Unless it's a holiday It is unusual for me to spend more than a night or 2 in a hotel, but a recent period of 5 weeks filming just outside St Albans meant that I spent 14 nights in the Thistle over the last couple of weeks.
The weather was incredibly hot, but the deluxe rooms have great air conditioning which was much appreciated. Fellow cast members who stayed in other rooms without air conditioning had to asked to change rooms, and remarked that the standard rooms weren't really up to much. The deluxe rooms are nice, and although they have a wardrobe and hanging space, they have no drawers and that most irritating thing is that all the plugs are next to the desk across the room away from the bed. When will hotels learn that most of us use our phones as alarms and need to plug them in by the bed - especially when you have to be up at 6:30 AM each morning for filming. An added note is that the hotel zone alarm system is exceptionally unreliable. Myself and another actor both experienced automatic alarm calls at 320 and 3:30 AM in the morning. Very little apology in my case from reception other than the reception is concerned printing out my correct alarm call for 6:40 AM - an alarm call that never came. We also had several nights when the fire alarm went off. Again we were just told it was a system fault. Not brilliant when you're trying to sleep.
There are some great members of staff in the hotel. The lady who ran the breakfast room was brilliant, even on the morning when the breakfast room was overrun with 140 Japanese tourists all getting breakfast at 7 AM. The receptionist who dealt with my own error (I left a bag in reception on the day I checked out and had to ring up and have it couriered back to London) was also great. Slightly less pleasant were the receptionist and his colleague at the health centre. Weekday nights the health centre is open until 10 PM with last admission at 9 PM. On Fridays this changes to a ridiculously early time of 8 PM, so getting into the hotel after work means you're denied a swim.
The reception area is rather cramped, and belies the spaciousness of the hotel, and once you got over the carpet-designed to give you headaches or induce sickness, the rest of the hotel is reasonably well fitted out, if a bit dated.. Some great meals on offer in the bar and restaurant, there were very very irritating charge of £5 for a tray delivery for any room service order. Surely service is part of why we are in a hotel and what we are paying for. It bumps up the price of food which is otherwise very reasonable.
Location on a roundabout half a mile from the M25 is not the most scenic, but it is incredibly convenient if you're just stopping off. All in all not a bad hotel. Given that our accommodation was paid for by the film company, I'm not sure how expensive it is to stay here, but you can get a rate on a par with a premiere inn then it's certainly worth it.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Noke by Thistle St Albans is a traditional Victorian hotel, located in Hertfordshire; it is accessible via the Thameslink train from London. Just off the M25, the M1 and close to the A1, it’s a popular venue for business meetings & weekend breaks. There are 110 bedrooms, including 44 deluxe bedrooms and suites and six meeting rooms, the largest seating 250 people theatre-style. With our landscaped grounds, easy accessibility and ample free parking on-site, Thistle St Albans is also a popular wedding venue and convenient for business meetings. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Thistle St Albans Hotel St. Albans
- Noke Hotel St Albans
- Thistle St Albans Saint