No doubt the Sofitel in Healthrow's Terminal 5 is a refreshing upscale accommodation from what road warriors like me normally experience in an airport hotel.
Let’s start with the room rates. For those of you traveling in Europe, remember the room rate is only part of the equation and in some cases it's only 50% of the cost. Add the VAT and all those local charges and you will be shocked at what you pay. At the Sofitel there appears to be multiple rates as I spoke with several travelers who were paying much less for essentially the same room. You will see lots of flight attendants using the Sofitel which tells me they have a contract rate. I paid a total of 338 pound (inclusive of VAT and all other charges) a night for my room and for that huge cost didn't even have access to the Club Lounge.
The staff is generally attentive and like most of London they are composed of Eastern Europeans trying to make their way in the EU. Nice to see them!
The Sofitel numbers their rooms in a strange way and they do not coincide with the floors.
Be prepared at the Sofitel, like most European hotels, to pay excessively for Internet access - cost: 15 pounds. But I have to give them credit. They do provide a historic Internet experience for free. You can take advantage of the free 128K connection and live the old days of hotel internet access minus the funny dial-up tones.
The rooms are nice, but my room was the same size as a friend I spoke with you was paying 125 pounds less. The only difference I saw was in the type soap.
Rooms are a nice size, comfortable with a smallish flat panel TV. Pesky little things like the non-steam iron, one bar of soap and a very small bath mat seem problematic. And the refrigerator was empty, which is a good thing in that there is an excellent small grocery in the arrival hall of T5. So go there and stock up your fridge.
There are two restaurants; LA BELLE ÉPOQUE is excellent and I recommend you go at least one night. VIVRE is available for breakfast, lunch and dinner and was just OK. The food is good, but the service was inconsistent, though lots of staff trying their best to deal with traveler rushes. The breakfast is a buffet which was just OK - reminded me of an airport hotel breakfast. For the significant buffet price, there were no cooked to order eggs.
The Sphere Bar is excellent with a good travel vibe and I have always met interesting travelers while there.
The front of the hotel contains lots of wasted space with a tea lounge and a library bar. It is never clear to me when this is open or what it is about. I did use it for a business meeting which worked well, but this space should be used differently.
The exercise facility is good, exceeds what you find in other airport hotels, and there is a nice SPA. Unfortunately to use the steam room and sauna one must have an expensive SPA treatment.
I have stayed there several times and each time left questioning if the inflated price I paid was worth the extra upscale amenities the Sofitel provides. But in the end, it is a nice place but expensive and retains some of those characteristics of an airport hotel which are hard to shake.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Only Heathrow Airport hotel with direct access to Terminal 5 via a covered walkway and Terminals 1, 2, 3 / Terminal 4 via courtesy Heathrow Express / Connect rail connection and only 21 minutes from Central London by train. Sofitel London Heathrow boasts 605 non-smoking bedrooms including 27 suites. All rooms include the famous Sofitel MyBed, plasma screen TV and double glazed windows (rooms facing outside have triple glazing). All bathrooms include separate walk-in shower and bath. For your meetings and events, the hotel's conference centre boasts 45 meeting rooms including three executive boardrooms, a tiered theatre and a main room for up to 1,300 delegates. The hotel food and beverage outlets include: La Belle Epoque - 3AA Rosette restaurant serving gourmet French cuisine with contemporary world influences; Vivre - with its open theatre kitchens, Sphere Bar, the Le Bar Parisien invites you to experience classic and trendy cocktails, as well as Champagne selection, and the Tea 5 salon serves delicious cakes and lunch options. Leisure facilities include the hotel's Zen Garden, a 24-hour gym as well as a hydro suite with vitality pool, sauna and steam room (chargeable). A hair salon is located on the ground floor. For travellers arriving by car, the hotel offers on-site underground car park as well as Park & Fly packages for up to 15 days. We do also offer transportation to and from the hotel. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel Hounslow
- Sofitel Hotel London Heathrow
- Sofitel Hotel Hounslow
- London Sofitel