This is my review of the Hilton Garden Inn hotel at Hatton Cross, by London Heathrow Airport.
The hotels at Heathrow Airport generally force you to make a choice. You can stay at the Sofitel Terminal 5 or Hilton Terminal 4, be directly connected to the airport, and pay a premium. Alternatively, you can waste your evening and your money on the slow and expensive Hoppa Bus (£4.50 one-way) between the terminals and a cheaper hotel. Our preferred choice is currently the new ibis Styles which we reviewed last year and which can be as low as £25 via the Accor Happy Mondays promotion.
There is a third way – the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow. This hotel, formerly a Jurys Inn, is just outside Hatton Cross underground station. There are two advantages of staying here:
You get there a lot quicker if arriving by tube – you get out at Hatton Cross before the airport, rather than having to travel to the terminals, head to the bus station and take a Hoppa Bus. You would save around 30 minutes.
In the morning, you walk back to the tube and take the one or two stops to Terminals 2/3/4 or Terminal 5. There is no need to wait for a Hoppa Bus and the tube fare is less than the Hoppa fare.
Being a slightly sad person, I’d always wanted to give the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow a try and the opportunity came up last week. At just £63, booked a week in advance, you can’t complain about the price.
What is a Hilton Garden Inn?
I had no idea before I arrived. And after staying there, I still have no idea! I have been in far worse ‘mainline’ Hilton properties. It is interchangeable with the Doubletree by Hilton at Heathrow which I visited once, which is actually nowhere near Heathrow. The toiletries (Peter Roth) are the same as a ‘normal’ Hilton. The chocolate chip cookies given out in reception remind you of a Doubletree.
Getting to Hilton Garden Inn Hatton Cross
(EDIT: according to the comments below, I didn’t take the most efficient route. If you leave the tube station by the other exit – ie NOT into the bus station – and then turn left it is shorter and avoids the bridge.)
It only really make sense to pick this hotel if you are arriving by tube, due to the time saving. The route is not exactly glamorous. It is also NOT signposted and if you didn’t know roughly where you were going you’d be in trouble. Luckily I had driven past the hotel many times and knew which direction to follow.
You exit Hatton Cross tube into the bus station where you will see this bridge (which, according to a notice on it, is Heathrow Airport property!):
Cross the bridge and follow the path around the industrial storage park, where amongst other things BA appears to store empty luggage holders:
Once you have gone around the corner, you will see the grey mass of the hotel ahead of you. For about 30 feet the pavement disappears and you are on gravel which could be annoying if pulling a heavy case. Whilst the walk only takes 2-3 minutes I can imagine that it isn’t a lot of fun in darkness.
There was a short but slow moving queue at reception but the welcome was warm. As a Hilton Diamond I was told that I could take two bottle of water from the pantry (see later). Chocolate chip cookies – just like at a Doubletree – newspapers and carbonated orange juice were on a table next to reception for anyone to help themselves. The cookies were genuinely excellent, surprisingly.
As a Diamond I was offered 750 Hilton Honors points or a free breakfast. As I was leaving very early I said I would take the points. The clerk then said that he would give me free breakfast anyway on top, although I declined it.
There was little they could give me in terms of Diamond upgrades although I got a top floor room with a view over a green field beside the hotel. This is presumably quieter than the other side which overlooks the road into the airport.
The hotel was refurbished a couple of years ago when it became a Hilton Garden Inn. My room, whilst small, was smartly furnished:
and had a decent desk.
The bathroom was standard with the Peter Thomas Roth toiletries used in most UK Hilton properties:
Where this hotel really shines is in the public areas. There is nothing, literally nothing, within walking distance apart from the minimart in the bus station! The hotel makes an effort to keep you occupied.
Here is some of the lounge seating on the ground floor. There is a small Costa Coffee opposite this.
This is the Garden Grille restaurant where you can take breakfast and dinner:
This is the Pavilion Pantry. Open 24 hours, you can buy drinks, snacks and toiletries. Frankly, every hotel – whatever the star rating – should have something like this.
The bar was being well used when I was there. A separate bar menu is available if you don’t want a formal meal in the Garden Grille.
There is also, not pictured, a small business centre and a fitness room.
All in all, I was impressed by the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow. It is classier than, say, a Holiday Inn Express. Whilst there is nothing going on nearby, the bar, restaurant, Costa Coffee and Pavilion Pantry will keep you going.
If you are heading to Heathrow by tube, the Hilton Garden Inn is far more convenient than any of the hotels which require the Hoppa Bus.
If you are arriving by cab or Heathrow Express it is a different story because you will need to get the Hoppa (or take the tube to Hatton Cross) and the hotel is no more convenient than any other option – although you will have an easier trip back to the airport in the morning via tube if you stay here.
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