Which hotels at Heathrow Airport are walkable from the terminals, and don’t require a bus ride?
Whilst you are virtually guaranteed to be paying more to sleep within Heathrow Airport, you can’t argue that it is the easiest option.
The ability to walk from your room to the check-in desk in a couple of minutes is fantastic – no-one wants to be messing about with buses at 6am. You can even nip out, check in your luggage and then pop back to the hotel for a leisurely breakfast.
Remember that, unlike many big airports, Heathrow has banned dedicated hotel shuttle buses. The only way to your hotel is by a public bus – which is no longer free – or the expensive Hotel Hoppa shuttle service. Each Hoppa route stops at multiple hotels and can be slower than (and is 4x the price of) the local buses.
Don’t think that the taxi drivers will be keen to help you either. Many queue for hours to get a fare from Heathrow to Central London, although there are rules to allow them to re-enter the queue higher up. Because Heathrow is not in Central London, black cabs have no legal obligation to take you.
You could try an Uber or similar but that won’t be cheap due to Heathrow fees. The one time I got an Uber at 5am from the old Crowne Plaza to Terminal 5, it cost me £20. This was before Heathrow started adding its £5 drop-off fee.
What are the onsite hotels at Heathrow?
We have reviewed most of the onsite hotels at Heathrow. You can see all of our London airport hotels reviews – covering Heathrow, Gatwick, Stansted, Luton, London City and, erm, Southend – here.
Let’s run through the options for staying directly at Heathrow airport.
Because transferring between Heathrow terminals can be more painful than getting a bus from a Bath Road hotel, especially with luggage, I only recommend staying at a hotel in the terminal you are using.
Heathrow Terminal 5 hotels
There is only one hotel in Terminal 5 – the Sofitel (website here).
This is a genuinely luxurious five-star hotel, one of the smartest airport hotels in the world. You will pay for the privilege, of course.
We reviewed the Executive Lounge here, back in the day when it was part of Priority Pass (it isn’t any longer) but we have never reviewed the hotel itself.
Top tip: the Sofitel HeathrowTerminal 5 is often discounted via lastminute.com’s ‘Top Secret Hotels’ section. This article explains how to find it.
Heathrow Terminal 4 hotels
The great news is that Heathrow Terminal 4 is hotel central. The bad news is that Terminal 4 will be closed until at least 2023, based on recent discussions with one of the airlines which uses it.
There is no value in staying here whilst the terminal is closed. However, for future reference, your options are:
- Premier Inn London Heathrow Airport Terminal 4 – website here, review here. This hotel can offer fantastic value for money.
- Crowne Plaza London Heathrow T4 – website here, review here. A very impressive and relatively new four star hotel.
- Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T4 – website here, review here. This hotel shares the same building as the Crowne Plaza and you can cross-charge. All Holiday Inn Express guests get free breakfast too. If you don’t mind a slightly blander room, the smart money stays here, takes the free breakfast and enjoys the same bar and restaurant as Crowne Plaza guests.
All of these hotels are on the same covered walkway from the terminal, and there is very little in it when it comes to distance.
Heathrow Terminal 3 hotels
No hotel offers a quicker walk to your plane than the Aerotel in Terminal 3’s arrivals hall.
It is a smart and modern hotel, but most of the bedrooms don’t have windows. You don’t really notice when you’re inside, however, and if you are arriving in darkness it doesn’t make any difference.
Heathrow Terminal 2 / 3
Finally, the newest hotel on this list is the Hilton Garden Inn Heathrow Terminal 2/3, reviewed here. The website is here. An image is above.
This hotel is a bit more of a faff to reach, requiring a walk through the short stay car park if you are coming from Terminal 2. Terminal 3 is a little further away. The hotel is decent though, with a rooftop bar.
(Heathrow Terminal 1 has been closed for some years, hence the lack of hotel options there.)
Other options for a bus-free Heathrow hotel
If you are determined to avoid the buses but want other options, try these hotels.
The Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Airport at Hatton Cross, review here, is 3-4 minutes walk from Hatton Cross underground station. This is the station before the airport, and the trains will drop you at the terminals within minutes. Check the time of the first train if you are departing early. The website is here.
Be aware that the walk to the Hilton Garden Inn isn’t the easiest and not recommended with heavy suitcases. Depending on the route you walk, you will encounter a footbridge and a spot with no pavement.
The other hotel at Hatton Cross is the Atrium Hotel Heathrow, reviewed here. This a new but slightly bizarre hotel, seemingly aimed at the Indian wedding market. If you don’t know the area, it is easier to find than the Hilton Garden Inn – you can’t miss its bright blue facade as you exit the tube.
Note that Hatton Cross underground station does not have an escalator or lift, although there are not many steps.
Finally, consider the Hilton London Paddington hotel – website here. This may be the best of both worlds – you can sleep in the city centre, inside the railway station – but, timed right, you can leave your room and be at Heathrow Airport within 25 minutes via Heathrow Express.
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