Who won ‘Best New UK Airport Hotel 2019’ at the Head for Points Awards?

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Over Christmas and New Year, we are unveiling the winners of the inaugural Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards.  Today is Day 7 and we have moved onto the hotel awards, which in general were much tighter votes.  We are looking at which was the best new airport hotel opened in the last 12 months or so?

The Head for Points Travel & Loyalty Awards 2019 are a great opportunity to recognise the cream of the crop when it comes to UK premium business and leisure travel. A lot of the areas we are covering, such as airport lounges and travel credit cards, are ignored by other awards because they are too niche – but for our readers, they are very important and appreciated.

Over 4,500 HFP readers voted over three weeks in November. There were 12 categories in total. As well as giving an award to each category winner, we are also giving out a number of ‘Editor’s Choice’ awards for products and services which we personally admire.

Each winner will receive a trophy which we will be presenting at a special dinner in January. You can catch up with all of the winners we have announced to date by clicking here.

What is the best UK Airport Lounge

Today we are announcing the winner of ‘Best New UK Airport Hotel 2019’.

This isn’t a category I can imagine us offering every year.  The 12 months from Autumn 2018 to Autumn 2019, however, saw a surprisingly high quantity of high quality properties opening, especially at London Heathrow.

The winner is….

Crowne Plaza London Heathrow Terminal 4

This was a closely fought race, with Crowne Plaza – with 34% of the vote – just seeing off Hilton Garden Inn Terminal 2 which got 30%.

The real winner, of course, is Arora Group, which owns both the Crowne Plaza and the Hilton Garden Inn.  For good measure, it also owns the hotel which came third – the new Holiday Inn Express in Heathrow Terminal 4, attached to the Crowne Plaza.

I should also give a nod to the other two shortlisted hotels, Staybridge Suites Bath Road and the Aerotel in Terminal 3 Arrivals.  We have reviewed both properties and, in different ways, each has a lot to recommend it.

There weren’t many ‘write in’ entries here from people who disagreed with our shortlist.  Hampton by Hilton Bristol Airport got numerous votes although it actually opened in 2017.  The Moxy’s at Heathrow (opened April 2018) and Edinburgh (opened 2019) were also mentioned enough times to make me think they are worth a review at some point.

Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4 Best New UK Airport Hotel

I agree with the readers on the winner, however.  I reviewed the Crowne Plaza back in November 2018 and had an excellent stay.  Taken together with the Holiday Inn Express, it was the largest UK hotel to open in 2018 and the largest IHG property to open anywhere in Europe.

One benefit of having a Holiday Inn Express in the same building is that the Crowne Plaza has had to invest in impressive rooms to stop guests trading down.  As you can see, they are very classy.  The little things that matter were all there – individual reading lights, USB sockets by the bed, a variety of pillow types, a robe in the wardrobe etc.

crowne plaza heathrow terminal 4 Best New UK Airport Hotel

There was also a good sized desk complete with power sockets and a decent light.  Wi-fi was free and of excellent quality, as you’d expect from a new build hotel.  Most importantly, sound proofing was outstanding.  (Until you stay here or in the new Hilton Garden Inn, which virtually sits on the tarmac, it is hard to explain how good it is.  I couldn’t hear a thing in either property when I stayed.)

crowne plaza heathrow t4 Best New UK Airport Hotel

The good news is that you can enjoy the bar and restaurant at the Crowne Plaza even if the rooms are outside your budget.  You can stay at the Holiday Inn Express, in the other half of the building, and cross-charge drinks and meals from the Crowne Plaza facilities.  The rooms are not as impressive, of course, but you would also get free breakfast.  It is also a very short walk – via a covered tunnel – from the Premier Inn Terminal 4.

crowne plaza heathrow terminal 4 Best New UK Airport Hotel

As I wrote in my original review, the meal I had at ‘Urban’ was the best I could ever remember having in an airport hotel:

crowne plaza heathrow t4 Best New UK Airport Hotel

Congratulations to Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4 and its owner Arora Group, who will be joining us at our winner’s dinner on 13th January.  Tomorrow we ring in 2020 with your votes for ‘Best Hotel Loyalty Scheme’.

Here's the full HFP index of articles for December 2019
British Airways sneaks out some interesting news on lounge refurbishments via its New Year resolutions ....

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  1. Nice enough hotel but was pretty much £70 dearer than the Premier inn when I compared prices for my next booking.

    I enjoyed my stay there in July ( courtesy of Ba and a delayed flight ) but find it hard to justify a 300% increase over the PI practically next door.

  2. As far as I can tell, if you want the runway views (should you care about such things) you have to stay in the HIE part of the complex – which I have several times and found it to be excellent. I’m certainly not complaining about the situation, but it would seem that the designers decided that the more premium CP customers aren’t bothered about an airport view?! BTW, how does the hotel prevent CP customers slipping round to the HIE side for the free breakfast?

    • NigelthePensioner says:

      By asking your room number before being seated usually.

      • Froggitt says:

        Being seated? Its an HIE ffs

        • Indeed. As it’s an unpoliced free for all I guess they’re relying on the honesty of CP folk not to slip in and help themselves…

          • Froggitt says:

            After staying a night in the Airport Hotel of the Year, there’s nothing better than sneaking into an HIE for brekkie, filling your plate with rubberised egg and fruit cocktail mush in sugar syrup.

    • Same as they do in all HIE properties – they make it utterly inedible so only the most hardened of HIE even go there

  3. NigelthePensioner says:

    “The real winner, of course, is Arora Group, which owns ……” Sofitel T5

  4. It was an absolute bargain during the last IHG Points Break, 15000 for a night.

  5. RussellH says:

    I agree that the LHR Moxy is worth a look if the price is right.

    £40 / night is what clinched it for me, and the buss stop TO the airport is outside the door. Not free, though.

  6. Neil Donoghue says:

    I really thought the Premier Inn was going to win this one! I just stayed on Christmas Eve for £28.00 and thought it was incredible value. Despite Spire & Diamond status, staying at Heathrow only has one purpose for me and that’s to catch a flight at a silly hour of the morning! Based on 9 hours of sleeping, I think paying £3 an hour is great value.

    • Agree. It’s a notch above many 4* dumps, and any hotel where you can walk to the terminal is worth its weight in gold.

      Just a shame it’s T4.

  7. +1 for the Moxy.

    Not always the most convenient (bus to T123 or Hounslow West, cab or Hoppa for other terminals) but it’s a really stylish hotel with pleasant communal area and clean, comfortable rooms. And something I’ve never seen before: a light under the bed which comes on when you get up to go for a pee!

  8. Having stayed in the HIE sore I don’t understand why anyone would stay in the CP side of this hotel. The HIE rooms are plenty spacious for what most people will be staying for before or after a flight, the room I had was facing T4 apron and was bigger than most rooms I’ve stated in at Premier Inn LGW N and the Premier Inn T4.

    Food and drink options are open to people staying on both sides of the hotel and believe me I saw plenty of people from the CP helping themselves to the free breakfast, which again given that it is £18 for the full breakfast the HIE one is more than adequate before a flight or trip to the lounge.

    As a IHG Platinum I was offered drinks AND points which was brilliant although that may have been a one off, I didn’t even have to ask for a snack at the bar to go with it, as was served at the same time unlike many IHG properties.

    • aston100 says:

      There seems to be inconsistency with various IHG hotels / franchises regarding the welcome drinks and/or points. I’ve been to places that have given both; a place that also gave a club biscuit on top; a couple of places who had to be reminded of the welcome amenity.

      • aston100 says:

        Also, I seem to recall I receive more welcome points at Holiday Inn than at Crowne Plaza.
        Last few visits to both have confirmed this, despite the various CP properties always costing more (money or IHG points) than the HI properties.

        • It’s down to motivation. The theory is that CP core guest profile has different motivations to core HIE guests and therefore needs to be incentivised differently.

  9. OTish: morning all. We’re off to somewhere hot in a few days so don’t want to be taking lots of cold weather clothing. Flying from T5 early morning, have a Hertz car to drop off. Planning a hotel the previous night so could drop the car off the previous evening, but then we’d have to get from Hertz to the hotel, which means somewhere walkable from one of the terminals would be best as the Hertz bus could drop us there. Also would rather not freeze getting to/from the hotel so not too far and don’t want to pay a lot. Any ideas?

    Obviously we could just stay in a driveable distance hotel and drop the car at Hertz in the morning instead…..

    • aston100 says:

      Check if they do nearby collections / drop offs.
      I know when I’ve used Hertz elsewhere they’ve done this (and Enterprise seem to have something of a standard arrangement for this scenario).

    • Thistle?

      It’s about 10 minutes’ walk along the perimeter road, perhaps less if someone can advice which car parks it’s practical to cut through.

      Then POD in the morning.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      Does the comment mean you are dropping the car at T5 or can it be dropped at any terminal?

      If not either of these hotels or Premier Inn T4 then you can get the HEX to T3 then onto T5 and it’s all covered walkways a thin jacket would probably keep you warm enough while walking.

      • Hertz have an off airport compound so we’d have to drop the car back there and then get their shuttle bus to one of the terminals (or maybe to a hotel as Aston100 suggests, I will check with them).

        • Lady London says:

          Their shuttle doesn’t make you hang around and I’d defo drop it off the night before. I’d do any airport hotel at or near a terminal. As you’ve been reading HfP for the past year you will know which works with your flights.

    • Lady London says:

      If you don’t want to take heavy jackets try highly compressible modern ski underwear which will go in a pocket.

      Planes can be cold for some people on longhaul routes too even if they are going somewhere hot.

    • 1) Hilton T5 then drop car in morning, or;
      2) drop pax and bags at hotel at or near terminal (always suggest Sofitel if T5) then return car evening before and get hertz bus back to airport/hotel

      • Thanks all for the replies as usual. Decision made. I do find one of the “joys” of the internet is that I have an irrational need to research to the nth degree even the simplest choice, when once upon a time I’d just pick one which looked good enough rather than ideal and be happy with that. Easier to do with the internet but so much more time consuming, so it’s great when you can use other people’s experiences to light the way.

        Happy 2020 to everyone.

  10. aston100 says:

    So how comes your main HFP readership of London millionaires voted for a HIE of all places?
    Just wondering how this and the mad scramble for £20 Monese card offers and Shop Small fit in with your odd view that the majority of your readership are affluent Londoners earning in excess of £100k pa.

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      I have a HSBC Premier account and earn in excess of £100k a year….I have admitted four comments up that I stayed in the Premier Inn for £28. What amazes me is that you clearly think just because I earn a large salary that I must automatically be an idiot and like to blow my money???

      • aston100 says:

        That’s an amazing stretch right there.

      • Depending how far north of 100K in London paying a mortgage that’s not high life money. Mortgage free and the picture changes.
        Realities of decent housing in London.

    • Neil Donoghue says:

      Rich people stay rich by living like they’re broke.

      Broke people stay broke by living like they’re rich.

      • Lady London says:


        Doesn’t mean you’d put up with poor quality at that price but if quality is adequate at least 3/4 of people with similar means and lifestyle would do the same if they trusted Rob and read his reviews.

        Doug M I know this from spending many years working with people who ranged from doing OK to poster to beyond telephone number wealth.

        Some of them are even too parsimonious.

        The smart ones and the ones that have longevity would take the Premier Inn if they knew about it.

    • source chode says:

      where is this view ever stated? that the *majority* are as you describe?

      I’ve only ever read statements such as ‘ the majority of the readership are not necessarily the same demographic as the majority of commenters’.

    • TGLoyalty says:

      The winner is the Crowne Plaza part of the complex?

      Rob says most of his readers are 30-40, Londoners and earn £70k+

      He doesn’t say they are all that demographic or that no one earning more or less than that reads the site.

      Also a northerner or midlander earning £60k+ is going to be better off than his London reader at the end of the week/month/year.

      Either way £100k a year is no where near the sort of money that means you can splash the cash everywhere with no sense of a deal.

    • I think Rob has made the comment, fairly frequently, that the majority of readers do not equal the majority of commenters.

    • There is no mad scramble. Under 200 people have opened Monese accounts as a result of the three articles we have run on these promos. This is out of 45,000 daily readers (email and site) and 400,000 people who visit the site once a month.

      If people already had accounts then £20 for the 2-3 minutes it takes is a decent return on investment!

      95%+ of wealthy people in the UK have earned their money, versus inheriting it. People who have worked for their money do not, in general, treat it like they won it in the lottery. They took 20 years to earn it and they will spend it modestly to ensure it can last at least one generation going forward. This also ignores the fact that even a £70k salary doesn’t get you far in London – my old one-bed flat in East London rents for £2k per month, so it is just about affordable to someone on £70k (£49k after tax) although potentially a squeeze.

      • Lady London says:

        And a number of those 200 probably did it for the gaming aspect. Fun and stupid not to.

        • TGLoyalty says:

          Better off getting 30 20 10 % off my future amazon, JL or M&S shops than sitting in my bank account. Incidentally these are three shops I could cash all my money out of very quickly for items I actually consume on a daily basis.

    • Aside from distractions about salaries and Monese etc., that particular HIE happens to be an excellent hotel, so I’m not at all surprised it got lots of votes.

  11. OT: Used the HSBC 25% Avios bonus twice this month, HNY. Now wish I had the paid card actually, wonder how easy it will be to upgrade.

    • It’s easy enough. I finally got round to doing it a few weeks ago by calling them up up. They will send you a form to fill out, I dropped it into my local branch and the card was with me in 3 days.

  12. TGLoyalty says:

    OT but related to Arora Group – the Savils Court Hotel they bought in Windsor and were planning to open as an unbranded luxury hotel will now be the Fairmont Windsor Park, was kind of hoping it would go to Marriott or IHG.

    • As it happens, the GM who opened CP T4 (who I spent quite a lot of time with on my tour there and still keep in touch with) has moved over to open Fairmont Windsor Park, so hopefully we’ll get access to that when it opens.

    • Lady London says:

      IIRC Arora are heavily in bed with Accor.
      Maybe IHG was a diversification for them.

      • They own both sofitels at the London airports, but have certainly stretched their wings of late

      • TGLoyalty says:

        Possibly but they do own a Hilton and a couple IHG. Fairmont is probably a great choice just a shame as Accor is the one programme I don’t use at all, any stays are just booked with hotels.com as I have no status and no way to earn additional points

  13. Rob

    If you’re planning a review of the Moxy, plead with Rhys to go I’m afraid you would react as I did when confronted with the hotel embodiment of ‘young trendy people’

    It does what it does well, it just doesn’t do it for me. If you wouldn’t put a Mini in your lounge then you ain’t gonna like it

    (An aside and a pro tip: don’t put a Mini in your lounge then look at me like I’m a monster when my young children want to get in it!)

    • Lady London says:

      Rob has done a Moxy review or 2 before and survived :-).

      I found boi’s comments about kids not being allowed on the oh-so-very-hipster Mini car in the Moxy LHR Reception quite telling, though.

      The Mini was all about freedom and accessibility when it began in the 1960’s. And now we have some fake hipster hotel brand putting one there but wanting to keep it away from the guests they’ve attracted.

    • James Woods says:

      pro tip, most parents actively discourage their children from trying to get into random cars they come across.

      • The terminal 4 hotel thing… I always stay at the premier inn for less then £35 (always quite a bit in advance) and walk down the covered tube walkway to eat and drink at the CP… A lovely way to start my twice yearly 2-4-1 to the states… Chin chin

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