Thistle Charing Cross
The Strand, London WCN2 5HX Tel 44 (0) 870 333 9105 Fax 44 (0) 870 333 9205 Email: CharingCross@Thistle.co.uk Web site: www.thistlehotels.com
I had stayed at this hotel once before, some years previous, so was looking forward to a new review. The hotel is ideally located within the Charing Cross Railway station complex, in the center of London, opposite Trafalgar Square. Embankment Railway station is also only a short walk away, as is Leicester Square, Covent Garden, and Piccadilly Circus. Buckingham Palace is also in walking distance. I caught a taxi to the Thistle Charing Cross and even on entering the hotel, it was obvious there was a certain amount of class about the complex. Two reception attendants put me through the check-in process in record time, and even though it was about 10:30 in the morning, I was able to access my room immediately. I had been allocated Room 441 on the fourth floor. I took a short walk through the lobby and through a hallway to the lift compound, an area housing two lifts. The hotel has 239 rooms, but also has a large feature staircase, a centrepiece in the building, which is often used by guests. The lift was tastefully decked out, a voice told me the lift doors were closing and away I was to the fourth level. On alighting I saw Room 442 was at the other end of the building, probably the one most distant from the lifts. It was good 150 metres walk, but the trip was broken through different parts of the building, and was not a bother. The hallways had plush carpet and prints on the wall, and beaitful timber features. On arrival at the room, I entered to an excellent laid out room, quite spacious too for London standards. The burnt orange and royal blue diamond pattern carpet was a feature, complimented by luxurious royal blue and gold patterned drapes, and a two-toned brown diamond patterned bedspread. All the furniture was a polished pine, even the doors and door jams. There was a two-metre long desk/dresser with mirror, two wall-mounted lamp shades, a large modern telephone with access buttons for Room Service, Voice Mail, Operator, Concierge, and Guest Lines. The three-door wardrobe contained plenty of hanging space, a safe and an ironing board and iron. There was a high speed Internet access port, which worked fine. Emails were automatically sent without any set-up, and access to the Web was easy. Cost was 50 pence for each 3 minutes, to a maximum of 15 pounds per day, and the day (24 hours) started from the time you connected. On the desk/dresser there was also a silver ice bucket on a tray, with two glasses, and two wine glasses. There were four drawers in the desk. There was another large cabinet in the room, which housed a mini-bar stuffed with drinks and snacks, and a tea and coffee making facility tray. There were two arm chairs. One at the desk, and one opposited a small coffee table. There was a radiator in the room, with heating controls.All the light switches and power points, like everything in the room, appeared brand new, and were made of chrome. The wallpaper surrounding the room was done in a biege pattern to completely compliment the timber furniture and looked great. The king side bed had two bedside tables, one each side, both with lamps, and one with an additional phone. They also had drawers, and one of these housed a hairdryer. There were bedside controls too for all lighting in the room, which was equal to the best of any hotel I've reviewed. The bathroom too was tastefully furnished with excellent tiling, a separate bath and shower, and toilet. The marble vanity had a reasonable amount of bench space, considering again this was a London hotel. There was a third phone, and the lighting, like the room, couldn't have been better. The only downside was the shower cubicle was a little on the small size, and the controls were a touch tacky. The shower stream though was fine, and a good, hot shower was easy to come by. In the morning I tried the traditional English breakfast, which was included in the rate (126 pounds through Metrostar.com). I was taken to a table in an excellent breakfast room on the first floor. I was offered tea, coffee and toast, but declined and headed for the buffet breakfast. There was a large assortment of cereals, Swiss cheese, cold meats, and fruit, which included orange portions, melon portions, prunes, pears and peaches, and fresh grapes. There was orange, grapefruit and apple juice, and a selection of hot dishes which included sausages, bacon, scrambled eggs, poached eggs, and hash browns. The breakfast was plentiful, and very tasty. The room was pleasant, and the experience overall very good. The hotel is an excellent standard property, well staffed, with concierge, porters, reception staff, attentive housemaids and restaurant staff. The bar on the ground floor was closed during my staff, and I did not get an opportunity to try the restaurant at night, although on a previous stay I recalled it as of a very good standard. The hotel is a gem overall, in an excellent location, part of a rail and subway junction, opposite Trafalgar Square and as I said before, just minutes to Covent Garden, Piccadilly Circus and Buckingham Palace. The accommodations are excellently appointed, still fresh from a recent refurbishment, and on the rate paid, represented very good value. Noise from the hallway could be heard in the room, and the size of the shower were the only negatives, but these were easily outweighed by the positives of what is a very good standard London hotel.