The Inspector calls into the Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow and loves the sleek cocktail bar and soundproofed room with views of the runway (but bemoans the shower’s “1980s drizzle”)
- Hilton Garden Inn in Terminals 2 and 3 offers rooms with a choice of perspectives, inspector reveals
- He says the hotel’s Runway bar is ‘seductively lit’, but he doesn’t like the atmosphere of The Apron restaurant
- Remember that the inspector pays his way… and tells it like it is…
People are wary of airport hotels, but I’ve always liked them. Guests go places; there is a sense of expectation. And they have improved dramatically over the past decade.
The Hilton Garden Inn at Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3 is a new offering, opened by Eamonn Holmes and his wife Ruth Langsford before the pandemic hit, and built from the ground up by the Arora Group but operated by Hilton.
There are no less than 369 rooms with a choice of outlook. I went to see the track. The room is clean and tidy, with a cleverly stored ironing board, small desk, armchair and 55 inch television.
One of 369 rooms at the Hilton Garden Inn in Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3, which opened before the pandemic hit
The exterior of the Hilton Garden Inn. The inspector says he has “always liked” airport hotels because “customers go elsewhere; there is a feeling of expectation’
The soundproofing is superb, the lighting simple.
Its only flaw is the shower. When faced with an inconveniently timed flight, you need something invigorating, not a drizzle from the 1980s.
At reception, I was told about the Runway Bar on the 14th floor. I take the elevator, which offers weather forecasts and random facts such as “The deepest part of the ocean is seven miles deep.”
The Runway Bar turns out to be an alluring and elegant space that sells fine cocktails. I’ve never been to Singapore, but I feel like I’m there right now. After a single, I go down to the basement to inspect The Apron restaurant, which, conversely, is over-lit, with a distinct canteen vibe.
According to the inspector, the Runway Bar, pictured, is a ‘bright and alluring space selling fine cocktails’
‘I’ve never been to Singapore, but I feel like I’m there right now,’ the inspector says of the 14th floor Runway Bar (pictured)
The hotel’s Jack’s Bar, where the inspector orders a “delicious” meal of nachos with salsa, sour cream and guacamole, followed by a burger with bacon, coleslaw and fries
Across the hall is the main bar, where many TVs are showing a football game. I sit in front of one and keep things unhealthily simple by ordering nachos with salsa, sour cream and guacamole, followed by a burger with bacon, salad of cabbage and fries. Delicious.
The next morning, I watch planes take off every two minutes, giant but silent birds soaring effortlessly into the sky. It’s cathartic after months of planes going nowhere.
There is a buffet breakfast in the restaurant, but I only want coffee.
At the cash desks, those heading for departures can pick up anything they might need for their flight, including hot drinks and sandwiches, the inspector reveals. Above, the hotel lobby
A family room at the “newish” Hilton. Inspector says he ‘wouldn’t hesitate to return if faced with a pre-dawn departure’
“We won’t bother to charge you for that,” says a friendly member of staff.
At the cash desks, those heading for Departures can pick up everything they might need for their trip: hot and cold drinks, sandwiches, panini, crisps, chocolates. There is even an ATM to collect pounds, euros or dollars.
I’m not going anywhere and feel kind of cheated as a result, but wouldn’t hesitate to come back if faced with a pre-dawn departure.
Hilton Garden Inn, Heathrow Terminals 2 & 3, TW6 1AH.
Double rooms are priced at £82. For more information call 020 3972 9700 or visit heathrow2.hgi.com.