In a world where the words ‘airport hotel’ denotes a million shades of grey mediocrity, the Hilton London Heathrow Airport flies above the crowd.
Just a few minutes walk from Terminal 4 via a covered walkway, it succeeds in adding style and charm to mere convenience.
As the great comic sci-fi writer, Douglas Adams, remarked, no civilisation in the universe has ever coined the phrase, ‘as pretty as an airport’.
And indeed, the Hilton’s cavernous central atrium does evoke an aircraft hanger. Whether this is considered brilliant architecture or a design problem to overcome, I am not sure.
But the Hilton has cleverly made the most of it by adding to the aviation theme.
Just like the airport itself, it’s best viewed from above. So ascend to your room via the glass elevator and step out to the landings, spread like wings over the space.
Seen from the upstairs landings, cabbage-white butterfly wings appear to provide a roof to one of the restaurants. A towering sculpture fills another area. And a runway of lights, set into the floor, directs you to your room.
The door number for each room is picked out in cool black and white light fittings, complete with an aircraft symbol.
Restful rooms before your flight
If you are at an airport hotel, you will almost certainly be dog-tired or need a sound sleep before a long journey.
The Hilton’s rooms deliver the peace you need in stylish surroundings.
The lime-green armchair and dark grey desk chair could be lifted from a Scandinavian design magazine.
Meanwhile the bed-head evokes the kind of privacy shell you see around reclining seats in business or first on intercontinental jets. Of course, in this case, everything is far more spacious, and the bed really is 100% flat. It’s also very comfortable.
Don’t panic if you packed your electric converters at the bottom of your luggage. The Hilton thoughtfully provides plug sockets suitable for most international devices.
The high standard of design continues in the bathroom. It boasts a cool mussel-shell shaped hand-basin.
Most importantly, there’s a bright-white walk-in shower with powerful rain shower to help you wash away your weariness and woes. Finally, Crabtree and Evelyn products add some pampering to the experience.
Dine and drink
If you only associate airport dining with tasteless junk food, think again. Heathrow has worked hard to extend its restaurant quality. And the Hilton has several good choices.
If you upgrade to using the hotel’s tasteful and modern Executive Lounge, make sure you enjoy its happy hour with complimentary prosecco, wines and beer.
You can also enjoy a delicious smörgasbord of snacks and treats. Tuck in to vol-au-vents, canapes, samosas, spring rolls, olives, gherkins, crudite, a cheese selection and more.
We had to avoid eating too much, however, as we had a table booked at the hotel’s Aromi Restaurant.
It boasts an authentic Italian menu, delivering crowd-pleasing traditional favourites with contemporary flair.
I started by tucking into a fresh mozzarella and tomato salad. Both the star ingredients were high quality, accentuated by rocket, pine nuts, pesto and balsamic beads.
For my main course, I found the chicken saltambocca tender and succulent. It was served with orzo pasta, cooked al dente and with just the right amount of truffle to be aromatic, rather than overpowering.
My partner meanwhile had an exciting and attractively laid out plate of antipasti, with wafer thin slices of good salami and perfect artichokes. For his main, he tucked into swordfish, cooked perfectly, and served with a fresh, zingy salad of tomatoes and olives.
Our charming waiter completed the meal with a limoncello, served with almond biscotti. He was keen to offer desert, which certainly looked tempting, but seemed more than our waistlines could take after such a good meal.
Meet the new Portobello Burger
If you don’t fancy Italian, the Hilton Heathrow offers several alternatives. These include a modern Chinese menu at Zen Oriental and international dishes, including a first-class burger, at Oscar’s.
Oscars is also the home of the new Portobello Burger, which mixes 30% field mushrooms with 70% beef. Not only does this make a tastier, moist burger, it also cuts the C02 impact of the burger by almost a third. What better treat for National Mushroom Day (15 October)?
Stay at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport
Sadly, we had to jump on a shuttle bus to our terminal first thing in the morning. So we didn’t have time to enjoy a dip in the Hilton Heathrow’s pool, unwind in its sauna and steam room or use its well-equipped gym.
But we did find it to be a very convenient and relaxing way to start our trip.
You can check rates and book a stay at the Hilton London Heathrow Airport here.