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 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 five-star hotel, one of the smartest airport hotels in the world. You will pay for the privilege, of course.
I finally got around to reviewing the Sofitel at Heathrow Terminal 5 this year – see here. It was impressive, although the furnishings are looking a bit dated, and I stayed there again a few weeks later when I found myself on an unexpectedly early Terminal 5 flight.
Heathrow Terminal 4 hotels
The great news is that Heathrow Terminal 4 is hotel central with options for all budgets.
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.
The YOTEL hotel which used to be in Terminal 4 is closed.
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.
Note that, if you have Hilton Honors Diamond status, you do not AUTOMATICALLY get free breakfast at a Hilton Garden Inn. HGI is the ONLY Hilton brand where a Diamond has to opt in to get a free breakfast. You must change your ‘MyWay’ benefits option 24 hours before checking in. The default MyWay option is to refuse the free breakfast and award you 750 bonus points – which I’d value at £3 – instead. Hilton Garden Inn hotels do not offer upgrades to elite members of Hilton Honors.
(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. This trip is now free. 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 (EDIT: comments say this is closed for long term repairs) 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. This hotel is currently unbookable – I don’t know if it went bust or has been taken over by the Home Office.
Note that Hatton Cross underground station does not have an escalator or lift, although there are not many steps.
Readers have previously recommended the Staycity hotel which is directly opposite Hayes & Harlington station. Hayes & Harlington is an Elizabeth Line stop between Paddington and the airport. This is not currently bookable and appears to have been taken over by the Home Office.
A slightly off-beat option is the Thistle Heathrow Terminal 5 hotel which we reviewed here (website here). This is a very dated but cheap hotel. The reasons we mention it is that the POD driverless monorail from the airport car park to Terminal 5 operates from behind the hotel and you can ride it for £7 per person each way.
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 or within 35 minutes via the Elizabeth Line.
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