I stayed at the Hilton this past weekend (25-26 Feb 2012) and was pleased with my stay. The TripAdvisor reviews had warned me that the only real way to get there was the Heathrow Hoppa bus or to drive. As I cannot drive I chose the Hoppa bus from Heathrow Terminal 5. (Separate Buses also go to Heathrow Terminal 1&3, and the Terminal 5 bus starts and ends at Terminal 4. This gives coverage of the whole airport).
I personally loathe the Heathrow Hoppa buses. They are expensive, usually not on time, and there are so many it is easy to get confused. Plus the leg room would put Ryanair to shame.
I had to wait about 20 minutes for the bus, and the timetable indicates that the buses run every 22 (!) minutes, so I must have just missed one. I handed over my £8 and requested a return to the Hilton. There is plenty of bag stowage on the bus at the front and during my wait I did witness drivers helping passengers to load bags on occasion. There are seats at the back of the bus, but the leg room is awful unless you get the front row. Tip – Keep your ticket to show the driver if you buy a return.
Arrival at Hotel
The hotel is located about 15 minutes from the airport, near a farm and adjacent to a large industrial park. There are no viable public transport options to the hotel from the airport – except two buses and a 10-15 minute walk. Remembering that the other Hilton offering at Heathrow is a 10 minute walk from Terminal 4, this makes the T5 Hilton a less attractive proposition for non-drivers.
There was no queue at the front desk (which is to the left of the foyer) and the staff member was helpful. Advising that as a Gold HHonors member I had an upgrade to an Executive Room and access to the Exec Lounge on the 4th Floor. She took an swipe of my credit card and directed me to the lifts. The lobby is high (4 floors) and well appointed with plenty of chairs and a coffee bar.
The room required insertion of a room key to operate the lights and was pleasant and fairly large. My feeling was that it was larger than the T4 Hilton rooms.
There was a full size, deep bath and a shower in the room. Something that the King Bedded Rooms at the T4 Hilton do now have anymore.
There was free wireless internet which worked well in the room, but only one comfortable chair, meaning that with two of you, one would have had to use the desk chair. There was a kettle, tea, coffee etc provided, as well as a small chocolate bar and a bottle of water.
At around 6pm I went to the Lounge to see what they offered. They were still setting up, but by 6.15pm they were all ready. Warm spring rolls and shrimp, cold sandwiches and some cakes were offered. Only about a dozen people were in the lounge at the time, and it was serve yourself. There were wine and spirits out, and I did not check whether they were free. All the business travellers seemed to be on their iPads, as the wireless continued in to the lounge. There were two computers you could use if you did not have a device with you.
There were plenty of chairs, and even a table for 6, which is great if you have a party with you, or indeed kids.
The morning offering was excellent. I was there at 6am when they opened, but they seem to have opened earlier as at least one table showed signs that a guest had come and gone before me. A wide range of hot (Bacon, Sausages, Scrambled Eggs, Tomato and Mushrooms) were offered with a choice of cold cuts (cheeses, ham etc.). Pastries and Rolls were in ample supply, and the coffee machine worked just fine. Juices were also offered.
For the 20 minutes I was there I was the only guest. The very nice lady setting up was chatty in a genuinely friendly way. No newspapers had arrived by the time I left.
As easy as check-in, with a friendly member of staff directing me to the time of the next bus. Bill was correct.
Return Shuttle Bus
The return shuttle bus was about 10 minutes late, which for 6.30am on a Saturday seemed a little strange. It takes 20-25 minutes to get back to Terminal 5 as you have to go via a nearby hotel – the Travelodge. Although no one got on there and the turnaround is very tight for the bus, this wasted 10 minutes as you drive back to the airport, past the Hilton.
Whilst I waited for the bus, I took some extra pictures of the outside. I did notice that the hotel was under the path of planes taking off from Heathrow, but had not noticed them the previous evening. This could have been because they were not coming over whilst I slept or that the property has good soundproofing.
Whilst the hotel is in the middle of nowhere, if you can get it at a good rate then it can be good value if you have an Exec Room. Personally the T4 property is easier if you have luggage, but in my experience not as friendly. Would I stay again – yes probably if I needed a night at LHR or an extra stay as their weekend rates seem very reasonable.
(HHonors stay posted within 48 hours!)