Thistle Edinburgh

107 Leith Street, St. James Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 3SW, United Kingdom

5 Reviews

Thistle Edinburgh City Centre, The King James
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Satisfaction Very Good
Very Good


Value Score No Data

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Good For Couples
  • Families65
  • Couples66
  • Solo59
  • Business51
  • DAO's Profile Photo



    Please note: This is now called the ‘The King James’, but is still a Thistle Hotel.
    This is a fantastic hotel for business people. I found myself working in Edinburgh right in the middle of the Edinburgh Festival which lasts several weeks. What had been my 5th and last choice hotel turned out to be a gem. I only ask for 2 things in a hotel. A reasonable mattress and quiet. I am not that picky after that really. The Thistle delivered. My room was on the back of the hotel that faces onto essentially nothing. The King James is essentially part of a shopping mall with the odd name of ‘St James Shopping’ and is just a 5 minute walk from the Edinburgh Waverly Train Station and just a few steps from Princess Street. It’s slightly dated looking, but who cares? My room was a reasonable size, had a good bed, an excellent monsoon shower head in the bathroom and even a ceiling fan. Before you get worried about this, don’t worry, the rooms are air-conditioned as well. I just like ceiling fans when I sleep.

    The staff greeted me warmly and made sure my 2 requests were met. A quiet room on a high floor. I also found that I would be working within the mall itself in the morning. Time to walk to work….30 seconds. The receptions folks even made sure I had a map and told me the Wi-Fi code would last the whole stay for free (despite a stated charge on their website). My room had everything I needed
    And there was even an ice machine near my room. Awesome. The toiletries were ok, towels good, desk functional and enough closet space. The best thing is that I was able to walk to restaurants and pubs and had a very peaceful night’s sleep. A great stay.

    The hotel is 5 minutes’ walk to all the open top bus tours and a reasonable walk to all the historical sites. And it’s cheaper than most in the middle of Edinburgh.

    Unique Quality:

    •Short walk to Princes Street, Waverly Train Station, Airport Bus and Open top Bus Tours
    •143 rooms and six function rooms
    •Bar and Restaurant
    • Quiet
    • Located inside a shopping mall with a Post Office

    • Wheelchair Accessible Twin
    • Standard Single, Double, Twin
    • Deluxe King
    • Executive Double, Twin, King
    • Junior, Double Suites

    •BT WIFI (chargeable)
    •Coffee and Tea making facilities
    •TV with Freeview, hairdryer, trouser press, in-room safe, toiletries
    • Work desk
    •Iron & Ironing Board (on request)

    • Craig’s Restaurant - classic Scottish and European dishes
    • Hotel bar

    10 miles from the Airport. Allow half an hour by car or taxi, and 35 minutes by public transport.

  • JessH's Profile Photo

    In the heart of the city: King James Thistle Hotel


    We booked 3 double rooms in the King James Thistle (next to St. James shopping centre) in Oct. 2011 for ourselves and 2 other couples who were travelling with us. We chose this hotel because of its central location and their relative competitive pricing (a difficult-to-find combination for hotels in Edinburgh, after all!)

    The hotel is nothing special to look at: a bland concrete block that was built for functionality above charm. But staff at reception were courteous, and so were staff at breakfast.
    The rooms were clean and comfortable... our bed was particularly comfy! We were lucky enough to have a room facing the back of the hotel: this meant that our view what that of another building / back of the shopping mall, but this also meant far less noise from the busy Leith street below. Our friends did complain that their rooms at the front of the hotel were quite noisy, even with the windows shut... this wasn't too much of a problem in October, but I could imagine that during the Edinburgh Festival (August, annual) noise could become an issue for hotel guests.

    Unique Quality: The breakfast buffet wasn't very exciting, but at least it was quite big with many different choices... scrambled or fried eggs, plenty of different breads, cereals, yoghurts, fresh fruit, sweet pastries, baked beans, bacon, sausages and some rather sad-looking mini Haggis pieces... surely, this isn't the way to introduce tourists to the mighty Haggis, is it? :-)

    We read that there is a "Scottish evening" with dinner and performances by dancers and musicians every evening in the hotel, but we didn't take part (this might be interesting for first-time visitors to Scotland who don't have a lot of time to soak-up the local culture and heritage, but we've done plenty of "soaking-up" over the past few years ;-)

    An important thing to note is that the hotel doesn't have a lot of private parking, and the parking is not free: it is charged at an additional £15.00 per 24 hours at a first-come-first-serve basis, so if you are travelling to Edinburgh by car make sure to keep this in mind.

    In October 2011 we paid £85.00 per room per night plus £17.00 VAT. Check-in is at 02:00pm, check-out is at midday.

    Basically, at this hotel what you see is what you pay for, and what you pay for is what you get. We found it a comfortable-enough base to explore the city, basically a bed and a shower with a generous breakfast to set you up for a day of sightseeing. If you are looking for something with a bit more "flair", history or that warm fuzzy hospitable feeling, you'll need to stay elsewhere. This hotel does what it says on the label: central, affordable, etc.

    Directions: Right next to the St. James shopping centre, a mere 5min walk from Princess Street and the Royal Mile.

  • Great Hotel Choice in Edinburgh


    We arrived on a Monday morning at 10:30am and since our designated double room was ready, we were giving the keys without having to wait until the 3:00pm check-in time. Very nice! If it were not ready, we could have left our luggage at the reception counter until the room was ready. Our room turned out to be fairly large. The bed seemed huge. It was quiet enough for us in the middle of December with the window closed. Noise may be a problem in the warmer months as the streets below are quite active in the evening and since there is no air conditioning, only ceiling fans, you would probably want your window open. I always carry ear plugs for such occasions as well as many others you may encounter on buses, etc. Service was good as far as housekeeping. A few times I called the reception desk and there was no answer, but after hanging up and trying again and being patient someone eventually answered. The bathroom was quite modern with a tub as well as shower. The fan did not seem to work, but I meant to ask about it and didn't so maybe I missed something. One problem was the electrical connections in the room. I went a couple of days with a dead battery because it was not charging while plugged in. Oddly enough, the computer worked fine plugged in, just did not charge the battery. It would not charge my camera battery either. Wiggling the plug to a certain position seemed to solve the problem. Internet access for 6 pounds an hour! Ok, I did not us it for such a ridiculous rate. Too bad, if it were more reasonable I would have and for several hours. The two nightstands next to the bed had wood panels where the drawers should be. Only one small dresser with one large drawer. Closet was large enough but only about 8 hangers, so be sure to request extras if needed. All in all this was a fine hotel for the price for this time of the year.

    Unique Quality: Great location, Bus stop below hotel, attached to St. James shopping center.

    Directions: Leith Street & Princes

  • Kristymamoo's Profile Photo

    Excellent base for exploring


    The Thistle on Leith Street is an ideally located to explore Edinburgh and the surrounding area. Just around the corner from Princes Street this hotel places you right in the middle of all the action - there are loads of great bars and places to eat within easy walking distance. This is also the ideal spot to be in if you wanted to take advantage of all the shops which are also located on or around Princes Street.

    The service provided in the hotel is excellent. The reception staff are polite, welcoming and very friendly and can answer any questions you might have about the City and getting around. We stayed on a bed and breakfast basis - the breakfast was fabulous!!! Loads of choice and plenty of it. You can eat anything from fresh fruit to a full cooked breakfast - you can have everything if it takes your fancy. Fresh tea/coffee/toast is brought to your table while you help yourself to everything else that is on offer.

    The rooms are generous in size and very comfortable - the beds are HUGE!!!!

    All-in-all we really enjoyed our stay here and would definitely recommend the hotel to anyone visiting the City.

    Unique Quality: For those of you that really enjoy shopping - the hotel has an entrance located inside a shopping centre!!!

    Directions: Just off Princes Street in the centre of Edinburgh. The hotel is also situated right next to a railway station.

  • Great location...dumb concierge


    Stayed there for 1 night on a business trip.
    No complaints with hotel....definite 4 star quality.Location is great, Adjacent to the St James Mall.Hotel looks nice, a bit on the oldish side.
    Got a great company rate so maybe my view on the hotel is not that fair.
    A bit of warning there are 4 thistle hotels in Edinburgh..make you sure you get the good one.
    Also the taxis tends to deliver you to the wrong hotel somehow.(Honest mistake...yeah right)

    Unique Quality: What's great about it:
    Location is great. At the beginning of the princes street. Just across the street from north/south bridge.With it's great hotels like the Scotsman,Balmoral and Carlton.So considering it's location quite affordable.
    A real shopping heaven.From the hotel you can enter the St James mall and walk on through to the posh harvey Nichols.Forgot the street name..but it's filled with high end stores.Across the street is Prices mall.
    Everything is within walking distance to hotel.

    What happened to all the good concierges.I know one thing they are none in Edinburgh.
    Normally in the hotels I stay...I like to depend on the concierges for advice or just to confirm my choices.
    Lost all faith in the concierge, when he adviced me to eat at TGI friday for a very good real scotch steak. TGI has the best steak in edinburgh?!?!??! IDIOT.
    When checking in....need to check out at 12pm, but check in is after 3 pm. 3 hours to make a room ready?!? Not 4 star quality service.
    Also rooms not that soundproof. Got a call from reception that my neighbour was disturbed by the tv that was on in my room.

    Directions: adjacent to St James the beginng of prioces street. Just across the North/South bride and right across from princes mall.

More about Thistle Edinburgh

Finding a cheap hotel in Edinburgh

by Dabs about Discount websites

From a quick look at, it appears that Priceline is not a useful way to get a hotel in Edinburgh, not a lot of bidding history and very few hotels listed and too wide of an area. Someone on that site recommended and it looks like they have some low rates.

Some other "bargain" options

Best Western Edinburgh City Hotel 52 GBP early web rate single room, 56 GBP for double bed tax included


Travel Inn

Jury's Doyle 39 GBP ($67 US) book early, pay now

Castle View Guest House 45 GBP ($77 US) for a single with breakfast

Expedia has a $125 rate + tax for the Glasshouse, expedia special rate

Thistle Edinburgh 64.80 GBP ($111 US) prepay tax included double room

Thistle Edinburgh single room 52 GBP ($89 US) including tax, have read that it is VERY small

We had a fabulous time.

by TripAdvisor Member Joolsleeds

We stayed at the Thistle Edinburgh, for two nights over Easter.

We we booked via Tesco, and had no problem with the booking, or checking in, our room request - Executive double, was met in full, reception staff were very helpful & attentive.

We stayed in room 555 which had a double bed, quite a large bathroom and a separate seating area. The room, and all furnishings were clean and tidy, and all in good repair.

We breakfasted at the Thistle, and it was superb. A buffet style, with plenty of everything available, the staff were very attentive, and were willing to help residents. The hotel bar is quite nice, not too overpriced, but a typical hotel bar atmosphere - if you know what I mean. We dined away from the hotel each evening.

There are loads of pubs in Edinburgh on Rose Street - we recommend 'The Kenilworth'. Two lovely steaks & fries, two desserts, plus a bottle of wine £29 ($58).

The location of the Thistle is excellent, at the top of Princes Street, and attached to the St James shopping centre. It is literally 5 mins walk away from the Waverley railway station.

Would return there without a doubt.

ruined weekend

by TripAdvisor Member MC67

If you are looking for a weekend without a hitch, do not book into this hotel. We booked 8 weeks in advance, one member of our party booked in successfully but there were no rooms left for the other two couples. They did move us to alternate accommodation but due to time taken, we missed the beginning of the show at the playhouse. Incompetence perfected!


by TripAdvisor Member Tutheen

FANTASTIC,This hotel is totally central to all amenities. It was my 1st time in Scotland and even though some of the girls had stayed in Jury's etc. this hotel was by far the best. The scenery was amazing(and living in Ireland that says a lot). We stayed here for a "hens" weekend and although we're not the wildest of women we LOVED it. The staff were so friendly and the rooms were lovely(ask for odd no. room otherwise you're overlooking a brick wall as thats the quieter side of the hotel). Having read some of the reviews it kinda put us off but to all the women who love shopping and socialising i say book it and to all the families looking for a central location BOOK IT,the tour buses depart across the road,about 3 min walk). Definately going to stay there again,in fact we've booked again for August. Enjoy.


by TripAdvisor Member jayval

We booked a night at this hotel 5 weeks ago to attend a christening. However when we tried to book in at 7pm we were told that they had overbooked the hotel! We had no room. They offered us a room at an other hotel which we do not like. Our 'room' was occupied by a major tour operator who regularly uses the hotel and who had bought extra guests unknown to the hotel. They have preferrence over any independant travellers. They have an 'obligation' to supply the tour operators at the expense of other guests. As the hotel could not offer us our room we decided to go home. This ruined a special weekend for us.

No room at the inn.....

by TripAdvisor Member allatseaSouthampton

Booked through several weeks ago, and thanks to delays at heathrow, didn't arrive until gone 22.00. Story was that 'due to computer problems' earlier in the day, there was no room available. There appeared to be quite a long list of people in the same situation. The hotel arranged a cab to another hotel, which was fine, but I'd picked the Thistle so as to be close to waverley station to catch an early train the following morning, so moving to another hotel at the west of the town threw those plans. The other hotel was fine, and the staff attentive, but I got the impression that overbooked rooms were a fairly regular occurence, and that the thistle wasn't really bothered. Certainly shan't stay there again.


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 Thistle Edinburgh

We've found that other people looking for this hotel also know it by these names:

King James By Thistle Edinburgh
The King James, Edinburgh Hotel Edinburgh

Address: 107 Leith Street, St. James Centre, Edinburgh, Scotland EH1 3SW, United Kingdom