The departure time for our Brussels Airlines flight to Entebbe was 6.50am and, rather than have to get up virtually as soon as we’d gone to bed, we stayed overnight at Heathrow. The only hotel with direct links to terminal 2 was the ‘Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow Terminals 2 and 3’ – not to be confused with ‘Hilton Garden Inn London Heathrow’ which is a 10-minute drive. We wondered how many people had made the mistake.
A ‘King Guest Room with High Floor’ was a whopping £282 via Booking.com but it included free cancellation until two days beforehand.
Having found our way from the underground to the hotel, we were slightly early for check in at 3pm, but that wasn’t a problem. Check in, on the second floor was straightforward and completed by a very enthusiastic girl who I could have found irritating if I wasn’t in the right mood. After we established where to put the key card to activate the lift, we were soon ensconced in room 1202 on the 12th floor.
The spacious room had a comfortable king size bed and runway view. There was space for one suitcase, tea and coffee making facilities, safe, empty fridge and hangers in an open plan wardrobe with iron and ironing board.
The bathroom was a reasonable size with a walk-in shower, complimentary toiletries and lots of white fluffy towels.
We decided to do a trial run for the morning and found the departure desks literally a 10-minute walk across the car park.
Back at the hotel, on the first floor was the Apron Bar and Apron Restaurant. Non-Londoners may find drink prices a little high, especially with an automatic 12.5% service charge, but it was pleasant and cool on a hot day.
As we didn’t want too much to eat before an early night, we moved up to the Runway Lounge on the top 14th floor. It had a great outdoor terrace overlooking the airport and so there was a £35 standing charge for non-residents to deter plane spotters. We had a bottle of Chenin Blanc (£28) and shared mezze platter (£19) of pitta bread, hummus, salad, olives, three spicy kebabs and a dip and three falafel. Service was excellent and we managed the wine so well that by 7pm, we still had a glassful left and took it back to the room to watch the final day of the Trent Bridge Test Match on a screen far superior to our TV at home.
Having won the match, we bedded down and slept soundly despite the proximity to the airport, with blackout curtains helping.
Although it was expensive, we felt the peace of mind it provided was worth it.