107 Leith Street,
Edinburgh, EH1 3SW
Reception: 0870 333 9153
Fax: 0870 333 9253 „
On first glance, the Thistle Hotel does not look good; on the outside it's a dated, monstrous looking building attached to the St. James Centre (a shopping mall described as 'a modern abomination' by one of my bus tour guides), but after stepping inside you can breathe a sigh of relief as you are greeted with a very modern hotel.
After being unable to book my preferred Edinburgh hotel, The Royal British, I decided on the Thistle which is located on Leith Street (just around the corner from Princes Street) and is still very close to all the tourist spots and transport links.
Although I was staying alone I was given a twin room with all the mod cons; tea, coffee, shortbread, hair dryer, spacious wardrobe, ensuite bathroom, wireless internet connection, and a nice big flatscreen TV with plenty of digital channels to choose from. The room's only downside was the view; there's nothing I like better than waking up in the morning, pulling the curtains and staring at the back of what looked like an abandoned building. And while we're speaking of downsides, an alarm somewhere outside the hotel (car, burglar?) kept going off in the middle of the night; now it wasn't loud enough to really annoy me but still was slightly irritating.
The Thistle is reasonably priced as it's in such a great location; turn right and head for Princes Street, the Royal Mile or Edinburgh Castle or turn left and go shopping in the huge John Lewis next door, catch a show in the Edinburgh Playhouse, or visit the Omni Leisure Development; a great complex which houses a Vue cinema, Jongleurs comedy club, and several other bars and restaurants, all under one roof.
Overall I had a satisfying stay here however it was lacking a certain something; the atmosphere in the hotel was just a little cold (perhaps due to the staff, who were pleasant enough but not all that friendly) and didn't exude that nice homely feel that I have experienced elsewhere in the city.
One of the pitfalls of being great at your job is that you're often called upon to help out those offices less well able.Well that's how I see it,it's not that I'm completly dispensable or anything... Anyway having been sent to Edinburgh for the week with the promise of a top hotel I was a bit weary of the Thistle as returning colleagues had likened it to 'Fawlty Towers' with tales of socks left in rooms and herds of children roaming free in the hallways.But first impressions were good.The hotel is large and modern and located on Leith Street,just off the central thourghfare, Prince's Street.This is a short hop from Waverly Station and close to our central office. The hotel is one of a large chain with the website promising "Four star hotels five star locations".It also had a picture that looked like it'd been taken from the bushes with a Piper outside to reinforce the shortbread image the tourist board,sorry,visitscotland,promotes.The location is very good but somewhat undone by the hoards of tramps outside and by the noisy neighbours. We arrived at 9am and were allowed to check into our rooms which was pretty good seeing as check out time is not until 12.The receptionist was good although like every staff member and indeed almost everyone we encountered she did not speak English as her first language, so "Say again please" was a regular conversation opener.Still no one in Glasgow understands me either... The hotel was clean and smart and had been refurbished recently.I was given an 'executive twin room' which cost the firm £115 a night.The room was fine although like any hotel room you've ever been in.The beds were small and had sheets and blankets - I like my duvet!.An iron and board were provided and a light came on when you open the wardrobe - luxuary!.The toiletries were OK with two bottles each of shower gel and shampoo,Mother's Christmas taken care of ther
e!.Ample tea and coffee was provided but no mini bar.The TV selection was adequate with all three Sky Sports on offer but no Sky 1 or movies.Pay for view movies were available at an untempting £7.50 although they did include recent offerings like 'Hannibal'.I only used the phone once for a five minute call to Glasgow and was soaked for £4.50 - a total rip off.The ensuite bathroom was fine although it lacked the power shower I need to wake me up.I was on the sixth and top floor though so maybe the water pressure wasn't up to it. The room was double glazed but the central location meant that I had four sleepless nights.Across the street is a large pub with flats above and come kicking out time the racket was terrible.My room was at the front so try rear facing if you go.Workmates had complained and were moved but I chose to do my moaning here instead.I am back next week and will hopefully get some kip then!. The hotel has no leisure facilities at all which was disappointing.I'm no fitness freak but a nice dip and sauna can be refreshing.Edinburgh has no end of saunas though, although they don't offer conventional massage!.Sometimes hotels will offer free membership of nearby health clubs but not here. Foodwise the hotel scores highly.We had the breakfast each morning and it was great.Lots of fried offerings are tempered by acres of fresh fruit,pastries,meats and dairy products.I had porrage,muffins and black puddings on a daily basis which means the lack of a gym is all the more painful.Great service here too although it does get busy.The hotel also has two retaurants.'Craig's' is a traditional Scottish affair so expect a deep fried Mars bar with 'The Boston Bean Company' being an American style diner,the sort you get everywhere but America!.We didn't try either mostly due to a promise of 'bagpipe music,highland dancin' and Bill Torrance'. Complimentary Daily Telegraphs are ava
ilable each day and the rooms were tidied to a high standard - even my old boxers where picked up.The clientele was mostly American which offered it's own entertainment as they poked the porrage and enquired about "grace notes" to bemused staff. On the whole an impressive operation that's tilted towards our trans-Atalantic cousins.A kilted piper at the door adds charm to the dossers nearby!.A bit too noisey but worth a look if someone else is paying!.If you are tempted the hotel's url is below http://www.thistlehotels.com/hotel_dir/property/index.jhtml?id=3499&_requestid=165 32