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Thistle Edinburgh City Centre, The King James 4.0

City Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland

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Review Summary

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Pros

  • Popular location for business travelers, also near all major tourist attractions
  • Special evenings with traditional Scottish music, dance, and food
  • 24-hour room service
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Clean guest rooms with flat-screen TVs and tea/coffee facilities 
  • Non-smoking property (a con for some)
  • Six meeting and event spaces, including a theater-style venue 

Cons

  • Hotel lacks character and local atmosphere
  • Most guest rooms have no space for extra beds
  • Fee for parking
  • No fitness center

Bottom Line

The 143-room Thistle Edinburgh City Center, The King James, is an outpost of the British Thistle chain located in Edinburgh’s New Town. Convenient for business travelers and tourists, the upscale property is surrounded by offices and businesses, but just around the corner from popular Princes Street, a major shopping destination. The hotel aims to provide the “Ultimate Scottish Experience,” and serves some Scottish dishes in its restaurant, but there's a slightly dated, chain-type feel to the property, and the architecture and decor lack local character. Guest rooms are simple and clean, with flat-screen TVs and small but adequate bathrooms. For the conveniences of a chain property, but with more charming atmosphere, guests could try Crowne Plaza Edinburgh - Royal Terrace, a bit outside of the city center. 

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Scene

A fairly generic chain outpost, with a huge bar and plenty of common space

The Thistle Edinburgh City Center, The King James, is in a large, nondescript building that lacks the grandeur of its surroundings, including Edinburgh Castle in the near distance, and the Gothic Sir Walter Scott monument, just down the street. The Thistle is a chain outpost with a chain hotel vibe, despite the tartan carpets, and black-and-white city photographs on the walls. The common spaces are simple and large, with plenty of room to move around. Decor is basic: light wood and white walls, without the special Scottish touches that can be found in many neighboring properties. The lobby has plenty of comfy, pale gray couches and armchairs for gathering to plan a day’s sightseeing, or taking advantage of the hotel’s free Wi-Fi. Hallways and stairs show some wear and tear, but the spaces are clean and tidy. Craig’s, the third-floor hotel restaurant, has nice street views, but the low ceiling and ever-present buffet steam-tables detract from the fine dining atmosphere. The Boston Bean Company Bar is huge, with lots of polished wood accents and rich leather, but, again, it could be a generic hotel bar in many cities around the world. Tourists do stay here, but the property is especially suited to business travelers. 

Location

A great spot for business travelers and tourists, in New Town, on the edge of historic Old Town

This hotel is in a fantastic location for business travelers, in Edinburgh’s New Town and surrounded by offices and public buildings. Tourists will also benefit, as the hotel sits right on the edge of the city’s historic Old Town, where all the popular sights can be found. Edinburgh Castle, Holyroodhouse, and the National Museum are all within a mile. Princes Street, the city’s major shopping destination, is around the corner, and the hotel is surrounded by restaurants and shops. The Waverly train station is yards from the front door, as are taxi and bus stops.

Rooms

Clean, basic, and predictable, with small bathrooms and standard amenities

Guest rooms have the look and feel of a chain-hotel. Decor is simple, with plain but serviceable furniture (including desks), light walls, colorful striped or dark plaid curtains, fabric or wood headboards, and ceiling fans. Bathrooms are small and nondescript, with little to no counter space, and shower/tub combos. Oddly, bathmats must be requested from the front desk. Street-facing rooms get noise from the busy street below; windows are double-glazed to minimize the sound, but some guests have still experienced noise. Amenities include flat-screens with basic cable, coffee and tea facilities, safes, irons and ironing boards, and free hotel-brand toiletries. In sum, the guest rooms lack style, but the location rocks.

Features

Traditional Scottish evenings with music and dance, a British/Scottish restaurant, and a sizeable bar

The hotel offers two choices for diners. Craig’s Restaurant serves a combined British/Scottish and European menu with locally-sourced produce, as well as a substantial hot breakfast each morning (for a fee). The bar, Boston Bean Company, serves drinks as well as light meals and bar snacks in comfy armchairs or at the long bar from noon until late at night. The Thistle stages fun evenings of traditional Scottish music, dance, and food, held nightly from April to November. There are a variety of meeting and event spaces with up-to-date tech equipment, and, in the largest room, theatrical seating for 250 guests.

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Address

107 Leith Street, Edinburgh EH1 3AT, United Kingdom

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