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Reviewed 9 July 2012

Stayed here for a confence for one night. The check in process was ok; the girl on reception was pleasant and efficient, despite the computer not playing ball and the room was clean but that is all that was good. The room decor was dated - if you're a fan of eighties beige - you won't be disappointed and there were only three sockets in the room - obviously another left over of the eighties when nobody really had much charging up to do whilst on business. Even plugging the kettle in was tricky as you had to stretch the lead down to the plug at floor level unless you were happy to turn the telly off whilst boiling it. Fortunately, you could still have the fan plugged in - yes, fan - as there was no air conditioning in the room, something I would have expected for £132 for a night's stay. The bathroom was clean but was dated and tiny - only just enough room to actually sit on the loo. Unfortunately the hotel isn't even redeemed by its location - it's nowhere near the Barbican and is a pain to get to via tube. Sorry Thistle, but I won't be returning to this hotel or probably any of your others.

Stayed: July 2012, travelled on business
1  Thank Del S
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 7 July 2012

Quite an average hotel. Even though the reception was not very busy, it took ages to check-in, after which it took almost 15 min to get me a card to access internet; which turned out to be expensive and slow...... To get to the rooms, I needed to go outside and cross the access road. The rooms in this section of the hotel are located in a maize of small corridors. My double room was tiny, just about adequate for one person. It turned out the hotel was being renovated and there was a very strong fresh paint odor. I was too tired to return to reception. When I mentioned it next day, I did immediately receive a discount on the room. So I guess that it was a known problem. Overall, the Thistle City Barbican did not live up to expectations.

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled on business
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2  Thank Dutch_Travel-R
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 10 July 2012

Dear Crabzilla

Thank you for taking the time to write a review of the Thistle City Barbican

I was very disappointed to read that the hotel did not meet you expectations on this occasion and I am sorry that you experienced delays at the front desk on check in and that you found the internet service slow and expensive .
We are currently redecorating a number of the rooms at the hotel and we do try our utmost to ensure the rooms and corridors are well ventilated to alleviate strong odours , I am sorry that we failed on this occasion . In regards to the internet service we are working with our providers BT to upgrade the service , ensuring that our signal is stronger and the service is faster.
Thank you for constructive comments .
Kind regards
Jane and team

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 5 July 2012

Prompted into writing this review because I just have to agree with everything a friend of mine has already written about this rather seedy and nasty hotel.
Several rooms booked for business, and with every intention of repeating the bookings two or three times over the next few weeks.
It seemed to start off well - I was upgraded to a suite - yippee!
Trouble is, this just meant that I got an extra dose of grubbiness. Stained walls, unsanitary carpet, cracked tiles, and a general air of "Who gives a toss". Electric locks that don't want to open, a bar with a TV so loud that we gave up drinking (gave up drinking?????) and a queue for breakfast that was only marginally shorter than the M1.
And without beating about the bush, - a concierge who conned us into using a mates people carrier being driven by a bloke who was all but falling asleep at the wheel at 8 in the morning, had no idea of the local geography and who drove like Postman Pat after he broke his glasses in the Spec Savers advertisement. Probably uninsured, and definitely a dangerous rip off - It's a bloody disgrace.
A horrible, horrible experience - thank God my company paid for it - I would have begrudged handing over twenty quid, - Don't use this hotel if you have any say in the matter. If you can't get out of it, go sick, take annual leave, or find another job.
(Nice receptionists, though - it's not their fault that they work for shysters.)

  • Stayed: May 2012, travelled on business
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3  Thank essex1920
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 30 June 2012

Comfortable bed and lovely big towels. Room was clean. Good to have air conditioning unit as it was hot. Wash basin had big cracks which had been mended but needs it really needs replacing. Mirror on bathroom wall too far away to see well because of the shelf. There were other mirrors but a small make up mirror in the bathroom would be useful. No chair by the desk and other chairs quite heavy to move there. Internet too expensive. Breakfast - the service was prompt but no fresh fruit and bacon very crispy.

Room Tip: I was on the 5th floor and the room was fine except the wash basin.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled on business
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Thank Poole11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 3 July 2012

Dear Poole11

Thank you for completing a review of the Thistle City Barbican.
I was very pleased to read that you enjoyed your stay with us and found the room clean and comfortable . Please accept my apologies for the cracked sink , we currently have a programme in place where we are rectifying such issues .
Thank you for your constructive feedback which we take very seriously and will act upon

Kind regards
Jane and team.

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Reviewed 30 June 2012

Our room was a “Deluxe Double”, and it must be said it was a bit small for two people. Standard of decoration was fine, with no significant signs of wear and tear. The room was quite well equipped: flat panel TV with many channels, air-con, ceiling fan, iron, mini fridge, safe, decent hairdryer (not a hot-air hose), tea & coffee (no biscuits). The bathroom was fine, though a bit small, with Thistle branded toiletries which were perfectly acceptable. Bed quality was good. Standard rooms do not have air-con, so in summer I’d suggest you pay extra for the Deluxe.
The majority of rooms do not face the main roads, which makes them exceptionally quiet for a city hotel. I haven’t tried one of the rooms facing a road, but as the roads are fairly quiet anyway I wouldn’t expect a problem.
There is a Health and Leisure Club with a nice-looking pool which we didn’t use.
All members of staff we dealt with were polite and helpful.
We didn’t eat in the hotel. If you want to fend for yourself, just round the corner between City Road and Old Street you will find a square with grocery shops and eateries. One of them will serve you traditional “pie and mash” (all day), though I’d recommend the Fish Central restaurant (see their reviews).
One hotel issue to be wary of is that if you ask the concierge to get you a cab, he will get you a minicab. (See SimonM’s review, June 25) London minicabs are not actually minis, they are usually small people-movers. Though minicabs are regulated, their drivers do not have to pass the “Knowledge” exams of the traditional London taxi drivers. Even Transport for London’s own website recommends caution when using minicabs. Though the majority of London minicab drivers are OK, they are nothing like as honest or reliable as the traditional “cabbies”. No doubt there is an “arrangement” between the hotel and the minicabs to provide clients, but frankly it’s a bit dishonest and not worthy of a respectable hotel. So the advice is, avoid minicabs and use the traditional London taxis.
You can easily tell if a taxi it is the real thing by looking at the plate showing their licence: they are called Hackney Carriages! Yes, really. You might not be able to understand what a London cabbie says to you, but you can be sure he won’t cheat you by fiddling the meter or taking a long route, and females can safely take a London taxi at night. So don’t ask the concierge for a taxi: go out of Reception, turn left, and there’s a small taxi rank on the corner. In any case, Central Street is often used by cabs returning empty. You can tell when a London taxi is available because the “Taxi” sign is illuminated. It is against the law for minicabs to pick up passengers in the street.
The nearest Underground station is Old Street, which is about a 12-minute walk away. The nearest bus routes are closer. Buses are much cheaper (it’s a flat fare) and are surprisingly easy to use because they have automated announcements of the next stop.
The downsides of this hotel are that it’s in a slightly unfashionable area, and public transport links could be closer. On the other hand, you can get a well-equipped and quiet room for about the same price as a budget hotel in a more desirable area. So overall, I’d say it offers good value for money, but they need to fix their taxi policy.

Room Tip: Ask for a room not overlooking the street.
  • Stayed: June 2012, travelled on business
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1  Thank sp33dbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Management response:Responded 3 July 2012

Dear Sp33dbird
Thank you for taking the time to right a review of the Thistle City Barbican .
I was very pleased to read that you felt the hotel was good overall value and that you felt the staff were polite and helpful.
I certainly take on board your comments in regards to black taxi's , and a black cab should always be offered first . However on occasions at key demand times where there is limited availability of black taxi's we do need to be able to offer our guests an alternative service .We do have links to a car company that is a nominated supplier but we must always make sure out guests have the option to choose and that they understand the difference in charges .
Thank you for your constructive feedback and I hope we have the opportunity of welcoming you back to the hotel on a future occasion.
Kind regards
Jane and team.

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