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After booking my First Class “dream redemption”, and knowing that I would want to get into the lounge bright and early to maximise our experience, I decided to book a hotel near Heathrow for the night before.
Whilst I am normally an IHG/Hilton loyalist, of which there a numerous options around Heathrow, in light of the current circumstances my focus this time was on spending as little as possible whilst having a comfortable night. The Ibis Styles, which opened in July 2016, was the cheapest option. I was also more hopeful for the state of the rooms given its newness, as I have been less than impressed with the state of some more “mature” airport properties given the battering they seem to get from high volumes of one night stayers!
The Ibis Styles Heathrow is located in the “centre” of Bath Road right opposite Heathrow, less than a minute from the M4 junction.
Next door is a Texaco petrol station with a Co-Op shop attached. This is useful for stocking up on snacks and drinks that are more reasonably priced than the hotel or airport.
The hotel advertises the private National Express Hotel-Hoppa bus service to the terminals, which costs £5 per person – but personally I think you’d be mad to use it.
The really great thing about this hotel’s location, is that literally across the road is bus stop “BM”. There is a pelican crossing across Bath Road by the petrol station next to the hotel, and then it is a 30 second walk to the bus stop – total hotel room door to bus stop time, maybe 2 minutes? From Bus Stop BM, you can then hop onto public bus routes 105/111/140/285 which run around every 10mins for FREE, due to the TFL Heathrow Free Travel Zone. The next stop after BM is Heathrow Central Bus Station, in under 5mins – from which you can walk to Terminals 2 and 3, or transfer to the Heathrow Shuttle Trains to T4 or T5.
The bus was practically empty and we had tons of space for our luggage. We definitely got to the airport faster than the other passengers I could still see hanging around the hotel entrance £5 lighter, waiting for the Hoppa as we boarded the 140 bus.
I also particularly enjoyed the irony of stepping off a free public bus to check in for a First Class flight!
We arrived around 9pm at night, having been dropped off by a family member. The check in process was quick, but not particularly friendly or welcoming – limited to short instructions along the lines of:
“I’d like to check in please”
“Credit card and Passport please”.
I understand airport hotels must see many travellers who don’t speak English as a first language, or at all, but there could be a little more effort to engage with me, or at least use full sentences. Maybe I just caught them on a bad day.
The check-in staff were in casual clothes – not sure if this is part of the “relaxed” theme of the hotel, but they didn’t even have badges or ID that would mark them out as employees which I found a little odd for a chain hotel.
As a limited service brand, the Ibis Styles only has standard Double, King or Family rooms, so no upgrades are possible.
We were allocated an Accessible room on the rear of the property overlooking the car park courtyard. From viewing the other pictures on the hotel’s website, it seems this type of room is much more spacious than standard kings.
The bed was comfy – with a memory foam topper and good quality pillows. The soundproofing was also good – there was hardly a peep from outside or from the corridor/other rooms.
I like the bright and clean design of the room, and the quirky use of an airline style trolley for a bedside table / storage area for bottled water and the kettle with complimentary tea/coffee.
However, whilst they get bonus points for putting plugs and USB charging points next to the bed (usually a real irritation of mine about poorly planned hotel rooms) – it’s let down by the fact there is no shelf or table on the other side of the bed so unless you have a long lead, your phone will be dangling halfway down the wall!
The room had a large 32” TV with a large selection of channels, and an open wardrobe area.
Interestingly, the hair dryer was left on the shelf above the wardrobe hooks – not quite sure how someone in a wheelchair would be expected to reach that!
The room was bright and fresh, however I did notice that perhaps they had finished the fit-out in a rush, as the carpet seemed a bit rough around the edges, and indeed wasn’t quite big enough to make it to the edge of the room and poorly joined.
As the room is “Accessible”, it has a large wetroom, with an adapted shower with a shower curtain and grab handles throughout.
My only criticisms are that the shower water pressure wasn’t the best, and the sink basin was quite small. I’m not sure whether this is because of the adaptations required to make it an accessible room, or whether it is reflective of Standard rooms as well.
The hotel offers complimentary continental breakfast to all guests from 5am – however we didn’t stop for breakfast as we were headed for the Galleries First lounge in T3! Cooked options are available at an extra charge, we were advised at check in.
There is also a 24/7 Bar available, and the “Ibis Bistro” restaurant service available until 11pm.
As a newly opened hotel, the space is bright and modern, as you can see from the Hotel website’s photo below, as we didn’t get chance to visit:
Summary of Stay
Overall the stay was what I expected from a 3* hotel, and I feel represented good value for the price paid.
The rooms are bright and fresh, although the quality of the finish is perhaps a little rushed and it remains to be seen if this will stand up to the “airport hotel battering test” over time.
I would definitely stay here again though if flying from Heathrow (particularly if flying from T2 or T3) as the rates are reasonable, rooms clean and quiet, and most importantly the location is excellent for access to the free bus to the airport. For these reasons, and the fact I might have just caught them at the end of a long shift, I can forgive the indifferent service.