On arriving at the hotel my first impressions were good the reception area was clean, sleak and well attended it was staffed by a very freindly young lady who reeled off the usual scripted hotel speak, nothing unusual there then.
However on completing the formalities she informed me that the Thistle has or was undergoing a refurb and asked if i wanted 'one of the good rooms' for an extra £10. I refused the offer as i didn't expect to be in my room that long, i was watching cricket that evening then going for drinks. The route to my room was interesting and i did wonder wether i should drop some breadcrumbs to find my way back. On opening the door to my room maybe wondered if i should go back and take the receptionist up on the offer, however i didn't have the inclanation to find my way back out.
so the room;
on the small sized, with dated however clean decor and furnishings, the Samsung LCDTV was there as a reminder that you were indeed in 2010. The veiw was into other rooms of the hotel.. and a big air con unit in between, the air con type fan seemed to be warmer than the air in the room and the window was locked open 4 inches.. The bed was very firm luckily how i like it but unsure wether many others would and th bathroom was definately in need of updating. other than that it was as you would expect extra blankets, pillows, tea and coffee, and i seem to recall a trouser press. . the reason i chose the thistle is its location in the city centre. however you are traveling to manchester it is convenient and indeed it was in my case.
Having enjoyed the cricket an having a good if not hot nights sleep i went down for breakfast. Iwas impressedhaving worked in hotels before, i have to say i think it was the most organised and well served hotel breakfast i have had. it was all buffet including the hot food but you could tell it was well rotated and it had not just been left out, the staff brought me plenty of coffee and i went away happy. I also looked into the gym. or fitness suite and pool and although your never gonna train to be Mr Great Britain in it, it has enough equiptment and the pool is just big enough to relax.
my main problem was the room if i booked again i would definately ask for one of the refurbed rooms and if this happens i will update my review.
I should also point out that i booked the room through late rooms and only paid £45, so my perspective of value for money would be different to someone who paid full room tarriff.
As a travel agent I tend to get offered preferential rates at certain hotels, this is usually to try and fill up empty rooms in their hotels. One year everyone in our department decided to have a girly New Year in Manchester and I was given the job of organising the hotel and at New Year it is not the easiest of tasks.
The Thistle Hotel offered special rates to agents of £25 per room, this I thought would be ideal as I needed to make an agent's booking I had to use the dedicated agent's booking line to make the reservation which works in a similar way to telephone reservations for the general public, alternatively the Thistle Hotel has an online booking system to make a reservation.
A Brief guide to making a reservation:-
My tip is to first visit the website to check the online availability of the room then you save yourself a few pence on making the call to the hotel and waiting in the queue for a reservations consultant, if there is availability you can either continue to book online or alternatively call through to the reservations team on 0870 3339132.
You will be told the name of the reservations consultant and asked to confirm the hotel that you wish to stay in
You will then be asked to provide the dates and duration that you wish to stay at the hotel and the consultant will then proceed to check the availability
The reservation consultant will then confirm the room type and the total cost for the room per night and if staying for more than one night will confirm the total cost of your stay
Next they will ask for the lead name of the guest and address and contact telephone number along with an email address and will continue with your booking
You will then be asked to provide a debit/credit card number to secure the booking but nothing will be charged until you check-out of the hotel this is just a security measure should you not cancel the room and you fail to check-in and is standard procedure with most hotels
You will then be provided with your confirmation reference which is required at check-in and if you need to make any amendments to your booking before check-in
This will be emailed to you and an additional copy will also be posted out to you
A Brief Introduction to the hotel:-
The Thistle Hotel has 48 fully serviced hotels in their group located all over the United Kingdom with 19 hotels in London, the hotel that I booked was the Thistle Manchester, a 3 star hotel, located on 3-5 Portland Street which overlooks Piccadilly Gardens and is just minutes away from the fantastic city centre shops including H&M, Primark, Monsoon, HMV and Shelly's with many many more to wander around.
The hotel looks rather grand from the outside and to enter the hotel is a large revolving door which leads you straight into the reception area. The reception area is constantly manned by two members of staff and there is a porter on hand to assist with luggage should you require this service.
The hotel has 205 rooms with the option of either single, twin, double or one of 12 suites.
Each room contains the following:-
Ensuite bathroom with bath and overhead shower
Fluffy white towels including a bath sheet and hand towel
Tea and Coffee making facilities
TV complete with satellite
Iron and Ironing Board
The room itself was tastefully decorated and looked fairly modern the carpets are a turquoise green and the curtains and bedspreads are matched with navy, turquoise and gold stripe which complements the golden yellow wallpaper that is not too overpowering.
There is also plenty of storage in the hotel with wardrobe, a bedside table complete with lamp and drawers contained within the television unit, there is also a lamp to the corner of the room next to the window to create a more relaxing atmosphere, the rooms can appear quite dark as some look out onto other buildings and the net curtains can appear quite dull and heavy.
The rooms do look fairly clean and tidy however by accident I tripped over the bedspread falling onto one of the twin beds which made it move where I discovered some old smelly socks under the bed, now I don't know how some people who are paid to clean actually clean but around the furniture is not very clean in my books and not ideal for those with allergies as it is not clearing away the majority of grime, so after discovering this I began to wonder how clean this room actually was.
The bathroom was clean though and you could not fault the extra touch of basic toiletries and clean fluffy white towels and even a bath mat for use in the shower, there was also a toilet brush included in the toilet should that be required!
Included in the cost of the room is breakfast which has so much for you to choose from a fully cooked breakfast to fresh fruit and pastries.
This particular hotel also has full health and leisure facilities including a swimming pool which is free for residents to use, I as you can imagine as I was staying on New Years Eve did not get chance to make use of this facility.
Car Parking is not within the hotel but is located nearby in the NCP Car Park and can work out quite costly for a 24 hour stay at £15 however I parked my car there and it was perfectly safe there and was just a 5 minute walk behind the hotel.
Overall for the price that I paid for the room I could barely complain but if I was paying the full cost of £50 per room then this certainly would not pass for my high standards.
As with most hotels you get what you pay for and whether or not we get a poor room due to the fact we were travel trade that will never be discovered!!
Definatelty not one of the better 3* properties I have stayed in.
3-5 Portland St
Tel:- 0870 3339132
This place is just a wee bit shabby. It's too hot (1st sign of an old folk's hotel) now a 'Thistle' - Advantages: Has beds - Disadvantages: No room to swing even the most compact of cats in rooms, Cack breakfast, Extremely indifferent service
My latest experience of this amazing city, of which I had never had the pleasure of visiting prior to April of this year was this weekend, after being lucky enough to be selected as part of a team to partake in a footie quiz on Digital TV in the not too distant future - although can't say any more than that at the mo! Our venue on this occasion was The Thistle Hotel in Manchester, opposite what was once, as I understand Piccadilly Gardens (now under redevelopment pending the Commonwealth games next year) and about 5 minutes walk from Manchester Piccadilly train station and the Arndale Centre. The hotel has 205 bedrooms, a minute reception area, a newly refurbished bar and restaurant area, bland and small with a wide screen for those all important footie matches, and prices that would have all but the most hardened wallets running for the sanctity of the amazingly cheaper Jarvis Piccadilly on the opposite side of the road. Check-in was not smooth; a party of 5 arriving at 2.30pm after a long and arduous train journey found not all the rooms were ready, and that pub and wide screen were beckoning (yes England did just have a small game on!!) - so all the gear was dumped and off to locate the TV, but believe me that is a different story. Manchester city centre was most certainly NOT over-run with friendly inviting pubs in which we could watch the game (no jeans/trainers on a Saturday afternoon??) and we ended up in the old faithful (& cheap) Portland Bar, which certainly livened up as the tensions and the match progressed. People were really friendly and the atmosphere was wicked. BACK TO THE HOTEL Our price for a double room was £70 (including breakfast). The 205 rooms are spread out over 7 floors and boy are they small? - the words 'cat' and 'swing' would definitely not go together in this place - plainly furnished - we were on this occasion blessed with a window (which is more than I can say
about the Britannia) although the view was concrete and more hotel rooms. The room consisted of a double bed (sheets & feather pillows - no quilts in site), trouser press, kettle, hairdryer, radio, remote control colour TV with teletext and ALL 3 Sky Sports Channels, and for an extra £6.99 you could buy a 'mucky' film that you could watch as much as you wanted over 24 hours. The bathroom was even smaller than the room and housed toilet, bath & very effective shower and hand basin - the towel rail was strategically placed over the bath and being a bit of a shortie, it managed to hit me over the head about three times whilst taking a shower. The Hotel also sported a leisure pool and Gym, but time was precious and we didn't have chance to have a nose. Like most of the hotels in this area, there is no car-parking, although I do believe the hotel negotiates a special rate with one of more of the many NCP car-parks close by (£10 per 24 hours as opposed to the standard £14.50). There are two small lifts and the hotel claims disabled people in wheelchairs can comfortably stay unaccompanied - although how a wheelchair would have got through out bedroom door is anyone's guess. A WORD OF WARNING: This hotel supplies Feather Pillows (to which I am allergic) and were quite taken aback when I asked for new pillows - so if you do have a problem with them, take your own or ask early on. ====================== MY FAVOURITE BIT FOOD If I was disappointed with the hotel, I certainly cannot say the same about the breakfast which consisted of: * A range of cereals * Fresh Fruit in Juice * A variety of fruit juices * Bacon * Scrambled and Fried Eggs * Mushrooms * Bacon * Black Pudding * Baked Beans * Tomatoes * Fried Bread * Happy smiling potato faces * Sausages (the tastiest I have had for a long time) *
White/Wholemeal toast with conserve * Bread rolls of all types (included the lovely crusty seeded ones) * Tea/Coffee =========================== As I said earlier, there is a restaurant at the hotel, but the word pricey springs to mind - £2.50 for a portion of chips - £3.00 for carrots - needless to say, we elected to sample the delights of China Town but thats a different story. THE ALL IMPORTANT QUESTION HOW MUCH? Good question - I did ask as I quite often travel to Manchester on business - (The breakfast really was that good) - but reception would not give me a rate, advising me that they change daily according to demand In the Thistle breaks brochure - a one night stay costs £68 per person B&B (ouch) and £41 per person B&B low season on a Thistle Savers break which requires a minimum two night stay (not cheap and certainly better deals around this area which really is hotel city - as long as you are not staying when England/Man U are playing at Old Trafford). Best bet if you fancy this hotel is contact them at: Portland Street Piccadilly Gardens Manchester M1 6DP Telephone: 0870 333 9139 E-Mail: Manchester@Thistle.co.uk SUMMARY Not bad, the food made up for lack of space, but with so many to chose from around here - this hotel would not necessarily be my first choice.