Review: Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel

Introduction
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While I’ve had overnight connections in London more times than I can count, I’ve always either gone into the city or stayed at the Hilton London Heathrow Terminal 4. The Hilton is an ideal option if you’re connecting to/from Terminal 4, since it’s connected to the terminal by air bridge.

I find most of the other Heathrow hotels to just be a pain, given that they’re not connected to the terminals and don’t have complimentary shuttles.

In this case we were arriving on British Airways from Copenhagen at Terminal 5, and departing the following day on American to New York from Terminal 3. I figured we might as well check out one of the Starwood properties, especially since it was the first week of the year — who doesn’t want to get elite status requalification off to a good start? 😉

There are two Sheraton properties at Heathrow — the Sheraton Heathrow and the Sheraton Skyline, and the rate difference is generally huge. For the night we were staying, the Sheraton Heathrow was 50GBP, while the Sheraton Skyline was 119GBP.

Sheraton-Heathrow-Rates

In this case I figured we’d book the Sheraton Heathrow, and then on the return trip I could check out the Sheraton Skyline Heathrow.

In an odd way I was excited to check out the Sheraton Heathrow, since it gets terrible reviews. Then again, I think peoples’ expectations might just not be in line, because what can you really expect for 50GBP (~$75) per night including the ridiculous 20% VAT?

We took a taxi from Terminal 5 to the Sheraton, which cost £15 and took about 10 minutes.

I couldn’t help but feel like the hotel looked a bit like a funeral home from the outside. Am I crazy?

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel exterior

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel exterior

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel entrance

It was a total zoo inside the lobby. There was a canceled flight and a long queue for check-in. Even the SPG Gold/Platinum line had quite a wait.

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel lobby

Perhaps the most amazing part is that there were only two front desk associates working, and one was giving a guest ideas for what to do in London for about five minutes. There was a concierge desk staffed with a concierge one desk over, so you’d think he would have sent him over there.

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel reception

Once it was my turn the associate was friendly and efficient, and I had my key within a minute.

I spent that minute trying to count the number of grammar/punctuation mistakes in the below promotional poster.

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel SPG member coffee lounge

The lobby feels much smaller than you’d expect for a hotel of this size. That being said, it’s actually quite nice and fresh feeling, with comfortable seating. It’s probably the highlight of the hotel, actually.

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel lobby

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel business center

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel lobby

The elevators are located just past the reception desk, and sorta kinda look like really big caskets, in my opinion.

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel elevator

I took the elevator up to the third floor, where my room was located (that’s the highest floor of the hotel). The hotel really is massive. Below is the floorplan for the third floor — as you can see, it’s quite easy to get lost and make wrong turns.

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Sheraton Heathrow Hotel floorplan

My room was located past a door which was labeled “Club Level.”

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel hallway

The hallway was rather shabby, not just in terms of the not-so-lovely wallpaper and carpet, but also in terms of the random couches that just seemed to be stored in the hallway.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel hallway

I was assigned room 3430.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room door

I was pleasantly surprised by the room. It was clean and felt more modern than I was expecting, given what I’ve heard about the hotel.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room entryway

The bathroom was located to the left, and then the rest of the room was down the hallway. There was a comfortable signature Sheraton bed with plenty of pillows, a chair and coffee table by the window, and a flat screen TV and desk.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room seat and coffee table

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room TV

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room desk

I thought it was a nice touch that they had built-in US, EU, and UK adapters. It amazes me how many airport hotels don’t have that.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room outlets

The room had a pot with instant coffee and tea on the desk. Most exciting were the two Biscoff cookies on the tray. 😉

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room coffeepot

The bathroom was functional, with a sink, toilet, and shower/tub combo.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room bathroom

The water pressure and temperature control were very good.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room shower

As you’d expect from a Sheraton, the toiletries were the signature Sheraton branded variety.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel toiletries

My room faced a parking lot away from the airport, which meant that it was nice and quiet.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel room view

Wifi was fast throughout the hotel, which was much appreciated.

My room was just down the hallway from the club lounge. Oddly enough there’s as much furniture randomly sitting in front of the lounge as in the lounge. I’m not sure if they’re using it as a furniture storage facility or if it’s meant to be overflow seating or what…

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge door

The lounge itself is open on weekdays for breakfast and seven days a week for evening drinks & snacks. We were staying on a Friday night, and arrived just shortly before the 6-8PM happy hour ended.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge hours

The lounge was tiny for such a large hotel. It had two small couches and then a few awkwardly placed tables.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge seating

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge seating

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge seating

Then there were two computers. That was it.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge business center

The evening spread was rather underwhelming, to put it mildly.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge evening spread

In terms of cold options there was black pudding & apples as well as shots of juice.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge evening spread

I guess pork was on sale at Tesco, because the hot options consisted of pork sausage and pork balls. Then there were mozzarella sticks and potatoes.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge evening spread

There was a water jug, a small fridge with soft drinks, and a coffeepot.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge evening spread

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel club lounge evening spread

In retrospect I get why they only have a few tables in the lounge — I can’t imagine anyone would actually want to eat and/or spend time there. 😉

I figured I’d also check out the coffee setup for SPG members, available from 5PM until 8PM daily. It was at least in a nice environment in front of a fireplace. The ground level is nicely renovated and really doesn’t match the rest of the hotel.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel SPG coffee lounge

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel SPG coffee lounge

The spread consisted of coffee, tea, and stale cookies.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel SPG coffee lounge

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Sheraton London Heathrow Hotel SPG coffee lounge

Instead we decided to go to Discovery Bar, which is the bar located in the back corner of the hotel. It was legitimately nice, and we had some gin & tonics and fries.

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Sheraton London Heathrow Discovery Bar

In the morning we had breakfast at The Orchard Restaurant, which is included for SPG Platinum members on weekends, given that the club lounge is closed for breakfast. On weekends breakfast is served from 6AM until 11AM.

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant

I’m not generally a huge fan of breakfast buffets in the UK (there’s too much hot meat and the eggs are usually way too runny for my liking), and this was no exception. The spread itself was extensive, though I can’t say anything looked especially good. So I just had some coffee, cereal, and yogurt.

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

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Sheraton London Heathrow The Orchard Restaurant breakfast buffet

In terms of the hotel’s other facilities, there’s a fitness center located on the ground floor.

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Sheraton London Heathrow gym

The gym equipment is unarguably the most modern aspect of the hotel.

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Sheraton London Heathrow gym

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Sheraton London Heathrow gym

Sheraton London Heathrow bottom line

I realize it may not sound this way, but I was pleasantly surprised by the hotel. For $75 per night at the most expensive airport in the world, I had really low expectations. But the room was clean, the elite recognition was good, the wifi was fast, etc.

I think the experience at this hotel can beautifully be summed up by a blog post by my friend Chris Guillebeau about the hotel — Why I Keep Returning To My Least Favorite Hotel In London.

At a similar rate I wouldn’t hesitate to return.

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Comments

  1. We stay at this hotel frequently because 1) we normally fly out of Terminal 5 and 2) the points redemption is lower than Skyline. I also just learned that Sheraton is downgrading this hotel in March from a Category 3 to a 2. Interesting because it was just raised to 3 a year or so ago. I have already booked another stay in early April so am hoping to re-book at lower rate.

    I agree that the rooms are fine for a good night’s sleep but as you pointed out most of the rest of the hotel is cold, drab, and tired. Also, parking is a real problem because they offer park/fly rates and it’s sometimes next to impossible to find a space. All in all, I’ll probably continue to stay here because of the good rates and it serves my purpose.

  2. 2 weeks ago I got a rate of 41 GBP for a 5 day stay including a weekend. It would have been 38 GBP for just the weekend days. IMHO outstanding value!

  3. I used to stay at this hotel often. My own version of a mattress run. Weekend’s visiting family in England, I’d arrive late at night, stay at this hotel and then leave fresh in the morning to drive anywhere I wanted to. It helped me attain SPG elite status. 🙂

    Unfortunately, I was there a day or 2 before you and had the worst ever experience when checking in. After a long wait (also only 2 front desk associates), the associate tried to charge me again (for a prepaid room) and then tried to add an extra 100 quid onto the normal guarantee authorisation. She couldn’t work the credit card machine (how simple is that and I’d think that is one piece of kit she uses at every check in). Eventually after 30 minutes I was finally checked in (including a hefty guarantee authorisation). Then the TV didn’t work (first at this hotel) and the bathroom was not cleaned properly (germaphobe much?). So yes, this was my worst Sheraton experience….

    Btw some notes on transportation.
    There is a Hotel Hoppa bus service from all of the terminals. A single is 5 pounds and a return is 8 pounds.

    OR
    The normal local red bus (Bus 441) is free as the hotel sits in a “airport free flow”-zone. The bus stops at Dukes Bridge which is a block away from the hotel.

  4. I occasionally stay at the Sofitel T5, which is a nice albeit mostly overpriced hotel, but the wifi can be very slow. That said, it’s also connected to the terminal, like the Hilton T4.

    I’m curious about your comments from your Andaz stay, where you remarked that a room is large for London standards, and yet you’ve rarely stayed outside the airport hotels. London has a wide variety of very nice and modern and spacious hotels, as well as a number of hotels with rooms the size of a typical New York hotel. I’m surprised you have such strong opinions of London, though, given how you’ve barely scratched the surface on what this city has to offer.

    Given how easy it is to get on the tube or Heathrow Express, I almost always avoid the Heathrow airport hotels unless I have a real reason to be over there (e.g. a client near LHR, or a meeting where I want to leave my luggage at the hotel and then grab my bags before catching an evening flight, etc.).

  5. “and sorta kinda look like really big caskets, in my opinion.”

    I literally LOL’ed.

    But seriously, this hotel looks like the type of place that will one day be haunted or something. The price is right, though.

  6. @ Dylan — Not disagreeing, though I also think NYC hotel rooms are small. 😉 I’m just saying that NYC/London/Tokyo hotel rooms are going to be smaller than Topeka/Leeds/Phnom Penh hotel rooms, on average.

  7. I sometimes choose to stay here over the weekend when I’m visiting London – it’s quite far out but fine if you’re not coming and going.

    (The best route is often a local bus to a nearby train station and then a train to Paddington, or the local bus to Hatton Cross and then the tube; TfL will try to get you to take the HEX but you can convince it otherwise by telling it to route you via Hayes & Harlington (for train) or Earls Court (for tube). Going via the HEX from this property into the middle of London will often save you a few minutes at best. The TfL website knows where the “Sheraton Heathrow Hotel” is if you put that in its journey planner.)

    Yes, it’s very tired (especially in the corridors) and quite quirky, but I’ve never had a bad staff member or bad service, and the times I’ve been there they had a separate queue for delayed passengers. The breakfast is hearty, the gym is decent, the beds are comfortable and the hotel itself surprisingly cosy. Yes, there are far, far nicer Sheratons out there. But for 50 quid a night I would challenge anyone to do better in London. (When it reaches the 100+ quid level though, I have no idea what they’re thinking.)

  8. I stayed at this Sheraton several years ago, and its price was its greatest (only?) drawing point. I paid for an upgrade to their Club Level, since the upcharge (20-40 quid or so) was worth it as a non-status guest. I would’ve paid that much (or more) for internet, drinks, and breakfast anyway. I recall that the happy hour selection, while nothing special, was a bit more robust, and the lounge staff were attentive.

    As an aside, I don’t think I’ve ever paid for a taxi or the Hotel Hoppa for any of the Heathrow hotels, since the free local buses were perfectly fine.

  9. I’ve stayed at this hotel probably a dozen times over the past couple of years and think it is a great place & value for the prices usually offered. The Hotel Hoppa is a bit of a pain tho’.

  10. @ Mikeh — For three people the cost of a taxi was the same as the Hotel Hoppa. But thanks for playing…

  11. Ben,

    When are you going to put a “tracker app” on your blog that tells us where in the world(or time zone) you are in.. Think many of us lose track of where you are.

  12. This isn’t bad at all. I’d value it at no more than $100 per night. I’m always amazed at how many hotels have a great lobby — first impressions matter! — but then, as you observed, shabby hallways leading to the guest rooms. Even if the rooms are fine, or superb, the shabby hallways ruin any positive first impressions of the lobby.

    I made the mistake of using points a while back at the Renaissance Heathrow. Talk about bad. It was easily the worst hotel, ever. This was November 2013.

  13. Yep, pretty much as I remember it..yes it’s cheap, but location and facility make it really low on my list of properties around LHR.

    One thing you didn’t note, maybe you didn’t have this issue but in ALL the rooms I’ve stayed in you can really hear the neighbor above and beside you’s shower and the pipes and showers make a lot of noise.

    Now, it’s not a problem if you are the first to rise, but if you’re trying to sleep in or catch up on some jet-lag it gets annoying. So, BRING YOUR EARPLUGS

  14. FYI, if you’re departing flight leaves before the club lounge (weekdays) or the restaurant (weekends) opens for breakfast, they will gladly make you a to-go breakfast in a bag, with fruit, yoghurt, & a croissant. (coffee, water, & OJ are avail 24/7 in the lounge, inc. to-go cups).

    I do like that the lounge is “open” 24/7 if one is up at an odd hour & wants a desktop to work at, or to grab a drink (juices, teas, coffees) or a snack (usually biscuits/cookies, fruit, sometimes nacho chips….).

    It was not that long ago that the whole lobby had the same “decor” as that elevator….ugh. So glad when that changed. Am told that more of the rooms & the hotel will be renovated in due course.

    I stay there often before/after a late-arriving or early-departing flight. For the price, a comfortable bed, a clean room, a decent gym, enough to eat (not great food but not horrible), and a 5 minute free ride to the airport, it def does the job. If I have time, and “need” an additional stay credit, I can secure a fairly affordable “day use” rate down the road at the Skyline.

  15. A distinguishing feature of the Skyline, that some chose it over this Sheraton Heathrow for, is its indoor pool…yet I cannot count the number of times I had a reservation there and did not find out until arrival (or after arrival) that the pool area was closed due to an event/private party.

  16. I have stayed there so many times its not funny. Revenue tickets intra Europe can be amazingly cheap if you book via London (Basel to Milan is about $700, but Basel to London and London to Milan was about $200 and I got to save on the hotel too by staying at the Sheraton). Its functional for a nights stay and the Hoppa is the way to go.

    Incidentally the building next to it is a prison (on the left of you if facing the front door) and you can see the barbed wire fence.

    The check in guy told me it is primarily a hotel for BA cancelled flights of which on average there is one per day. On a trip to NBO (SFO-LHR-NBO) my flight to NBO was delayed for 8 hours before they rescheduled for the next day and we got to stay there again. Its low on the number of Starwood points it takes and for its function i think its great. You will not however mistake this for the Four Seasons.

    Will be back there in a couple of weeks….

  17. @Mikeh – I like reading Ben’s blog as much as the next guy, but tracking him in real time seems a little creepy. He already shares a lot of his life, so let him have a modicum of privacy.

  18. The bathroom seems really nice, and I think the hotel is a great value, given how low the prices are.
    By the way, Indonesia charges about 24% for VAT……

  19. Prices at this hotel vary widely (I’ve seen it well over $200/night) so the upcoming Cat 2 point redemption can be an excellent value. (Unbelievably, it was actually Cat 4 a few years ago.)

    Unlike Ben, I am ADDICTED to English bacon and baked beans – can’t get enough of them!! So the breakfast buffet is one of my favorites.

    My main complaint is the long check-in lines (never see more than 2 agents working). And as for that “concierge”? Last time I was there, he couldn’t provide even very basic info (options for getting into central London). One of the customers waiting in line was only too happy to help….I should have given him a nice tip. 🙂

  20. As Dylan mentioned, the Sofitel is conveniently connected to T5, fresh and newish only being a couple years old, and attractively designed. When I have an early morning flight out of Heathrow (too early to take the tube from central London), I’ll typically stay at the Sofitel at T5 even when flying out of T4, just because I feel it’s quite a bit nicer than the Hilton. Maybe give it a try next time your at LHR!

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