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“Not that bad at all”

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Thistle City Barbican, Shoreditch
Ranked #580 of 1,077 Hotels in London
Reviewed August 27, 2006

My company had already booked this hotel for a 3 night business trip before I had checked the reviews on TripAdivsor. So I did not have high hopes for the place given the tone of some of the reviews !
However, having experienced it first hand and returned home unscathed, I thought I should log my experiences to try and indicate that not every stay is a nightmare.
After an initial delay checking in, (no fault on the hotels part) I was directed to my room which was thankfully in the main building. I have to say that the lobby, reception and indeed all the public areas were clean and tidy and generally in a good state of repair.
The room itself was fine. Good size, not exactly the most up-to-date decor, but clean and tidy. Full marks to the house-keeping staff as the room and toilet were spotless on my return each evening.
With regard to the location, OK so its near some council flats... so what ? If you'd looked a little closer you might have noticed how many were clearly privately-owned and well looked after. I took the courtesy bus to the tube station on the morning I checked out, but the rest of the time I walked to the City which only took 15-20 mins.
Next, the staff - who have had some rather harsh treatment in some reviews. I would like to state quite clearly that every single staff member I dealt with was professional, pleasant and polite. Most of the staff may not have had English as their first language but I could not fault the level of service they provided. And, I'm not sure what kind of service one reviwer expected at a breakfast buffet... how hard can it be to walk up and help yourself!!? I thought the breakfast staff did a fine job, and the food itself was perfectly adequate.
However, it wasn't all good.
The worst thing was the mattress. It had seen better times. Or rather it had been the scene of too many better times !! It was clearly worn out. It also had a rather unpleasant aroma which I won't speculate too much about ! At any rate it should have been replaced.
The wardrobe also smelled a bit musty. The hair-dryer in the bathroom didn't work, and neither did the fridge. The wall-paper was also a bit tattered under the window. None of these were crucial to me personally, but its little details like these that can cloud your overall experience.
I also appreciate that I may have been more critical if I'd been paying rather than my company, but on the whole this hotel was perfectly adequate for a business trip, and although I certainly wouldn't rave about it, I would be quite happy to recommend it to others.

  • Stayed: August 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
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    • Cleanliness
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Thank JB_glas
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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2,704 - 2,710 of 3,210 reviews

Reviewed August 24, 2006

Our experience at this hotel was fairly good, thankfully. Octopus Travel made the booking at really short notice because we had been booked into another hotel that was absolutely awful and I had to leave. We were waiting for about 15 minutes while they sorted out the booking and they upgraded us to a superior room for this. The man who checked us in was in training and he couldn't have been nicer.
The room was beautiful, it was big and clean and had air conditioning. We didn'y try the breakfast though because the queue for it was almost at the door of the hotel.
If there was a downsixe it would be the location. It was in between 3 tube stations, each at least a 10 minute walk away and while nothing bad happened in the area I got the feeling it wasn't the safest place to be at night. Overall, though, it was a lovely stay for us.

  • Stayed: May 2005, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Thank Leanne_777
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 3, 2006

We tried at least seven times to book our room via the group booking and each time was told that they didn't exist or that all the rooms were booked under their grouping. Eventually after the soon to be Bride and Groom shouted at someone in the hotels booking centre, I was told the next time I rang not to get off the telephone until someone sorted it out. They also gave me a name of a Thistle manager to use as leverage. So I tried for a final time and refused to take no as an answer, eventually they informed me the booking was on the next screen down where no one had bothered to check. When they finally tried to book the room which they had mysteriously found, they told me there was a problem with the computer system and they could only book one person into the room and not the both of us, but they told me that they would put a note on the reservation to say there would be two of us. No one sent me a confirmation email or anything by post, I had to telephone and request confirmation, which was then sent.

When we arrived at the hotel there was a small queue in front of us but only one person checking in/out at reception. There were however at least five people behind the desk trying to ignore the growing queue, it was as if they didn't want our money. Eventually I had to ask in a loud voice if there were going to be anyone else checking people in and immediately three members of staff decided they would help check in people.

The woman checking us in had a bad grasp of English and could not understand what we were saying and we could not understand her badly broken English. Another of the wedding party had started being checked in at the same time as us and had been checked in ten minutes before we eventually managed to get checked in. We had travelled a long way to get to the hotel and the lack of communication left us standing at reception for over 20 minutes while she tried to find our room cards, our booking on the system, they fact it only said one person on the booking because of the initally computer problems when we booked. She then informed us that breakfast finished at 10 am on a Saturday and a Sunday, the other members of the booking group were told 10.30am and 11am.

When we managed to get our room keys, we had to ask where the lifts were as this information was not forthcoming, when we got to the fourth floor the blast of hot air hit us, as if we were in a furnace. There was no air conditioning or windows open in the corridors, the carpet was ripped in places and our room was located down a corridor so badly lit that at night you could hardly see where you were going, several of the lights had blown and noone had bothered to change them.

The extractor fan in our bathroom was not working and there was mould on the shower curtain, other than that the room was fine other than it being tiny. On Saturday night after the wedding I went back to our hotel room and tried to watch some television as I was getting changed, an old message suddenly appeared from Friday night. After trying to delete the message time after time with no luck, I rang down to reception and no one bothered to answer, so I had to physically go down to reception and ask them to sort it out, which they did, I missed the end of the film I was watching.

The breakfast each morning was very average, I have stayed in many hotels where the breakfast was to a very high standard, so I know an average breakfast when I experience one. The staff could not speak english well enough to deal with any requests and I had the distinct impression that they didn't want to be there, complaining to each other within earshot of the customers.

All in all quite a disappointment, I will never stay at this hotel again and will be telling all my friends and family how bad it is. It also makes me question whether I should stay at any other Thistle Hotel in this country. If this is the general standard of service and quality then I shall never step back into another Thistle Hotel and will actively discourage anyone else I know from staying at the chain.

  • Stayed: July 2006, traveled as a couple
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Images
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 17, 2006

I feel like most people on this site have already covered much of what makes this hotel so awful; from my own experience, I will just say that I spent $212 on a room in which I could touch both walls at once, where the "linens" on the bed consisted of a single flat sheet and a down duvet that was entirely unnecessary in this sweltering un-airconditioned coffin, and that came off all together when I tried to take off the duvet, revealing a single green plastic hospital mattress. Oh, and the promised high-speed internet access was an extra 15pounds.

More problematic, though, is that I can't get this hotel to stop billing me. I paid for my room in advance on Hotwire (which called it a 4*, unbelievably), and so the Thistle Barbican never should have charged me a penny. But when I checked in, the receptionist asked how I'd be paying for my room, and could she see my credit card? It took me a good five minutes to convince them that the room was already paid for, after which they still took my credit card for incidental charges. I didn't incur any, but for some reason, yesterday, 2 months after my stay, the hotel put a charge for $942.31 on my credit card. I called to complain and spoke to a man who said he'd investigate the charge. Then, today, another charge for $95! I'm now thinking of canceling my card entirely, solely to prevent these crooks from charging me. And yes, I'm disputing the transactions with my credit card company.

The Thistle City Barbican - you can check out any time you like, but you can never leave!

  • Stayed: May 2006, traveled on business
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    • Rooms
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2  Thank cjd260
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2006

I have to agree with many others on this site about this truly rubbish hotel. I was part of a group reservation from the company I work for in London. Coming in on an early flight from S'pore found out they'd lost my reservation and refused my pre-arranged and paid for early check. It took two hours of on - off arguing and they only allowed me to check in after after I called my boss's PA and she called on behalf. No apology no nothing, from hopelessly obnoxious staff who could hardly speak English, and when I asked for the manager he ran off - truly unbelieveable.
Room for the corporate rate of GBP125 was just rubbish- you can get better in Bayswater for GBP70 and its not located in godawful council estate. Breakfast was OK, but again staff were just, well hopeless. To be fair (although why should I be?) the gym was not bad.
An extremely sorry excuse for a hotel, almost makes me be embarrassed to be British when I consider the places I stay in KL, Bangkok etc for far less money.

  • Stayed: October 2005, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Trixiebear
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 22, 2006

Myself and 2 colleagues stayed overnight. Not one smile from the reception staff as we checked in. The rooms (4th floor) were like a furnace. My room, which was a single room had a tiny desk fan in it - no air conditioning - not good for a 4 star hotel. The room was tiny, with literally a small path to walk on to get in and out of the bed. Thats maybe why they had removed the ironing board, iron and hairdryer from the room.

We asked for non-smoking rooms. All 3 rooms had ashtrays and a very stale smell of smoke.

Despite leaving the desk fan on from the minute I walked into the room to the minute I left, the room remained like a furnace. I didnt get any sleep at all!!

Stayed: June 2006
2  Thank FWIT
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 18, 2006

Dear oh dear...

Where to begin. 4 star definitely not. as per previous reviews really but this time with potentially fatal consequences.

Upon arrival whilst checking in, we are met with foreign staff who are trying to calm an existing (already checked in) customer down... a customer who is holding a syringe head that he has found in the swimming pool. Had it not been for the fact that we could not afford to change hotel we would have asked for a full refund and left it then and there.

Needless to say, my wife and I had immediately decided not to use the swimming pool facilites after seeing the man holding this potentially fatal item. I did not check to see whether the pool was closed after this incident, but regardless, this should not be happening in any establichemnt - especially a four star rated one !

The room was lousy, window latch was broken - so no limit on how far it opens, so beware if you have a young child as this could quite easily lead to a fall out of window from great height...

As per other reviews, room was far too hot (maybe this is why the catch was broken on the window ? ) and no air con - just a noisy rotating fan. you can hear rooms above below and either side with ease throughout the night.

bathroom was disgusting. "power" shower head was clogged with limescale and in dire need of a good clean, and the whole area around the bath was dirty with scale and mould. The overflow from the bath was thick with scum.

Breakfast was the final straw... again foreign staff/not understaninding english led to lack of service - as when the machine that dilutes the apple juice ran out of apple syrup/mixture, the staff did not understand - when all that was coming out was water... I am still waiting on some fruit juice now. All they had to do was change the box/bag inside the machine.

  • Stayed: June 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
3  Thank scottish_guy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Thistle City Barbican, Shoreditch

Address: 120 Central Street | Clerkenwell, London EC1V 8DS, England
Phone Number:
Location: United Kingdom > England > London
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #580 of 1,077 Hotels in London
Price Range: $91 - $236 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:3 star — Thistle City Barbican, Shoreditch 3*
Number of rooms: 463
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Within walking distance from Old Street and Barbican tube stations the Thistle City Barbican provides easy access to the whole of London and its many attractions. We have convenient transport links for King's Cross & Liverpool Street National Rail as well as St Pancras International station for Eurostar.Ideally located on the edge of the City of London, with the financial district just minutes away, we are also in a prime location for business travellers. Our dedicated conference facilities with 13 flexible meeting rooms will cater for business meetings, corporate special events, private dining and banquets for up to 170 delegates.Inclusive with your hotel booking you can enjoy the Otium Health & Leisure Club to work out, for a refreshing swim or simply relax and de-stress in the Jacuzzi, Sauna and Steam room. Whether you are here for business or leisure our Otium Health & Leisure Club has all you need to make your experience complete.Thistle City Barbican Hotel features 463 bedrooms including Standard, Deluxe and Family rooms as well as Suites. All of our guestrooms, meeting rooms and public areas are equipped with Free BT Openzone Wi-Fi internet access. For guests travelling to the Hotel by car there are 10 car parking spaces available which are allocated on a first come first serve basis. Alternatively there is a NCP carpark within walking distance. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Thistle City Barbican London
Thistle City Barbican Hotel London
Thistle City Barbican, Shoreditch London, England

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