Super early starts can wreck a good weekend getaway, but this smart Heathrow airport hotel has just upped its game, so that you can be on top of yours…
Holidays, for me, often start with a 4am cab ride to the airport. My long-suffering boyfriend begs me to book more civilised flight times, but I like to squeeze every drop out of my precious time away by getting there early on day one and hitting the ground running.
Trouble is, those 3am starts take their toll, and come 3pm we’re both flagging. Of course, there’s a simple solution – the airport hotel.
Not a new concept, of course, but one I’ve always resisted till now – why pay for an extra night when you can just sleep on the plane? Well, because I’m getting older, and a snatched hour on a plane just doesn’t cut the mustard anymore.
Plus, Heathrow has some great-value options, including the latest addition to the bunch – Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport. A recent entrant into the UK hotel market, Leonardo Hotels wasn’t a brand I was familiar with, until a recent trip to the Christmas markets in Munich.
An overnight stay at the airport makes perfect sense for a weekend break in Europe. Up with the lark, first flight out, a good night’s rest beforehand and you’ll be browsing the markets by lunchtime.
The Leonardo brand now has 12 hotels in the UK (six in Scotland, three in central London, one in Southampton and one Manchester, and the new Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport), but before coming to the UK it had already established a significant international presence, with more than 150 properties across Europe – including the Leonardo Royal Hotel Munich, where we stayed on our festive trip.
‘The hotel has 230 sound-proofed bedrooms, so you might have an impressive runway view, but you won’t hear a thing, thanks to the triple-glazing in every room’
The Heathrow property, on Bath Road, a five-minute drive from the airport, has rooms starting from just £60 a night for a double room (to reach the hotel from the airport, head for Terminal 2 and use the free TFL bus services, the Hoppa Bus service or jump in a taxi, although they charge around a tenner for the short trip).
The hotel, which opened in March 2015, recently underwent a substantial refurbishment and now has 230 sound-proofed bedrooms (you might have an impressive runway view, but you won’t hear a thing, thanks to the triple-glazing in every room), 24-hour room service, a fitness centre, free WiFi throughout the hotel and a bar area.
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There’s also a restaurant serving up the likes of steak and frites, roasted salmon fillet and stone bass fish and Southern fried buttermilk chicken burgers. They also serve up a pretty mean buffet breakfast so you don’t have to battle for a table at the airport.
Come summer, you can hang out on the sun deck, sipping a cocktail and watching the planes take off. Neat, if you’re a bit of a plane spotter like me (we’ve all got the Flightradar app, right? Right?!)
Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport also has 15 meeting rooms and onsite car parking, making it a great spot for business travellers. Plus, the Executive Super King Rooms are located in a separate wing to the family rooms, meaning that international jet-setter with busy schedules get extra peace and quiet.
The Standard King Rooms are pretty spacious, but the Executive Super King Rooms come with additional features, including a complimentary drink voucher, mini fridge, in-room safe, upgraded toiletries, a daily newspaper, bathrobe and slippers, fresh fruit and biscuits, early check in from 12pm and late check out until 2pm. Whichever option you go for though, you’ll enjoy super big comfy beds, thanks to the brand new, specially made mattresses.
There’s a newly refurbished gym, too, if you like to stay on top of your fitness game when travelling. Personally, I’ve never quite managed that one, even with my trusty yoga app that means I can squeeze in a workout anywhere. But who has time for that when there are huge frothy-topped steins awaiting in Munich? Prost!
Leonardo Hotel London Heathrow Airport, Bath Road, Sipson, West Drayton Heathrow UB7 0DP; leonardohotels.co.uk
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