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Review: the Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5 hotel

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This is our review of the Sofitel London Heathrow hotel at Terminal 5.

There are some odd gaps in the HfP review coverage, which we blame on familiarity breeding contempt. We’ve not reviewed The Concorde Room in Terminal 5 since 2014, unbelievably, and we’ve never done proper reviews of some of the BA lounges in Terminal 5A (5B has better coverage, because it is always a novelty to go there – if you call 2017 ‘better’, that is).

This is a roundabout way of explaining why we’ve never covered the Sofitel Heathrow hotel at Terminal 5, despite it being directly attached to the British Airways terminal. We’ve covered MANY other Heathrow hotels – all of our London airport hotel reviews are here – but never this one.

The nearest we got was in 2016 when, for a short period, the club lounge was opened up to Priority Pass cardholders!

Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5 hotel review

I had some Accor Suite Night Upgrade vouchers expiring, however, and a double points offer. I thought this made it worth the splurge before a flight last week.

We paid cash for our stay. The hotel didn’t know we were coming and we did not get a formal tour. What I found is probably what you will find.

In summary, it is a surprisingly accomplished hotel and in many ways justifies its five star luxury positioning. The biggest issue is that the rooms are looking dated, although they are still in good condition.

The hotel website is here.

Getting to Sofitel London Heathrow

If you have ever been dropped off at Terminal 5 by car you will have passed the Sofitel as you head up the ramp to the terminal doors. If you are taken to the hotel by car you can be dropped directly outside the entrance, but most people will arrive by public transport or from an arriving flight.

Once landside in Terminal 5, you need to head to one of the many lift banks into the short stay car park.

Sofitel London Heathrow hotel review

Handy tip – using the lifts opposite Marks & Spencer will save you a chilly walk through the car park.

The M&S lift bank brings you out facing this sign and a doorway:

Review Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5 review

You may think you’ve arrived. You’re wrong. You head down this corridor:

Sofitel London Heathrow Airport hotel review

…. then this corridor:

Sofitel London Heathrow hotel review

…. then over a bridge:

Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5 hotel review

…. then through the upper level of the hotel to the escalators you can just about see:

Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5 review

This drops you onto the ground floor of the hotel. You’ve made it.

Check-in at Sofitel London Heathrow

I had done online check-in the night before. If you are used to online check-in from chains that invest in IT, like Hilton or Marriott, you’re going to be disappointed here:

  • you can’t select a room online, or even see your room number
  • there is no ‘mobile key’ facility

The ONLY thing that happens with online check-in is that a pre-authorisation is taken from your credit card for the stay. This allows your key to be made up and left in an envelope at the front desk.

Here’s the problem.

I arrived at the desk, was asked if I had done online check-in, and said yes. A box was opened and an envelope pulled out with my name on. That was it.

The clerk had no idea I was in a top suite and no idea I had lounge access, so no additional help or advice was provided. I was given the envelope and pointed towards the lifts. End of discussion.

What was inside the envelope? Just my key. No welcome letter, nothing explaining where the lounge was or what time it opened, no information on the bars and restaurants …. nothing.

I’d say it was the sort of welcome you’d expect at a Holiday Inn Express, except that even there I’d expect a bit more communication. So, basically, a bad start.

The hotel has 605 rooms spread across six wings with a central spine, in a HHH formation. Despite the hotel being literally a few metres from the bottom of the runway, only a handful of room at the front of the first wings (rooms starting with a 6) would get any aircraft views. Aircraft views from the first few wings (1, 2, 3 and possibly 4, 5) are presumably obscured by the terminal.

If you want to look at aircraft from your room, stay at a hotel on Bath Road – you’ll pay at least 50% less too.

My suite at Sofitel London Heathrow

I’d used a Suite Night Upgrade certificate to guarantee a Premium Suite. You receive two of these when you earn Platinum status in Accor Live Limitless, with additional vouchers issued based on how much you spend throughout the year.

Whilst I had a suite, it was basically two rooms merged together. The bedroom area of the suite is virtually identical to a standard bedroom, judging from rooms I peaked into which were being cleaned. The only thing you won’t get is the sitting area.


Let’s start with the bedroom:

Sofitel London Heathrow suite bedroom

As you can see, the rooms are a good size with a very large, but slightly slopey, bed. Note that the bed has a throw on it, a feature which the Crowne Plaza at Terminal 4 (which has the same owners, Arora) has abandoned.

There is a lot of wood used which dates the room. The wood continues with the desk and unit:

Sofitel London heathrow suite bedroom review

The hotel opened in 2008 and has not been refurbished since, I believe. In truth, the style was probably out of date in 2008, and I can imagine that the design was signed off a long time before when work on the terminal began.

The biggest issue is that there are no sockets, of any kind, by the beds. This is shocking in 2023. No USB, no 3-pin plugs, nothing. If you want to charge your phone overnight you’ll be doing it at the desk.

Everything else was perfectly acceptable and in decent condition given 15 years of wear. Soundproofing is perfect – my room overlooked the approach road into Terminal 5 and I couldn’t hear a thing.


The bathroom is nothing to get excited about but, at the same time, delivered. There was a separate tub and shower – albeit not a huge shower.

Sofitel London Heathrow suite bathroom review

A double sink would have been better, but this was offset by the best selection of freebies that I’ve seen in a hotel bathroom for a while.

Sofitel London Heathrow bathroom

Many of the controls in the bathroom were exceptionally stiff. I was struggling to turn on the hot tap on the sink and move the temperature control in the shower, which is ludicrous.

Living room

The suite came with a good sized living room. It was, as you can see, very brown:

Sofitel London Heathrow suite

The 2nd desk was useful, and would allow a couple to work and sleep without disturbing each other. There was a coffee machine (a bit light on capsules for my liking) as well as a kettle. The mini-bar was free and contained beer and spirit miniatures as well as soft drinks – I’m not sure if this also applies to standard rooms.

Sofitel London Heathrow suite

In Part 2 of this review – click here – I will take a look at the club lounge and run through the various restaurants and bars.

If you are reading this via email you were not sent Part 2. Please click here to read it on the HfP website.

The Sofitel London Heathrow website is here.

Accor Live Limitless update – May 2023:

Earn bonus Accor points: Accor is not currently running a global promotion

New to Accor Live Limitless?  Read our review of Accor Live Limitless here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our analysis of what Accor Live Limitless points are worth is here.

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

Comments (45)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Colin_Thames says:

    Any LastMinute offers recently? I stayed there quite a few years ago after HfP tipped us off about LM offering ‘secret rooms’ at about £120.

  • Sideshowbob says:

    Does it still have the pointless TV in the bathroom?

  • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

    How long did it take you to do the walk to/from the terminal.

    Are you allowed to take luggage carts like you can to the CP/HI at T4?

    Booked a stay there for March the night after arriving from DUB before a long haul as part of a BA Holiday.

    How amenable are they to storing luggage before you actually check in as I have to fly to Dublin in the early afternoon

    • Rob says:

      Assuming Dublin is domestic arrivals then you emerge at the ‘right’ end of T5, by M&S, so it’s about 5 minutes walk to reception – plus 2-3 minutes potential wait for the lift into the car park.

      No idea about luggage storage. There are no barriers to stop you taking luggage carts but there may well be supermarket-style magnetic floor barriers. There were no obvious facilities for dealing with luggage carts in the hotel.

      • Thegasman says:

        They keep a train (or whatever the correct phrase is) of luggage carts by the left luggage room which is to the right of reception as you face it. Absolutely no issues taking a cart to or from the hotel.

        • BA Flyer IHG Stayer says:

          Great that’s very useful info from both of you.

        • Stu_N says:

          Dublin arrivals actually follow a modified international arrivals route – you bypass immigration due to Common Travel Area but are routed via international baggage claim to ensure you clear customs.

          Flights will come into the gates at the south end of terminal (A21-23ish) and you’ve got a higher than average chance of a bus transfer so basically you walk the length of T5 then the link to the Sofitel, so you’re looking at 10-15 mins.

    • Nick says:

      The hotel will store luggage but unless you specifically need it again before flying I’d just check it in straight away. Assuming you’re flying BA they’ll take it any time on the day of your flight.

  • meta says:

    Toiletries are Balmain (in refillable bottles) in case anyone was wondering.

  • Elstone says:

    I feel that one is just paying solely for convenience as the hotel is outdated and the restaurant not really exciting..
    If we’re arriving by car we now stay on one of the numerous hotels on Bath Road (usually Hilton with fab Indian restaurant) and leave the car at POD parking (which I think is brilliant) as you pass it on way to Terminal 5. Then we take the fun little pods directly into departures …

  • JP-MCO says:

    Like a lot of people the Sofitel is our first choice when flying out of T5. One of my favourite memories was when we were flying out to stay at the newly opened Peninsula in Paris and Perrier Jouet were holding a tasting in the Sofitel bar the night before. It was fantastic – we got so much free champagne!

  • vlcnc says:

    I’m actually really shocked that is the design of the rooms, given how premium a hotel I perceived it to be – I always assumed it wasn’t just expensive because it was convenient but because it was genuinely premium experience. The design of the room is shocking and leaves so much to be desired, I wouldn’t choose to stay there if it was anywhere else which to me means it isn’t especially luxury. Also going by Rob’s experience of checking in the soft service seems poor.

  • Richard says:

    You cant cover CCR as you are not GGL and BA wont give you a free F flight

    • Rob says:

      We can get CCR access whenever we want with a quick email – just haven’t got around to it for 7 years 🙂

      • Nick Burch says:

        Some bits of the CCR have changed in the last 7 years, but some bits haven’t despite really needing it…

        The experience also changes depending on if you’re there at a quiet time or a busy time, so you almost want to do two different reviews!

        Time to book Rhys on a few RFS weekends away? 🙂

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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