Review: Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5

Introduction: Journey To Kazakhstan
Review: Korean Air First Class 747-8 Vancouver To Incheon
Review: Nest Hotel Incheon Airport
Review: Asiana Business Class Lounge Incheon Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 767 Incheon To Almaty
Review: Ritz-Carlton Almaty
Review: Air Astana Lounge Almaty Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class A321 Almaty To Astana
Review: Marriott Astana
Review: Air Astana Lounge Astana Airport
Review: Air Astana Business Class 757 Astana To London
Review: Sofitel London Heathrow Terminal 5
Review: United Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: Singapore Airlines Lounge London Heathrow Airport
Review: United First Class 777 London To Los Angeles


My flight from Astana arrived at Terminal 4 at around 5PM, while my flight to Los Angeles the following day was departing from Terminal 2 at around noon.

Most Heathrow Airport hotels aren’t especially convenient, given that most of them aren’t connected to the terminals, and also don’t have a free shuttle service. This is probably because of how disconnected the airport’s terminals are.

There are two hotels connected directly to the terminals at Heathrow — there’s the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 4 (which I’ve reviewed before), and the Sofitel Heathrow Terminal 5.

For this stay I decided to try the Sofitel Terminal 5, even though it was sort of impractical, since I was neither arriving or departing from that terminal. Still, I was curious to try what’s supposedly Heathrow’s most luxurious hotel, and wanted to try accessing their club lounge using Priority Pass.

With that in mind, upon arrival at Terminal 4 I headed to the outside roadway to hop on the free bus between terminals. I was told that either bus 482 or bus 490 would take me to Terminal 5, and they both left from bus stop 7. That bus ride took about 15 minutes.

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Transport between terminals London Heathrow

Upon arriving at Terminal 5 I entered the arrivals hall and turned left to follow the signage towards the Sofitel.

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Heathrow Terminal 5 arrivals area

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Sofitel signage Heathrow Terminal 5

The hotel was in the same direction as the car park.

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Walking towards Sofitel Heathrow

Once I passed through the double doors I took the elevator up to the Sofitel.

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Elevator to Sofitel Heathrow

The Sofitel is connected to the terminal by a series of long indoor walkways, and altogether the walk took about five minutes, though I tend to walk pretty quickly. The walk wasn’t without some excitement, as I chronicled in a previous post.

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Walkway to Sofitel Heathrow

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Walkway to Sofitel Heathrow

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Walkway to Sofitel Heathrow

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Walkway to Sofitel Heathrow

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Walkway to Sofitel Heathrow

At the end of the series of connectors I found myself in a multi-story room, with interior facing hotel rooms on each side. I took the escalator down a level, and then turned right towards reception.

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Entrance to Sofitel Heathrow

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Sofitel Heathrow rooms & escalator

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Sofitel London Heathrow lobby

The reception area was quite busy, and they didn’t seem to have any sort of queue system, so it was quite disorganized.

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Sofitel London Heathrow lobby

The line moved fairly quickly, and within about five minutes I was checked in. The process was efficient, and the associate informed me that I had been upgraded from a classic room to a superior room. Funny enough the two other people checking in next to me were informed of the same upgrade, based on what I overheard.

For what it’s worth, my rate at this hotel was ~250USD. While not cheap, other hotels were pricing out similarly.

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Sofitel London Heathrow reception desk

My room was located on the first floor, so I took the elevator up. The Sofitel is huge, with over 600 rooms. The “wings” of rooms are all parallel to one another, with the a long hallway that’s perpendicular to the “wings” connecting them all. My room number was 3128, which meant I was in the third wing, on the first floor.

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Sofitel London Heathrow lobby

It was quite a haul to get to my room, and based on how long the hallway was, it seems like it was even longer of a walk for others.

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Sofitel London Heathrow walkway to room

After walking down the hall I turned left, and then my room was almost at the end of the hallway and on the left.

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Sofitel London Heathrow walkway to room

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Sofitel London Heathrow room exterior

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Sofitel London Heathrow floorplan

The room was advertised as being 300 square feet, though felt small. There was an entryway with a closet and coffee setup on the right and the bathroom to the left.

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Sofitel Heathrow room entryway

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Sofitel Heathrow room entryway

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room luggage rack

There was a kettle along with some tea and instant coffee. However, I was really underwhelmed that there was no complimentary bottled water.

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Sofitel Heathrow coffee & tea kettle

The room featured a fairly comfortable king size bed, along with a chair with ottoman in the corner, which was a good place from which to work.

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room sitting area

The room had a view facing the interior of the hotel, and there was a walkway right outside of my window. As a result, I kept the curtains closed for my entire stay, since people could otherwise look right in.

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room

Across from the bed and chair were a desk and a flat screen TV.

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room TV & desk

The desk had well placed outlets, which I appreciated. Unfortunately the wifi in the room was excruciatingly slow, unusably so. This is completely unacceptable at a business airport hotel in a country like the UK, in my opinion.

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room desk

The bathroom was back towards the entrance, and featured a walk-in shower, a toilet, a sink, and a bathtub.

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room bathroom

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room bathtub

The water pressure in the shower was pretty bad.

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Sofitel Heathrow superior king room shower

Toiletries were provided by ESPA, as is the norm at many Sofitel properties.

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Sofitel Heathrow Espa toiletries

The one thing I was curious to test out at this hotel was the fact that their executive lounge, Club Millesime, belongs to Priority Pass. I didn’t pay for a club room, but rather tried to get in with my Priority Pass card. Typically Priority Pass lounges are at airports, so this is sort of an interesting extension of the program.

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I wasn’t sure if this was technically only intended for non-hotel guests or what. I did have a same day flight, so I figured it was worth trying out.

I headed to the guest relations desk (located across from the reception desk) with my laptop bag and presented my Priority Pass card. The friendly associate swiped the card and had me sign. She asked if I needed a shower, as Priority Pass members also get access to the spa. I of course declined. She then escorted me to the club lounge, and explained I could stay for up to four hours. She seemed to notify the lounge attendant I was there through Priority Pass, presumably so I didn’t overstay my welcome.

This was a super easy process, and it seems that this Priority Pass benefit can also be used when staying at the property.

The Sofitel club lounge is located on the ground floor, just a short walk from reception.

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime exterior

Unfortunately the lounge has no natural light, so if you’re tired and trying to stay awake, the lounge’s dimmed lighting doesn’t help. The lounge is on the small side, though wasn’t really overcrowded.

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime seating

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime seating

The food and drink selection was towards the back of the lounge.

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime seating

I arrived during the evening happy hour, where complimentary food and drinks were available. There was a table with several types of self serve wine and liquor.

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening drinks

On one hand I was impressed by the variety of wine on offer (they had more than one white and one red)…

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening wine

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening wine

…on the other hand Beefeater isn’t exactly premium gin.

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening liquor

The food spread was a bit underwhelming as well, not even as good as what you’ll find at the Hilton, which isn’t saying a lot. I’ll let the pictures of the food speak for themselves, since I’m not sure what some of the things were (nothing was labeled).

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening food

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening food

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening food

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening food

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening food

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening food

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Sofitel Heathrow Club Millesime evening dessert

I worked from the lounge for about an hour, and then went to bed early. I was in London the same night the first presidential debate was happening, so I set my alarm in order to watch the debate at 2AM. That lasted until about 4AM. My flight was at noon though I couldn’t fall back asleep. So shortly after 5AM I decided just to go to the airport already and lounge hop, so I could get pictures of the Star Alliance lounges before they filled up later in the morning.

Terminal 5 is connected to Terminal 2 by the Heathrow Express, so I headed to the arrivals area of Terminal 5, then followed the signage towards the Heathrow Express, and then took the five minute ride to Terminal 2.

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Heathrow Express Terminal 5 station

The whole transfer took a bit over 20 minutes.

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Heathrow Express train

Sofitel Terminal 5 bottom line

Ultimately the reason to stay at this hotel is if you’re flying into and/or out of Terminal 5, since it’s the only hotel connected to Terminal 5. Other than that I can’t really recommend this hotel, and don’t think it’s worth paying a premium for (and don’t really consider it to be more luxurious than the Hilton).

The wifi was unusably slow, the club lounge spread wasn’t impressive, and the rooms weren’t much more luxurious than what you’ll find at other Heathrow Airport hotels.

On the plus side, at least I was happy to find out that Priority Pass lounge access works at this hotel even when staying there (at least that was my experience).

Do you have a favorite Heathrow airport hotel?

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Comments

  1. “Terminal 5 is connected to Terminal 2 by the Heathrow Express, so I headed to the arrivals area of Terminal 5, then followed the signage towards the Heathrow Express, and then took the five minute ride to Terminal 5.”

    It doesn’t take a five minute ride to get from Terminal 5 to Terminal 5. I’m pretty sure you meant Terminal 2.

  2. Was choosing between this and the Hilton for a stay last week, went with the Hilton and probably chose well! (Although they also have beefeater gin in their lounge, eurgh!)

    You can also use the train to connect between the terminals albeit you have to change if going to and from terminal 4. Might be slightly quicker / less unpleasant than a bus.

  3. Benjamin: I empathize with you on the lack of bottled water. My husband and I ONLY drink the Fiji Water. So this is clearly not a classy, luxury hotel. I recall us having stayed at a Sofitel once. It was right after my honeymoon and we went on a WILD excursion in Arizona. It might have been Phoenix, or Yuba City. I don’t exactly remember which. Our travel agent, Colleen Kristen Brewster booked the hotel for us and she threw in a free breakfast for two with unlimited refill for coffee or tea at the Norm’s next door. Is that what you said a Virtuoso agent would offer in a similar capacity? Really love your blog and HUGE fans as always.

  4. I recommend the Hilton Garden Inn. It is sometimes half the price of the Hilton T4 and equally convenient (assuming you’re not actually going to T4) as it is an easy 5 minute walk to the Hatton Cross tube station, which is 1 stop away from T1/2/3 on the Piccadilly line. The only problem I’ve had is with early flights on Sundays because the first train isn’t until about 6am on Sundays (it’s 5am on other days).

  5. Very cool trick regarding Priority Pass. Usually my go-to for Heathrow. While not officially part of Virtuoso, the Manager will sometimes extend VIP amenities.

  6. I was a regular at this hotel. Then, a couple of years ago, I tried to check in a few hours early. They clearly had rooms ready but wanted to charge me extra. First, they asked for X. I said no. Then, as if I was in a bazaar, they offered 1/2X. I still said no. I said I had stayed there a number of times. Someone apparently looked me up and saw that the room was booked in my name only some of those times. On other occasions in my travel partner’s name. They essentially said I was a liar. I escalated this to manager on duty who stood firm. I have not returned to this property since.

  7. The breakfast spread in the lounge is a lot better fwiw, and certainly a lot better than the Hilton. It’s usually a subset of what is offered in their reasonably good restaurant.

    I’ve generally had fast wifi there over my 15-20 stays over the years, though when I checkin I always ask to be put in a room near a wifi router. I also pay for their faster wifi option. And generally I’ll test the wifi speed in a room before I unpack just in case. At the Sofitel years ago I complained and they reset the router.

    I generally consider it to be a pretty nice airport hotel, though it definitely sounds like your experience was worse than mine.

  8. This is my favorite hotel at Heathrow. I’ve never had a problem with the wifi speed and the club lounge is fine. I like the bar and the restaurant. Last time I stayed at the T4 Hilton I was in a room that had not been refreshed and it was very rundown. While the walk to the Sofitel from T5 is a long, I think the walk to the Hilton at T4 is longer. I hadn’t thought about bottled water, but there is a grocery on the bottom floor of T5 outside security if you need a bottle.

  9. I think you don’t tend to like UK tastes, Ben. I recall you once were unimpressed that you were given a gin and a tonic and a glass IIRC. Over here, we prefer that. We know what we’ve got if we mix it ourselves (and Beefeater I agree isn’t premium artisan gin, but it definitely has the partriotic thing going on).

  10. 1. Did Sofitel have a buy-up offered for decent WiFi? Accord has been playing this trick in bargain and luxury hotels alike for a while. Did you complain about the lack of usable WiFi? If so, how did Sofitel respond?

    2. You mentioned that you worked in the club. Does that mean the WiFi was decent there?

  11. I stayed at the Sofitel in August when connecting back to the States. Wifi was fine for me, but the room itself was pretty underwhelming. Especially the bed. Despite the wheel locks on the frame, the bed still rolled around a bit. The bed also wasn’t just soft, it was droopy. I received a pretty good deal, having booked through the Amex Fine Resorts website. The only reason to stay here is if you’re flying in/out of Terminal 5.

  12. I am staying at the Intercontinental Park Lane right now – their Club Room offering is truly amazing, with Moet Champagner flowing from 5:30 – 7:30pm and a great selection of canapés, changing every day. This takes about 45 min from Heathrow with the Picadilly Line, for me personally, always a better option when staying in London, since you are right at the center of things. Highly recommended!

  13. No bottled water? Did you check out the refrigerator? We’ve always had 2 bottles, 1 flat and 1sparkling, and nicely chilled.

  14. My wife and I love the Hilton Terminal 5 which, yes, is about a 10 minute Uber ride away from the airport but it has a great spa area with a hydrotherapy pool, sauna, steamroom, and rain showers that can do wonders for jet lag. Spa access is included with the rate and typically the rate is somewhere between $110-$140. Plus the executive lounge is great.
    We often catch the 8:30 morning flight from Newark that arrives around 8:30 pm…we head to marks and Spencer in the airport for a cheap bottle of wine and food and then enjoy it at the Hilton, go to bed, and spa the next morning before heading into London proper.

  15. Normally AP hotels do not represent the brand, rather only try to be less worse than their nearest competition since majority dont choose to vacation their, it’s always circumstances (long connections, missed flights or complimentary by airline).

    That being said, it’s always appreciated when Ben samples and reviews a Sofitel or a MGallery,
    Some nice ones exist and most of them are never covered.

  16. I’ve stayed here, one of the better airport hotels I have been to. No issue with the wifi, really convenient, room was pretty modern and service was great. Breakfast is very very good too.

  17. y stay there 5 min travelodge in colnbrook £39 nts //ac. wifi.bar. food…the big hotels at heathrow are for mugs tourist who think its close to london or airport/// £220nts at sofitel wow mugs price.lots nice hotels like cliveden house /stoke park hotel same price only 15min in taxi //then there lovely marlow on thames great little town on the river ,maidenhead also on the river..when you dont live near heathrow you dont know . as i live near you have more knowledge.if anybody needs more info hotel food taxis just ask

  18. I’ve stayed at the Sofitel Heathrow T5 twice, both times after arriving at T5 on the British Airways direct flight from San Diego, CA and I’m a fan. As a economy class traveler, I loved just walking to the hotel from arrivals and spending the night here so I can postpone further ground or air travel until the next morning after a relaxing evening and good sleep. To me it feels like an economical alternative to paying for premium economy or business class and I just continue on my way the next day. Fun things: The Terminal 5 land-side arrivals/departures areas are spacious and the building quite beautiful and gleaming at night. In the Arrivals area there’s a Marks and Spencer ‘Simply Food’ shop with a massive selection of sandwiches and goodies. Downstairs in Departures there’s an really attractive Caffe Nero for your classic British ‘flat-white’ coffee. In the hotel, the Vivre restaurant is lively and seems like good value, and there’s also an upscale and very spacious cafe.

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