Sheraton Heathrow Hotel

by Continental Club on May 28, 2009

Let’s imagine that I own a hotel. Perhaps I didn’t just buy it; perhaps I designed it, specified it, built it and then modified it. It stands as a mounument to my own personal tastes and then I realise that what I need is a bit of extra exposure. Some better marketing; the support of a big company with global reach and an excellent reputation. Perhaps I’d like to sign a contract, nail a Sheraton sign to the front and watch the guests flood in.

There’s a problem though. When I look on Sheraton’s parent company’s website, it says that Sheraton is their largest brand, serving the needs of luxury and upscale business and leisure travelers worldwide. That sounds great, but my place is a bit of a dump, to be honest, so there’s no way that Starwood would be happy to see their brand above my door.

No, scratch that, they would. Welcome to the Sheraton Heathrow.

Now, in all fairness, this hotel charges ‘Travelodge’ rates. It’s half the price, usually, of the nearby Sofitel and the web is a rich seam of less than glowing reports about the property. So let’s just say that none of what follows came as an unheralded shock, though it’s still particularly disappointing given the fact that I’m such a fan of Starwood properties and generally find that their adherence to reliable and consistent standards is fairly exemplary.

Arriving at nearly midnight from Terminal 5, the trip on the 350 London bus service was quick and free, thanks to its entirety being within the so-called ‘Freeflow’ area. There was, unsurprisingly, no queue at check-in, and I was delighted to hear that I’d been upgraded to a ‘preferred’ room thanks to my Gold status in the Starwood loyalty programme. That was about the sum total of the welcome information however, with no confirmation of rate or package inclusions, hotel facilties or dining options.

Opening the door to the upgraded room, the first impression was of the heat. So, crank up the airconditioning, which sounded like it was powered by a jet engine borrowed from the airport across the road, and get ready for bed.

The room was clearly recently renovated and, apart from the presence of a traditional cathode ray TV, looked modern and comfortable.

The bathroom was compact but light and bright.

As the air conditioning utterly failed to make any impression on the stifling heat, I pulled back the covers on the famous Sheraton Sweet Sleeper bed, the plush, nine-layer creation of which Starwood is justifiably proud.

 

Unfortunately however, the Sheraton Heathrow had obviously cocked-up the linen order this week, as the double bed had clearly been fitted with a single mattress topper, evidenced by the fact that the mattress showed straight through the base sheet.

 

In an attempt to capture the evidence, a little more light was required, but attempts to illuminate revealed the novel (and failed) use of glue to attach power sockets to the wall rather than, oh I don’t know, something exotic like screws.

 

The aircon droned all night, the temperature never dropped, the bedlinen required a firmly central positioning to avoid falling off the mattress topper and all criticism of the Sofitel’s downgrade from Hermes toiletries evaporated in the humidity. Even the Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol seemed attractive, by comparison.

In the morning, the most rapid departure possible was sought, forgetting that breakfast had been paid for. Perhaps wisely, the Reception staff declined to ask how the stay had been – and I scuttled off to cool down outside and catch the handy (and also free) 423 bus back to T5.

Final verdict for the Sheraton Heathrow: 4/10. The welcome was sub-par, the room was shoddily maintained, poorly prepared and uncomfortably hot and noisy. In no way does the property reflect the stated values of the Sheraton brand, nor does it compare to other hotels which together represent the brand – even the Skyline sister property just down Bath Road. Disappointingly dismal.

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