Readers will know that I am London based, and that I love the Heathrow Express, so it will be odd to discover that rather than heading home for the night, I checked into a hotel. My rationale for another ‘micro-break‘ was that I was arriving late and leaving early, which would be difficult on public transport. The car was already at Gatwick so a night in a hotel would be easy. I could have gone for a cheaper option, but I’d always wanted to try the Sofitel at Heathrow because of good reports I’d heard, and it would make a nice treat for us, seeing as I was going away for a few days, to spend some time together. Unfortunately, due to a change of plans, I ended up on my own so felt like I had to make the most of it!
Following my flight back to London, I don’t think I’ve ever been through immigration at T5 as fast as I did this time, in part thanks to the dedicated Club Europe bus and the abundance, for once, of open e-passport gates.
Once through, I proceeded over to the Sofitel hotel. Attached to the airport via a covered walkway, it takes 3 minutes to get to. Find the lift at the north end of the terminal arrivals area and take it up one floor. This is the same lift that you need for the Pod Parking on Level 2.
Coming out of the lift and turning right, you are immediately greeted by this long wood-panelled corridor with soothing music playing and a soft scent that reminded me of a spa.
There was a small queue for check in but it didn’t take long. I had paid for a Junior suite, and was upgraded to a Prestige Suite thanks to my Gold status in the Accor loyalty scheme, Le Club. (As an aside, I realised that I haven’t really written anything about Le Club, or how to get easy status – so I have done so here!). This suite came with access to the Club Millésime Lounge and The Spa Hydro Suite. a free minibar and I was given a drinks voucher for the Sphere bar.
The room was really nicely appointed, with a large bed, separate living room, a bathroom with a TV above the bath and a separate toilet; obviously much more space than I needed, and bigger than some people’s flats, I am sure.
I popped down to the Sphere bar for a beer. There was a wide selection and I was glad of the voucher – my bottle of beer would have been £6.50! The area itself was lovely – plenty of space to sit and despite the high ceilings it didn’t feel echoey or cold.
I headed back to the room and had a drink from the minibar and settled down to watch the Opening Ceremony of the Olympic Games = there was an awesome Bose surround sound system connected to the TV.
Sadly I didnt have time to check out the Spa or the fitness suite. I did pop into the Millésime Lounge on two occasions and was, on both visits, very disappointed. The information given to me on check in was that there were drinks and snacks – cold canapes and hot hors d’oeuvres – served from 1930 until 2200. I arrived at 2150 and there was nothing. Drinks were out, but no food. It wasnt that it had all been eaten; they had actually set up for breakfast. When I went in for breakfast, there were only three tables to sit and eat at – and all were taken. There were other, low coffee tables, but that is not an acceptable alternative. The food selection was fine, but nothing to compare to the buffets one would find at an InterContinental like Paris Le Grand or Madrid. The only saving grace was the fact that there were take away cups so I was able to grab a coffee and head over to the airport to check my bag in.
It was a luxury to stay in the hotel, and I slept so well – not having to go back and forth from the airport was wonderful. I would certainly stay here again, but I would want to make sure I had time to use the lounge and the spa if in the same category of room. If not, I would probably book into a lower category seeing as the Gold status gives an upgrade.
You can read about the other parts of the trip here: