The Best London-Heathrow Airport Hotel (LHR)

The difficult and expensive Heathrow hotel transportation system adds to the already difficult task of finding the best accommodations among the hectic array of choices. That task will get even more difficult in March 2008 when Heathrow is slated to open its 5th terminal. The Airport Hotel Guru will update these reviews on our next trip through London after that opening. In the meantime, here are your best Heathrow hotel options:

Overall Best Heathrow Airport Hotel:

Yotel Heathrow
Yotel standard roomYotel floor plan for standard cabin

Given the hassle and expense of the Hoppa Bus system, the huge expense of the hugely convenient Hilton (see below) and the lack of other spectacular good options, the Yotel located inside Terminal 4 is our runaway choice for Heathrow’s best airport hotel. At least it is for you non-claustrophobic readers. A standard Yotel room (or “cabin” in Yotel parlance) is all of seven square meters. But what a seven square meters it is! A cabin includes a comfortable (dare we say, luxurious) bed, a foldout desk and flat screen TV. This is not your coffin-inspired image of a Japanese capsule hotel. Standard cabins include a small en-suite bathroom and there’s room enough to sit up in bed; headroom is no issue at all in the 10 square meter premium cabins, which are very much like a “normal,” if small, room at a typical hotel. The Airport Hotel Guru admits to being a huge fan of the Yotel concept. The Yotel is convenient in terms of location — you can take the lift down to the Terminal 4 departure level, check in to your flight, and then return to your cabin to sleep, shower, watch TV or whatever; it’s like having your own private pre-flight lounge. The Yotel cabins themselves are practical, too, with their strategically placed reading lights, free wifi and 24-hour room service ordered through the TV. Our only complaint, and it is a slight one, is that the wall between the bathroom and the “bedroom” is made of glass (to make the cabin appear larger presumably). There is a curtain you can draw, but it is drawn from the bedroom side and doesn’t really provide a sense of total privacy. So, if you are sharing a cabin with some one you aren’t already completely close with, you’ll feel that much closer after your stay. Also, the case for staying at the Yotel is diminished slightly if you aren’t flying either into or out of Terminal 4. And the Yotel isn’t the absolute cheapest option at £56 for a standard cabin overnight. (Premium cabins are £82, though we found the standard cabins just fine). There are, of course, people to whom the Yotel concept does not appeal or is not practical. But if you are not one of them there’s no need for you to read our Heathrow reviews any further.

Honorable Mention Best Hotel:

Hilton London Heathrow Airport
lhrhilton The Best London Heathrow Airport Hotel (LHR) There are three qualities which set the Hilton apart from its Heathrow competitors. The most important, and most obvious, is the convenient location — the Hilton is attached directly to Heathrow’s Terminal 4 by a covered walkway. The second is the hotel’s striking glass-enclosed atrium, encompassing the lounging areas and hubbub of activity of the ground floor. And the third is the food — for some reason that even the Airport Hotel Guru has not been able to figure out the dinning options at this particular Hilton are unusually tasty. The hotel also has a (small) heated pool, sauna and steam room. And free in-room wireless internet! The drawback, as it is with most of the world’s airport-attached hotels, is the price — click here to see our special rates. The Hilton’s basic rooms are very much like those at any other typical Hilton. If you can afford the splurge to stay here it is worth upgrading to one of the significantly more stylish and spacious executive rooms.

For less expensive business class hotels see our Best Values below.

Closest Accommodations to the Heathrow Airport:

The Yotel and Hilton Heathrow — see above.

Cheapest Heathrow Airport Hotel:

Heathrow Lodge
The Heathrow Lodge is one of those places that’s a little better in theory than in reality. It is the only hotel we know of offering free airport transportation (how they get away with that we don’t know – see our write-up on the Hoppa Bus service). The Heathrow Lodge also offers some local character, is a few minutes walk from two nice little pubs, and has complimentary wi-fi. And you get all that for between £18 and £40 (depending on the type of room), which is as cheap as you can stay for around Heathrow. So what’s the catch? The rooms, mostly. They are a little grim. Certainly not dire, but the place is rather worn and their beds are not the most comfortable you’ve slept on. The touted free airport transport has its limits also; it only operates Monday through Friday from 6pm to 12:30pm and 5pm to 10:30pm, Saturday and Sunday from 6am to 10am and 6pm to 10pm. If you are traveling on your own, looking for a place to crash before a morning flight and can afford to pay an extra £25 or so we’d suggest you stay at the Yotel instead (see above). If you have a family in tow or are looking for the least expensive reasonable option, stay at the Heathrow Lodge, set your expectations low, and then might be pleasantly surprised.

The Most Luxurious Heathrow Airport Hotel:

There’s no clear winner. The Hilton (see above) is modern and sleek and has the most luxurious lobby.

Heathrow Sheraton Sky BarThe Sheraton Skyline Hotel has what are arguably the most luxurious rooms. The Sheraton also has the best swimming pool of any Heathrow hotel. And even non-swimmers can appreciate the poolside Sky Bar (see photo to left), named so because the ceiling covering both the bar and the pool is made of glass. If it weren’t for the dated common areas, the surcharge for internet usage, and the many Hoppa Bus stops required to get here from the airport the Sheraton would have earned an honorable mention for best Heathrow hotel.

The Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel is the most luxurious in the classic sense — wood trim in the lobby, carpet everywhere, formal restaurant, etc. They charge for wireless internet.

The Best Value Heathrow Airport Hotel:

The Yotel and the Heathrow Lodge are excellent values in their own way (see above). Of the dozens of mid-range hotels around Heathrow we’ve find the three best ones. Each of our choices is a Hoppa Bus ride from the airport, each is in the £60~£90 price range. Each also has its own set of advantages; we list them in general order of our preference:

Premier Travel Inn Heathrow Airport
lhrpremier.jpgThe Premier is the closest to the airport of the three we are reviewing in this category. It is also well served by the Hoppa Bus, which will drop you off here before the other hotels on the way from the airport and pick you up last on the return trip. The rooms are nothing spectacular but are modern, functional, quite large and a very solid value for the money; ask for one with a view of the landing strip. The hotel does not have free internet. They do have an efficient staff, a nice coffee shop off the lobby, and a surprisingly good buffet breakfast included in the price. (Note that there’s another Premier Inn by Heathrow called the Premier Inn M4/J4).

Jurys Inn Heathrow
The big advantage of Jurys Inn is that it is right next to the Hatton Cross Tube station which makes getting here from central London inexpensive and convenient. Jury’s is also the only Heathrow hotel to have its own Hoppa Bus line; this is a disadvantage coming from Heathrow since the bus doesn’t run as often as the others, but an advantage traveling from the hotel when you can plan your departure in advance. (Ask the front desk for the exact bus schedule). Also, from Jurys you can walk to shops and restaurants, so there’s not the feeling of being stuck here that you get at most airport hotels. The hotel itself is modern and well run. The rooms are a little average, but have triple-panel windows and keep out airport noise to an extraordinary degree. Unlike the Premier (above), breakfast is not included. And neither, sadly, is an internet connection.

Radisson Edwardian Heathrow Hotel
The Radisson ranks third on the list only because it is more expensive than the above two options. The Radisson is only in their price range when special deals are to be had (click here to see). In other regards, the Radisson is a superior place to stay — the rooms are plush and the hotel sports a nice bar and an excellent gym (though, like the above no options, no pool). The Radisson also offers free in-room wireless — one of the very few Heathrow hotels to do so.

Heathrow Airport Info:

Heathrow Airport
Essential in making your airport hotel choice is understanding the role of the Hoppa Bus — see our special posting on that subject. If you are flying on British, United or American you can check your bag at their respective desks in Paddington Station.

A fifth terminal is opening at Heathrow in March 2008. Terminals 1, 2 and 3 are very close to each other and served by the Hoppa Bus but have no attached accommodations. Terminal 4 is some distance from the others and has both the Yotel and the Hilton. Check your specific flight to see what terminals apply to your trip. The rough breakdown:

Terminal 1 – Domestic UK flights, but also some departures to Europe and flights on South African Airways and El Al.

Terminal 2 – Mostly international flights within Europe.

Terminal 3 – Long-haul flights carriers other than British Airways, especially to North America and Africa.

Terminal 4 – Dominated by British Airways, but also used by other airlines including KLM and Qantas.

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{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Pembroke 06.14.09 at 11:41 am

I was chatting to some American toursists who landed at Heathrow. They stayed at the Yotel for their first night while they got over the jet lag. They said it was good value for money and so convenient. It gave them a good base before they headed off on a 6 week tour of the British Isles. I’ll make a note of these other hotels as well though thanks.
Pembroke Adams.

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