GTW recommends the perfect choice for a restaurant and hotel to make flying out of or into London’s Heathrow Airport an enjoyable part of any trip
Airport hotels start from a point of disadvantage: busy flight paths directly overhead, guests constantly leaving and arriving at all hours, guests with huge amounts of luggage and guests who are mostly just stopping by for a brief quickly-forgotten visit in the small hours before their flight, or taking a nap to relieve the jet lag before heading home. In any scenario, an airport hotel is unlikely to be a destination in itself. The Sheraton Heathrow, then, is highly impressive in that not only does it achieve an atmosphere of comfortable luxury, but the restaurant in particular manages to feel like a genuine dining destination – much more than an airport hotel restaurant – more even than a typical hotel restaurant.
Sheraton has more than 400 hotels in 70 countries and the last few years have seen USD $6 billion invested in a worldwide revitalisation and new hotels project. In 2012, the Sheraton Heathrow completed a multimillion pound refurbishment of its public areas, and it definitely shows. A brand new reception, lobby lounge, two new bars, a new restaurant and a new café all welcome guests on the ground floor, presenting attractive options for relaxing and enjoying a stay rather than hiding away in the bedrooms. A travel and exploration theme has influenced the public areas but the hotel maintains a sense of welcoming tourists from overseas to Britain, as the new restaurant and bars take apple-related names inspired by the surrounding Middlesex countryside. The Orchard restaurant serves plenty of English dishes, including locallysourced beef in three prime cuts. As well as the menu choices, there is a plentiful buffet for guests to enjoy, and it would be an extremely picky guest who could find fault with the buffet options alone. A large array of beautifully-presented salads, meats, breads and desserts, along with a selection of main hot dishes, offers great choice with no compromise on quality. A delicious creamy gnocchi (a dish that only an accomplished chef would be prepared to leave sitting on a buffet for any amount of time) was filling and luxurious, and subtly-spiced jerk chicken had guests returning for more; there were plenty of options for even the most jet-lagged palate. Breads, baked to order in a stone-fired oven, are served on wooden platters and sprinkled with sea salt and olive oil. The elegant and stylish décor is complemented by partially sectioning off different parts of the restaurant, creating quieter, private areas or airy open sections as desired. It is clear that both the food and the ambiance encourages guests to linger and enjoy the atmosphere, as even business guests were using the space to do some work on laptops while finishing their dinner. The main bar serves light food and local ales, while the darker colours of the cocktail lounge are aimed at helping guests relax no matter how many time zones they have travelled through.
The Sheraton Heathrow has 426 bedrooms, all of which are individual oases of privacy and serenity, with spotless bathrooms and all the usual amenities, including a very well stocked minibar. The acclaimed Sheraton ‘Sweet Sleeper’ beds live up to reputation and offer an extremely comfortable sleep. For a hotel in such a busy, congested area, underneath a flight path and full of guests arriving and leaving at all hours, the bedrooms are amazingly quiet and peaceful.
Once it is time to bite the bullet and move on, the Sheraton Heathrow is within minutes of all terminals and there is a regular shuttle bus which collects from the front door. For guests who are heading home or arriving in the UK, collecting vehicles is easy with lots of secure parking at the front and even a car rental place next door. Visitors to the Sheraton Heathrow will take the next part of their journey having enjoyed a stay which was inviting and relaxing in its own right.
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