Let me start off as clearly as I can about our hotel reviews. Long time readers may notice I am usually pretty positive about the hotels I stay at. In fact that is by design: I research hotels, sometimes agonize on the decision of which hotel to stay at. Sometimes I even travel to a specific place just for the hotel. It’s seldom that I stay at a bad hotel. So, for fear at sounding over entitled, I write this review about a hotel that doesn’t pass muster.
Why we chose the hotel:
My wife and I chose the Renaissance Hotel Heathrow based on price and location. We were flying in early on the Etihad A380 and leaving early the next morning. We wanted something close to the airport and as inexpensive as we could get within proximity. At 109 pounds a night, it was anything but cheap, and certainly not worth it.
About the hotel:
From the outside the hotel looks aged. We didn’t even take a photo of it, primarily because we wanted to fool ourselves into thinking everything would be fine. I blame it on the fact that we just got off the Etihad A380, or jetlag, or both. The hotel is currently doing significant renovation, right down to the plumbing. There are parts that have already been renovated-like the lobby and executive lounge– and reflect the Renaissance branding, while others are woefully left in another decade.
About the room:
I knew I had to level set my expectations before I even saw the hotel. Afterall, we had previously enjoyed suites at three wonderful Hyatts in Qatar, Dubai (Park Hyatt), and Dubai (Grand Hyatt), where larger rooms are more common than London, or really Europe in general, at least based on my experience.
This room however was smaller and less equiped than for what I had anticipated for a Renaissance. The bathroom was only slightly larger than the shower lav on the EtihadA380. The bed was of standard size, but clearly older. It even had a plastic mattress pad that could be heard rustling as I tossed and turned. In retrospect, I’m happy it had a plastic mattress pad. The duvet and pillows were clearly new, so that was a bonus.
And because, we did in fact need additional direction (because just flicking the flush handle didn’t work at times), they offered that further instruction:
Where the hotel excelled:
We were very happy to be accomodated early given our early flight. While we didn’t get into a room immediately, we were provided access to the executive lounge. In fact, we had been told it would only be a 40 minute wait for a room, but even with the proactive efforts of the lounge attendant, it was closer to an hour and 40 minutes.
An added bonus was that the lounge had a beautiful view of one of Heathrow’s runways as well as the Star Alliance terminal.
Where the hotel fell short:
It is clear the hotel acknowledges that it is outdated and is making efforts to resolve that. Unfortunately, I’m not sure that will help. The rooms are tiny, there is no soundproofing – I’m cool hearing the planes land and take off but I prefer not to hear the television in the room next door or the conversation a couple is having down the hall. Further the staff-with the exception of the lounge staff- seemed less than excited to be there, and didn’t make any effort to speed things up when its clear- you’re an airport hotel, people have to make their planes.
The Renaissance hotel Heathrow doesn’t meet the Renaissance standard. In fact, I don’t think it even meets the Fairfield Inn standard. Even after the renovations, I’m not sure it will. As candidly as I can say it. Avoid this hotel at all costs.