I have visited Inverness a number of times now and when I go I usually stay at the Thistle hotel. The Thistle is a fairly well-located hotel that is either a 15-20 minutes walk or a 5 minute taxi ride from the city centre. There are many other hotels that are closer to town but for the quality of the hotel, the Thistle can't be beat in price. There are usually good deals available on Laterooms.com and you will probably pay around £60 per night for two people, not including breakfast.
It's easy to find the Thistle. It's just off the main roundabout that you get to when you take the A9 into Inverness so you'll be able to find it quite easily. The hotel has its own parking lot which is great because finding parking in Inverness can be quite difficult. This is another reason I usually stay at the Thistle!
From the outside the hotel isn't much to look at but it brightens up significantly when you get inside. There is a large and open reception area with comfortable places to sit, and a nice bar in the back where you can have your first drink or two before heading out for the evening.
The rooms are quite large and are all en-suite and well decorated but not extremely luxurious. They are cozy though and very clean.
The stairs in the hotel aren't nice and they were obviously skipped over in what must have been a fairly recent redecoration project. There is a lift though and it has always been operational whenever I've been there.
Staff at the hotel are very friendly and eager to help. They've always called taxis for me happily whenever I've gone out for the evening and are also happy to recommend places to go in Inverness or draw a little map for you, whatever you need.
I haven't tried the breakfast there as it's around £7.50 per person which I find rather dear so I just always take something for breakfast to have in my room. However, I'm sure the breakfast is more than adequate and the restaurant where it's served looks modern, clean and inviting.
I definitely recommend the Thistle if you're driving to Inverness. If you're on foot, you probably will want something right in town. Also if you're staying at the Thistle, be sure to budget in some taxi money as you'll definitely want to take a taxi back if you've been drinking as the walk will seem far too long.
Just back from 3 nights stay in this hotel.
Firstly, it was very easy to find you can actually see it from the A9 so whether you are arriving from the North or the South it is just minutes from the slip road off the A9 taking you into Inverness.
The hotel has its own large car park, which is free. My first impression from the outside was that it looks a bit run down. The outside probably needs a lick of paint and is a bit dated in style but once inside I was pleasantly suprised. You enter into a large reception area, to the right of you there is the large restaurant and to the left is the large bar. The reception was very well kept, clean and welcoming and 100% to the reception staff would could not have been friendlier. Booking in took only a few minutes and was very easy. The lifts to all floors were situated directly across from the reception. There are 5 levels and we were on the 4th.
There were 4 of us, 2 adults and 2 children. We had a family room which consisted of 2 ajoining rooms. These rooms were lovely, very clean and very well kept, although they were quite small and could do with the decor being updated. I say they were quite small but they suited our needs more than adequately. In the main room there was plenty storage space with a large drawer unit and a large wardrobe, 2 smaller drawer units situated in the dressing table and a small bedside cabinet. There was a double bed and a single bed in this room. On the dressing table was a television, on which you could watch some satellite channels at an extra charge. There was also a kettle with plenty coffee, tea, milk and biscuits. There was a chair situated at the dressing table.
The smaller ajoining room had 2 single beds, a small table and 2 chairs.
Both rooms had radiators in them and they were pleasantly cosy.
The bathroom had a bath with a wonderful power shower above, toilet and wash basin with vanity unit, large mirror, shaving point and hairdrier. The bathroom was clean and well kept. I did not like the hairdrier, however, as it had a thick, stretchy, flexible hose, which had obviously been stretched too often and had therefore burst in a few places with the result the heat never really reached your hair. Apart from that the bathroom was great.
The bar was lovely and again the staff were great. We opted to eat in the bar as the prices in the restaurant were quite expensive and the food in the bar was just as good as the restaurant but at a much more acceptable price, in fact, it didn't look like pub food at all, the helpings were huge and the food was outstanding. The bar also had a computer with internet access, which cost £6 for 1 hour or £10 for 24 hours, this was good for the kids. Internet access is also available in your room for laptops at the same price.
Breakfast was served in the restaurant between 7am and 10am. This was included in our room rate but if it is not included costs £12.95 for adults and £5 for children. The breakfast was wonderful. When you arrived you were seated at a table and then asked if you wanted tea or coffee and toast. The rest was buffet style and you just helped yourself, which was an added bonus!(No lunch needed later on!) You had a great choice of cereals, fruits, rolls, bread, croissants, muffins, cheeses and hams. If you wanted a cooked breakfast you could choose from bacon, black pudding, sausages, hash browns, mushrooms, tomatoes, scrambled eggs, fried eggs and beans. All were topped up frequently and never ran out. You could also help yourself to fresh juices and water. A very good breakfast, although I'm glad ours was included in the room rate as I feel the prices were a bit high.
While staying in the hotel we also had the use of the swimming pool and gym. Once again this was very nice, very modern and very clean and well kept. You went to the desk when entering the health club, gave your room number and what you would like to do, whether it be swimming or the gym, you were then given a towel each and a locker key. The changing rooms were lovely with great big lockers and power showers. The pool was quite small but was warm, clean and great for a morning swim or some fun with the kids. At the poolside was a steam room, sauna, jacuzzi and splash pool for younger kids.
There were 2 gyms, one with lots of equipment, treadmills, exercises bikes, cross trainers etc and a smaller gym with free weights and mirrors, which was used for classes as well.
All in all we had no real complaints with this hotel and would definitely go back and would certainly recommend to anyone. There are many different rooms rates and choices. Our room rate was £111 per night bed and breakfast, which we were very pleased with.
An added bonus was the fact that Inverness its a great place to stay with lots of lovely shops and it's a great base to visit and see the many sights in the highlands.