Novotel London Heathrow – Basic but functional hotel
General Info and Location
Novotel London Heathrow is located in West Drayton, northwest of Heathrow. The nearest terminal is terminal 5. Since the hotel is not located in direct proximity to the airport, it is necessary to travel by bus to the hotel. A Hotel Hoppa bus operates from Novotel (combined with the Holiday INN) but unfortunately costs a fee. No local busses pass the hotel and the nearest train station, West Drayton, provides services towards central London. From terminals 1 and 3 you take the Hoppa bus H1, and from Terminals 4 and 5 the Hoppa Bus H51. The bus ticket costs £8 return. It is generally cheaper to buy a ticket in advance, via ATM or on the Internet, than buying directly from the bus driver.
The hotel is built around a large and rather nice atrium with reception desk to the left, the restaurant on the right and in the middle, a nice bar in one immersion. The rooms are spread over three floors in a U-shape around the atrium.
Novotel London Heathrow has 178 rooms divided into standard rooms and superior rooms and three suites. All rooms can accommodate at least two guests, so there are no dedicated single rooms.
The room furnishings contain a bed, sofa, desk and bathroom with bath. The interior was neat but felt very simple, even in comparison to other Novotel hotels. They could have fairly easily created a much nicer atmosphere. The room had satellite TV and, for a fee, hotel films.
Internet access is offered throughout the hotel, both in the room (wireless and cable) as well as in public areas. However, in most cases you need to pay to use the service.
Eating and Drinking
The hotel offers a restaurant and bar, both located in the atrium of the hotel’s centre. Due to late check-in, the restaurant had already closed once my bags were unpacked, however, the atrium bar was open, with all kinds of drinks and light snacks available. The price level in the bar was perfectly acceptable for a hotel bar and the bartender was friendly but looked tired after a stressful evening.
The breakfast in the morning was served in the restaurant. The breakfast spread was perhaps not spectacular but contained both continental and English breakfast dishes for self-service. Even in the restaurant the service was both friendly and polite and the food was tasty and appetising.
The hotel also has a swimming pool and gym. The gym is located behind the reception and also includes locker rooms. Overall, it was fresh, modern and well maintained but relatively small in size. The pool is built into the atrium, in a separate glass-enclosed room behind the bar. Entrance to the pool is through a glass door opposite the gym.
The hotel also has conference facilities with several conference rooms where it is possible to organise conferences and events.
Service and Status Benefits
The service in general was friendly and attentive including the reception, bar and restaurant. During the test visit, there was a problem with air traffic due to heavy snowfall in Western Europe and several flights were canceled and many stranded passengers were given vouchers for an overnight stay at the Novotel. Despite the hassles and extra workload the staff handled it well.
As an A-Club platinum member, there were however, no special benefits. No room upgrade or any other benefits due to the hotel’s status.
Novotel London Heathrow is not a hotel that will go down in history. It did, however, offer adequate facilities including a pool, a well-maintained gym, a nice bar and good breakfast. What pulls down the review is of course the room, in which the interior could clearly use improvements. Another downside is also the geography, in that a trip on the Hoppa bus is inevitable and £8 per person must be budgeted on top of your hotel stay. This can be useful to keep in mind when comparing to hotels closer to Heathrow.
The hotel often has good deals if you book a few days in advance or stay over the weekend. With a little planning, it can still be a good and affordable hotel compared to the competition.