Newest Review: ... people hadn't. Hidden charges I fancied watching a movie and had a look through the options on the TV. It was 9.95 even for older movie... more
Standard airport hotel fare but beware the hidden charges
Holiday Inn Heathrow Airport (London)
Member Name: ilovemycat
Holiday Inn Heathrow Airport (London)
Advantages: Close to Heathrow
Disadvantages: Address can be confusing to bus drivers - check!
I stayed here back in March because my girlfriend and I were flying out from Terminal 5 at 9am the following morning.
I booked on booking.com. I got a double ensuite without breakfast for 44.99 which I thought was a pretty decent deal.
Like most hotels in London these days, the staff on the reception desks were obviously foreign, quite possibly hotel & catering students from Europe (I used to teach English to 18 - 20 year olds for this very task). They were very polite but very slow. I had no problems with checking in, but there were a couple of people in front of me arguing about their bookings, so obviously not everything was going smoothly.
The hotel looks nice both inside and out, and our room was lovely. Very, very clean, with a big, comfortable bed, and a nice enough little sofa and table. The bathroom too was spotless so I have no complaints there. I was pretty impressed for 45 pounds, although the published rates at the reception were 239 pounds a room, so either I'd got a good deal or other people hadn't.
I fancied watching a movie and had a look through the options on the TV. It was 9.95 even for older movies, or 14.95 for the complete package. I settled for BBC. Later I wanted to ring my mother just to let her know we'd arrived safely. I followed the instructions but the phone wouldn't work, so I went down to reception. It took about ten minutes before someone served me but the man was pretty polite and said he'd reset it for me. I asked him the price - 1.50 per minute, even for a landline call, so in hindsight it was a good thing it hadn't been working. I was shocked. I asked him where the nearest payphone was. He directed me to one out on the main road passing the hotel, to which I went and had a thirty minute chat for about 2 quid. I'm a big bloke but I wouldn't recommend this if you're a woman alone - there were a couple of shady types. If you don't want to get screwed for using the room phones and don't have a mobile like me, it's probably best to make any important calls from the airport Terminal, if you came in by bus.
Here's where my real issue lies, which I accept is not the hotel's fault which is why I won't use it to influence my rating, but I have to get it off my chest.
There are three Holiday Inns at Heathrow. Be very, very careful that you get to the right one. We arrived at the Central Bus Terminal in Terminal 3 and asked how to get to our hotel. We were told to take one of several local buses which stop right outside, and in hindsight we should have done that. But, aware that food in the hotel would be expensive (it was - 19.95 for dinner or 14.95 for breakfast, neither of which we had so I can't comment on the quality) we went into the Airport Terminal to get some dinner. After dinner we decided to get the shuttle bus instead, which is 4 quid each way, fair enough. I asked the first driver which bus to take, and he swore by Number 4. I asked if he was sure, showed him the address, and yes, he was.
So we got on the bus, and got off at ... the wrong Holiday Inn. Now, it turns out that there is one on a road called Sipson Way, and another on a road called Sipson Road. We were at the wrong one. I hadn't printed the picture so didn't realise we were at the wrong one (and they look pretty much the same anyway), but I found out when I tried to check in. The girl on reception just laughed and said it sometimes happened, and that we had to order a taxi, which would cost 9 pounds. No sympathy for our situation whatsoever.
So, we ordered a taxi, which picked us up, drove us about half a kilometer and charged us 9 pounds. And of course the driver didn't have change for a ten. You can't call it a scam because hotels of this size always have taxis waiting, but wow, it felt like one. I was positively boiling by this point.
So, apologies if this has digressed into a barefaced rant, but just be careful that you go to the right hotel!
The next morning was far easier to handle. A shuttle bus (about every twenty minutes) stops right outside. Be warned though, that even though it's an airport hotel it still takes 30 minutes to get to Terminal 5, because the shuttle bus services Terminal 4 first. Different buses serve Terminals 1,2 and 3.
Summary: A standard airport hotel
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