Doubletree by Hilton Heathrow
We had some KLM points that we had to use or lose as we had no used KLM for a while so I discovered you could use them to book Hilton hotels. I decided that rather than drive all night to get our flight at 6am that we would book into this hotel using our points and have a leisurely drive down the day before.
We had a pleasant drive down via Marlow where we stopped for lunch and checked into the hotel at about 4 pm. There is a small car park around the back accessed by the side road which is not free you pay at the check in desk for the duration of your stay. I think it came to about £8.00 for the overnight stay which is a darn sight cheaper than our local shopping centre in Derby.
On arrival via the car park you enter through the back of the hotel but the corridor is light and bright and quite welcoming with various photos of London sight on the wall. I do like it when hotels make an effort to have local art work and pictures on their walls.
We arrived at the reception desk which is on one side of the public area with a bar and seating and a restaurant as well. The young receptionist greeted us warmly and handed us a cookie in a brown bag each as a welcome gift. We completed the necessary forms and she explained about the car park and acknowledged that our room was booked through Hilton Honours so was complimentary. She was very pleasant and pointed us in the direction of our room.
Our room as I had requested was on the ground floor, I get so fed up with trying to negotiate doors, lifts and luggage that I usually make this request for these overnight stay. We made our way through one fire door which we had to access using our room card for security. Our room was the first we came to which was perfect as we were leaving at stupid o clock in the morning.
This was quite small and compact but had everything you would need for a night's stay. We had a king sized bed made up with fresh cotton sheets and a thin duvet tucked in firmly at the foot end. Tat soon became released as I hate my feet feeling trapped! There were bedside lights bright enough for reading with on both sides and a radio alarm clock on one side.
We also had hangers and a hanging area, tea/coffee making stuff, a safe coded, an iron and a board, a flat screen TV, a desk and free wifi so I was set for the rest of the afternoon .
The bathroom had a bath with shower over it , basin and toilet, plenty of white clean towels and soap. Shampoo, conditioner, body lotion and a hand wash fixed to the wall. All the toiletries were nice enough with a lemon scent. In the shower there was a shower gel also fixed to the wall. My only complaint was that the bath water was rather tepid which was disappointing as I do enjoy a relaxing bath before a long uncomfortable journey. There was a proper hair dryer too in the wardrobe which was efficient so that was good too.
We had eaten a fairly decent lunch in Marlow and so had bought a Boots meal deal for each of us for the evening which we had while watching 'University Challenge' so we didn't eat in the hotel but the restaurant looked quite pleasant although not cheap food.
We did pop down and have a drink in the bar area which was a large open area near Reception. The bar is glass fronted with large coloured glass lights in the front. They seemed to be pretty well stocked for drinks there. We took our drinks and sat on one of the very high back seats in the area. It was nicely set out with some more private areas while other catered for larger groups. I liked the large coloured lamp shades that hung from high above in browns, burgundies and greens like the rest if the décor in the area. It provided a comfortable and stylish place to relax and have a quiet drink with friends, colleagues or in my case my husband.
From the outside this has to be one of the ugliest ones along that road and there are a few but once inside it has a nice welcoming feel to it and everything worked out well for us apart from the luke warm bath that is.
The staff were lovely and so helpful. The room had everything we needed for the part night's stay and te car ark was convenient. Even better the Purple Parking business car park was just a few block away along the same road in the direction of the airport so extremely convenient for us all around.
I would certainly recommend this hotel if, like us you have an early morning flight which would mean you having no sleep before a long journey. I am not sure that it is any different in price from the many chain hotels along this road which all offer similar deals. Some offer free parking if you stay the night or free night if you pay for two weeks parking which we have done before. I would suggest checking the prices and deals on line before booking.
Thanks for reading. This review may be posted on other sites under my same username.
~Holding out for a bargain~
In the first week of December I went to Lisbon and took a morning flight at 8.15 am. Since I live a good hour and a half from Heathrow even when the M1 and M25 are behaving themselves, I wasn't willing to risk driving down on the morning of the flight especially at this time of year when the weather can spring some nasty surprises. At work there's a 'rule' that all hotel bookings have to be handled by the company travel agent - the execrable bunch of half-wits and con merchants whose name I wouldn't dare print for fear of them accidentally on purpose mixing up my bookings and sending me to Mogadishu via Kabul. Since this 'rule' tends to be applied in a slightly patchy way, I decided to throw caution to the wind and pick my own hotel. Keeping in mind that last time I asked them for an airport hotel at Birmingham I ended up paying over £140 for the few hours I was there, I thought I could do better and of course I did. I booked the rather long-windedly named 'Doubletree by Hilton Heathrow Airport' for the very reasonable price of £54 for the night, room only. I booked on Hotels.com and via Topcashback.co.uk which meant in addition to the bargain price, I got £4.36 cashback and another room night towards my 'stay ten times get a room free' deal with Hotels.com. Yay! What a result - a bargain for the company and some goodies for me.
My husband came over all solicitous when he realised that I'd be driving down quite late. "Make sure you know where the hotel is before you leave the car at the car park" he instructed. Being a good obedient wife, I googled both the hotel and the car park to be sure I knew what I was doing. Sadly even the genius of Google can't compensate for me effectively having the map mentally 'upside down' and it turned out that rather than being between the Purple Parking Business car park and the airport, it was further down the Bath Road, away from the car park and towards the Jolly Waggoner's Roundabout, right in the middle of a slightly down at heel area of take-aways and small 'international' corner stores. To make sure I knew where I had to get to, I took the Junction 3 exit from the M4 and drove past the car park to find the hotel before returning to leave the car so at least I didn't head off in completely the wrong direction.
I'm a country girl and I don't generally go out after dark. I know that sounds a bit pitiful but suddenly realising I'd be walking for 15 minutes or so along a poorly lit dual carriageway, I didn't feel too good about it. I love the Purple Parking Business car park so I will consider next time booking the Premier Inn which is right next door to it. It turned out to be no big issue especially after the elderly couple walking in front of me worked out I didn't look like a mugger as I dragged my wheelie bag behind me and I worked out that if they were muggers I could probably outpace them. We then walked and chatted our way along the road and they couldn't recommend the Premier Inn highly enough.
I don't recall what this hotel was before it became a Doubletree but I do recall the little turreted part of the building. I was slightly confused about how to get in to the place by a sign saying 'Entrance' which pointed in the wrong direction. Once I was inside though it all became very easy. Check in was quick and friendly, I wasn't forced to give my full address, my blood group or my inside leg measurement and they didn't even ask me for a credit card which was refreshingly fuss-free. I was presented with my warm cookie in a brown paper bag, warned not to eat it if I was allergic to nuts (10 out of 10 for health and safety so kudos to Doubletree for training the staff on that) and then given my room key. I asked about the Heathrow Hoppa shuttle service and was given a printed timetable and instructions about where to find the machine that sells the tickets for £4 per adult (kids go free). If you buy on the bus they charge 50p more.
Let's just mention the cookies. If you ask me what the name Doubletree means to me, my first comment will be 'cookies' and my second will be 'thieving, incompetent b*stards. After about 12 years I've just about forgiven the branch of Doubletree in the US who took my white cotton nightdress along with the white cotton sheets and then refused to do anything about it. But hey, who can stay angry for too many decades with a company that gives you a free cookie when you check in?
The hotel lobby is very bright and colourful and everything is in great condition. I suspect it hasn't been open very long as everything looks fresh and clean which is a hard look to maintain in an airport hotel with its high turnover of guests. There's a long check in counter with a snazzy seating area with a bar opposite and a restaurant on the far side of the lobby. I arrived at 10 at night and left at 6.45 am so I wasn't going to have a chance to try the facilities but I liked the look of what I saw. I also learned before going that they have very limited car parking space and offer it for £11 a night although they don't encourage guests to use it for too long.
Before heading up to the room I noticed quite a lot of people hovering around the reception area and the area by the lifts with their iPads and phones. I suspect that there's free wi-fi in the lobby bt you have to pay in the rooms.
I headed up to room 220 which was on the back corner of the hotel, as far as possible from the road which pleased me greatly. Despite having a busy road and a five terminal airport nearby, I heard no noise from inside the hotel or from outside.
The room was surprisingly pleasant and not at all 'budget' looking. I believe Doubletree is positioned slightly cheaper and less stuffy than the standard Hilton hotels. A sort of 'Holiday Inn Express' but for Hilton (if you see what I mean). The room had a pleasant beige and brown carpet which toned well with the beige and brown curtains and offered contrasting lightness compared to the dark wood furniture with dark glass tops. The bed was deliciously big and comfy with a mound of pillows. I slept beautifully. There was a slightly budget-y open-fronted wardrobe with a short hanging rail but it was ample space for the majority of guests who will only stop there overnight. Also in the wardrobe were spare towels a tea and coffee tray and a room safe.
The television was a flat screen but rather a chunky one suggesting it was a few years old. The hotel offers paid-for internet access via the television or via a wired connection but I was there for such a short time that I couldn't see any point in paying for the access. The lighting in the room was excellent with both a ceiling light and a series of lamps. I do hate hotels that want to make their rooms so 'atmospheric' that you can't work in them and struggle to find the bed without bumping into the other furniture in the dark. There was an ironing board and trouser press which I glanced at before dismissing the ludicrous idea that I would start pressing things. There was also a pull out sofa bed which would have been wide enough for probably just one person or two very small people as it was considerably narrower than the normal sofa-beds I see in chains like Novotel. The desk was good enough to spread out a bit and thanks to the coffee tray being in the wardrobe and the telly on the wall, there was plenty of space. I do get irritated by cluttered desks in hotels.
The bathroom was a touch on the small side but beautifully turned out with a full sized bath, a loo and one of those nice vanity units with the stand up bowl on top. Best of all, Doubletree use the same deliciously juicy Crabtree and Evelyn toiletries in lemon, honey and coriander. I rarely pinch hotel toiletries these days but these leapt into my toilet bag. Getting the bath to fill was a bit of a Krypton Factor challenge but once I eventually figured out how it worked, I had a lovely hot bath. There is truly no greater guilt free indulgence than using lots of hot water that someone else paid for.
I slept very well and was up at 6 am to repack my bag and head downstairs to buy my ticket for the Heathrow Hoppa. The guy on reception told me that there would be another bus arriving shortly before my 6.45 am bus and I should take care not to get the wrong one. He helped me with the machine which I thought had eaten my money but had in fact printed the receipt and ticket but not exactly spat them out. I waited for about 15 minutes in the lobby and was the only person on the Hoppa for terminals 1 and 3. The transfer took about 25 minutes because it stopped off at two other hotels before going to the airport. If you are really tight for time - and especially if there are several adults in your party - it might be worth getting a taxi to save time.
I've stayed at almost every one of the Heathrow airport hotels (with the exception of the very 'budget' ones) and the Doubletree struck me as an absolute bargain for the price I paid. It's a lot smaller than many of them and I felt less 'processed' and more cared for by the staff I came into contact with. It doesn't have the facilities that some places boast - gyms, swimming pools or an enormous car park - but the room was in excellent condition, the bed was super-comfortable and I slept really well. For £54 for the night I really couldn't fault it. The location is not the most salubrious but it's not unpleasant or risky to be there, just a bit down at heel. It would definitely go on my list of hotels I'd be happy to return to if the price was right.
Doubletree by Hilton London Heathrow Airport
745 Bath Road, Cranford,