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Good park and stay deal.
Holiday Inn (London Heathrow M4 Jct 4)
Member Name: garymarsh6
Holiday Inn (London Heathrow M4 Jct 4)
Date: 14/03/11, updated on 18/10/11 (151 review reads)
Advantages: A bargain park and stay package.
Disadvantages: Poor buffet in the Rotisserie restaurant.
Holiday Inn Heathrow M4 Junction 4.
Anyone who has been to Heathrow airport terminals 1-3 will not have missed the Holiday inn at Junction 4 of the M4 as it is just off to the side of the Heathrow Airport spur road taking you into the airport terminals.
We booked a one night stay prior to flying off with parking included in our price. We did not book it through Holiday inns web site but through a park and fly web site called parking4less which offers airport accommodation at a slightly discounted rate. Booking was easy and straightforward and I had instant confirmation by email.
Check in was from 3PM onwards and I showed our confirmation letter and was given our room card and welcomed to the hotel. There were a few formalities to complete and we were soon on our way to our room.
The hotel has 617 rooms and most of the guests are either staying overnight or newly arrived passengers, businessmen and flight crews. They offer three types of rooms, normal rooms and executive rooms the third type are three suites. They offer 9 rooms specially adapted for disabled people. We chose the normal room as all we required was somewhere clean and comfortable to rest for the night prior to our flight the next day. The difference between the normal rooms and the executive rooms are that the executive rooms include fluffy white dressing gowns, and a mini bar. The remaining facilities are identical to the normal rooms. Wifi is available at the usual exorbitant cost. They also have meeting rooms, a spa and a gym. It is also used as a crew hotel and there is a constant stream of coming and going 24 hours a day and in particular is used by the airlines when flights have been cancelled.
I was a bit shocked to see their rates if you just turn up at the hotel for the night. The rates advertised were £270 a night for a normal room and £320 for an executive room. There is no way that I would pay that kind of money for what was a very average transit hotel. We were fortunate enough to have booked our room for £120 plus £24 for two extra days parking. Breakfast could be prepaid at £12 a head or at the hotel it was £16 which is a bit of a rip off in my humble opinion.
Our room was on the fourth floor of the hotel which is served by four lifts. We did not have to wait long at any time for the lifts to take us up or down which is quite good bearing in mind how busy the hotel can be. Entering the room is by means of a swipe card which then has to be put into a socket to enable the lights to work and other electrical things in the room. The room was clean and comfortable with a small sofa, coffee table, writing desk fax machine, an old fashioned television and double bed. It looked clean and comfortable and there were no odd smells. The bathroom was clean and functional with a good supply of water and the standard bath towel and hand towels.
We made use of the tea and coffee that was available on the tray and settled down for an hour or so. We then made our way down to explore the hotel to find something to eat.
First we went to the Callaghans Irish bar area where there was bar food available. The bar was not that comfortable and it is just off the lobby. Bearing in mind how cold it was in December it felt quite chilly despite a revolving door system which let in the icy cold air so we decided to go to the restaurant which was our biggest mistake whilst staying there. There are two restaurants at the holiday Inn. An oriental restaurant called Sampans and the Rotisserie restaurant. As we mainly eat oriental and European fare at home and certainly would be doing so for the next two weeks or so we decided to go to the Rotisserie where there was a buffet/ carvery.
It was very early evening when we went there around about 7PM so the restaurant was deserted apart from three other tables. The waiter came and offered us the wine menu but we declined that and had a couple of soft drinks instead we were told to help ourselves to the buffet.
There was a large container of soup that was being kept warm and as it was so cold I decided to go for that. It was supposedly Leek and potato. I poured the decidedly watery soup into the bowl and went back to the table. It was tasteless and watery and quite obviously rehydrated soup no sign of potato or leek in it at all. Thoroughly disappointed with that we went to find our main course. There was a selection of salad stuff and cold cuts of ham and cheese available but being in the middle of arctic conditions we wanted something substantial hot and filling. I chose to have roast beef whilst my wife chose the curry.
The so called 'chef' sliced the beef joint that was on the heated block quite thinly and gave me one slice I had to ask for another slice it was similarly thinly carved. There was no smile or greeting from the chef he looked quite miserable even though we tried to engage him in conversation. I suppose if he were a trained chef it would be very demoralising churning out pre prepared food which was bland & tasteless, portion controlled food day in day out.
I then helped myself to the unlabeled vegetables or what I thought were vegetables. The carrots and broccoli were quite obvious then there were only what I imagine as tinned potatoes that had been fried in oil masquerading as roast potatoes. There was also what I thought were round rosti potatoes which I took one of as I thought there may be some semblance of taste to it.
My wife helped herself to some curry and rice which she said was tasteless. From where I was sitting I thought that it smelt of fish and said to her that was she sure it was chicken because all I can smell is fish... it turned out that the potato rosti was in fact some kind of fish cake.
All in all the meal was a very disappointing blend of nuked ready prepared food and the chefs did not show any skills at all in presenting the meal which lacked flavour of any description was totally bland and unappetising and quite honestly shockingly disgraceful. I think by this description you might get my drift!
We thought oh well ever the optimist let's try a dessert but yet again it was all pre prepared gateaux and cakey type of things which were really very unimaginative so I took a piece of fruit instead. Returning to our table which was still laden with our dinner plates whilst five waiters stood by nattering amongst themselves and were certainly in no hurry to collect the plates I put them on the next table. The looks could have killed from the waiting staff but quite frankly I was ready to pop a blood vessel and had they made any remark I would have gone ballistic by this stage despite being in a holiday mood.
After asking for a cup of coffee we drank it and went to pay for it. I voiced my disapproval to the maitre' D if you could call him one and coughed up the forty odd quid for this abysmal meal. I told him that it was not very nice when he asked if we had enjoyed our meal and he just shrugged his shoulders. I told him that was not the kind of response I was looking for and he just stood and looked blankly at me. My wife escorted me by the elbow from the restaurant pay area because I think she recognised the signs of my disbelief and growing irritation.
We returned to our room and slept throughout the night in what was a nice comfortable bed so that was a bonus in favour of the holiday Inn. It was also very quiet we heard no noise at all from other guests or traffic. After a decent night's sleep a shower and ready for something to eat I groaned when I realised that breakfast was going to be served in the Rotisserie restaurant. If it had been anything like the night before we were in for a right little treat again not.
However this is where the holiday Inn excelled itself. The breakfast was absolutely fantastic. Freshly prepared omelettes or eggs prepared in front of you by a very cheerful English cook who was full of beans and was really pleasant. There was a good selection of food for a full English breakfast, cold hams and cheeses, a good selection of cereals, granola, muesli, bran, fruit juices, breads, preserves and the biggest croissants I have seen in a long while. Coffee was free flowing and plentiful such a contrast to the previous evening. It ticked all the boxes for my wife and myself and a free paper was offered too.
Leaving the Rotisserie restaurant the very cheerful lady at the Maitre D' desk asked if we had enjoyed our breakfast and had we had enough. I recounted our previous evenings experience she was shocked and quite clearly embarrassed and she went and to find the manager. We did not have time to wait as we were now pressed for time but on our way to reception with our luggage she came and asked me to write to the hotel manager and gave us his card. I must salute this lady for her genuine concern.
Transfer to the airport.
We transferred to the terminal with the reliable and frequent hoppa bus service for which you pay £4 each way or by buying a return ticket for £7.
I have stayed at this holiday Inn previously and have not encountered any problems like I had done on this occasion. I cannot say I am enamoured to recommend this hotel based on this experience maybe we were just unlucky on this night however it is extremely handy for the airport and includes parking which is a bonus. At some of the car parks at Heathrow in particular you can pay the same just to park so in some ways this is quite a bargain.
My ratings for this supposedly four star hotel are as follows:-
Check in and reception staff Dooyoo 5 Stars.
Rotisserie buffet restaurant. 1 Dooyoo Star.
Waiting staff and catering staff. A Dooyoo half star.
Rotisserie buffet breakfast 5 Dooyoo stards.
Catering and waiting staff at breakfast 5 Stars although some of the staff were the same as the evening before! Perhaps they were not being supervised properly the night before?
The room facilities and bed comfort 5 Dooyoo Stars.
Proximity to the airport 5 Dooyoo stars.
Over all it was a good experience that was marred by the poor experience in the restaurant. Should I stay here again and we encounter the same standard in the restaurant I will only pay what I thought the meal was worth which in my opinion was worth no more than five pounds certainly not over the 20 odd quid a head they were charging.
London Heathrow Holiday Inn. M4. Junction 4.
Sipson Road, London. UB7 0JU.
From the West on the M4 turn off at junction four turn left and left again driving under the M4 up to a mini roundabout. Turn left and immediately left and you are in the Holiday Inn grounds. Take a ticket from the machine and remember to keep this safe for your return and collection of your car.
Summary: Excellent hotel to stay in prior to flying off on holiday very close to the airport.