During a recent weekend mileage run/very mini-vacation to the UK, I enjoyed a night at the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T4, conveniently located just a few minutes’ walk from Terminal 4.
This airport hotel is a fantastic option if you have a long layover in London and don’t want to schlep into the city. The property is clean and very new. The staff is quite welcoming and friendly. My room was nice, homey, and comfortable.
Food and beverage were — fine.
We’ve posted a number of mileage runs with long Heathrow layovers or options to spend the night. I highly recommend staying at this hotel.
Like most airport hotels, it’s not a destination property where I’d vacation for days on end. (“Hey, kids! How excited are you to stay for our week at the Holiday Inn Express Heathrow?!” crickets)
That being said, this is what I experienced during my visit.
Two Hotels in One?
The Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T4 isn’t inside T4. Rather, it’s adjacent to the terminal and accessed through an enclosed walkway. (I’ll have directions in just a minute.) So don’t get too excited and expect something like the Grand Hyatt DFW inside Dallas’ Terminal D.
The hotel building itself houses two IHG brands: the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow T4 and the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T4. They share common areas (lobby, restaurants, bars, fitness center, elevators). In fact, they’re located on the same floors. Holiday Inn Express guests hang a right to their rooms; the Crowne Plaza folk head left.
The only differences between the two properties are their rooms (the Crowne Plaza’s seem nicer, judging by their pictures) and prices (the Holiday Inn Express is cheaper). If you can “slum” it for a night at the Holiday Inn Express, you’ll do just fine.
Proximity to the City
Taking The Tube for London (TFL) from T4 is by far your most cost-effective option to visit London. Plan on a 70-90 minute journey, door-to-destination. Each way.
Again, this isn’t a hotel where you stay to “see” London. It’s a great, comfortable place to sleep and relax before catching your flight the next day. Should time permit a visit to the heart of London, you certainly have that option. But plan according.
Getting to the Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza London Heathrow T4
The Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza are about a 5-minute walk from the end of T4.
Passengers from other terminals can travel by complimentary train to T4.
Delta folks: plan on 30-40 minutes for walking to/from the train, waiting for the train, and the ride itself. If you time the train just right, that’ll shave about 10 minutes off your journey.
The below escalators are located near the Tube and Heathrow Express entrance on Level 2. They’re near Zones A & B. (Look for the Excess Baggage Co. store and Tourist Services.)
Take the escalators (or elevators/lifts) upstairs and follow the signs.
(This also leads the way to the Premier Inn and Hilton London Heathrow, too.)
Walk all the way down toward Zone G. Look for these doors.
They lead you into this enclosed walkway (which also includes direction signage):
The tunnel is enclosed but not climate controlled. (Or if it is, the climate controls weren’t working the days I visited.) You’re protected from precipitation — and it was pouring the evening I arrived. But temperatures were in the upper 40s (Fahrenheit, of course 😉 ) and the brief walk was cold.
After about two or three minutes, you’ll encounter this sign:
Take a right, follow the hallway, and use either the escalators or elevators/lifts to the ground floor.
Checking In at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T4
Crowne Plaza visitors check in at the left front desk. Holiday Inn Express guests go to the right.
Because I’m working on my Accelerate promotion, I paid for the room as opposed to using points. The IHG Rewards Club member rate for a standard room with double bed was £60.80 (about $79). I paid the room rate with my IHG Rewards Club Premier card. Upon arriving onsite, I charged room incidentals to my new Chase Sapphire Reserve.
The front desk staff was great, answered questions about the area, and couldn’t stop thanking me for my Platinum status (which is complimentary with my IHG Premier credit card). Like, they made me feel like a celebrity or honored guest.
I was offered a Welcome Drink voucher (house wine or beer, or well liquor in the bar) or bonus points. Because the weather was gross, my trip to London delayed by four hours thanks to two mechanical issues in Salt Lake City, work to do, and sleep to enjoy, I decided to stay in. I broke tradition and opted for the Welcome Drink in lieu of points.
Standard Room with a Double Bed at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T4
My room was nice and cozy.
The bed and pillows were quite comfortable.
I didn’t love the work desk but it did the job.
The TV features not just basic cable but also YouTube access and some Bluetooth options.
For a small-ish room, it has plenty of power outlets. If I remember correctly, there were at least seven in the bedroom itself.
The bathroom has wall-mounted, refillable toiletries (ew). I’m glad I brought my own.
After a quick shower (good water pressure and nice, warm water), I headed downstairs to the Destinations Bar for a couple of drinks and a quick bite.
Destinations Bar at Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow T4
Destinations Bar is the appropriate title of the property’s primary lounge.
As a bourbon drinker, I wasn’t too impressed by their selection (no Booker’s or Buffalo Trace). But they had Woodford Reserve, so I settled for that 😉 . (Then again, bourbon’s an import outside the States.)
No matter how much rapport you build with the Destination bartenders, they aren’t generous pours. (Although the Weights and Measures Acts may have something to do with that.)
Frankly, the bar staff didn’t exactly seem delighted to be there. I felt like I was troubling them when ordering food or drink.
I ordered a couple of dinner items. First was their salt and pepper shrimp appetizer.
It’s a fairly generous portion of shrimp but, holy smokes, it’s spicy. There’s a lot of breading, too. Most of the salt and pepper shrimp I’ve had isn’t nearly as battered. Still, it was a fine starter.
Then I ordered the barbecue bacon cheeseburger.
Sadly, this gets added to my list of disappointing beef meals in Europe. (I’d love suggestions for great European beef — I seem to always strikeout. Please comment below.)
The chips/fries, though, were so good.
Their house cabernet (complimentary with the IHG Platinum welcome gift) was rather tasty.
Before leaving for my favorite airport lounge the next morning, I glanced at the hotel’s complimentary breakfast buffet.
I didn’t sample any of the food but people seemed to enjoy it. The selection seemed plentiful, too. Pastries, meats, cereals, cheeses — there was something for everyone.
It was so mobbed at the actual buffet that I couldn’t unobtrusively get many pictures. Here’s what I did snap, though.
I grabbed a coffee for my walk and train ride to T3 (which took me to my LHR to ATL flight). The coffee was meh at best; I trashed it before leaving the hotel’s front door.
Plenty of seating is available. I’ve been to Holiday Inn Express breakfast buffets where people swarm like vultures, waiting for the next table. That wasn’t an issue here.
A Big Suggestion
This blue theme inside the large atrium is present 24-7.
My room faced inside the hotel. The view was always dim, which is great for falling asleep when you’re jet-lagged. But waking up the next morning was brutal. Seeing the dusk-ish light outside my room made me want to crawl back into bed. Daylight would have been great to kickstart my day and acclimate me a little.
Next time I stay at the Holiday Inn Express Heathrow, I’ll request a room with an outside view. Consider doing the same.
I won’t hesitate to stay here again. Its convenience to Heathrow is absolutely fantastic — especially if you have a morning flight. The complimentary breakfast is a fantastic perk if your loyalty program status or travel credit cards don’t provide lounge access. The reception staff is wonderful and the rooms are perfect for a brief stay.
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