Thistle Express Luton Hotel Review- The Best Budget Luton Airport Hotels – Rooms, Amenities + More 2024

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Do you have an early flight from Luton Airport, and are you looking for the best Luton airpot hotels at a budget? Don’t know if booking a hotel room at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel is worth it? 

Then this post is for you! 

I recently had an early morning flight (6:25 AM) to Athens, Greece from London, UK, leaving from London Luton Airport, and this was the same question I asked myself when I was trying to figure out the best way to get to Luton airport from London for this early flight.

As a solo female traveler, safety and comfort were at the forefront of finding the easiest (and safest) way to get to my early flight on time, without sacraficing too much sleep. So if this sounds like what you’re looking for, keep on reading! 

In this post, I’ll be sharing my review and thoughts of what it was like to stay at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel as a solo female traveler, who wanted to sleep for a few hours before an early flight the next day, in hopes that it will help inform and guide your future travels if you’re also leaving from London Luton Airport, early!

Thistle Express Luton Hotel Review Overview

The main entrance of the Thistle Luton Hotel

If you’re checking out a hotel to spend a night close to London Luton Airport, the Thistle Express Luton Hotel should be on your radar!

Though there are more than a few other hotels near London Luton Airport to consider if you’re trying to stay close to the airport for an early morning flight, I found that the Thistle Express Luton Hotel was a great choice located a few minutes away from London Luton Airport, especially as a solo female traveler looking for safe hotel options.

>> Read More: 8 Common Travel Fears and How To Overcome Them

Overall, I would give the stay a 4.5/5 – the hotel itself was great, and my room was clean, yet small, but perfect for me as I was traveling solo. The customer service was professional and friendly, and breakfast was part of my stay, but I didn’t take advantage of it as I left way before breakfast was open. 

The reason why it’s not a full 5/5 stars is because it was a little hard to find the entrance, coming from the train into Luton center where the hotel was located. 

The path towards the Thistle Express Luton Hotel’s main entrance

The signs were not clearly pointing to the direction of the main entrance, and after taking a few turns, I found out I had to go up some dimly lit stairs (it was getting dark) to finally find the entrance. 

There was a bit of confusion with Google Maps as I tried to find my way because you can apparently also get to the main entrance of the hotel if you go inside the mall, take the escalators to the second floor, and then exit the mall and walk to the main entrance. 

The mall looked pretty empty, (little to no people, and very few stores open). It kind of looked abandoned. 

The lack of signage mixed with lugging around bags was a bit stressful, but hey! That’s travel sometimes, and we have to learn how to roll with the punches. 

So the main entrance of the property is on the second floor for anyone visiting in the future.  

The ambiance around the hotel was great, as the hotel is located within a shopping center, with a plaza where people hung out, and where there were restaurants and other shops, and plenty of people around. 

I got a few snacks at the local grocery shop, to have something ready to eat early morning when everything was closed, and walked around a bit.

After my walk, I went to bed early, and then woke up 4/5 hours later at 3:00 AM to get going to Luton Airport! 

Thistle Express Luton Hotel: Pros

From the get-go, there are more than a few great pros when it comes to staying at the Thistle Hotel Luton compared to other hotels in London near Luton airport.

From the proximity to the airport, to the budget price I paid which was around $30 less of what I would have paid for an Uber from Central London, to the friendly staff –  I can say that my stay at the Thistle Express was great.

Price per night

I paid £47/ $60 USD for one night, or if we want to get technical, around a 4-5 hour long sleep, which personally, was worth it to me. 

I’ve slept at airports before, and it’s been fine, but at this point in my life, unless that’s the only choice, I will opt for staying at a nearby hotel or Ubering. 

When comparing the prices between staying the night at the Thistle Express Hotel and getting an Uber from my accommodations in Central London, it turns out that the Uber would have been around £70/ $89 USD.

It’s a $30 USD difference, and though some may opt for Uber, I wanted to stay near the airport instead of traveling in the middle of the night for that early of a flight, and even get a bit more sleep. Plus, saving $30 was enough to decide on booking my stay at the hotel.

Rooms for all types of travel groups

Traveling solo, I got the single room which welcomes you with a personalized TV greeting. Very cozy!

As far as rooms, whether you’re traveling solo, with friends/ a partner, or with family, the hotel offers great room options for all!

  • King Room – 1 large double bed
  • Family Room – 1 single bed and 1 double bed
  • Single Room – 1 single bed (the one I got)
  • Double Room – 1 double bed
  • Twin Room – 2 single beds 

The rooms are equipped with portable fans, and although online it says that they don’t have air conditioning, my room did, so it may depend on the room that you get that may or may not have A.C. The rooms also have heating for the winter months.

Great amenities

Thee bathroom was clean, had amenities like toiletries

I got the single room, which came with a single Hypnos bed, a 40-inch flat-screen TV, a full-length mirror, free toiletries, and a private bathroom. 

Other essentials like towels, a desk, ironing items, hair dryers, a closet, plus pretty good wifi, and a safe were included.

Not to mention, my stay also included a free hotel continental breakfast, as well as 24-hour access to free coffee and unlimited tea in the lobby.  The Thistle Express Luton breakfast consists of tea, coffee, cereals, toast, bagels, a few pastries, fruit, and a few hot breakfast options.

Unlimited complimentary coffee at the hotel lobby and drinks and snacks for sale

If you’re arriving hungry the night before, you can check out the on-site restaurant too, offering classic British dishes, as well as a few burgers and steak options. 

Good location and accessibility to London Luton Airport

The vibe around the hotel was great, active, and central to many other grocery stores, restaurants, and even movie theater

The Thistle Express was only a 5-minute walk from the train and bus station which are the same stations from where you can grab the train or bus to London Luton Airport. This made the Thistle Express one of the best Luton hotels near the train station for airport travel. 

This was especially important, considering that I was leaving for the airport around 3 AM, and I didn’t want to be walking alone with my rolling suitcase, making noise, for any longer than I had to.

Easy Transport to London Luton Airport

The walk from the Thistle Express Luton Hotel to the train station was a 5-7 minute walk

There is no Thistle Express Luton to Luton Airport shuttle, however, the train station is only a 5-minute walk away.  

For anyone who wants to stay at the Thistle Express with a car, check out the Thistle Express Luton parking/ car park, which is first come first serve.

>> Want to know the details on how to get from the Thistle Express Luton Hotel to London Luton Airport? Keep reading!

Positive reviews by other guests staying at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel

The hotel had great reviews from people saying that the staff was friendly and helpful, to feeling safe with security on the premises, and to being one of the best Luton hotels to stay the night near Luton Airport. 

Here are some of the reviews that convinced me to book:

“Hotel was lovely and clean ….. was ideal location to avail of public transport.. train & buses” – Kenny

“ Great condition and excellent value for money.” – Derek

“ It was clean and super secure” – Onuoha 

And then this review, which I pretty much agree with fully except for the breakfast because I didn’t get to try it myself: 

“Rooms were small but comfortable and all fittings and fixtures functioned fine. Wifi and TV worked well. Lifts to help with access. Staff were friendly and helpful, security present at night. Breakfast was excellent – unlimited buffet of cooked and continental options – making this place even better value. Location is somewhat incorporated into the mall (though as a separate building) close to town centre, railway/bus station and restaurants, and just 15 mins by bus from airport. I would stay here again if in Luton.” – Stephen 

Though there are other hotels in Luton, also part of the Luton Town Centre Hotels, those were much more expensive for essentially the same thing I was going to get at the Thistle.

🛎🏨 Book your stay at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel

Thistle Express Luton Hotel: Cons

Though the hotel had all the pros that made for a great stay when it came time to getting some rest and being close to transportation and Luton Airport, it was not 100% perfect. 

From the confusion of finding the main entrance of the hotel, to the slightly lonely, and dark streets leading to the train station, here are a few things to look out for when staying at the Thistle Express Luton. 

Couldn’t find the main entrance

You can get in through the mall if it’s open, but otherwise take the outdoor, side stairs

As I mentioned before, searching for the main entrance of the hotel was a bit more difficult than I anticipated, primarily because I didn’t read anything about the entrance being on the second floor, and being conjoined to the neighboring mall the way it was. 

Because it was connected to the indoor mall, which was very empty by the time I arrived for check-in (around 8:00 PM), the few signs were not very clear. Not to mention, Google Maps also didn’t know how to get me there because of the somewhat hidden location. 

But knowing now how to get to the main entrance, this would not be a problem anymore, but something good to know if it’s your first time staying at the Thistle Express London (Luton).

Lonely and quiet streets

Make sure to look for THESE outdoor stairs to get up to the hotel main entrace

Though this isn’t something *specific* to the hotel, I do want to add it as something to be aware of when planning a stay at the hotel, especially if you’re staying for a few hours, as a female solo traveler, who like me, wants to know what the location is like during early hours of the morning. 

After checking out from the hotel, make sure you take the outdoor stairs, down to the street level. Don’t go into the mall as the doors are surprisingly open, but you somehow can’t leave from the inside out as they are locked, so you’ll be stuck. 

The outdoor stairs are a bit dark, so be careful especially if you’re traveling with baggage. From there, the streets were pretty dark and lonely, naturally, as it was 3-3:15 AM. I was traveling with my rolling suitcase, so of course, I made a lot of noise. 

My paranoid self was looking around, making sure I was aware of who was out, and trying to walk through lit streets instead of taking shortcuts that Google Maps suggested. 

The good thing is that there was a group of girls who were also on their way to the airport, so I just grouped up with them until we made it to the train station. 

But still, if you’re solo, these are a few of my tips when leaving the Thistle Express that early. The train station wasn’t too far, and soon more people started to show up also on their way to the airport. 

Thistle Express Luton Hotel Review Recap

The Thistle Express Luton Hotel is overall a great hotel option close to London Luton Airport that is worth your consideration if you’re looking for a comfortable alternative to sleeping at the airport or paying extra for an Uber.

It was in a great location, the staff was really nice, and my room was clean, comfortable, and perfect for the few hours of quality sleep that I got before an early morning travel day. 

As you can see, the hotel has more pros than cons, so I would definitely go back, and recommend it to anyone looking for a close enough hotel to Luton Airport, who is also on a budget. 

Though the address was a bit confusing, even to Google Maps, it was still a great experience that I would repeat If I was flying out of London Luton Airport for another early flight. 

Just give yourself enough time to make it to your flight ok.

 I gave myself around 3 hours even though I was only 15 minutes away, which was great because there were a lot of people when I got to the airport, so going through security and getting to my gate was not as stressful as it could have been had I given myself less time.

How to find the Thistle Express Luton Hotel

I took the Thameslink train from Central London to the Thistle Express Luton Hotel

The Thistle Express Luton address is: The Mall, Library Road, Luton, LU1 2TR (when putting the zip code into Google, type in LU1 2TR as the official Luton postcode). 

The Thistle Express Luton contact number is 020 7523 5067 (local number) or +44 158 228 7020 which is the international Thistle Express Luton phone number

When you get off the train at Luton Train Station and you walk towards the hotel, it’s pretty much a 5-minute walk. To guide yourself a bit more, you can also type into Google The Mall Luton, as the hotel is connected to this mall, and you may see the outdoor stairs that lead to the hotel.

How to get from Thistle Express Luton Hotel to Luton Airport

The DART Luton train that connects you from the Luton Parkway Station to Luton Airport

When getting on on the train from Luton to London Luton Airport, make sure to get on the Thameslink train headed to Luton Airport Parkway, which is £4. It’s only 1 stop away. 

When you get off at Luton Airport Parkway, you’ll get on the Luton DART train to the terminals, which is £4.90, and you can buy ahead of time, or pay via contactless when you arrive, which is what I did.

There is also a bus that takes you from the bus stop (also a 5-minute walk) near the Luton train station that takes you directly to Luton Airport, but the schedule was a little hard to follow, and I had seen how the train worked previously, so I went with the train.

Thistle Express Luton Hotel Q&A

Is there a swimming pool?

No, the Thistle Express Luton Hotel in Luton City UK doesn’t have a pool. 

What are the check-in and check-out times?

The check-in starts at 3:00 PM and check-out is until 11:00 AM.

Is there a spa?

No, unfortunately, the Thistle Express doesn’t have a spa. 

What restaurants, attractions, and public transport options are nearby?

The Thistle Express Luton Hotel is located in the center of Luton, surrounded by the mall, cinemas, tons of shops, restaurants, grocery stores, and more. 

St. George’s Square is right next to the hotel, a popular meeting space for the locals, and to go for a stroll. 

Where is the Thistle Express Luton Hotel?

The Thistle Express Luton Hotel is one of the Luton Town Centre Hotels and one of the best hotels in Luton UK for early morning travel from London Luton airport. 

It’s an express hotel, meaning that without sacrificing comfort and quality, it’s still a hotel where guests stay for short periods, mainly to catch a flight from Luton airport. 

What is the cancellation/prepayment policy at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel? 

The cancellation and prepayment policies vary based on the type of room that you get. 

Some, like the cheapest room they offer, may not be refundable, but twin rooms or double rooms may so make sure to read the fine print with the specific room you get. 

What is the name of the hotel near the London Luton airport?

The Thistle Express Luton Hotel is one of the closest hotels to London Luton Airport. 

Some people may confuse it, and call it the London Luton Thistle, Thistle Hotel Luton, the Thistle Express Hotel, Thistle Express Hotel Luton, Luton Thistle, or Thistle Express Luton London – they all meant the same hotel.

🛎🏨 Book your stay at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel

The Wrap-Up: Staying at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel

A quick selfie inside my single room

There it is! My review as a solo female traveler of what it was like staying at the Thistle Express Luton Hotel in Luton, UK for my early morning flight the next day.

I hope this post was helpful to you, and that you got some tips and insight on what to expect when staying at this hotel, and what to look out for potentially before you arrive. 

Many flights to Europe from the UK don’t always depart from London Heathrow, therefore it’s good to know your options whenever you have to fly from London’s other airports, like Luton. 

Whether you’re staying for a single full night or just catching a nap before that early morning flight the next day at Luton airport, the Thistle Express Luton Hotel is a great option to consider as you take your trip through the United Kingdom and Europe. 

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