London has so many hotels it can be quite overwhelming. Where do you event start when you're looking to take a visit? I tend to go to my London hotel comfort zone and stick in around Bloomsbury or near towards Covent Garden, but I've now started branching out and heading towards Marble Arch.
Around the Marble Arch area you see a different side to London, I don't mean location wise but more about what it offers for a visit. For me personally I love the fact Hyde Park is so close and it allows me to go for a walk or run in the morning before tackling a busy day on the underground. The more I've explored after staying close by, the more I'm more inclined to visit this area.
I previously stayed in Marble Arch at the Radisson Blu Portman Hotel which again is very close to all the action, but as I had the UK Blog Awards to attend at the Montcalm Hotel (again close by) I was invited to stay at the Thistle Marble Arch. I've stayed in many, many Thistle hotels previously and to be honest like many chains you can't really compare on to another. The general standards are across the board but each hotel is very individual dependant on location, with Thistle I've had a complete mixture from not so good stays to absolutely amazing experiences.
As always I like to do a big of digging about a hotel before I stay, taking in all comments and remarks from other reviews and tripadvisor. On my first impression exterior wise, I won't lie, it looks rather old. What I mean is that it looks a bit art deco and because of the location with high pollution levels due to traffic, the building does look tired. That being said I must admit I was pleasantly surprised by the interior.
Reception and Decor
On the ground level you have the concierge team, a simple seating area, stairs and an escalator leading up to the hotel. My first thoughts were, how will someone with a large suitcase leave the hotel with ease? On climbing the stairs we were both taken back at how beautiful the interior was. They'd clearly taken inspiration by the period the building was put there and embraced a Great Gatsby meets swing style decor. Reception, a lounge area, restaurant, bar and also a cafe area (for a Costa Coffee fix) were all conveniently on the same level. During check in staff were attentive, not too pushy but helpful. Fresh flowers, newspapers and little quirky decorations were scattered about to give the reception a warm, relaxing and welcoming feel from the busy streets outside.
There are 3 lifts to take guests to the various floors to the 692 bedrooms. I believe I was in a standard double room, it was simplistic in design and spacious for central London. Everything was spotless, modern and light, again not something I'd preconceived. The room faced into the back of the hotel and was nice and quiet considering it's location.
Quick round up bedroom
- Plenty of wardrobe space with a handy long mirror.
- Power shower with a bath in the compact bathroom
- All the standard amenities located on the bathroom counter.
- Desk for working
- Coffee Pod machine
- Bottled water
- Tea/Coffee etc
- Flat screen TV
- Large windows
- Plenty of additional lighting
- Fridge - Not a mini bar
- Hair dryer
- Iron and ironing board
- Handy light switches near the bed
- Lights across the ceiling - often hotels simply have lamp light or one poxy central light.
One thing I will mention because everyone always wants to know when they go to hotels, (me particularly as my life is pretty much online) is there Wifi? There is indeed! Fast free WiFi is available in all areas which makes life easier. I will always tell you in my reviews about how my nights sleep was as essentially that's the reason you're there! Personally I've stayed in better beds, some other hotels offer alternative pillows to suit your needs but this didn't. Don't get me wrong it wasn't uncomfortable at all, I've just had something much better in an alternative venue.
There is a well equipped gym on site but as you would expect it's quite small, however it does have more equipment than most central London hotels. This is close to the Thistle Executive Lounge which is for guests to use who are staying in an executive or higher room category. You'll find free drinks and snacks to indulge in but also experience a touch of calm amongst a busy London setting.
The hotel also has conference facilities, I didn't have a chance to check these out unfortunately but they have 12 meeting and function rooms.
Food and Dining
The Marmor Grill is where breakfast is located, this is on the same floor as the lobby. It was a large room which expanded on busy days into the Glen Miller Bar next door. Breakfast food was very good with fresh tea and coffee being served on arrival, however with the general organisation of people it was rather crazy! This was nothing to do with the staff as it is to be expected due to the amount of guests at a weekend, but there was no system for getting the cold items, it was a bit of a free for all! Cooked food was spot on with a chef there to make made to order omelettes. There was a wide range of everything really, the only problem was that the area around the cereals and fruits was rather small for the amount of people. It was all very tasty with different kinds of breads, nuts and seeds, fresh fruit, cheese and cold meats. Again staff were friendly and attentive.
On the dining tables throughout the restaurant they had a card to remind guests to make staff aware of any allergies, which I thought was a nice touch and something I believe most hotels should make guests aware of.
We didn't have a chance to go and experience cocktails at the Glen Miller Bar but when I spoke to some other guests on checking out, I was really jealous we didn't because apparently it's amazing! Plus inside it's sophisticated, sleek and it's full of memorabilia.
Overall the stay was very pleasant and as busy as expected from such a central location. For me personally the art deco decor actually sold it to me! It created a classy ambiance about it, almost giving it an alternative character to what can usually be seen in other local hotels. The location of course is fantastic and really easy to find from the Marble Arch tube station... plus you're a stroll away from all the Oxford Street shops and Hyde Park.
Would I stay again? I think I would because I feel like it's a bit of a hidden gem as exterior wise to me doesn't do it justice. You're looking at around a starting price of £180 obviously offers etc will vary the going rate, but if you're looking for convenience then it's definitely up there on my list of places to stay in London.