Newest Review: ... when he missed someone's hotel out completely, and upon arrival at our hotel slammed on the brakes on the main road as he over shot t... more
Sheraton Skyline - Pre-eminent? I don't think so!
Sheraton Skyline Heathrow (London)
Member Name: anonymili
Sheraton Skyline Heathrow (London)
Date: 30/03/07, updated on 05/04/07 (1494 review reads)
Advantages: Looks nice on the whole
Disadvantages: Poor lighting in room, lack of sound proofing, lack of ventilation
We stayed at the Sheraton Skyline on Bath Road, Hayes, Middlesex UB3 5BP for 2 nights from 16th March 2007 for our 3rd anniversary weekend. We had stayed here twice (once for our wedding weekend in 2004 and for our 2nd anniversary weekend in 2006) previously and had pretty much known what to expect but I have to stay this is my most disappointing stay in a hotel to date. I'll come back to why shortly…
The hotel offers 350 guest rooms with a range of classic, Sm@rt or executive rooms and the rooms all have facilities to make tea and coffee (with complimentary biscuits as is standard with any hotel I believe) and mini bars. They say "The classic rooms feature all the benefits you would expect from a 4 star de-luxe hotel as well as being the most spacious and quietest at London Heathrow." The "Sm@art" rooms apparently have a separate seating area and the executive rooms are situated on the executive floor with fully equipped offices.
They advertise that the rooms are sound proofed (I'll discuss that point later). The rooms have irons and ironing boards and hairdryers and occasionally bathrobes and slippers.
Car parking has to be paid for separately at the hotel, they have extortionate rates ranging from a couple of hours to 24 hours. There's an indoor heated pool and a gym for guests too. Satellite channels are available in the room and high speed internet access is available in the rooms (at a price).
There's an American themed Sports Bar & Café where you can have a drink, dine casually and watch a range of sports on a large screen. The Sage restaurant is more formal and is an all day restaurant. If you want to have an even more expensive drink in relaxing surroundings you can use the Skybar which is available to guests to have a drink by the bar except on Friday evenings when it closed to guests unless they attend the Mumbai Nights event. This is an Indian themed evening, free entry for ladies before 10pm and £15 for gents or £25 entry after 10pm for everyone. This gets you entry to the event and a voucher to get some Indian buffet type snacks supplied by a local restaurant called Madhu's.
The Sheraton Skyline also has a conference centre available which has 18 meeting rooms of differing sizes with broadband internet access available in most of these rooms. There are also video and teleconferencing facilities available.
Now I'll get down to the real nitty gritty - my experience of staying at the Sheraton Skyline. Now this isn't all based on one stay, I had slight niggles on previous stays but this most recent stay in March 2007 is, as they say, the straw that broke the camel's back.
We had attended the Mumbai Nights event on previous occasions and wanted to invite some friends down to have a drink and celebrate with us at this event. I booked the hotel through priceline.co.uk over a week before we stayed there. I called the hotel directly to ask for a quote and they quoted me £79 a night for a classic room and £15 a night for parking. I said I had paid considerably less than that booking through a third party last year and they said I was welcome to book it through someone else. I found their attitude somewhat rude but had read in a review somewhere that you could book through priceline. Anyway I booked online through priceline and got a double classic room for 2 nights for £133.96 and they quoted me £12 a night for parking. I booked the room online and in the "special requests" box I stated that it was our wedding anniversary. The room rate was including taxes and service charge but not breakfast. The email confirmation stated that check-in time was from 13:00 onwards and that we must check out by 13:00. They accept American Express, Diners Card, Master Card and Visa for payment and advised that cancellations must be advised before 18:00 on the day of arrival. Priceline were quite helpful in also providing directions to the hotel.
We arrived on the Friday at about 14:30 and I gave my name (as I had booked it online as opposed to my husband). They asked if we wanted to upgrade to a better room at a cost of £40 a night and get breakfast included - we declined; we weren't planning on waking up in time for breakfast. We were given two room keys to a first floor room and hubby said we'd like a room with a pool view and I requested a smoking room. I read in a review elsewhere that if you request a smoking room you don't get a bath. We were not advised of this, just given the room keys and advised to get the lift from reception to the first floor. We got the lift to the first floor and had quite a walk from the lift to find our room. When we got to our room we noticed it was right next to a lift; not a problem, the rooms were sound proofed right? Wrong, again I'll come back to that later. We were quite disappointed when we finally managed to get the very awkward room keys to work, took 6 or 7 attempts and I was rather in a hurry to use the bathroom having drunk a 500ml bottle of diet coke on the way in the car. The room was rather dark and depressing. The window over-looking the pool was not very big so there was hardly any natural light coming into the room. We switched on every light available in the room and it was still rather bleak. I was rather disappointed not to have a bath available but had sort of expected it, although it would have been nice if the receptionist had advised us of this, we might have gone for a non-smoking room instead (I don't smoke that much these days anyway). The bed was a double (the previous year we had been given a king size bed and paid even less) and was rather creaky! There was one armchair and a desk with a rather nice and comfortable chair to work at if we were going to use the desk as an office. The previous year we had had a sofa in our room and the room had just seemed much larger and more airy AND had a lot more light even though that had also been a pool view room. The bathroom was rather small and the shower was quite cramped although it was a very nice power shower. There was a bathrobe in the wardrobe and additional pillow and blanket to use if required.
We thought we'd have a relaxing few hours in bed and have a nap before we got ready for our friends popping over in the evening for a drink and switched on the TV. The welcome screen we had noticed on previous stays did not display and more than half the channels weren't working. We weren't going to bother complaining about that as we hadn't come to a hotel to watch TV all weekend. The one thing I had to complain about, though, was the room temperature. It was excessively warm and the air-conditioning seemed to be very noisy but totally ineffective. I called guest services and they said I had to turn the "boost" off as this was for heating not for cooling! I thought that was rather odd as we had it set for the lowest temperature possible of 15 degrees. We showered and tried to have a nap but kept hearing people talking in the corridor and some rather loud noises which we could figure out what they were. About 6pm we decided to get showered again and get dressed for our friends to arrive. Within minutes of getting out of the shower we found we were almost sweating in the heat. It was like being on a tropical holiday! It had been a pretty warm day outside but we couldn't fathom why it was so warm. My husband doesn't particularly like complaining and I was trying not to let anything spoil our weekend. I sent hubby to the ice room to fill up the ice bucket and we poured ourselves some drinks and waited for our friends to arrive. About 6 friends came up to our room including my brother and they had brought champagne as gifts, we were drinking champagne and they toasted our anniversary when at about 9pm there was a knock at the door, I went to see who it was and there were 2 suited chaps from the hotel there saying we were making a lot of noise. I was very embarrassed and apologised and told the others that obviously we were talking too loud and we should keep it down. We went down to the Mumbai Nights event at 9.45pm where another 6 or 7 friends met us. I was rather tipsy so have very little recollection of how many drinks I had but the only time I ordered from the bar I do recall it was 3 vodkas with mixers which came to over £22 (I charged it to my room). The evening was a success, everyone had a lovely time and we went up to our room at 2am, tired from all the dancing but happy.
Saturday morning, we were woken at 6am, then again at 8am by loud banging noises. I called guest services after being unable to get back to sleep and asked them if they could stop what sounded like drilling going on the in the next room, they said they would investigate and call back. I advised them to investigate and get it to stop BUT not to call me back as we were trying to get some sleep. We had not chosen to order breakfast from the hotel - the prices were just too extortionate for what you got. £15 each for continental breakfast or £17 each for English or Healthy Starter breakfasts. If you ordered any of these up to your room there was an additional £3 charge per person. We looked at the mini bar prices and chuckled that they were charging £2.10 for a Chunky Kit Kat 55g, £2.70 for a 50g tin of Pringles, £3.00 for a 300ml can of Coke and single measure sized bottles of Gordon's Gin, Smirnoff Vodka and Bells Whiskey were £6.70 each or £8.00 for Jack Daniels or Courvoisier Cognac. A 25cl bottle of wine was £9.50 (that's about enough for just over one glass of wine I think?). We didn't bother with the mini bar. We had brought some snacks with us and as we were going out for an anniversary dinner in the evening we weren't too bothered about having a big lunch. We ended up having 3 showers each during the day due to the room being so warm and continuously there were noises coming from the corridor and even other rooms, the noise we heard when we opened our sliding door wardrobe was the same noise we could hear from next door. So much for sound-proofing! Just before we were leaving for the restaurant there was the most horrendous continuous banging noise coming from outside and I went to investigate only to find that it was the lift - the doors were slamming open every couple of seconds. I called guest services and let them know the lift was sticking and making a dreadful noise. They apologised and said they'd send someone to investigate.
We had decided to eat out for our anniversary meal as on a previous stay we had eaten in the Sage restaurant and to quote my husband "That was the WORST meal I've ever had the misfortune to have eaten - even if it was free I wouldn't eat here again!" The starters had been around £10 each and our hearts had sank when we saw the huge plate with the miniscule portion covering less than one tenth of the plate with a leaf or two as garnish and the main courses were about £20 each and were not even enough to fill a sparrow's stomach!
To give you an idea of prices in the various bars/restaurant/room service:
Soup of the day - £7
Spinach & goat cheese tarte - £10
Cheese & tomato Panini - £11
Penne with creamy mild mushroom ragout - £15
Chicken Caesar salad - £11
Greek salad - £10
Skyline Burger - £11
Focacia club sandwich - £11
Hot & spicy chicken wings - £11
All day brunch - £17
7oz grilled beef fillet steak - £25
Grilled breast of chicken - £19
Vegetarian pizza - £14
Fried cod in batter, chips, mushy peas and tartare sauce - £19
French fries - £4
Buttered spinach - £4
Mixed salad -£4
We got back from our meal (that was another poor experience at the London Hong Kong restaurant down the road from the Sheraton) at about 9.30pm and 10 minutes later the lift was sticking again. My husband decided to go into the lift himself and go downstairs, advised reception there was still a problem and came back up in a different lift. During the night we were woken several times by the lift and at 5am I had to call guest services yet again about the lift getting stuck. The lift actually has a sign on it saying that it's not operational between 12:00 and 06:00 which we know for a fact is untrue as we were woken so many times during the night by people coming in and out of the lift and talking in the corridor right next to our room whilst waiting for or exiting the lift.
When we had checked in they had told us check out time was 12:00, I showed them the booking confirmation I had which said 13:00 and they said this was not always possible. At any rate we checked out before 12:00 anyway. There was a notice at reception saying it was £20 for each additional 2 hours if you wanted to stay later. I was asked on checking out if everything was satisfactory. I told them that it wasn't, and mentioned how many times we'd been disturbed and how many times the lift had bothered us and the drilling at one stage and how hot the room had been. They said the room was hot because we'd asked for a pool view room and there was no ventilation in those rooms. Why had they not advised us of this when we checked in? I was told that they would put a note on my "profile" for the next time we stayed so that we were given a room with windows. I said it didn't matter I didn't think we'd be staying there again. They did not seem to care. The only bargain we got was that they charged us just £12 instead of £24 for parking which seemed to be a mistake on our bill which I wasn't going to point out. I would also mention that I had specifically had to ask for us not to be disturbed on the Sunday morning with phone calls as the previous year we had started getting silent calls from 7am in our room - someone mentioned to me later on (who works in the travel industry) that some hotels do this to see if people have vacated the room so they can send the cleaners in to get the rooms cleaned and ready for the next guests. We received 4 or 5 silent calls last time we stayed during the Sunday morning and I made a point of telling reception not to put any calls through under any circumstances. My husband and I both have mobile phones and no one was likely to be calling us on the hotel phone at all. Luckily they seemed to take heed of this as we received no such annoying silent calls this time!
On the whole the hotel seems to offer good facilities but we did not feel we experienced them. My overall rating of this 4 star hotel which claims "For sheer quality and total convenience, the Skyline at Heathrow has reclaimed its status as the pre-eminent London airport hotel. Business is easy and leisure is a pleasure." (which I would have to disagree with on all counts apart from the business viewpoint which I have no experience of) is a pretty poor 4 out of 10.
And before you ask or recommend me to do so - I have already fed back my concerns over our stay to the hotel - let's see what, if anything, they do about it. At the time we were rather disappointed with the hotel but because we thoroughly enjoyed the Friday evening (which is more to do with our friends being there to celebrate with us than the hotel providing a good service to its guests), we did not feel the weekend was a total disaster. I can imagine it wouldn't be that much fun for people staying in the hotel who did not attend the Friday evening event having people staggering back to their rooms at 2am (which we made a point of being very quiet so as not to disturb others). If you like that sort of thing Mumbai Nights itself is an event well worth attending, good music and a good crowd of people all very smartly dressed enjoying a night out in a pretty decent looking pool bar and function room.
As for the cleanliness aspect we found the carpet in our room to be very drab and worn and I'd rate the cleanliness factor as just average, I've stayed in 3 star hotels which seemed to take more pride in clean surfaces and sparkling mirrors in the bathrooms. As for family friendly, it's hard to tell, on the three occasions we've stayed there I've never seen any children at all. I can't rate the pool or fitness centre as I didn't use them and have never actually seen anyone in the pool on any of our stays there. I have rated the standard of service as poor as I felt there was no action taken on any of our complaints during our stay and on checking out of the hotel their attitude was very blasé when I said I probably wouldn't stay there again.
Oh and I'd also add that even though we said it was our anniversary on the booking form no notice was taken of this (although when we stayed there for our wedding weekend they did nothing special for us then either) we weren't exactly expecting any special treatment but the fact that it was our anniversary wasn't even acknowledged!
Summary: Recommended? NO