In a nutshell: the Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 offers comfortable rooms, a full restaurant and bar, and very convenient access to the terminal via a covered walkway. The hotel went above and beyond for us, upgrading us to a family room and having a sofa bed ready for our stay so we could get right to bed for an early flight out. To top things off, the IHG property is a great value on points.
After spending an enjoyable five days in London, my older kids and I were departing on an early flight as we headed back to the U.S. Since central London is way too far from Heathrow to make a 6:30 AM departure practical, I decided we’d stay near Heathrow. After considering several options, I finally settled on the Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4. We were flying KLM home via Amsterdam, and Terminal 4 is essentially the SkyTeam terminal at Heathrow (although Delta is notably absent).
London isn’t known for its affordability, but airport hotels near Heathrow are usually a decent value. However, I procrastinated booking our stay, and prices climbed sharply the week prior to departure. I spent a few minutes each of the first mornings during our trip trying to decide what to do for our final night.
There are plenty of options, but the Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 seemed the most ideal for 20,000 IHG points. It’s also directly connected to the terminal via walkway that also serves a few other hotels. Hilton has some options, but award night pricing wasn’t as good. And many other options were very inconvenient.
Cash rates at the Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 vary considerably, but I am happy paying 20,000 IHG points for a stay that would have cost £135 (~$180 USD). I’d be getting 0.9 cents per point, which is higher than average for IHG points.
Arrival at LHR and Getting to the Hotel
We took the London Underground, Piccadilly Line to Terminal 4. Unfortunately there was some trouble with the tube that day, and we ended up needing to wait over 20 minutes in the cold to transfer to the right train. But it is nice the underground goes right to all terminals of Heathrow Airport.
Once you are at the airport, head through the arrivals area and up the escalator to departures. The hotels are called out on the signs, although they were hard to spot at first since there is a lot of info being thrown at you.
Once you’re up on the departures level, head straight across the length of the terminal, past check-in zone G and the VAT refunds sign. The double doors at the end will lead you into the covered walkway to all the airport hotels.
The walk is still a few minutes at this point. If you have limited mobility, the whole thing will be a trek. It’s probably a solid 10 minutes from the tube station to the hotel, and we walk fairly quickly. The good news is that the walkway is covered to protect you from the rain, although it is open-air which meant it was quite cold that January evening.
We finally arrived at the Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 around 7:30 PM. The hotel is actually part of a dual-brand location, sharing a building with a Crowne Plaza. The lobby and atrium for the two hotels are joined, but they have separate check-in desks and restaurants. The kids parked themselves immediately, tired of walking. It’d been a long day already in London.
At check-in the front desk agent informed me that we’d been upgraded to a family room. I’d noted that we’d like an option with a larger bed, which is a critical issue when I’m traveling with our older two kids. The room I’d booked was a double with a sofa bed. I was glad the Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 was able to accommodate upgrading us to a queen with a sofa bed.
Key in hand, we headed upstairs. Even with just the impressions of the lobby and the hallway, I could already see that the hotel is nicer than most other Holiday Inn Express properties I’ve visited. The brand has slightly higher standards in Europe, something I first realized when we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express CDG Airport.
Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 Family Room
I was eager to get the kids to sleep since we had a very early wake up for our 6:30 AM flight the next day. With a hotel directly connected to the terminal, we could push our wake-up time back a bit. But it would still be way too early. I figured waking them up at 4:00 and arriving at 4:30 would be sufficient. If we were at a U.S. airport, I’d likely push things all the way to 4:45 AM.
The room was nice for a Holiday Inn Express property. The sofa bed was already put and prepared, which was fantastic. I’d asked at the desk about it, and they said everything was ready for us. Huge kudos to the hotel. This is the sort of service I really, really appreciate. More often than not, I need to call downstairs and have them bring the bed up and ready it.
The instant in-room coffee and hotel info were on the smallest of counters underneath the television. There was also a tiny table in the corner. It’s a good thing I wasn’t planning to work in the room, as this would have been problematic without a real desk or other workspace. The TV was a modern smart TV and showed both my name and the room number.
There were ample power outlets near the bed and along the small counter under the TV. One of my biggest gripes with hotel rooms that haven’t been updated in a while is the lack of standard power outlets and USB plugs. The Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 passed the test for av availability. It would be a bit much to expect universal outlets instead of the standard British socket.
A full restaurant is not a typical feature of Holiday Inn Express hotels in the U.S. But here in Europe, this is more standard. Looking at the menu, prices are fairly reasonable. Not cheap, but compared to what we paid at other times in London, they aren’t gouging you.
The bathroom was very small, but nice. Everything was clean and functioned well. I much prefer a shower to a tub/shower combo.
Our room overlooked the central atrium, which meant that aircraft noise would also be at a minimum. I don’t think I heard a single jet all night, and we all slept well for the limited hours we’d get.
Overall, I was very happy with the room, especially the fact that the hotel had upgraded us and prepared the sofa-bed ahead of time. The room was small, but it was definitely larger than the one we’d had at the Holiday Inn Express CDG two years prior. The Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 is essentially as nice as that one in terms of aesthetic and quality.
Other Hotel Features
Like I mentioned previously, a full restaurant is not a typical feature of Holiday Inn Express hotels. I headed down for a bit once the kids were laid down to sleep to review plans for the next day. The front desk had given me a voucher for a glass of wine and a snack. I’d opted for this rather than the points, but, as is typical, the welcome points also posted to my account.
The hotel restaurant is well-designed as well, with a variety of seating and plenty of power outlets if you want to hang out and be productive. I connected to the hotel WiFi here and didn’t notice any speed issues. It was easy to surf the web. We didn’t try streaming anything.
The hotel offers a full bar as well if you’re looking for something more than a glass of wine or beer. I’m 90% sure it’s shared with the Crowne Plaza. But given that everything shares the same building, you could really enjoy the facilities of either hotel.
I don’t believe there is a pool, so keep that in mind if you’re counting on one for the kids. Also, if you need to park a car, the charge is £20 er night, which is steep for an airport hotel in my opinion. But maybe it is in line with LHR parking prices.
Unfortunately, we took off way to early to enjoy the complimentary breakfast. If our stay at the airport Holiday Inn Express near Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris is any indication, the breakfast would have been a few steps above the typical Holiday Inn Express offering in the U.S. Alas, I did us in by picking the 6:30 AM flight. At least we slept well and weren’t worried about making it to the airport with it only a 5-minute walk away.
The Verdict: Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 Review
Overall, I was very happy with our stay. The Holiday Inn Express LHR Terminal 4 is a quality Holiday Inn Express hotel. Our room was clean and comfortable, and the hotel nicely had everything ready when we arrived. The kids were able to get to sleep quickly, and we all slept well. It was a bummer to miss the breakfast, but that is what happens when you book super early flights. I’d happily stay at the Holiday Inn Express LHR T4 again, especially given the award value.