Tried & Tested

Hotel review: Crowne Plaza London Heathrow T4

12 Dec 2018 by Tom Otley
Reception-Crowne-Plaza-LHR-

Background

The new Crowne Plaza opened in October and shares a lobby and facilities with the Holiday Inn Express T4.

IHG prepares for double opening at Heathrow T4

Together the two properties have 700 rooms. Both properties are owned by Arora Hotels, a division of the Arora Group, which also operates hotels including the Hilton London Gatwick, Novotel London Stansted Airport, Holiday Inn London Heathrow, Sofitel London Gatwick and Sofitel London Heathrow.

It’s important if arriving by taxi to not confuse this with the Crowne Plaza Heathrow or the Holiday Inn Express Heathrow, both of which are a few miles away.

Crowne Plaza Modern-business-traveller

What’s it like?

This is a new design Crowne Plaza which, as the brand’s website says, is an “Upscale brand for a business traveller”.

Reception for both hotels is down an escalator from the connecting footbridge and both are in the main atrium with a giant light sculpture covering the walls of the central lift shaft. There was a short wait to check in because the person in front of me was having trouble with the bill back on his reservation, but then I was quickly and warmly checked in and told about the times for breakfast and also the evening meal.

I checked in around 1700 and at this time the hotel seemed quite quiet, but a few hours later it was more lively, and the restaurant and bar had a few more people in, with modern jazz music providing some atmosphere. The restaurant was probably one third full, which given it has 180 covers is pretty impressive for a Monday night.

Entrance-from-airport

Where is it?

The hotel is connected to Terminal 4 by a covered walkway on the Departures level – it is the same walkway that is also used for the Hilton and the Premier Inn. Head for the right hand side of the terminal (signposted for the toilets, beyond Zone H). It’s not very well signposted for any of the hotels.

If you want to get to another terminal (or to the hotel from another terminal) then you take the train (Heathrow Connect or Heathrow Express).

It’s only a brisk five minute walk to the free Heathrow Express service where you can transfer to other terminals, though you should leave plenty of time to make a transfer such as that. I timed my journey from the hotel to terminal 2, and it was 25 minutes allowing for the five minutes to the station, the five minutes on the train and then the long walk at the other end into Terminal 2. The hotel has underground parking for up to 130 cars.

Rooms

The hotel has 304 rooms with an entry level Standard being 27 sqm and then moving up through King, Family, Suite (12 of these) and Club (around 30 sqm). At the time of my stay in early December 2018, the Club rooms on the top, sixth floor and the lounge on the sixth floor had yet to open, though these are slated to open early in 2019.

The rooms have similar, but not identical designs, with different colour schemes on the head boards for the beds and on the bed throws. All rooms have plenty of charging points, including USB points, a good size work desk with international plugs and complimentary wifi. All have free tea and coffee, along with the brand standard Kits Kats in the rooms. The bathrooms come with robes and slippers, and all rooms have a fridge (which can be stocked on request) along with a safe. The Club rooms and suites also have a Nespresso machine, a slightly larger TV (56 inches compared with 49 inches), and a bath as well as shower.

Rooms have a variety of views (though none of them are particularly exciting). My first floor room looked out across the Southern Perimeter Road to the Hilton. There are also plenty of inward facing rooms overlooking the central atrium.

Crowne-Plaza-T4-bedroom-2

Food and drink

There are a few options here. On the Crown Plaza side of the lobby there is the Tea 4 salon (yes, it’s a pun on the hotel’s location) which has an extensive tea and coffee menu, but also soft drinks and alcohol served through the day, and a counter with freshly-made pastries.

There is also a bar towards the back of the atrium called Destinations, which is a well-designed place, which with the clever use of a bright screen behind the bar and a back lit bar with lots of bottles of spirits (29 whiskies and 16 different types of gin), manages to disguise the fact that it is just a demarcated area under the same atrium as the rest of the lobby.

The restaurant on the Crowne Plaza side is called the Urban Brasserie and serves modern British cuisine along with an Asian street food section. Examples of dishes from this are wok fried ginger chicken noodles or Tom Yum soup (vegetables, chicken or tiger prawns). You can go for steaks (£20-£28) and other main courses are around the £20 mark are rump of English lamb, pan-fried sea bass or fish and chips. Starters are around £7.

I had a Variation of Heritage Beetroot Salad: pickled beetroot, hummus, marshmallows and candied pecan nuts for a starter which was unusual, ambitious and very tasty.

There was a good selection of wines available in two sizes by the glass and bottles ranging from £24-£75. Breakfast starts at 0500 for a continental choice (£10) or 0600 for cooked (£17.95). Finally, there is also the option of eating on the other side of the lobby in the Holiday Inn Express Café which serves hot and cold food along with drinks from the bar.

Urban-restaurant-Crowne-Plaza T4

Business

As you come into the hotel on the left there is a business centre and then four meeting rooms and a break-out area which is quite private being screened from the main lobby by some designer bookcases.

Leisure

There 24-hour gym on level -1 (a further -2 level has car parking) with a good range of equipment.

Verdict

This is an excellent new addition to the hotel options at Heathrow. The restaurant is well worth eating at if you stay, and the rooms modern and comfortable, as well as with excellent build qualities to keep out the noise. Whether you choose the Holiday Inn Express really comes down to the free breakfast from that hotel, the lack of the use of the gym or the slightly smaller rooms there. Both are good hotels.

Best for

Convenience for flights from Terminal 4, or potentially Terminals 2 and 3 as well.

Don’t miss

A drink at the Destinations Bar and food at Urban restaurant.

Fact box

Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4, Terminal 4, Swindon Road, +44 20 3971 4411.

ihg.com 

Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4
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