Review: How is the Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel?

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This is our review of the Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel.

We first looked at this hotel in 2017 when it opened and Anika stayed there.  I had never stayed myself, however, and an early morning flight from the airport – coupled with a good value £88 rate – tempted me to book in.  I was also tempted by the offer of £75 cashback on £250 of Hilton bookings, which appeared on my Amex Gold card offers page last week.

My last Hampton by Hilton stay was also at a UK airport – my review of Hampton by Hilton Exeter Airport is here.  This is a very similar hotel, although substantially larger with 357 rooms.

In general, I am a big fan of Hampton by Hilton.  I know it is cliched, but they do usually have all the things I want (modern design, a down to earth menu of comfort food, free breakfast, free wi-fi, desks in the rooms) and none of the things I rarely use (room service, laundry etc).

The hotel website is here if you want to book or learn more.

Where is Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport?

One of the key selling points of the Hampton is that, like the Radisson Blu on the other side of the terminal, it is directly at the airport.  You don’t need a shuttle bus.

This being Stansted, of course, nothing is quite as simple as it seems.  The good news is that it only took me seven minutes from the doors of my train to the hotel reception, and if I’d not taken pictures and knew immediately where to go it would have been five minutes.

However, once I’d taken the lift to the terminal departures hall, I was required to walk outside – partly uncovered – and take a lift back down so I was level with the railways tracks.  There is then a covered walkway, but one which is uncovered from the sides – it won’t protect you from rain if the wind is blowing it sideways.  Don’t expect a simple, level, fully covered stroll from the terminal to reception.

You can get a feel for what I mean here – the hotel is on the far left of the picture and I am standing at the far left of the terminal:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

but finally I made it:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

The lobby area is very similar to one in Exeter, and in a good way.  There was this welcome sign:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

which partners with this motif outside the lifts:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

The ground area is neatly zoned.  This is the far corner by some meeting rooms and is the best place to work quietly at a table:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

You then come to the bar area:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

and:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

and:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

with a restaurant at the back:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

In terms of pricing, the restaurant is around £17 for a main.  It is nothing to scare the horses – BBQ pork ribs, seabass fillet, curry etc.  There is a £4.95 kids menu.  The restaurant is open from 6pm to 10pm.

There is also a separate bar menu served when the restaurant is closed with a modest list of burgers (around £14), salads (around £11) and paninis and pizzas (£10-£15).  In the evenings you can eat in the bar from the restaurant menu.

I should mention that my evening meal was a total disaster.  When I went down around 7pm, I was told that due to ‘issues with the kitchen’ they could only supply food from the bar menu.  This meant that my Diamond amenity of a free appetiser from the restaurant menu (worth around £6) was forcibly swapped for a bag of crisps or chocolate bar.  Thus, I got to eat my first Double Decker bar in about 30 years.

The chicken burger I ordered for £13.95 was shockingly bad.  The grilled chicken was so tough that on numerous occasions I was struggling to cut it.  The chips were ok though …..  I’ve no idea what the ‘issues with the kitchen’ were but they clearly seemed linked to an inability to have anyone on the premises who could cook.

There is also a fitness centre on the ground floor.  When I popped my head in the door there were four people using it, which was a surprise.

Rooms at Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport

Let’s take a quick look at my room.  My Hilton Honors Diamond status got me a room on the 6th floor (out of 7) which overlooked the airport.  This allowed me to see the aircraft parked up.

Here is my biggest gripe:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

As you can see, there is very little window space.  The windows are basically slats and the bulk of the wall is just that – a wall.

This may be due to soundproofing requirements on a low budget build, because it certainly wasn’t 100% silent.  You might ask what I expect being a few metres from a runway, but the truth is that recent airport hotel openings such as the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow T2 (review) have jawdroppingly good sound proofing.  I get more aircraft noise over my house in West London than I did in that hotel.  The Hampton’s soundproofing isn’t terrible but it isn’t state of the art either.

The room looks better from the other angle:

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

There is a decent sized desk with two plug and two USB sockets, plus a kettle with tea, instant coffee and UHT milk.

The bathroom was spotlessly clean and exactly what you’d expect for this sort of hotel – no bathtub, a single sink, toiletries in large containers bolted to the wall.  It was perfectly fine.

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

How is breakfast?

Everyone gets free breakfast at Hampton hotels, which is a key benefit of staying here.

Breakfast is served from 4am to 10am, or 11am at weekends.  You can’t argue with that.  I went down around 7.30am and it wasn’t too busy.

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

It is done in the standard Hampton style.  There is a decent selection of hot dishes, pastries, fruit (not the best selection) etc.  Everything is self-service, including coffee.  You can either perch on a stool with your food or carry it over to the restaurant.

Review Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel

The only thing that I found a bit odd was that the buffet was set up in two identical u-shaped areas.  Because of the way you enter the dining area, you don’t see the second one immediately.  This meant that everyone was getting their food in one area whilst the adjacent area – where I took my photographs – was literally deserted.

Is the Hampton Stansted worth a visit?

This wasn’t a totally pain-free stay.  As well as the low quality evening meal, I had a loo which was badly behaved and didn’t like to flush!  However, if you assume that these are isolated incidents which won’t impact you, I think you will like the Hampton Stansted.

The public areas and rooms look good, albeit bigger windows would have been nice.  The free breakfast is better than you may expect.  The bar and restaurant are perfectly pleasant places to pass an hour.

I paid £88, booked four days in advance, although it obviously jumps around a lot from day to day.  I won’t argue with that, especially as I will pick up a chunk of Hilton Honors points too.

The Hampton by Hilton Stansted Airport hotel website is here if you want to book or find out more.

Hampton by Hilton Stansted review

How to earn Hilton Honors points via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold, Shangri-La Golden Circle Jade and Melia Rewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. I like the Radisson blu at Stansted had a few good stays and always been upgraded there as gold but as Hampton is better value may give it a try next time.

  2. I’ve recently had reason to stay at both the Hampton and the Holiday Inn Express at Stansted… very equivalent in terms of room-rates, similar quality of room, and both with inclusive (I prefer that word rather than free) breakfast.

    But the Hampton wins hands down in terms of convenience (no transit bus at £3 each way) and a far superior breakfast – not least due to the Hampton appreciating that passengers may need to leave early for flights, whereas the HIX doesn’t start breakfast until 6am (rather unhelpful for a 7am flight).

    I’ve not tried the Raddie, but certainly given the choice, I’ll take the Hampton over the HIX next time.

    • Thanks, Andrew. That’s exactly the answer I needed for one of my two questions. 🙂 So I’ll ask the other one.

      Is it easy for cab dropoff without having to do the STN parking dropoff charade? Thanks.

      • Matthew says:

        Yes the Hampton hotel is on a different road to the paid drop off zone. You can get dropped off outside for free. There maybe a hotel barrier but that’s just to stop people parking and I’m sure it would be lifted for a taxi. There is a little lay-by near to it anyway that is always free to drop off…

      • southlondonphil says:

        @Roger* – never arrived by cab, but stayed at the Hampton a couple of times when I’ve had early flights. It’s on Bassingbourn Road, so when you get to the first roundabout after leaving the A120 take the first exit (signposted to the Novotel and the Hampton before the roundabout, and signposted to Enterprise House and the VIP Suite on the roundabout itself) instead of going straight on to the terminal.

        Then you just keep straight on towards, and past, the Control Tower, and the Hampton is just up ahead. You do not go into the ‘Express Set Down / Kiss and Drive’ area with its associated exhorbitant costs.

  3. We have frequently overnighted at this hotel from when it first opened on our way back to France. Always found the rooms clean and comfortable. Enjoy the bar snacks and breakfast is excellent. But the furniture in the seating area is now very stained which is disappointing. I hope they have a plan to clean it.

  4. terrible customer service. Easier if your a gold member, no diamond allowances.

  5. From chatting with staff, bar food in Hamptons seems to be prepared by them using a Merrychef type affair, rather than a chef in a full kitchen (where the restaurant food comes from). Either there was a fault in the kitchen or they had no chef that evening.

    While the inclusive breakfast is one of Hamptons biggest selling points, it’s evening food offer is one of its biggest weaknesses IMO. If I’m in a Hampton I’ll try to plan it so I avoid having to eat there, and what you get if you do have to eat there is generally either appalling (as Rob found) or overpriced or both.

    • Another advantage of these hotels that are walking distance to the terminal is that one can eat in the airport, although I can see that might be less appealing here when raining.

      At Gatwick when staying at the Hilton I find the Weatherspoons sufficiently less awful than the hotel restaurants for it to be worth the walk (indeed the walk is some good exercise!)

  6. Thanks, Matthew and southlondonphil for directions. After many years’ absence, I feel I can use STN again.

  7. Russell Gowers says:

    I stayed here for work (nearest Hilton to the office I was working at)

    I had a similar experience with the chicken burger. In fact it was so bad I went to the landslide M&S and bought myself a picnic dinner the next evening…

  8. Graeme Monteith says:

    I have stayed there several times and quite liked it. I had no complaints about the food but have never tried a burger. I have stayed in the whole range of Hiltons and consider Hamptons as good value for money for a one night stay.

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