This is my review of the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel.
Yesterday I reviewed the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel (click here). As part of our project to re-review all of the Terminal 4 hotels, I also spent a night recently at the Holiday Inn Express. Both hotels share the same building and, interestingly, share many of the same facilities.
This poses an interesting question for potential guests. The Holiday Inn Express is around £30-£40 per night cheaper than the Crowne Plaza. Whilst the Express rooms are smaller, they are not so much smaller.
- both hotels share the same main bar (there is also a separate bar / casual dining restaurant on the Holiday Inn Express side)
- guests at both hotels can eat at the Urban restaurant, even though it is nominally on the Crowne Plaza side
- guests at both hotels can use the Crowne Plaza lobby level cafe
- whilst the hotels have separate reception areas, they use the same bank of lifts and the hotels are not separated by floor. Each floor contains both Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza rooms.
- Holiday Inn Express guests get free breakfast in the Holiday Inn Express restaurant, whilst breakfast in the Crowne Plaza restaurant for their guests is £17.95 (traditional English) / £14.95 (continental) for adults
The only area that is strictly out of bounds to Holiday Inn Express guests is the gym, which is only for Crowne Plaza residents.
Even if you are looking for a ‘classy’ experience, I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to save £35 plus the cost of breakfast by staying in a Holiday Inn Express room. You can use the saving to have a few drinks in the smart shared bar or to put towards a meal in the Urban restaurant. You can read more about the bar and restaurant in my Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4 review here.
Back to the Holiday Inn Express Heathrow T4 …..
Access to the hotel is via the gangway from the Departures level of Terminal 4. The same gangway also leads to the Hilton Terminal 4 (reviewed here) and the Premier Inn (review) but the Holiday Inn Express is the nearest.
I’m not going to repeat what I wrote yesterday about the shared bar and restaurant. This review just focuses on the differences between the two hotels.
This was my room:
It is smaller than the Crowne Plaza room although the circulation space is the same. The extra space at the Crowne Plaza is taken up with the desk and, in the bathroom, the separate bath – the Express is ‘shower only’.
Ignore the fact that I had a view over the atrium whilst my Crowne Plaza room had an external view. This is purely the luck of the draw – both hotels have a mix of interior and exterior facing rooms. You can debate whether, as a Diamond Elite member of IHG One Rewards, I should have been given an external view.
As you can see, there is nothing to complain about. Everything still looks new, the bed is a decent size and there are plenty of sockets including a USB B.
The throw on the bed and a decorative red pillow, both present when I toured the hotel in 2018, were gone, as also happened at the Crowne Plaza. The images on the hotel website still show these items.
There is also a chair and a small work table, with an adjacent plug:
The only major difference to the Crowne Plaza rooms is the lack of a formal desk. You get a kettle with tea and coffee, as you do in the entry-level Crowne Plaza rooms. Unless things have changed since 2018, you only get a Nespresso machine in a Club room at the Crowne Plaza.
Heading into the bathroom, everything is almost spick and span. There is less room around the edges of the sink than in the Crowne Plaza but that isn’t a major niggle. Toiletries are from dispensers, branded ‘Soak’, but this is also the case in the Crowne Plaza.
The shower is also perfectly acceptable – it is a sign of how good ‘budget’ hotels are these days that the facilities are better than many of us have in our own homes. There is only one shower head – you need to head to a Crowne Plaza room if you want the option of a rainfall shower.
You don’t get a bath at the Holiday Inn Express. You need to be in a Crowne Plaza room for that.
My one niggle was that the base of the tap was noticeably grimy:
This ‘hidden’ iron and ironing board is a useful touch – the mirror is on the other side.
Food and drink at Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4
Guests are welcome to use the smart ‘Destination’ bar, shared with the Crowne Plaza, and use the ‘Urban’ restaurant on the Crowne Plaza side.
The image below is the ‘Holiday Inn Express side’ of the lobby, although guests at either hotel can wander around all of the facilities. The HIX also has its own dedicated bar which is more casual and perhaps better suited to families with small children.
I can imagine that some Crowne Plaza guests looking for a less formal or cheaper meal than offered at Urban end up on the Holiday Inn Express side.
I had fish and chips here, which came in at £14. It arrived in exactly five minutes (I checked the time on the receipt) which was a bit suspicious, but it did the job.
Here’s the thing. A few feet away, in Urban on the Crowne Plaza side, fish and chips costs £20, not £14. The description is identical – cod, peas, tartare sauce, chips. It’s all very odd.
In general, main courses are cheaper on this side of the hotel at around £14.
Breakfast is your typical Holiday Inn Express buffet. Whilst the seating area is spacious, the buffet area itself is very tight and it wasn’t always easy to move around.
Interestingly, the hot items (sausage, egg, beans) are identical to those served for £18 at the Crowne Plaza restaurant next door. You can tell because both hotels serve a specific sort of Cumberland sausage which is shorter and wider than usual!
There is a little more choice over at the Crowne Plaza but fundamentally there isn’t a lot of difference between the two breakfasts – apart from having your coffee waiter-served instead of self-serve, and of course the £18 per person price difference.
I was very impressed by the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4, as indeed I am in general by modern Holiday Inn Express – and Hilton’s equivalent Hampton – hotels. They offer a quality of budget accommodation which would have been unthinkable a generation ago.
The co-location with the Crowne Plaza offers the best of both worlds. You have high quality but low(er) cost rooms and the ability to use the more upmarket Crowne Plaza bar, restaurant and lobby cafe if you want to eat or drink in a smarter environment – although you will pay a premium for the privilege.
For cash, rooms are typically £100 midweek (free breakfast included) at the moment, compared to £140 (room only) at the Crowne Plaza. I have seen the gap as low as £17 (£83 vs £100). Whether you intend to stay for breakfast – and, if you do, whether you’d get it free at the Crowne Plaza as a Diamond Elite member of IHG One Rewards – is likely to sway your decision.
Redemptions on a typical night were 16,000 IHG One Rewards points vs £83 per cash, so 0.5p per point. A night at £106 was 17,000 points so the ‘price to points’ correlation is not straight line.
You can read our full series of London airport hotel reviews here.
The Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 website is here if you want to find out more or to book. The Crowne Plaza website is here for comparison and here is our Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4 review.
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