This review is part of a trip report:
- American Airlines Flagship Lounge Chicago O’Hare (ORD) – Terminal 3
- American Airlines Business Class – Boeing 787 Chicago (ORD) to London (LHR)
- Holiday Inn London – Heathrow Ariel
- Emirates Air Line London
- Plaza Premium Lounge London Heathrow (Terminal 2)
There are multiple ways to get to the hotel. The hotel itself doesn’t offer an airport shuttle.
Of course, you can hail a taxi but this is probably the most expensive way to get to the hotel but it provides more convenience. You can load your luggage in the trunk, they will drop you off right in front of the hotel. You or your party are the only passengers driving with it.
- Hotel Hoppa Bus:
Most people refer to that option to get to the hotels located around the airport. The Hoppa Bus runs from Terminal 2,3,4, and 5 to all hotels in the vicinity. Please buy your tickets online, at the ticket counter at the central bus terminal between Terminal 2 and 3, the British Hotel reservation center kiosks in Terminals 2 and 3 or the National Express travel shops/kiosks in the passenger terminals. These locations accept all major credit cards and British cash. You can also buy tickets on the bus itself for a premium charge and the bus only accepts British cash. I highly recommend buying online or at a ticket machine. Check the websites for luggage allowance.
Ticket Machine: One Way: £4,50 Return: £8,00
Inside the Bus: One Way: £5,00 Return: £9,00
To get to the Holiday Inn take H6 from the Central Bus Station at Terminal 2&3 and H56 from Terminal 4&5. Hotel Hoppa Timetable.
- Free Local Bus Transfer:
This is by far the cheapest way to get to the Heathrow Airport Hotels. There are multiple public buses traveling to cities around the airport. The travel inside the airport perimeter roads is free of charge on these buses. You can bring your luggage as well but there is no dedicated luggage storage. I took the shuttle bus from the Central Bus Station at Terminal 2&3 but there are buses from the other terminals as well.
To get to the Holiday Inn from the Central Bus Station at Terminal 2&3: 111, 140, 105 & 285; Terminal 5: 423. The same bus lines run back to the airport as well. Confirm your departure terminal and then check which lines go where. The only downside to this, the buses don’t stop directly in front of the hotel, but most bus stops are just outside of the hotel parking lot and it’s only a short walk. More about getting to the Holiday Inn below.
As mentioned, I took the free local bus. I arrived on foot at the Central Bus Station and went outside to the bus stop. Watch the signs and look for the numbers you need to get to the hotel. Once there wait until the bus arrives. All the buses have the number displayed as well so you can make sure you take the right one. Once inside the bus watch the display until it shows “Harlington Corner” and then press one of the many “Stop” buttons all over the bus. This will notify the bus driver that you want to get off there. Otherwise, the bus will keep on driving to the next stop.
Once outside the bus, you can already see the Holiday Inn across the street. Walk to the intersection and use the traffic lights to cross the street. Be aware that England has left traffic. That means you have to look to the opposite side to check for traffic.
As usual, the check-in was no problem and I was the only one on the bus going to the Holiday Inn. Checking in took only a few minutes and I received my keys in a “Guest of the Day” key wallet, which will give me 20% off food and beverages at the hotel. More about it later. The key wallet was probably given to me because of my Spire Elite status with IHG. I grabbed my bags and headed to the elevator to get up to the third floor.
Ask the staff about a map with the bus stops for the local buses. To get back to Heathrow airport with a free local bus, you have to go to a different bus station. The clerk has a map which he can give you. The other bus station is just a few steps further away than the one you took to get to the hotel. Of course, you can also buy a Hoppa bus one-way ticket at the Hotel. There is a ticket machine in the small hallway next to the elevator.
Single Bed Room Facing Inside (Room 307)
The room was not far from the elevators and was facing towards the inside of the building. Once I opened the door I could immediately see how small the room actually is. I was barely able to stow my suitcase standing upright.
The entrance to the bathroom was on the left side right after the door. The bathroom was big enough to be comfortable. It even had power outlets with 220V and 120v and the US-style outlet. However, you couldn’t use it for anything large like a laptop charger. It was meant only for shavers and stuff like that.
The rest of the room was very small. The bed is on the left and on the right side is a closet and a small work desk. Above it, in the corner, is the TV which was pretty small too.
The bed was small and short. I don’t have a problem with small beds, as most beds in the US are oversized anyway for one person. My only issue was with the length itself. I was too big with my 6’1″ and my feet were hanging over the edge of the bed. I didn’t bother me but it might be bothersome to you, depending on your preferences. I had a great night’s sleep. Well, who wouldn’t after traveling for almost 30 hours with just a short nap on a small plane?
My room was facing the inside of the O-shaped hotel building and the view was nothing really special. There was not even a real courtyard there.
As for power outlets, they only had the British-style once in the room but you can borrow an adapter free of charge at the front desk. They will put a small hold on your hotel charges if you don’t return it when you check out. I think it was about 10 British Pounds. So in most cases, it is cheaper to buy your own small adapter. On the other side, I understand hotel management. Everyone would just use it as a freebie.
The lobby of the Holiday Inn was decorated with a Christmas tree next to the staircase and was very inviting to hang out. The lobby is quite spacious and the seats towards the bar have TVs close by. There is plenty of seating available here. You could set up your laptop and work here as well. The Business Center is located between the main entrance and the front desk. Close by is also a monitor showing departure times of London Heathrow Airport.
Next, to the main entrance to the restaurant are some newspapers. That’s pretty much it. The hotel doesn’t have a swimming pool or fitness center. The airport runway is only a few steps away from the hotel and you can go for a stroll.
I decided to have dinner on my second day at the hotel at the junction restaurant. The restaurant was not very busy and the waiter offered me a free seating choice. As I was just by myself I decided to go with a small table for two. They have a good selection of beers and food. I went with a Corona (Yes, you can even get a Corona in England.) and a burger for dinner. I know, it’s a pretty typical American meal but hey, it was good. I told you guys earlier about the “Guest of the Day” key wallet. You are supposed to show this to the waiter to get 20% off everything if you buy a main meal. I completely forgot about that and left the key wallet in my room, which could have saved me 20% on dinner.
The first morning after arriving, I was too lazy to get up and didn’t even take breakfast. I slept in a little bit and planned my activities for the day. Besides taking a lot of photos for the blog and of the airport, I found the Emirates Air Line. I didn’t know that London has this new attraction but I had to try it out.
I had a great two-night stay at this hotel. The staff was super friendly and helpful and I was so excited as they offered the power adapter so I could charge my phone and use my laptop. The hotel is very clean and the staff is taking good care of their guests. The biggest surprise to me was the tiny room and the even tinier bed. I didn’t expect that, especially from what I used to in the US. But it’s true what they say: “Different country, different culture.” This was not really a deal breaker because I was spending most of the time outside my room anyway.
Peter has a passion for Traveling, Photography, and Geocaching. These are the best ingredients for amazing adventures all over the globe. “Traveling is fun, no matter if you stay in a luxury hotel or travel like a backpacker.” Peter shares his experiences on his Blog www.gatetoadventures.com
Some of Peter’s photos are published on corporate websites, in-flight magazines, travel guides, and much more.