Disappointing for a Sofitel
I'd like to say that our stay at Sofitel London Heathrow was good, but we had so many problems with staff and service, I can't say that it was.
Of course, there are the positives: It is AT terminal 5 at Heathrow, which is convenient when you are in transit or, like us, have an early morning flight out after a day in London, and don't want to have to schlepp out from the city before the sun comes up.
It also has the standard Accor beds, which we find to be very comfortable, and is a brand new hotel, so the rooms are nicely decorated.
However, there were too many negatives. First, front desk staff are inexperienced and a bit clumsy in handling customers, and there was a rather large, disorganized queue on checking in.
Once we were in the room, we noticed that everything small enough to be easily picked up is pretty much bolted down. Here we are staying at a 4 to 5 star hotel, at least Accor's top of the range brand, and they trust their customers so little that they treat them like common criminals by bolting everything down, and making it quite inconvenient.
For example, the hair dryer was in the desk drawer, but not only IN the desk drawer, but bolted in, and with a very short cord. I could barely lift it up to my head and keep it there to dry my hair. Why? As if I'm going to go walking out with a hair dryer? Right.
Next were the plugs next to the bed. My husband has sleep apnea, and has to wear one of those devices to force air into him while he sleeps, to keep him from choking in his sleep. It plugs in next to the bed, and we brought both European and British converters for it, as well as our standard Australian plug.
However, the plugs next to the bed were of a type neither us nor the staff were familiar with. It seems that they put in a special sort of plug so that the lamps could be plugged in using this and no one would be tempted to steal them! This of course also meant that there was no sort of plug we could convert from to plug my husband's apnea device into.
We called housekeeping and explained the situation and asked if we could get a converter that would convert this type of plug, assuming they would be familiar with the fittings in their rooms and able to do something to help us. Housekeeping assured us they would send a converter. That is the last we heard of them.
About an hour later, I called reception, who said they would talk to the concierge to arrange something for us. I never heard back from them nor the concierge, so an hour later again, I called the concierge desk.
First, the concierge said they had no such converter. They basically told us tough luck, they couldn't help us. When I explained that it was critical that my husband used this device so he didn't choke in his sleep and I'd hate for the hotel to be responsible for any problem he might have leading to a lawsuit, and that perhaps if they couldn't find such a converter, they could find an extension lead that we could run from a plug on the other side of the room which was a normal English fitting, they said they would call me back in 10 minutes.
Another hour passed, and nothing. So I rang back the concierge and threatened legal action. This got someone up right away, but this was obviously a little late, after 3 hours and about 5 attempts to get their attention.
Finally we got their attention and ended up with two concierge people and a maintenance person standing around in our room at 10pm when we wanted to go to sleep, all of whom had no idea they had such plugs as these near the beds, and were baffled as to what to do.
Finally, they managed to find a power bar with a lead long enough to run from the other side of the room, and while they apologised and offered us free breakfast the next morning to make up for the problem, it was a little late for that, and we were also unable to use the breakfast as our flight was so early we had no time to eat prior.
In addition to all that, the bathroom had two shower heads, an overhead rose shower head, and a wall shower head. However, the wall shower head was broken. Of course, this didn't make much difference, since they neglected to put amenities such as shampoo in our room and I had to call down to housekeeping twice to get them to finally bring me some.
OK, another plus for us was that the TV had media sockets in the wall so that you could plug your portable DVD player or in my case iPod into the TV easily in order to watch video from the device on the TV. However, the system was so complicated (although the directions were well written) that it took us about an hour to figure out how to set it up... and I am a computer geek for a living... so I'm pretty sure a normal person wouldn't have got this working at all... and heaven forbid you should call down to try and get someone's help, because obviously, from what I've demonstrated above, they would never show!
Anyway, despite all these things, I still wouldn't say not to stay at this hotel. If you need the convenience of being at Heathrow, then it is at least a nice hotel with good rooms, although at a pretty big price.
Just be warned, and be prepared to be quite insistent if you require any further assistance after check-in. Don't wait an hour for a response, be persistent from the beginning to get what you need, because the help won't be forthcoming on its own.
Stayed here overnight before a trip overseas. I found the staff exceptionally friendly and helpful, in all areas of the hotel.
It was also nice to be upgraded upon arrival.
I particularly liked the LCD television incorporated into the bathroom mirror....
I was a bit surprised when I pulled into the carpark, and saw that the rate for an overnight stay was £40...however this was lessened to £15 per night for hotel guests.
The fact that the hotel was linked to the terminal was great, I would definitely stay here again.
Could do MUCH better
We arrived about10.30pm we were given upgraded room which was nice, however the light switches are a nightmare and the hotel itself admitted to glitches. We went for a drink in the sphere bar, the barmaid was chatting up an american visitor, we waited 10 mins to be served but I eventually went to the bar myself, they add 12.5 % service to the bill !
The breakfast although offering a huge choice was disappointing as the bacon etc was dried up under the warming lights.
When we checked out after complaing I was offered the complaints book which was quite thick and already half full - no wonder, I would give this hotel few more months to settle in and continue to use the Hiton at T4
Needs to get its act together
Hotel is brand new, very clean and easily accessible from the terminal...but wear comfortable walking shoes for the journey! The room rates reflect the easy access to T5, and the hotel's supposed 5* status.
Room was spacious by London standards, and comfortably furnished. Plenty of storage space and a good sized desk. No noise noticeable from the airport...which is impressive given I could see planes from the window!
Check-in was slow and needed three different computers to print the registration form. No help offered with baggage.
Restaurant Vivre - food was mediocre (e.g. frozen chips, not cut in restaurant, pre-cooked and re-heated pasta) and service was appalling. It took nearly 20 minutes just to get the bill on an evening when the restaurant was staffed at about 2 tables per waiter.
Mini bar was not stocked - we had to go down to the shop for drinks.
And were we supposed to share the one bathrobe and pair of slippers (one each maybe?)
Mostly this seems to be teething problems, though the standard of restaurant food is more than just learning curve. However in a 5* hotel and full room rates, there's no excuse.
I wouldn't stay here again even if flying from T5. I'd stay in a well organised hotel nearby and take a taxi to the terminal.
Needs a bit of improvement
Stayed at Sofitel for couple nights, about 2 weeks ago. Checked in late in the evening welcomed by a very polite, friendly receptionist, who kindly explained everything about the hotel facilities and offered to book a table for me in one of the restaurants. It took us good 10 minutes to find the room, and probably another 10 to figure out how the lighting system works. Rooms were very stylish and comfortable. Fantastic beds. Excellent bathrooms.
Had a dinner at the French restaurant, Brasserie Roux, and that was undoubtedly the best meal I had in London so far.
Breakfast was served in the other restaurant, and wasn't too bad but service not great. My colleague had a treatment at the spa and said it was quite enjoyable. I loved the hotel interior especially the palm trees everywhere. Restaurants were both closed for lunch (at about 4 o'clock) so we had to have a snack at the Tea Salon. Met the hotel's tea master, amazingly kind and smiley lady. Service was excellent although there were only 2 waiters there, at the time. I was also quite surprised with the high prices at the bar.
Overall it seems like a quite good place, considering it just opened. Nonetheless, it does need some improvement in certain areas.
Check in excellent, despite our agent booking the wrong night.
Basic room, spacious, comfortable, plenty of power points, excellent bathroom with separate shower.
Only downside was a fairly long walk from reception, but that is not unusual.
Excellent meal in restaurant.
Very convient for Terminal 5, plus easy transfer to Terminal 1.
Stayed one night before a flight out of T5. Hotel was poorly signposted and difficult to find. Quite a long walk from terminal to check-in with no help for luggage or trolleys.
High-tech dysfunctional room - aircon stuck on warm, stench of paint, impossible to open windows. Had to insist on a room change against indifferent staff. Second room not much better.
Would not return, even though location is much more convenient than the Bath Road Hotels.
Monolith With Problems
Stayed here last night whilst seeing my husband off to the States from Terminal 5.
There a great many problems with this hotel; particularly the restaurant Roux; a really poor experience - even for hotel food, this was a french farce.
The room numbering system is odd - our room was on the second floor but the room number began with a 3 (test number 1).
Test number 2 was the room lighting system; whoever dreamed this up was surely having some fun with zee Eeenglish? So complex and impossible to get right; particularly if you need to turn on a light during the night.
Given that the hotel looked and felt empty, our suite was at the end of a hall and overlooked a building site. I know a stay at an airport hotel is not for the view but why a building site view?
Reception staff were friendly but, if you went 'off script' and asked questions, they got easily confused. As we checked in, the clerks monitor fell off its housing and we had to wait until he'd fixed it.
The noise level in the public areas is high due to it being marble floors with a central atrium. We left the Vivre restarurant because the noise level from the bar across the walkway made it impossible to speak at a normal level.
On the plus side, our suite was a good size but had only one robe and no utility pack in the bathroom. The soundproofing was very good. The bed was comfortable but the pillows are extra thick and very hard on the head. Not a good nights sleep.
Will not be returning. Will return to the Hilton for our next trip via Heathrow. It may also be built around an atrium but at least it feels less like a cathedral and more like a comfortable, well run hotel.
An excellent start to our trip
We stayed here for 1 night on 29th September due to having an early flight to NY from T5, and loved the efficiency, convenience and facilities of this hotel. Check in was fast and efficient and the room was spacious and comfortable. The furnishings and fittings are of a high quality, and we had no issues with lighting, AC, paint smells or any of the other issues mentioned in other reviews.
The fitness room is the best we have ever seen at a hotel and the staff in the spa/fitness suite were very helpful and friendly. One criticism is that the hotel publicises the spa facilities, but does not make it clear that there is a charge of £25pp to use them. I checked several websites before we travelled, and none of them mentioned this charge. The charge is waived if you book a massage or beauty treatment.
The location is fantastic if you are flying from terminal 5. You can walk to the check in area, and we were checked in and through security within 20 mins of leaving the hotel. It makes for a very relaxing start to your trip with no hassles of taxis, buses or traffic to get to the terminal. We didn't eat at the hotel, you can walk to T5 in 5 mins and have a choice of eateries there, or an M&S Food.
We would highly recommend this hotel for anyone flying from T5. It is more expensive than other options, but the convenience and comfort make it worth every penny.
Huge, new hotel located at Terminal 5. The reception staff I found to be a bit sniffy, but apart from that it is a pretty good hotel. As it is new it is spotlessly clean and sparkly. I was there on a Sunday night and I must say it felt quite empty and soulless; there didn't seem to be too many people around. Room was very nice, and clean with a fantastic comfortable bed. Great bathroom with Hermes toiletries. Good choice from the TV/movie/entertainment system and in-room tea and coffee facilities. A very comfortable pre or post flight stary.