London Drum

Thistle Holborn (previously The Kingsley) – Review of the 4-star hotel in Bloomsbury

The Thistle HolbornPhoto: Craig Cross
Star rating: ★★★★ Address: Thistle Holborn, Bloomsbury Way, Bloomsbury Contact: Tel: 0207 523 5059 Web: Facilities: Restaurant, bar, concierge, room service, minibar, tea & coffee, Wi-Fi, TV, pay movies, telephone, hairdryer, ensuite bathroom, air-conditioning, safe Parking: Car parks near Holborn Buses: 1, 7, 8, 10, 14, 19, 24, 25, 29, 38, 55, 59, 68, 73, 91, 98, 134, 168, 188, 242, 390, X68 Bus fares Trains: The closest station is Holborn Central Piccadilly Other nearby stations: Chancery Lane, Covent Garden, Goodge Street, Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus, Russell Square, Temple and Tottenham Court Road Train fares

Craig’s review… The decor in here is certainly plush. It’s all purple carpet, purple drapes and chandeliers, and they’ve lined the side of the stairs with little flickering candles.

Rooms at the Thistle Holborn

Room inside the Thistle Holborn HotelPhoto: Craig Cross
Room inside the Thistle Holborn Hotel

The room has all the usual stuff inside it: TV, Wi-Fi, kettle for a cup of tea, but – and this always winds me up, this is my number one pet hate in a hotel – they give you a bazillion teabags but only two milks! How are you supposed to use all of those other teabags when you’ve only got two milks? If I ever own a hotel then that’s the first thing I’ll do – I’ll supply a load of extra milks to the rooms.

TV and desk inside a room at the Thistle HolbornPhoto: Craig Cross
TV and desk inside a room at the Thistle Holborn

When you open the wardrobe a little light comes on, like it does in the fridge. That’s what separates the working class from the upper class… the working class light up their food, whilst the upper class light up their clothes. You also get a snazzy white dressing gown and a pair of flip-flop slippers.

The view out of my window isn’t the greatest… it’s just a big brick wall with an iron fire escape bolted to it. But on the plus side I suppose I’ll be the first out in a fire, so I can’t mark them down for that.

Ensuite bathroom

Ensuite bathroom at the Thistle HolbornPhoto: Craig Cross
Ensuite bathroom at the Thistle Holborn

Okay, now I’m in the bathroom and they’ve left a bowl of green tea and ginger soap on the sink. Green tea soap? What’s that all about? I might try and melt it in the teapot once I’ve used up all the milk. They even provide you with a flannel. Usually you get two towels that are about the same size as a flannel, but this place gives you a few towels plus a flannel. Luxury!

The hotel restaurant and bar

I’m sitting in the downstairs bar now. The kind of pubs that I normally frequent have a bowl of peanuts on the bar, but in here it’s a saucer full of dried peas and bananas chips. I asked for a “cup of coffee” but I can’t have that apparently. I’ve got to have a cream frappuccino or a mocha-choca-latte or some other complicated coffee concoction that everyone knows is basically just a coffee with extra bubbles in it. And she doesn’t want my money either. I have to sit down and then she’ll bring it over on a tray and take the money later. I suppose they must trust the customers that come in here. The kind of people who stay here don’t run off without paying their bill. At the Premier Inn they want the money up front.

When she finally takes my five quid she brings me the change on a little silver platter like she’s serving up a slice of cake. I take the 5p and give her the platter back. Then she takes it out the back and probably has to put it in the dishwasher.

Breakfast is a self-service affair with baked beans, scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, hash browns, toast, muesli, cereal, fruit… whatever you want. It’s very nice.

Location near the British Museum in Bloomsbury

The location is pretty great as well. If you keep walking down the road you’ll eventually end up at Piccadilly Circus (12-15 min walk). Covent Garden and Leicester Square are equally close. St. Paul’s and Big Ben are probably at the absolute limit of where I’d fancy walking to (30 mins at my pace)… any further than that and you’d have to catch the bus.

Worth a stay? Value for money? Nice rooms? Good location?

London Squire bookThe owns and has spent the last decade reviewing the capital’s landmarks, attractions and hotels. His guidebook is available from Amazon

Your comments and questions

S Mulholland We certainly recommend this hotel based on our experience. The inside is lovely and the staff were wonderful and couldn't have been more friendly to us. Thank you

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