Since I travel a lot (for work or holidays or to visit friends and family) and I don’t have a regular income, I’m always on a tight budget. Whether it’s finding great hotel deals online or booking the flights during sales, I try to save up money as much as I can (so I can fund my next trip, of course). I never go over the top, but I like to treat myself from time to time, like checking into an airport hotel the night before an early flight. Today I’m writing about my stay at Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel.
One of the small comforts I allow myself on occasions is to book a cab or private car to travel from the airport to my hotel, especially if I’m landing at odd hours or I have big luggage (as I recently did in Athens when I booked a car transfer with Blacklane).
Another luxury for me is choosing valet parking (eg. the APH Meet & Greet service) whenever my husband and I drive to the airport here in London. It’s more expensive than long stay parking, but you save time by not having to take a shuttle from the car park to the terminal and it’s stress-free. Especially when departing early or returning late from a holiday.
The ultimate luxury though is booking a room at one of the many hotels nearby London airports, so that you can arrive at the airport without rushing the day before, relax at the hotel in the evening and have a good night’s sleep ahead of your trip.
Last week I had the chance to stay at the Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow T5 for one night, ahead of my 6:40am flight to Athens, and it was one of the most comfortable hotel experiences I’ve ever had. Instead of waking up at 3am to drive to Heathrow from home, I woke up at 5am, showered, dressed, grabbed a complimentary tea from the hotel lobby and walked to the terminal. By 5:45 I had already dropped off my bag, passed security and I was on my way to the departure gate!
I booked a package for hotel and parking through the APH website, which offers APH offers a wide range of hotels at Heathrow Airport, from budget to luxury. Since Heathrow is a huge airport, you can choose the most convenient hotel based on the terminal you are flying from.
For us the Sofitel Hotel was the best choice as it is located just outside Terminal 5, so it provided the ultimate stress-free travel experience.
I travelled to Heathrow by tube and arrived at the Sofitel Hotel just before dinner time. My husband drove to the hotel a bit later to avoid the traffic and left the car in the hotel’s car park, where we picked it up again on Sunday night after flying back from Athens.
I loved our bedroom and bathroom (especially the complimentary White Company products!), you can definitely tell from the details that Sofitel has high standards of accommodation.
The only drawback for me was the lack of daylight (the room windows faced an internal courtyard), but then again it’s an airport hotel where guests usually only spend one night, so having natural light or not doesn’t make a big difference.
The Sofitel Hotel at Heathrow also has a gym and spa, although sadly they were not included in my room package (the entry costs £25 extra).
So instead of hitting the gym or relaxing in the pool, we explored the hotel’s restaurants and bars before choosing Vivre Brasserie for our dinner.
Vivre offers a menu of international cuisine at mid-range prices (we spent £60 each for two main courses and a good bottle of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc). I had a really good burger and chips, while Sandy ate roasted salmon with potatoes and seasonal vegetables.We could have walked to the airport terminal for more (and cheaper) dining choices, but we were feeling too lazy and didn’t want to leave the hotel. We quickly visited the hotel’s Zen Garden before going back to our rooms.
We set a wake up call for the next morning and went to sleep for a good six hours before our morning flight to Greece. It was the ultimate luxury!
Disclaimer: this post was written in collaboration with APH Airport Parking & Hotel. All opinions are my own.