Newest Review: ... courteously and efficiently. There were three staff on reception, plus a manager flitting between them to deal with any complicated queries... more
A plane spotters paradise!
Member Name: sarajackson
Date: 28/05/03, updated on 28/05/03 (3375 review reads)
Advantages: Great views of runways, Good bar service, Great value for long term parking packages
Disadvantages: Unattractive building, Nothing else, Nothing else
From the outside, the Renaissance looks pretty unremarkable. It is a rather ugly looking large long four storey concrete block with loads of uniform windows. Once inside, some of the doubts you may have had, judging on outside appearances, disappear. The lobby is large and modern, with places to sit, and shops tucked away at one end. It isn't particularly luxurious, but like many of this class of hotel, is smart and uniformly decorated.
The staff at reception were courteous and efficient. We had dropped our car off at the hotel three weeks before, and usually this causes much confusion at Heathrow hotels. We were pleased that on this occasion it had been very simple and our departure to the airport was not delayed. We paid £120 for our room, which included car parking for the length of our holiday, even more of a bargain if you were away for a really long time. This was very impressive as usually Heathrow hotels only include 15 days parking and then you pay between £5 and £10 per extra day. For a stay at the Hilton you would pay £225, so we were more than pleased with the value. After our break, having been spoilt by North American standards of service, we were happy to find the check in was similarly efficient on our return. I had requested a room overlooking the runway, and forever doubtful as to whether requests have been noted, I confirmed this on checking in. The request had been noted and the check in clerk showed me the position of our room on a large floor plan of the hotel - very efficient.
ur room, which by the nature of the hotel, was on a low floor, was of average size. It was furnished with a table and armchair, a desk and chair and a TV unit all in a medium shade of wood. The bedspread was in a light floral print with the chairs in co-ordinating light green fabric and the curtains were in a light cream colour. It had all the amenities you would need like hairdryer, iron, minibar, fairly good lighting etc. The room was very typical of the Marriott breed of North American chain hotel. It didn't strike you that it particularly needed updating, although it may have been a little old fashioned in places. There was a well publicised refurbishment program under way, and I am sure this will improve the rooms before they really need it.
The reason a lot of people stay at the Renaissance is because it is the only hotel really close to the runways at Heathrow. We requested a runway facing room, and this had large windows overlooking the airport a short distance away from one of the two runways. This is a plane spotters dream, and for anyone even vaguely interested in civil aircraft, it is really interesting. Heathrow being such a busy airport with aircraft always landing or taking off, it certainly beats watching TV! The rooms are triple glazed, but you are aware of the rumbling of the aircraft, but I personally did not find this distracting and I slept soundly even during the day after our flight.
The hotel has a few shops selling newspapers etc and also tourist items. Off the lobby is the Brasserie restaurant, and also a fairly small bar. We decided to have a light meal in the bar, and the service was excellent. It was quite a refreshing change to have such attentive and professional bar service in an UK hotel. Unlike other UK hotels owned by North American chains where you are never sure if you are expected to order at the bar (and the staff often seem purposely hesitant and let you get up and order!), we were attended to very so
on after being seated and we continued to get the attention we needed when we wanted to order food and/or more drinks. We only really wanted a light snack, so ordered from the bar menu a sandwich and a pizza. The portions were generous and could be described as good bar fare.
Breakfast which unusually was included in the package was served in the main restaurant, and offered a good choice of continental and cooked breakfast items. Marriott and Renaissance always seem to do breakfast very well, combining the usual English items with the added benefit of American type things like Muffins etc - making for a really good choice. When we checked out the bill was correct, with the rate of £120 being honoured (we have found on a few occasions that when checking out, hotels deny all knowledge of the rate you have booked, meaning a rather unpleasant and unwelcome confrontation after what has always been a fantastic foreign holiday).
We always stay overnight on our return to Heathrow, after an overnight flight, and seem to be working our way through all the 4 and 5 star Heathrow Hotels. Most are at best, average, with the sole 5 star being especially poor. The Renaissance, which does not seem to promise much, actually delivers everything you would require, without the usual confusion, apathy and poor service we have experienced at other Heathrow Hotels. Oh yes, and for plane spotting, it's great to be able to do this from the comfort of your warm and cosy room
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