2005 Thistle Euston Hotel Warning, London, England
I have subscribed to International Travel News (ITN) for
about 20 years. I like it and find it to be full of useful travel information.
Their website is http://intltravelnews.com/
A letter to the editor in the December 2005 issue of ITN, regarding the hotel Thistle
Euston (Cardington St.) in London, caught my eye and really got my dander
up. The letter describes some very steep communication charges padded onto a
guest's bill, so I think a summary here is warranted to caution folks who might
consider a stay there. Note that I am not the author of the letter, I do not
know him, and I don't think I have ever stayed at the Thistle Euston. I cannot
vouch for the authenticity of the letter, but it certainly "reads" as
if it is true.
The guest reserved a room for about US$200 per night. He found the room to be
But when he sat down and read the in-room documents he was surprised to find
that high-speed internet cost 50 pence (90 cents US) per minute, maximum 15
pounds ($25) per day. Further, this charge was based upon number of minutes the
ethernet cable was connected to his computer, not the time he was on-line or the
So, in the interest of economy he decided to use dial-up to contact the AOL
Freephone number in London. This turned out to be impossible because of three
distinct actions the hotel had taken: 1) They reversed the line 1 / line 2
signals to the wall phone jack, so his computer modem would not work with a
standard adapter plug, 2) They glued the phone cord into the phone socket, so he
could not unplug it and plug into his computer, and 3) the front desk confirmed
that they blocked outgoing access to all Freephone numbers (in which the called
party pays). The only way to make a local call was to pay the hotel's 50 pence
per minute fee.
The guest's biggest surprise was waiting when he checked out. During his stay he
had made one local call (slightly over 4 minutes) to the British Library in
London, which charged the hotel 50 pence per minute. The hotel padded this to 10
pounds per minute as a "premium call," so the guest had to pay $75 for
the one phone local call. His complaints to the hotel management were
unsuccessful, but his later request to American Express for help did get the $75
The International Travel News editorial staff contacted the Thistle Euston
management for comment, but received none.
There are a lot of hotels in London, and based upon
what happened to this traveler I would recommend that anyone planning to use the
phone or Internet be careful when selecting one.
-- Several London Euston Hilton Hotel experiences can be found
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