Holiday Inn London Heathrow Terminal 5 Review
Why We Chose This Hotel
You would be forgiven for assuming that we opted to stay in the Holiday Inn Heathrow Terminal 5 because we were using Heathrow Airport, but that was not the case. We chose to stay here for two reasons.
First, because we were visiting a relative in west London. It takes 30–50 minutes to drive just under 17 miles to the Westfield shopping center, Shepherd's Bush. Parking is reasonable and the tube network gives access to central London.
Traveling west, it takes just over 20 minutes to cover the 7.1 miles to Windsor Castle. The royal link doesn't stop there. The hotel was originally opened by HRH the Duke of Edinburgh in 2001.
Our second reason was that Holiday Inn Heathrow Terminal 5 had a reasonable points-redemption rate.
If you plan on using Holiday Inns, or any other hotels in the IHG (InterContinental Hotel Group) brand, it is worth joining the IHG Rewards scheme. Membership is free. You collect points, which can be redeemed against hotel stays and other rewards.
Note: Holiday Inn London Heathrow Terminal 5 should not be confused with Holiday Inn M4 Junction 4 or Holiday Inn Ariel.
There was no mistaking the brand of the hotel with its logo on the front wall and the Holiday Inn flags above the entrance.
The four-floor building was set back a little from the road, behind a low wall and a block paved area, where cars could drop guests off at the entrance. Barriers to the left marked the way into the underground carpark. This was a very secure area with an automatic metal grille beyond the barriers. The building was tastefully designed with a gabled frontage in the middle and a columned entrance. No space was wasted with the top floor windows jutting out from the tiled roof.
A hedge and trees shielded the hotel from the road. There were handy bus stops on either side of the road. A bench was protected from the English weather by a pitched roof on the side nearest the Holiday Inn.
Note: There is a charge for using the car park. Previous guests have suggested leaving your car in nearby residential streets, but I was impressed by the security of the hotel car park.
Curved automatic doors opened to reveal a bright lobby area with a marble floor in shades of beige and brown. The open plan, well-lit area had a bright, fresh contemporary feel to it with low sage seating to the left and modern shelving decorated with assorted items. The curved reception desk was towards the back wall, slightly to the right.
Beyond reception, there was a bar area along the back wall with Starbucks coffee featuring prominently. High wood chairs were by the bar, but there was also more comfortable seating available in the open-plan lobby. In the other direction, there was an area with a computer and printer at a work station.
Lifts round to the left were key-card operated for extra security and access to guest-room floors. These were big and very clean with bright, shining chrome and marble interiors. Wide corridors on the upper floors were decorated with the same beige flecked wallpaper as the bedrooms and striped carpeting in peach, light brown, turquoise, off white, brown and cream with dark blue edging.
Check-in and Welcome
While we were traveling in from London Stansted airport, where we had spent the previous night in an airport hotel (it's a long story), we rang Holiday Inn London Heathrow Terminal 5 at 10.30am to find out if, by any chance, our room might be ready. I thought this was a little optimistic, but I was surprised to find, after a friendly greeting, that it was.
If you are ahead of schedule, it is worth seeing if you can check in a little early. If the room is free, most hotels are only too happy to facilitate an early check-in, because, once there, guests might add extras like food and drink to their room bill. This is especially true of hotels located near airports, where it's likely that some guests will have checked out early in the morning.
We checked in at 11.20 am when we were pleasantly surprised to find that, due to my husband's Spire Elite brand loyalty status at the time, two complimentary breakfasts had been added to our booking. We have rarely experienced this with IHG, although Hilton Hotels give complimentary breakfasts to Hilton Honors members of Gold and above status.
A wide, medium wood door opened into the short corridor of room 225. On the right, a white door went into the bathroom. The bedroom area was beyond, with a wardrobe backing onto the bathroom, bed on the adjacent wall and further furniture opposite. A central rectangular triple glazed window overlooked the front of the hotel.
The room was fully carpeted, similar to the corridor, in a striped pattern of peach, light brown, turquoise, off-white, brown and cream. Walls were decorated with cream wallpaper running up to white coving at the edge of the ceiling and the wall behind the bed was covered in a beige flecked wallpaper. Full-length net curtains and light and dark beige curtains ran along the whole of the external wall.
A wide black framed River Thames/London skyline black and white sketch with patches of green hung on the wall above the bed.
The bed was on a grey base. Bedding consisted of white sheet and pillows, white striped duvet and a runner in beige, dark turquoise, lime green, and white.
The furniture was of a medium colored wood. Beyond the mirror, on the left wall, there was a tall narrow unit with two doors, containing an ironing board, trouser press, and an iron. Tea and coffee-making facilities were on a shelf at the top of the unit. The lid had to be open for the kettle to work.
All the furniture had chrome handles. The curved desk had solid wood sides and a central drawer. Beyond it, towards the corner of the room, there was a wooden unit on castors, containing a fridge.
Seating consisted of a dark brown vinyl swivel office chair on a chrome base with castors and an armchair in light turquoise with wood at the end of the arms.
The double bed base on castors was set against a wall-mounted curved medium wood headboard, with curved side panels, which provided the backing for freestanding bedside units consisting of a drawer with a shelf below.
The large fitted wardrobe area was split in two. Half of it was shut behind two sliding doors. concealing a shelf across the top, hanging space with 8 hangers and two shelves on the right. The other half was open with a carpet on a shelf and around the wall behind, forming a fixed suitcase stand. The area below was split between two drawers and a small cupboard. The rest of this area had wood paneling to the sides and back.
There were two power sockets below the tall mirror, a single and a double socket below the desk and a double socket between the bedside cabinet and the wardrobe near the floor. Two cream up lighters were on the wall opposite the bed. Either side of the bed there was a cream-shaded bedside lamp on a beige stem with a chrome base. There was a chrome anglepoise desk lamp. A hairdryer was mounted on the wall to the side of the desk.
A medium-sized flatscreen Samsung TV was on top of the unit towards the corner of the room.
There was a safe in the wardrobe.
A bowed shape tall mirror, framed with medium wood was on the wall opposite the bathroom door. This matched the shape of the mirror set above the desk. A perspex leaflet rack on the wall opposite the bed contained the TV remote control.
The pillows had labels of firm and soft in keeping with the Holiday Inn pillow menu policy. A telephone was one side of the bed and a notepad and pen on the other.
Thoughts on Our Room
The room was of average size, but comfortably furnished. We realized how much noise the triple glazing shut out when we went outside. Inside we wouldn't have known we were near the busiest airport in the UK. On a previous stay, we had watched the planes lining up to land from our room on the other side of the hotel.
Walls were covered in white marble effect rectangular tiles. Grey marble effect floor tiles flecked with silver were laid in diamond shapes and there was a small doorstep into the bathroom. A marble effect grey flecked top ran along the left wall, curving out around the inset sink and continuing around the corner as a shelf above the WC. The shower curtain was in an off white square pattern.
Fixtures and Fittings
The white oval inset sink to the left had a full wall mirror behind it. A shaver socket was on a nearby wall. The marble top had an inset tissue holder and further along, a toilet roll holder. A white WC faced the door. To the right, the white bath had a non-slip surface. The fixed shower above had separate controls. There were a grab rail and a chrome soap dish, as well as a towel holder high up at the end and a washing line which could be hung over the bath. Halfway down the wall, there was a chrome rail with a shower mat on it. The double thickness shower curtain hung from a chrome rail.
Toiletries and Towels
A plastic tray on the marble top contained two shower gels, two soaps, and two tumblers. There was a bath mat, two hand towels, and two bath towels, all of good quality.
Though maybe not the most modern and spacious bathroom, it was spotlessly clean and had all we needed for a one night stay. In an age when some hotels are installing shower rooms, it was good to have the option of a bathtub in the room. The only issue we had was that the bath was slow to drain. When we mentioned this at check out, the manager was quick to make a note to get maintenance to take a look.
The Layout and Decor
The open-plan restaurant area was to the right of the lobby area. The serving area was located towards the back and in the corner. Behind this, there was an orange painted wall with blackboards on one side and wooden doors in the middle into the kitchen. There was a heated hot buffet area on a central plinth. The base was decorated with small silver tiles and there were white painted cubby holes and a black top. Chrome lamps/heaters hung low over the hot food on black spiral cords.
The cold buffet was in a chiller and cereals, juice and bakery items were on a wooden table. The restaurant area had wooden paneling and shelving in sections, decorated with plants in containers. Walls were covered in a beige/cream paper.
Square and circular light wood tables on chrome plinths were arranged in the space between the serving area and the front windows. Seating was a mixture of high banquettes in a lime vinyl covering and turquoise and grey padded high back chairs with wooden legs.
Floor coverings were varied. The servery area had white rectangular tiles laid at an angle, there was a wooden floor area and also a centrally carpeted area in a beige and brown stripe.
The restaurant was well lit with spotlights in the ceiling, chrome up-lighters and natural light from the tall windows, which were decorated with pull-down white square patterned blinds.
A limited selection of cereals was available in green bowls with wooden scoops. The choice was cornflakes, rice crispies, Weetabix and granola.
Fresh fruit salad consisted mainly of apple with a little pineapple and melon. There was a bowl of plain yogurt and a few cartons of flavored yogurt. The rest of the cold section contained a selection of cheeses, Edam, brie, camembert and cheddar, and cold meats, turkey, ham, and salami.
The juice section had cranberry, orange, and apple as well as spring water.
There were plenty of ketchup containers near the hot plates. The hot selection consisted of hash browns, tomatoes, baked beans, Cumberland sausages, fried eggs, scrambled egg, bacon and black pudding.
The bakery section had a toaster near a wooden container of sliced white and brown bread. There were also croissants, muffins, and pain au chocolat. There was marmite and a selection of jams, butter, and margarine.
The area was very busy on a Sunday morning. The selection of cereals was a little disappointing, as was the composition of the fruit salad. The butter and margarine had melted due to being near the hot toaster (a common occurrence in many hotels). Had we paid for the meal, the above would have been valid points, but having paid nothing, we couldn't complain.
What's your favorite breakfast item?
The Mini Gym
Layout and Equipment
The gym was located in a meeting room, with mirrors covering the walls and a grey/black striped carpet on the floor.
Equipment consisted of a treadmill, a bike, a low bike, a rowing machine, weight resistance area, two benches, one with a weight bar, a large selection of weights and a mat. There was also a water dispenser with cups, hand gel, and towels.
With time to spare before checking out, I asked at reception about access to the gym. I was given a keycard with instructions to take the lift to the basement. The card worked in the first of two doors, but not the next into the gym. The receptionist was helpful. She advised me to ring before going down again and she met me at the door. Even she had trouble getting the keycard to work.
The lights seemed to be on an automatic timer, as they went off after 30 minutes, which was a little disconcerting, but thankfully they soon came back on.
I was disappointed not to find a cross-trainer there, but I was fortunate to have the area to myself. 'Mini' is an accurate description of these facilities, but it was adequate for my purposes. Any more than two people and it would feel crowded.
What comes top of the list for you in a hotel?
For those traveling by air, the Holiday Inn Heathrow Terminal 5 is located 1.6 miles northwest of Terminal 5. It takes 10 minutes on the Hotel Hoppa (H59/H57) bus to the hotel from Terminal 5, 20 minutes traveling in the opposite direction. A further 10 minutes takes you to Terminal 4. Free shuttle trains link Terminal 4 and 5 with Heathrow Central Station (near Terminals 2 and 3).
For those, like us, traveling by car, the hotel is located a few minutes south of the A4 Colnbrook bypass, which is the main road from the west into London. It is 6 minutes (1.6 miles) from junction 5 of the M4 and 6 minutes (3.4 miles) from junction 14 of the M25, London's infamous orbital motorway.
Staff were friendly and helpful throughout our stay. We were able to check in very early and the unexpected complimentary breakfast was a bonus. Our room was comfortable, clean and well-soundproofed from the planes. As we went to breakfast we met a very friendly cleaner, who chatted away and offered us anything we wanted from her trolley, giving us a handful of tea bags and milk cartons and telling us to just ask later if we needed any more.
Since the 'Independent' newspaper went online-only we have become accustomed to not getting a free newspaper on Sundays in Holiday Inns as the 'i' newspaper is only available Monday–Saturday. We were pleasantly surprised to find complimentary copies of the Sunday Times available for guests at breakfast.
When we mentioned the slow-draining bath to the staff at check out, they were quick to waive the charge for parking.
Whether you are looking for an airport hotel or a base to explore London and Windsor, I would recommend Holiday Inn London Heathrow Terminal 5. Taking into account the facilities and, above all the service we received the hotel deserves a very good rating. For this reason, I have given it 4 stars.
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.
© 2019 Liz Westwood