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There are five airports that service the sprawling city of London, but travelers flying from overseas will most likely land at Heathrow (15 minutes from Central London) or Gatwick, about 30 minutes from the city center. Unless you have a long layover, you’ll likely bunk down at an airport hotel, but deciding on one can be challenging. Although only a handful of airport hotels offer free shuttles, the London transportation is excellent, so there are several buses that stop at most places. Here are the eight best London airport hotel options.
Best Budget: Premier Inn London Heathrow Airport (Bath Road) Hotel
Premier Inn London Heathrow is a favorite among travelers for a clean, reliable stay with a surprising number of amenities at a rock-bottom price. Rooms have pillow-top mattresses, a choice of soft or firm pillows and free WiFi. Breakfast is available at Thyme restaurant in the lobby for an additional charge. The one downside is that the hotel doesn’t offer a free shuttle, but the Hoppa bus around the airport (a 20-minute ride) is available for around $5, or a short walk from the hotel is the free bus. TripAdvisor members consistently complimented the staff and excellent service.
Best Luxury and Spa Hotel: Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5
If you’ve been traveling for a long time and are ready to relax, the Hilton London Heathrow Airport Terminal 5 has a full-service, five-star spa. Some features include a mud chamber and thermal suite with salt grotto, aroma steam room, sauna and ice fountain, as well a beautiful hydrotherapy pool. There are numerous treatment options as well, ranging from traditional massages to therapeutic wraps. The hotel is easily accessible through the Heathrow Hoppa bus service. Rooms include iPod docking stations, soundproofing, minibars and spa access. For dining, there are three restaurants serving Indian cuisine and British favorites.
Best In the Airport: YOTEL London Heathrow
If you have a quick stopover, but want to get some rest, the YOTEL is perfect – it’s right in Terminal Four at Heathrow. It is important to note that the hotel “rooms” here are actually called cabins, and for a good reason. The single rooms offer just 75 square feet of space with a bunk-style bed, a small workstation, monsoon shower and chic mood lighting. There are also double and triple cabins, but bathrooms are studio-style so there’s not much privacy. Free WiFi, hot chocolate, tea, and coffee are included with every stay. The hotel offers room service (which they call “Mission Control”) for a variety of basic sandwiches and snacks – so you don’t have to go wandering the airport looking for something to eat.
Best for Views: Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel
If you enjoy watching the airplanes take off, but don’t want them to interrupt your sleep, book a stay at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel. Rooms were recently refurbished with soundproof windows to block the airplane noise (many overlook the runway), 24-hour room service and free WiFi. The hotel offers a hot breakfast (for a charge), a café and bar or seasonal European fare for lunch and dinner the Market Garden. TripAdvisor members also recommend the Three Magpies Pub for dining (and drinks) nearby, located about three blocks from the hotel. The executive lounge at the hotel offers snacks and wine in the evening and views of the airport. The fitness center hosts classes (for a fee) and has a sauna and solarium to unwind. Guests can reach the hotel through a free bus service from the airport.
Best Value: Holiday Inn Heathrow T-5
The newly renovated Holiday Inn Heathrow T-5 is located in the historic village of Colnbrook, which is easily accessible via the Heathrow Hoppa airport shuttle. The 119-room hotel has a fitness center, a lounge and a restaurant that offers a free breakfast buffet. Rooms are soundproofed and come with free WiFi and a pillow menu. Within walking distance of the hotel is a Thai restaurant and pub, as well as an Italian restaurant. TripAdvisor members appreciated the friendly staff, location and overall great value of the hotel.
Best Luxury Near Gatwick: Sofitel London Gatwick
Directly linked to Gatwick’s north terminal through the monorail service, Sofitel London appeals to travelers looking for a little luxury in an airport setting. The 518-room hotel features an elegant restaurant that serves Asian-fusion dishes, the Urban Café for breakfast items and casual fare (a TripAdvisor members’ favorite) and the Brasserie for high-end British cuisine. There’s also a sleek cocktail bar – complete with big-screen televisions for sports fans. Rooms have extremely comfortable beds and free WiFi, while higher-end rooms also grant access to the Club Lounge for breakfast and evening canapes. Park and fly options are available.
Best Budget Near Gatwick: Hampton by Hilton London Gatwick Airport
Connected to Gatwick’s north terminal (and a free shuttle ride away from the south terminal), the Hampton Inn is a convenient option at an affordable price. Roll out of bed and grab a free hot breakfast before heading to the departure gate, or fuel up with quick snack or a light meal in the 24-hour snack area. There’s also a fitness center and business center that’s always open for guests to print boarding passes or sneak in a workout. The 182 rooms have ultra-comfortable beds and free WiFi. TripAdvisor members felt that the Hampton offered an above-average airport hotel experience for a competitive price.
Best for Families: Premier Inn London Gatwick Airport (North Terminal) Hotel
The hotel chain, Premier Inn, is known for being family friendly, and the hotel at London Gatwick’s North Terminal is no exception. Plus, it is extremely affordable for traveling families. The staff is warm and friendly, the beds are comfortable and there are plenty of extras that make for a memorable stay. Kids have their own menu options (and eat breakfast for free) at Thyme (the in-house restaurant that serves contemporary British food). Family rooms allow extra space to sprawl with pull-out cots and cribs available. The hotel is directly opposite the north terminal and has free transfers to the south terminal.