Friday 24th November, 2017

Thistle Marble Arch Hotel

The hotel is an old building, in fact there are neon signs on an adjacent, seemingly unused warehouse which is somewhat confusing. Near to the Marble Arch, which is on one of the main corners of Hyde Park, the four star Thistle Marble Arch has it's entrance on Bryanstan street. Entering the hotel I noted the concierge was on the left hand side, and then there was a long escalator going up to the first floor, where the reception, restaurants and bars were located. I took the escalator up (there were only stairs coming down), and after seeking directions found my way to the long reception desk, at the rear of the escalator. I had made a booking on Metrostar.com, which was a little less expensive (15 pounds less) than the Thistle Hotels.com Web site. The rate I had was 99 pounds per night, to which VAT (value added tax) would have to be added. On checking in I noted upgrade opportunities, so elected for a larger room, at an additional cost of 10 pounds. I had originally been allocated Room 706 on the seventh floor, but ended up with 366 on the third floor. The hotel, I later established, has 692 rooms, so it was quite a size. It seemed very busy too with a large group in-house. I made my way to the lift bank, and after a short time was en-route to the third floor. The room was not far from the lift, and it opened to an enclave, which housed a walnut colour timber cupboard, and a two door wardrobe. There was also an interconnecting door to the next room, which of course was locked. The wardrobe had two almost full-length mirrors, it's own lighting, spacious hanging space, two spare pillows, and telephone books (white and yellow pages). The full-length cupboard backing on to the wardrobe contained an iron, ironing board, and a safe. The carpet was a dark green with a burnt orange and beige petal-like insignia pattern. The room itself was quite large, with a king size bed with a spread matching the carpet. The same with the drapes, these were quite luxurious. The room had beige colour wallpapering with a dark green strip around the top. There were three downlights in the white ceiling, two large lamps fixed on the wall above the desk/dresser, and lamps on each of the bedside tables, so lighting was superb. The windows were large, but the outlook was only of service areas of the hotel. The bedside tables were quite large. Aside from the lamps, one had a phone. Each had a drawer (one containing a bible) and a cupboard with two shelves. The desk/dresser had a very good size mirror, an additional phone, and three drawers. It was almost two metres in length. There was a high speed Internet access port, which was easy to connect to, and worked perfectly. The cost was 15 pounds for a 24 hour period.

In the corner there was a China cabinet, housing a mini bar, tea and coffee making facilities, and glasses. There was a remote control TV on top, which offered pay-per-view movies, BBC channels, ITV, some local channels, CNN, Sky Sports channels, Bloomberg, and a number of local radio stations.

The bathroom was very spacious, with a combined bath and shower, which performed excellently, a large vanity with excellent mirrors, more than adequate bench space, tiled floor, and walls, and a toilet well placed to not intrude on the room. There was a hair dryer fixed to the wall, and a tissue dispenser. All the light fittings, switches, and controls appeared brand new, the room overall was very, very good in terms of size, decor, and comfortability.

After a tour of the local area, the hotel virtually backs on to famous Oxford Street, where you can shop your day all the way down to Piccadilly Circus. Just up on the corner, as indicated before, is Hyde Park, where you can stroll through. There is also an Odeon theatre, and a convenience store within a short walk of the hotel. There are plenty of restaurants and pubs nearby as well. And of course there is also the Marble Arch subway station. The hotel is only a few minutes ride by taxi from Paddington Station (fare is les than 5 pounds), where you can catch the Heathrow Express to the airport. The train trip takes 15 minutes, and trains run every 15 minutes. The cost is 13 pounds (25 pounds return), or you can pay on the train, but the cash cost is 15 pounds.

That night I wandered down to the Glenn Miller Bar, a pub within the hotel, a very large one, that gave you the feeling you were on a verandah. There was memorabilia dating back to the Miller era (1930s/40s). The atmosphere was very good, the service excellent, and the costs reasonable. They had 3 or 4 beers on tap, including xxxx (four x), a beer popular in Queensland, Australia.

I then opted to try dinner in the Cafe M'arca Restaurant. The fare was a buffet with three courses available. Cost for two courses was 13.95, and for three courses 17.95. There were salads, half-sized boiled eggs, peeled baby prawns, pasta salad dishes, and others that I can't recall. The main course was a carvery. Roast lamb, beef and turkey was available with mint sauce, horseradish, and cranberry sauce condiments. A bread roll and butter was deleivered to the table, and drink service was available. Hot rolls were also available at the hot buffet. Vegetables included brussel sprouts, roast potatoes, roast parsnips, carrots, and boiled potatoes. I tried the roast lamb and it was delicious.

I didn't sample the breakfast buffet the next morning, but took a look over it, and it provided all that you would expect from a traditional English buffet breakfast including, a broad range of cereals, fruit juices, bread, pastries, and the usual hot dishes, bacon, sausages, hash browns, baked beans and mushrooms.

The hotel is in a very good location for getting around in London, ideal for shopping, or for a quiet walk in Hyde Park. It is also handily located to the subway, and a short taxi drive from Paddington Station and the Heathrow Express.

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