01. Introduction: Business class battle royale – British Airways vs. Virgin Atlantic
02. British Airways 747-400 Club World (business class) San Diego to London (LHR)
03. Park Plaza Westminster Bridge, London
04. Hilton London Heathrow Airport, Terminal 4
05. The 3 things that I love most about London
06. Virgin Atlantic Club House, LHR
07. Virgin Atlantic A340-600 Upper Class (business class) London (LHR) to New York (JFK)
08. InterContinental New York Barclay
09. jetBlue A321 Mint (business class) New York (JFK) to Los Angeles
10. Delta Connection CRJ-900 economy class Los Angeles to San Diego
It sounds silly now that I’m writing this, but the thing I was looking forward to the most about this stay at the Hilton Heathrow Airport (at terminal 4) was the windows. After my stay at the dark and dreary Park Plaza Westminster Bridge hotel, all I wanted was a hotel room with natural light. I didn’t care about much else – if the room had a decent window to the outside world, I would be happy.
Long story short, the Hilton at LHR terminal 4 is SANspotter approved. There are indeed windows in all guest rooms, and I can’t even begin to describe the sense of relief I felt when I walked into that room and saw sunshine. Silly, yes, but I had no idea what two nights in a dark and secluded hotel room would do to me. God forbid if I ever end up in jail. I don’t think I’d last a week in a tiny cell before crawling into the corner and shriveling up like a raisin. I need natural light! But let’s back up a bit…
This Hilton is located adjacent to terminal 4 at London’s Heathrow Airport, and it should be noted that it’s not attached directly to the terminal itself. You can reach the hotel from within the airport through a long tunnel system which takes about 5 minutes to walk the entire length – so plan ahead if you’ve got a lot of luggage to pull around. I did notice an elderly couple being picked up at the entrance to the tunnel by hotel staff in an electric cart, so apparently that is an option if you are unable (or unwilling) to do the walk.
The lobby of this Hilton is large, bright, and grand, typical of what I would expect a Hilton to be. It didn’t feel overly stylish and trendy to me (at least compared to the Park Plaza I had just spent two nights at) but it was certainly designed in a way that made me feel at home right away.
I had room 314 for my short 1-night stay, and it was a fairly short walk from the elevators – which doesn’t normally matter to me all that much, but every little bit helps after making that long walk from T4 at LHR.
The room itself was a bit small, though perfectly comfortable and sprinkled with a few very cool little design elements which gave the room a bit of character. The glowing world map on the wall above the mini bar was cool, and the mini bar was a piece of art in itself. It was more like a showcase than a minibar, and I will admit it tempted me to indulge a bit. But I did my best to resist!
One of the best parts of the room was the view of the steady stream of aircraft approaching in the distance. I spent at least two hours with my chair next to the window just watching airliners from all over the wold pour into LHR. They weren’t close enough to photograph, and I wouldn’t go as far as to consider this a good spotting hotel, but the planes were close enough to identify airlines. LHR sure is a diverse airport – I saw a few airlines that I’ve never even heard of before, which was pretty interesting for this airline nerd.
The worst part about the room? The temperature! No matter what setting I set the climate control to, all it did was blow cold air. It was miserable, so the only option was to turn it off completely to stop the deep freeze. And even that didn’t help – I was uncomfortably cold all night long. Noise was also a bit of an issue – the walls are very thin here, so the constant noise from other guests was distracting.
I had to get up very early the next morning to catch a flight to JFK, so I didn’t feel much like going out for dinner that night. I spent the night in, with an order of room service from one of the in-house restaurants. It was pretty good – and fairly reasonably priced for room service if you ask me.
All in all, I enjoyed my stay here at the LHR Hilton. Yes, the room was downright freezing, but the convenience of being right next to the airport made up for that in a big way. This is especially helpful if you’ve got an early morning flight out of LHR – even if it’s in a terminal other than 4. All the other terminals are easily accessed (for free) with the Heathrow Express, and it sure beats having to make the trek to LHR from other parts of London that early in the morning!