Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Lobby bar lounge

The Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Review – Location and Luxury in LHR Terminal 5

Posted on Posted in Business Travel, Heathrow Airport (LHR), London Hotels, luxury hotel
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Lobby bar lounge
The lobby lounge is great for groups to enjoy food and drinks

Calling the luxury Sofitel Heathrow Hotel at Terminal 5 (T5) an “airport hotel” is just cruel and unjust.  For me the term “airport hotel” often conjures up a beige hotel which lacks character, is depressing as an in-transit passenger and makes me want to escape as soon as possible. I’ve not had many great “airport hotel” experiences but at the Sofitel T5, I’m not in a hurry to leave as it’s a comfortable escape from the madness that is Heathrow Airport (LHR).

Convenience and luxury, however, come at a price (a location, location, location kind of price).  I’ve stayed at the hotel three times now, once when stranded due to snow and now twice due to early morning flights from T5.  My most recent visit was last month as part of my cheap business class ticket, which included an 8 a.m. flight home.

Finding the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel

After you get your bags and exit into the T5 terminal, you need to make a right to walk down to the end of the hallway (stop first to stock up on snacks as the room has an empty refrigerator), walk through the doors as if going to the parking lot to get the lift (there is a small Sofitel sign at the elevator).  From the lift, you go up one floor and make a right as you exit.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel lift signage at T5
Small signage to look out for on the lifts in LHR Terminal 5
Terminal 5 Lift to Sofitel Heathrow Hotel
Inside the Terminal 5 lift – go up one level for the Sofitel LHR Hotel (and CarPark)

 

You can pick up a trolley here (good idea!) as you will walk down the hallway, which seems never to end! The brown paneled hallway with gleaming floors is eye catching as are the rails to prevent dings from trolleys. As the marble floor yields to the carpeted bridge you are closer to arriving on the second floor of the hotel.  If you have a luggage trolley, take the lift down otherwise use the escalator to the lobby.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5
The signage as you exit the Terminal 5 lift for the Sofitel London Heathrow
Luggage carts trolleys at LHR T5 Sofitel
Pick a luggage trolley, any luggage trolley…..on your way to/from the Sofitel Heathrow T5
Walkway Terminal 5 to Sofitel Hotel LHR
I’ll race you to the end of the hallway from Terminal 5 toward the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel

The Front Desk Arrival

On my first visit, I was checking in before dinner last minute due to the flight cancellation and being stranded at Heathrow.  I had called from the BA lounge to reserve the room and check-in was quick and easy.  As an Accor gold member, at the time, I was given my free drink coupon to use at the bar later.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Terminal 5
Lobby lifts and escalators to the Terminal 5 walkway

On my second visit, the front desk experience was horrible.  I arrived on the 6:30 a.m. flight and arrived at the hotel about 7:30 a.m. exhausted and craving the SoBed for sleep.  This time, I was denied the pleasant early check-in that was afforded the gold member in front of me. Despite my gold status, I was told I would need to wait until 3 p.m. for check-in (this is where I think the hotel has an opportunity to use a rolling 24/7 check-in as the Novotel Bangkok does, also an Accor hotel).  I became that guest who sits in the lobby and waits while not falling asleep before deciding to store my bags, jump on the Heathrow Express and explore London for the day.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5 lobby
Lobby view of the front desk at the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel lobby seating
Lobby seating where I tried to stay awake for my early check-in – I went into the city of London instead

My recent visit was quick and easy – I arrived after the normal check in time and was greeted and quickly checked-in.

The Lobby and Common Spaces

You are greeted by glass, marble, art and contemporary design in the hotel. Despite having over 600 rooms, three restaurants and over 40 meeting rooms, the hotel has never felt crowded during my visits. The hotel is a few buildings under one which helps with the noise, or lack thereof.  With restaurants and bar on the main level, you need to go to either end of the lobby to access the glass elevators to the guest rooms.  Your key card is required to operate the lift (and the room electric so get two keys at check-in).

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5 glass elevator
Glass elevators (lifts) in the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel multiple buildings under one roof

The hotel has open atriums and one main walkway between wings (buildings) on each floor.  The tricky part is the H shaped wings on either side. You room might be the first or second turn.

Sofitel Heathrow hotel walkways
The guest floor walkways between wings of the Sofitel hotel

The colors and quiet of the common spaces is a nice change from the often chaos at airport hotels.  While it’s usually only an overnight (or dayroom) stay, it’s really quiet in most spaces on all three visits.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel hallway
The guest room hallway

The Standard Room

The rooms are a good size.  I’ve stayed in a standard room as well as an upgraded room (welcomed with a plate of chocolate during my stranded visit as a Gold member at the time).  Each room overlooked the interior of the hotel atrium.  The rooms have a flat screen television, free Wi-Fi, ample desk/workstation and the SoBed (a favorite fluffy, hard to leave bed).  Despite the many comings and goings of the guests, the room was quiet all day and night thanks to soundproofed windows and excellent room darkening curtains.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Standard Room
The standard room – SoBed, leather lounge chair and wood accents
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Room
Desk, flat screen tv and storage space in the standard Sofitel Heathrow Hotel room
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Room Buttons
Easy push buttons in the room

When you enter, there are two shelves with coffee making supplies, a wardrobe/closet with safe, iron and extra duvet and my favorite – slippers!  The refrigerator is empty save two bottles of complimentary still and sparkling water. A marble landing is great as a luggage rack and there are drawers beneath. On the right, after you put the keycard in the electric slot, you have buttons to operate the room.  You will also have the nicely sized bathroom.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5 Coffee
Entryway shelves with coffee/tea making accessories at the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Slippers
Love me slippers! The wardrobe has an extra duvet, iron/ironing board and ample hangers for your stay
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Free Water
Two free bottles of water – one still and one sparkling

The Bathroom

The Sofitel brand of Accor is a luxury brand that shows in the bathroom.  The walk in shower had strong water pressure and London ESPA toiletries.  Plush towels, good lighting and design made the bathroom a definite oasis.  Unusual for a standard room at any hotel is the shower and separate tub.  Usually a tub is a suite perk but here it is standard. One fault that I have though is the toilet and the fact that I can never quite get the right push button flush (it’s comical and sad at the same time).

Bathroom at Sofitel Heathrow Hotel
The contempory bathroom at the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel with walk in rainshower
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5 Toiletries ESPA
London brand ESPA toiletries at the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel at T5
Bathtub at the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel
The bathtub at the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel – a rarity in a standard room IMO

Help Me Find the Hairdryer

Knowing that I would need the hairdryer at 4:30 a.m. and most likely not in the mood for hide and seek, I went in search of the hairdryer after dinner. It was a search even for me.  I started in the bathroom (wishful thinking), moved to the wardrobe (seemed a good idea), then opened all the drawers before opening the last drawer next to the window in the desk.  Found it (sort of).  It was in the desk and connected to the desk so it can’t be moved elsewhere (you can call housekeeping for one that is disconnected).  While I understand the need, this is annoying.

Hairdryer Sofitel Heathrow Hotel
Playing hide and seek with the hairdryer to find it shackled to the desk – annoying!

The Restaurants

The morning buffet breakfast at Vivre has a plethora of options and while a bit expensive, it’s worth it to have fresh foods before your flight.  You could choose to eat in the airport terminal but you’d miss out on the classic French croissants and pain au chocolate. The restaurant opens at 6 a.m. so I’ve only visited once due to early flights. A past dinner I chose a filet and fresh vegetables with a nice Bordeaux and it was quite tasty.  As I equate airport hotels with chicken fingers and frozen burgers it was nice to have healthy choices.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Spheres Lobby bar
My table in the lobby bar

There is a fancy French restaurant, La Belle Époque and Tea 5 which serves afternoon tea, finger sandwiches and French pastries. I’ve not tried either.

Sphere Bar & Lounge

My last visit, I wasn’t in the mood for a full out restaurant meal, I wanted room service food not in my room but in the lobby and luckily found it at the bar.  The Sphere bar was quiet during my visit and has a long bar, high top tables, many televisions showing sports and a separate lounge with seating.  Service was friendly and quick.

Spheres lobby bar Sofitel Heathrow Hotel
The Spheres bar in the lobby has a good cocktail list and sells cigars
Club Sandwich Sofitel Heathrow Hotel food lobby bar
The club sandwich with fries and a glass of wine at Spheres Lobby Bar of the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel at T5
Sofitel Heathrow Hotel Lobby bar lounge
The lobby lounge is great for groups to enjoy food and drinks

There’s More

The hotel has meeting rooms, a 24/7 gym, a spa with pool, a concierge and all the other amenities you’d expect from a five star hotel.  There is also a Perrier-Jouet Champagne bar which was tempting.

Spheres Lobby Bar and Lounge at Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5
Spheres lobby bar and lounge at Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5

Day Trip London

If you want to go into London, it’s really easy on the Heathrow Express which gets you to Paddington in fifteen minutes or you can take the tube (underground) for much less  but a longer journey (about an hour).

Tower Bridge London
Tower Bridge London on a fantastic day!

Overall – The Sofitel Heathrow Hotel at T5

Location, location, location!  It’s all about proximity to Terminal 5 and for that absolute convenience you will pay more.  How much more depends on when you book and if you are an Accor loyalty member (members get 5% discount online).  For my past stay, I mulled the Sofitel vs. a Sheraton off airport, the difference was $50 and a shuttle bus schedule.  So what’s your time worth?  For me, the Sofitel Heathrow Hotel T5 is worth the extra cost for convenience and luxury…..just don’t get there too early unless you’ve booked a day room!  My rate was £135 (slightly over $200) for a Friday night November stay.

Sofitel Heathrow Hotel SoBed
The feathery SoBed and side table amenities

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

*