Business Traveller checks in to the recently opened Travelodge at Heathrow’s T5.
What’s it like?
Okay, so going anywhere near T5 right now might not sound like many people's idea of fun, but if you are travelling to or from the troubled new terminal then the Travelodge is the closest budget-option to T5. The property is the latest of the brand’s new generation of hotels, with further London additions due in Southwark and Euston in the next month or so. There were two people on reception when I arrived, and I was quickly checked in.
Where is it?
Located within an industrial estate just west of junction 14 off the M25, the hotel is around five minutes' drive from the T5 terminal building. Travelodge has an agreement with cab firm Station Cars (£10 each way to any of the Heathrow terminals; tel +44 (0)1753 545 000), so having arrived at T5 via the Piccadilly line, I phoned for a taxi and it arrived at the departures level of the terminal within ten minutes. A shuttle bus service has also just started to coincide with the opening of T5 – National Express Hoppa bus H57 costs £4 per person – the timetable for this service has not yet been finalised, but Travelodge says it is currently running twice an hour. Short-term car parking at the hotel costs £5 per night – there are no facilities for long–term parking.
Number of rooms
My fifth-floor family room looked back across the motorway towards T5 – there was some noise from the traffic, but not enough to bother me, and the position of the runway meant planes don’t take off directly over the hotel. All rooms have a double bed with bedside reading lamps, workdesk with two plug sockets, wifi internet access (£5 for one hour, £10 for 24 hours – no wired internet or telephone), mini kettle, tea and coffee facilities, flatscreen TV with terrestrial channels plus Cbeebies and several radio channels, full-length mirror, individually controlled air conditioning and black-out curtains. Family rooms also have a sofa bed and may be slightly larger, but other than that they are the same as doubles. Instead of a cupboard there is an open clothes rail and two shelves, and the bathroom has a combined bath/shower, shaving socket, and one bath and hand towel per guest. There is also a soap and a couple of plastic glasses, but if you want other toiletries you’ll need to purchase them from the kiosks in reception. Overall the room felt simple but functional and modern, with a splash of colour provided by the red sofa bed, abstract wall print, and dark blue carpet.
Restaurants and bars
There is no room-service, but the bar next to reception serves dishes including steak and ale pie (£7.95), chicken salad (£6.75), stone-baked pizzas from £6.75 and jacket potatoes from £3.95. Buffet breakfast is also available in this area, from 7am-10am weekdays and 8am-11am weekends. It costs £7.50 per person, although if you’re with kids up to 15 years of age, two of them eat for free with each paying adult. The buffet included a large range of cereals, hot breakfast, bread and croissants, yoghurts, fruit, and a self-service coffee machine. Travelodge is also encouraging guests to pre-order breakfast and other meals online by offering discounts – you'll get 10 per cent off your breakfast if you book it when you make your room reservation at travelodge.co.uk, and a main course with the choice of either a starter or desert for £8 when ordering online.
Business and leisure facilities
None, except the lobby bar which is open until 11pm.
A more than adequate budget offering, and close enough to T5 to live up to its title. Travelodge has stolen a march on the Sofitel London Heathrow, which although attached to the T5 terminal is not due to open until the summer (and will be priced somewhat higher). Hilton has also announced a hotel to be located close to the Travelodge, but this won’t come online until 2010.
Rooms start from £29 (when I checked in on a Saturday evening the rack rate was £44). Given that each room can accommodate up to two adults and two children this represents pretty good value, although you’ll need to add on the taxi fare, shuttle-bus charge or car-parking fee.
By Mark Caswell