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Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4 Review

Liz and her husband have stayed in many hotels and like to share their experience to help fellow travellers make informed hotel choices.

Room with a view at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4.

Room with a view at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4.

Heathrow Airport

Heathrow is the UK's largest airport and, pre-COVID, it was one of the busiest in the world. Located around 15.6 miles west of central London, it not only serves the UK capital but also acts as an important transit hub for world travelers.

Although there are 5 terminals, terminal 1 closed in 2015, after 47 years of service. During the pandemic, terminals 3 and 4 have been closed, with airlines relocated to terminals 2 and 5. Many airport hotels have been closed or used for quarantine.

As restrictions start to ease it is anticipated that terminals 3 and 4 will reopen. We have friends who have accommodation and flights from last year to Florida, USA, postponed to this summer. Hotels in the UK are set to reopen on 17th May to the general public.

This article looks forward to a brighter future when air travel will once again be more accessible.

Terminal 4

Opened in 1986, Terminal 4 was dealing with flights to European and long haul destinations prior to its temporary closure in 2020. Over 30 airlines were based there, including Air France, Alitalia, KLM, Etihad, Korean Air, and Qatar. There were bus links with the other terminals and the main transport hub.

Heathrow Airport nearTerminal 4.

Heathrow Airport nearTerminal 4.

Why We Chose This Hotel

Our youngest daughter had an early flight booked to the Far East in February 2020. She was going away traveling for at least 6 months. This was the original plan. As we live over 2 hours drive away from Heathrow Airport and not wanting to drive through the night in the winter, I set about looking for a nearby hotel.

Location was key. I was pleasantly surprised to find rooms available at Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 at a reasonable cost with parking below the hotel. An escalator from the foyer went to a covered linked bridge to the main enclosed walkway to Terminal 4. The airport check-in desk was a few minutes walk from our rooms, with no need to brave the English winter weather.

First Impressions

I was very impressed with how easy it was to find the hotel, especially as I was the driver on this occasion. Arriving mid-evening. the roads immediately around the airport were reasonably quiet and signage was good.

The limited-service Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4 shares a dark grey modern building with the full-service Crowne Plaza, another member of the InterContinental Hotel Group portfolio. Both were opened in 2018. Access to the underground car park was clear and there were plenty of spaces available. A convenient lift took us straight up to the foyer.


Once in the lobby, we could see that there was a partition down the middle. One side had Holiday Inn Express check-in desks and the other the more upmarket Crowne Plaza desk.

Our check-in was quick and efficient. We were offered 2 drinks vouchers, which we accepted instead of Welcome Points, as members of the InterContinental Hotel Group Rewards scheme. We were handed our room cards with directions to the rooms on the 5th floor.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 check-in.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 check-in.

Hotel Layout

The two hotels were arranged around the high-ceilinged central atrium and lobby area. The Holiday Inn Express lounge area, bar, and dining area were off to one side, while the Crowne Plaza lounge and restaurant occupied the opposite side of the building. The plush Crowne Plaza Destinations bar was towards the back of the ground floor area.

Apart from the Crowne Plaza gym, the facilities were open to guests of either hotel. All guests shared the same bank of 6 lifts, located behind the reception in the center of the building.

When exiting the lifts on the guest floors, Crowne Plaza guests turned left at the bridgeway for their rooms numbered in the thousands, and Holiday Inn Express guests headed right for their rooms numbered in the hundreds. The guest rooms were arranged around the central atrium. It all had a very modern and fresh appearance, which continued on the mushroom-colored Holiday Inn Express corridors.

Our Rooms

We booked two rooms in Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4, a double and a twin for our adult daughters. Rooms were in the most recent Generation 4 design and very modern. Ours were both on the outside wall of the building and looked towards the runway. Both followed a standard layout of the shower room by the entrance and the bedroom beyond.


The largest wall was painted grey with a blue textured surface on the walls behind the bed and by the chair and table. A grey patterned carpet toned in with the full-length curtains that ran along the outside wall, concealing a large square window with net curtains. The curtains were effective blackouts and created an illusion of space. The grey theme was picked up in the material on the headboards and the bed runners. Their orange border linked in with the branded cushion on the bed and the orange upholstery of the chair. The rooms had a fresh, modern look.

The use of light-colored wood for fixtures and furnishings and white surfaces helped to maximize the space in the rooms.

The double room in Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4.

The double room in Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4.

Space-saving Features

A full-length mirror on the main wall concealed neat spaces behind it for an ironing board, iron, and hairdryer in a bag. There was a handy plug socket below the mirror too.

A generously proportioned flatscreen TV was mounted on the wall. The slimline shelf below had just enough space for a kettle, mugs, and hot drinks, as well as a leaflet rack at the far end.

There was no desk in either room. Instead, the orange swivel chair doubled as a comfortable seat for relaxation or an office chair when paired up with the angular light wood table in front of it. There was a hole in the table for power leads and a double power socket plus a USB point located on the wall nearby.

The open hanging rail by the shower room door, together with storage space above and to the side, with a handy shelf for a suitcase, ensured that coats and some bags could be stored away from the main area of the room.

The Double Room

Although the bed was a generous kingsize, it had been pushed as near to the outside wall, as the fitted bedside shelf would allow. This resulted in there still being a reasonable amount of floor space at the foot and towards the other side of the bed. We only had overnight bags, but guests with more luggage would still fit comfortably in this room.

As well as double powerpoints near the kettle and by the table and a single socket near the mirror, there were some also either side of the bed. Light switches and a USB point were on one side, with the hotel telephone on the other bedside shelf.

The double room.

The double room.

The Twin Room

The twin beds too were pushed as near to the window as possible. Space was saved by a shared central shelf between them, attached to the headboard, which had two reading lights and power points also. But two single beds still had the effect of making the room feel more crowded. This was not helped by one of the occupants having luggage for an extended trip abroad. Having said that, our two daughters were happy with the room and found it more than adequate for an overnight pre-flight stay.

Twin room at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4.

Twin room at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4.

Thoughts on the Bedrooms

Both rooms were well-lit with a combination of lights in the ceiling, adjustable reading penlights in the headboards, and a cylindrical wall light near the table and chair.

The rooms were maintained at a comfortable temperature thanks to the air-conditioning/heating system, with its adjustable controls mounted on the wall near the table.

The modern, space-saving design gave us enough room in the double and helped maximize space in the single. The rooms were cleaned to a high standard, well-soundproofed and comfortable.

Airport Hotel Priorities

The Shower Room

The shower rooms were identical. They had a modern design with a functional layout of a wall-mounted toilet facing the door, sink along the corridor wall and shower cubicle opposite, along the bedroom wall.

The rooms were fully tiled in a grey theme, with large dark grey floor tiles, a main wall of dark grey tiles in the shower, and pale grey brick shape tiles elsewhere. Turquoise backing to the top and bottom of the large mirror added a splash of color to the room.

The fittings were modern and white. The rooms were well-lit with spotlights in the ceiling above the shower, toilet, and sink, as well as back-lighting behind the large mirror over the sink.

The rectangular sink was on a beige top. It had a large mixer tap over it. To the left, there was a shaver socket and a wall-mounted soap dispenser.

To the right of the sink, there was a towel rail. A pale wood shelf below the sink provided storage for towels. There were 2 hand towels and 2 good quality, generously proportioned bath sheets, all in white. A hook on the door was an additional useful spot for a towel.

The walk-in shower had a white rectangular shower tray. The shower screen was split, partly fixed, and part an inward opening door. The arrangement worked well, as it prevented water from dripping onto the floor, which is a problem with doors opening outwards.

The adjustable chrome shower head and hose were mounted on a pole. There was a wall-mounted shower gel dispenser and a chrome rack for toiletries. Water pressure and drainage were good in the shower and sink.

Drinks at the Bar

We had two drinks vouchers from check-in to use at the bar, but which bar? There was a choice.

Express Bar and Cafe

The Holiday Inn Express cafe/bar was modern, brightly lit with low slung lights, and functional. An abundance of pale wood in the bar area gave it a light and spacious feel. There were small tables, chairs, as well as the option of lounge seating nearby. The bar stocked a reasonable range of standard drinks and offered an all-day dining menu.

Destinations Bar

Destinations Bar, as you would expect from a 4-star hotel bar, was a different entity. We had spotted it as we looked down from the walkway near the lifts. Lit by wall lamps around the edge of the area, the lighting was subdued, creating a relaxed atmosphere. Comfortable seats were grouped around small tables. The focal point was the brightly lit and well-stocked bar at the back with a bright and large statement piece of lighting up on the wall behind it.

Our Experience

We decided to try out the Destinations Bar, as we were not paying anyway. I felt a little like an imposter in the smarter bar. This feeling was not helped when there was a quibble over the vouchers. Due to brand loyalty status, the vouchers offered us the choice of wine, beer, soft drinks, or spirits and mixers. We always like to get good value for our vouchers, so ordered spirits and mixers. The bartender did not think this was allowed, so he had to get advice when we stood our ground. It was a little awkward, but he returned to offer us branded spirits, which were served with a selection of spicy corn puffs and assorted nuts.

Once the issue was resolved, we enjoyed our drinks in the relaxed atmosphere and wound down after the journey through rain and heavy traffic.


The highlight for our family of any stay in a Holiday Inn Express hotel has always been the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Sadly, due to Covid-19, breakfast buffets in the UK have been curtailed and, in many hotels, replaced by breakfast in a takeaway bag. So this account is a nostalgic look back at how it used to be.

The dining room of Holiday Inn Express occupied a large area beyond the bar. It was a colorful and brightly lit area with a good selection of tables, chairs, and benches with power banks available on some.

The buffet was spread out in a spacious area, along the walls. Two coffee machines with assorted tea bags and hot water ensured that we never had to queue. Similarly, milk dispensers and cereals were doubled up, with a choice of branded corn flakes, bran flakes, Special K, coco pops, and granola in bowls. The cold drinks choice was water, orange or apple juice.

The hot food selection consisted of baked beans, scrambled eggs, bacon, and sausages. There were two toasters with a choice of bread, croissants, and muffins, as well as spreads and fresh fruit and yogurt.

As it was an airport hotel, the buffet opened early. We went twice. Once with our daughter, before she checked in and later with our other daughter, who wanted to eat before we headed home. Maybe this was just as well because we had no idea then that it would be our last Holiday Inn Express buffet breakfast for a long time.

Overall Thoughts

This hotel scores highly in many aspects, as my impressive star rating suggests. It has an excellent and convenient location. Our walk early in the morning to Departures at Heathrow Terminal 4 took around 5 minutes. The underground car park was worth the £20 it cost for the convenience.

The hotel building was modern, fresh, and clean. Shared facilities were an unexpected bonus. The Holiday Inn Express rooms were functional but comfortable and well-equipped. Check-in and check-out were smooth and efficient. The breakfast service was well-managed and well-stocked, setting us all up for the day ahead.

So, what became of the traveler, heading off for 6 months globe-trotting in February 2020? A month later, our daughter returned from Singapore after the COVID-19 pandemic curtailed her travel plans. Maybe we will get a chance to stay again at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4, next time she jets off. I would certainly be up for that and recommend this hotel as a good place to stay.

London Heathrow airport.

London Heathrow airport.

Other Articles of Interest

  • Holiday Inn London Heathrow Terminal 5 Review
    Looking for a comfortable hotel near London Heathrow airport, within reach of central London and Windsor? Check out this thorough review of Holiday Inn London Heathrow Terminal 5. Visit the hotel through the eyes of experienced hotel guests.
  • Holiday Inn Prague Airport Thoroughly Reviewed
    After choosing a destination and booking flights, accommodation is next on the list to sort. Deciding where to stay is not easy. This thorough review of Holiday Inn Prague Airport helps you make the decision about whether this hotel is right for you.
  • Holiday Inn Express Porto Exponor: A Traveller's Review
    An in-depth review of Holiday Inn Express Porto Exponor, based on our thorough testing of the facilities over an 11-night stay. It gives potential guests an insight into what the hotel offers to help them decide whether this fits their travel needs.

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Liz Westwood


Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 15, 2021:

Thank you, Fran.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 10, 2021:

Thank you very much, Fran.

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on May 10, 2021:

I so love your articles!

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 10, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, Fran. You are very welcome. Hopefully, we will all be able to travel again soon in person, instead of virtually via articles like this.

fran rooks from Toledo, Ohio on May 09, 2021:

Again, I was on a trip with your detailed articles. Thank you for my voyage again.!

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 09, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, Sangre. Over the past year, in the limited hotel stays I have had, a tiny minority attempted to serve breakfast. Most opted for takeaway bags. The great thing about a lot of Holiday Inn Express hotels in normal times was their flexibility. Unlike most hotels that discourage guests from taking food outside the dining area, Holiday Inn Express used to provide paper bags for people to take food away with them.

Sp Greaney from Ireland on May 09, 2021:

This hotel looks very modern and it has everything that a traveller would require. I love how everything was so neat and tidy. Convenients is key when staying in hotels close to the airport.

Also a takeaway breakfast will never be as good as a sit down one. None of the hotels or restaurants are opened here yet but they should be in the coming weeks.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 08, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, Peggy. I looked at several hotels online before booking this one. Usually my husband does a lot of research, but he was busy at the time. I was very pleased at how well it worked out and how easily I was able to find the car park. Our experience exceeded my expectations. I take a lot of photographs and use my smartphone more these days. It is great to be able to.make use of them in these articles.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 08, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, Chitrangada. The breakfast buffet sets Holiday Inn Express apart from other limited service brands in the UK, where breakfast comes at an extra cost and is often more limited. I hope you make it to London one day. I grew up near Manchester in the north west, over 200 miles from London. In those days, many people there, especially of the older generation, never visited London. It still holds a fascination for me. We have had relatives living there, but I still don't get to go there very often.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 08, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, vocalcoach. There's a big difference between the older Holiday Inn Express rooms and these newer ones. It is interesting to see how they have evolved over the years. Colour schemes have changed and space-saving adaptations have been introduced. It would be interesting to chart the changes.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 08, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, FlourishAnyway. Wow, that's quite a collection of points. Hopefully you will be able to make good use of them when it is safe to do so. We have noticed recently that at least 2 hotel brands have tightened up and increased the points threshold for free nights. Your points might not go quite as far as they used to, but still definitely worth having.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on May 08, 2021:

Hi Liz,

Thanks for showing us what to expect should we ever wish to stay at the Holiday Inn Express in London near Heathrow. Your pictures are always a welcome addition to your descriptions of staying there.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on May 08, 2021:

This is wonderful review of the Holiday Inn Express, London Heathrow Terminal.

Your pictures are always amazing and a helpful guide. The food choices are excellent and appealing.

London is my dream destination. Let’s see when- - -.

Thank you for sharing another interesting travel article.

Audrey Hunt from Idyllwild Ca. on May 08, 2021:

The Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow would appreciate hearing your in-depth review. I certainly did. Little extras such as adjustable reading penlights in the headboards make all the difference. Lovely, spacious, decor in the gray and red hues. Thank you.

FlourishAnyway from USA on May 08, 2021:

This certainly did bring back the nostalgia for international travel and for breakfast bars. I'm glad you stood your ground on those vouchers. They were being cheap trying to deny them. Oh, how I wish we could travel. My husband has still taken business trips through the pandemic and has accrued over 1 million hotel loyalty points that we are eager to spend. Just not yet, I guess.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 08, 2021:

Thank you for your comment, Misbah. When looking to book hotels, we often read the reviews of previous guests. I am pleased that you appreciate this review.

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Poets on May 08, 2021:

This is a very beautiful hub, Liz. With lots of details and opinions regarding your stay in Holiday Inn Express, the hotel seems to be nice. The room sizes also seems to be good. Overall a good review

Thanks for sharing


Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 08, 2021:

Thank you very much for your comment, Lorna. I was pleased to find a hotel at a reasonable price in such a convenient location. It is the first time that I have stayed where a limited service hotel has shared a building with an upscale hotel. I was impressed at how well these two InterContinental Hotel Group hotels worked together in a shared space.

Lorna Lamon on May 08, 2021:

I like the convenience of this hotel and for an overnight stay the rooms are of a decent size. The facilities also have a lot to offer. I would have to agree that having to quarantine in this hotel does have it's drawbacks. However, I am hopeful that we will be back on track to travel sooner rather than later. A great article Liz with lots of helpful tips, advice and photos. Thank you for sharing.

Liz Westwood (author) from UK on May 08, 2021:

Thank you very much for your comment, Pamela. We had a comfortable stay there. It certainly pays if you have an early flight to catch or if you arrive later in the day. It is an excellent overnight stop. But this hotelis probably not the best place to be quarantined for a few days, especially if you have an internal room, overlooking the atrium, with no natural light. Let's hope normality and usual travel habits can resume as soon as it is safe.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on May 08, 2021:

This is a good review of the hotel, Liz. Your pictures and descriptions are excellent. The breakfast also sounds good as you have a wonderful selection of choices. Thank you for this information. I would love to stay there and tour London.

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