breakfast served is plentiful with the contiental included for us but extras in a full breakfast buffet if desired. The location was excellent ..two blocks from Victoria station,yet quiet at the hotel area with a bank on the next corner and the Big Bus Tour Office down the street. Would definitely stay here again.
Please with our Stay
from A TripAdvisor Member
We spent a week in London (from September 15-September 22) and stayed at the Thistle Westminster. The hotel was nice and our room was small by American standards, but I would guess similar in size to other London hotels. The staff was very helpful, we were able to control the room tempature and best of all, the beds came with down comforters. The one thing I would not recommend is the food at the hotel restaurant (especially lunch and dinner menu). On the other hand, the bar, and staff were very nice. Honestly though, we didn't go to London to spend all of our time in a hotel room and the location of the Thistle Westminster is outstanding! It is within walking distance of the Victoria Station, literally across the street from the Royal Mews, and it is very easy to catch a cab in front of the hotel. We got a great rate for our room and the location trumped many of the other more expensive hotels.
Top Local Tips for London
would fly virgin again best flight in years tube and buses easy to use get a rail pass ahead of time
Tower of London
pre book tickets ! We had big queues but problem wasn't volume of people but slowness of each transaction - problems with card payment system and aslo each person is asked about gift aid which means filling in form etc !
We will Rock YOu and Lord of the Rings
Fabulous shows go to them especially if you have teenagers!