Scotland on Sunday, Do Not Distrub
When you need to overnight near Heathrow to make a connecting flight, the Park Inn by Radisson London Heathrow is an excellent option. Easy to find since it’s just off the A4 and easily accessible from the M25 and M4 motorways, it’s also just 1.6km away from the terminals with a shuttle bus there and back.
With 895 rooms you’re unlikely to be turned away and you won’t pay over the odds, plus there’s a choice of eating options, from restaurant to snacks in the bar, and a gym with swimming pool to stretch out those long-haul cramps. There’s also free wifi in all rooms and the reception is up and running 24 hours a day, so whatever time you land and however jetlagged you might be, you’ll be looked after.
If you’re a business traveller The Park Inn also does a brisk trade in conferences with two centres and 41 meeting rooms that can host 700 guests.
The Hotel Hoppa Bus Service from terminals 2, 3 and 5 (for a small charge) makes it easy to catch a lift right to the door, but I jumped on a service bus that stopped right outside, and if you want to leave your car in the large car park while you holiday, the hotel does Drive In, Fly Out airport parking packages which include overnight accommodation and four, eight or 15 days of parking, starting from £85.
The hotel is on a busy road near the airport, but thanks to double glazing it’s peaceful, and landscaping and trees contribute to a calm atmosphere.
Budget or boutique?
It’s budget, but with everything you need for an overnight stay and a filling breakfast to send you on your way. Don’t expect towels shaped into swans and a minibar stuffed with expensive treats.
There are Standard, Family, Superior or One Bedroom suites and my double was clean and comfortable with a double bed, TV, coffee and tea-making facilities, iron, safe, hairdryer and bathroom with shower over the bath and toiletry dispensers.
Despite being so close to the airport, I had a great night’s sleep with a view of the terminals to put my mind at rest rather than worrying about a long commute causing me to miss my plane.
Wining and dining
The RBG Bar & Grill has a selection of tapas-style light bites, hot deli sandwiches, burgers, stone baked pizzas and desserts, and as I arrived late and the à la carte restaurant was full, I opted for nachos and salad with a beer in the bar, where others were tucking in to substantial snack options that ranged from burger and fish and chips to salads and soups. Meals are served until 10.30pm but there’s 24-hour room service menu and a Grab and Go area with vending machines full of snacks and drinks.
Breakfasts are served from 6am-10am (11am at weekends) with all of the usual buffet options laid out for you to help yourself.
The Lounge is an open space with a relaxed vibe where people were enjoying a meal, a drink, a coffee or just watching TV. Travelling alone, I didn’t feel at all self-conscious sitting here for something to eat and when I wanted to take my food back to my room, the friendly staff boxed it up for me.
In the morning there was a buffet breakfast from 6am which served up all of the usual cereals and cooked options.
Worth getting out of bed for
If you’re staying here it’s no doubt because you want to be right next to Heathrow, and you won’t be disappointed on that account.
However, Legoland, Wembley, Wimbledon and Windsor are all 20km or less away, the centre of London is only 27km away, and with a station near the hotel, there are plenty of options if you want to make the Park Inn your base for a holiday.
For me the attraction was the airport and any other activities were restricted to pre-flight shopping once I’d caught the early morning shuttle bus.
There are Heathrow flight schedule updates on screens in the hotel lobby if you’re of a nervous disposition, and the swimming pool is a real boon if you’re travelling solo and fancy a splash around before hitting the sack instead of staring at the TV or devouring a boxset in your room all evening.
For a clean, fuss free and friendly place to stay at either end of a holiday you could go a lot further than the 1.6km to Heathrow to find a better bed for the night.
Rooms start from £59.25. Park Inn by Radisson London Heathrow, Bath Road, Heathrow, Sipson, West Drayton UB7 0DU (020 8759 6611, www.parkinn.co.uk)