BACKGROUND: The new Crowne Plaza opened in October and shares a lobby and facilities with the Holiday Inn Express T4. 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.
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. The hotel has underground parking for up to 130 cars.
ROOMS: The hotel has 304 rooms with an entry level Standard being 27m2 and then moving up through King, Family, Suite (12 of these) and Club (around 30m2). 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 were 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 wi-fi. All have free tea and coffee, along with the brand standard Kit 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. 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.
FOOD & DRINK: There are a few options here. On the Crown Plaza side of the lobby there is the Tea 4 salon, 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, 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 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 05h00 for a continental choice (£10) or 06h00 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.
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 is a 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.
A: Terminal 4, Swindon Road
T: +44 20 3971 4411