I had not been to the Renaissance Heathrow for many years. Since Roving Reporter had happily stayed a few times and I was keen to make the most of my Marriott Gold until it disappears in August, I decided to give it a try whilst I was speaking at the FTU conference.
If you are flying from Terminal 2 or 3, other than staying in the new in-terminal 3 hotel Aerotel (edit: apparently the opening has been delayed), the Renaissance is one of the closest hotels to the airport tunnel. The Renaissance is situated on the Bath Road and has good connections to the airport. There is the pricey Hotel Hoppa which costs around £5 to get to the airport. Unless you have a lot of luggage you are much better off getting the bus from the hotel as it’s free and only made one stop before the airport. Even in the evening, there seemed to be a bus every few minutes as you can get 4 different buses to the airport. Reception will give you a list when you check in. I got from the hotel to central London in around 40 minutes using the bus and the Heathrow Express. The journey to the airport itself was well under 10 minutes.
The hotel reception area is huge and very busy. I was pleasantly surprised by check-in. I didn’t use the Marriott Rewards queue as there was no queue at the regular desk. The man serving me was particularly helpful and charming which is not always what you expect at an airport hotel. He gave me all the details of the Hotel Hoppa and local buses, breakfast times and gave me an upgrade to an Executive Room.
The rooms have been renovated fairly recently and were modern and clean looking. I was in an executive room with a runway view.
These are the same size as the standard entry level room, the Queen standard guest room. The room was well equipped with the usual; iron and ironing board, bathrobe, tea and coffee and a fridge too.
Post from RICOH THETA. #theta360 #theta360uk – Spherical Image – RICOH THETA
I found the bed pretty comfortable and would have slept well if it hadn’t been for the noise. Despite the fact that there was triple glazing noise reduction this was still a very noisy room. The good point is that the noise isn’t all night but it did start very early in the morning. Much as I enjoyed watching the planes landing, it wasn’t very conducive to either working or sleeping! If you had an early flight the next day it probably wouldn’t be so much of an issue.
The bathroom also felt modern and well maintained. I liked the large area around the sink and the bath was deep enough for a soak. The shower had a rainhead and was powerful enough for a refreshing shower.
There was a particularly good range of toiletries for a 4* hotel with mouthwash and nail files also supplied in a rather bizarre towel art flower display. The main toiletry brand was the standard Renaissance Tokyo Milk which are good quality.
Breakfast and dining
I ate breakfast in the lounge the first morning and was very underwhelmed by the tiny selection. There was cheap looking meat and cheese, cereal, yoghurt, fruit and pastries/bread plus a toaster. You could get coffee from a decent bean to cup machine. Most lounges now offer some sort of cooked option but not at this one, probably due to the lack of space. It does clearly state continental breakfast on the website though and would be fine if that was all you needed.
The next day I tried the Market Garden Restaurant which had a much better selection including a couple of delicious Indian options. The plates could have done with being cleaner though.
The main continental choices were pretty much the same as upstairs but they did have a substantial and tempting looking cooked section as well as salad. Tea and coffee were brought to your table but the service was a little slow and confused although they got there eventually.
There were only a few options for eating in the hotel. The Market Garden Restaurant is only open for breakfast and dinner plus there is also a cafe, Cafe Cha, that does Starbucks coffee and snacks. During the day Bar Eleven serves lunch as well as being open for drinks and dinner too. The good thing about the Renaissance is that there are lots of other options for dining within walking distance or a free bus ride away. I ate at Madhu’s at the Sheraton Skyline which is an Indian restaurant and the other night went into London.
The Executive lounge has a slightly strange layout in that it is very long and narrow, so not particularly easy for setting up a buffet. However, it does have a fantastic view of the runway and you can spend a great evening with a glass of wine watching the aircraft in comfort.
The lounge does have one other big selling point in that the drinks in the evening go on until 9pm which is unusual for most lounges. There were canapes, snack and desserts served until 7pm. Unfortunately, the drinks and the canapes had to be served to you and on the evening I visited there was only one member of staff, Anka, who struggled to keep up as everyone turned up at the start. She was very friendly though and kept us well topped up when she returned. The choice of drinks was limited but the wine was drinkable. Here are the drinks and canapes on offer on the night:
The canapes were delicious though and of a high standard for an airport hotel lounge.
Parking is available for £15 a night although they do offer hotel and parking rates which work out better value. There is a reasonably equipped gym and beauty treatments are also available to book. In the lobby is a handy shop selling essentials and souvenirs.
Although the aircraft noise was an issue I would stay here again if the rate was reasonable. The easy free access to the airport and the evening drinks until 9pm are the winners for me along with a comfortable bed and modern room. I would just ask for a non-runway view to keep the noise level down and enjoy the view from the lounge instead! You can read my reviews of lots of other Heathrow hotels here.
You can find more details and book The Renaissance hotel here.
I stayed in a runway view executive room at the end of February. Definitely agree it was fun having such a fantastic view of the planes, but it sure is noisy. A pair of silicone earplugs did the trick though.
What is the name of the new in-terminal 3 hotel you mention ?
Avgeek?! Not in my dictionary. But did make me read the article to find out.
Aviation geek ?
It is very expensive to do a night plane spotting here. The renovations are welcomed but the breakfast in the restaurant needs improving, greasy food and lacklustre waiting staff. Use the free buses to the airport and not the rip off hoppa bus.
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