Hotel Review – Park Inn Heathrow, London, England

Image (c) metwaysystems.co.uk

Park Inn is Radisson’s mid-range brand yet it’s property in Oslo at which I had the pleasure of staying is more like a modern four star hotel. Having said that, it is clear from this experience in London that the standard of Park Inn hotels varies widely around the world. One thing I do know is that there are two vastly different parts to the Heathrow property – there is a newer half with modern and far better rooms but there is also an older part which you really should try to avoid if at all possible.

Ah, the infamous ‘careless Dexter’ carpet?

Exactly, but we’ll get to that. It’s an airport hotel, so your expectations probably should be curbed accordingly, but it’s also very popular with flight crew from a multitude of airlines which usually makes for a bit of an endorsement.

I’m guessing they stay in the better half of the hotel?

Without a doubt. For the other half, read on…

 

Park Inn Heathrow, Bath Road, Heathrow, Middlesex UB7 0DU Tel: +44 20 8759 6611

Website: http://www.parkinn.co.uk/airporthotel-heathrow

Email: info.heathrow@rezidorparkinn.com

When?

Mid-October 2011.

Vital stats:

Four stars. Opened 1964(!), last major renovation 2000, 880 rooms in two wings.

Location, location, location?

There are plenty of airport hotels at Heathrow but the Park Inn is the closest. Many of the rooms look directly out over the runway but the soundproofing is good enough for you to be unaware of this when inside. A free shuttle bus connects the hotel with the terminals, and if you are driving the hotel is clearly signposted as you approach the airport.

What about parking?

Parking is free to guests; after gaining entry at the barrier you’ll need to collect a ticket from reception when you find a space. There are hundreds of parking spaces so this should not be a problem.

Why choose this place?

On this occasion I wanted to use my Club Carlson points for a redemption stay and was looking for somewhere to stay the night en route from the Crowne Plaza at Marlow after visiting Legoland before returning a hire car at the airport and travelling into central London the following day. Naturally most visitors stay here in connection with a flight from Heathrow.

Room

Image (c) agoda.com

There are two types of room as well as suites. As mentioned there are rooms in the old part of the hotel and more modern ones in the newer section. I am unsure whether all ‘free’ stays take place in the older part or whether we were just unlucky, but we ended up in a dingy, warm and unpleasant-smelling room in dire need of total renovation. Clearly the attractive pictures on the hotel website show the better rooms but these pictures will give you an idea of what to expect in the worse ones. We had a standard room, which was small and cramped even with the basic furniture it contained. A clunky old CRT TV felt about right here; other features were as follows: Writing desk with chair, coffee and tea facilities, iron, telephone, (paid) wireless internet.

Image (c) pgtraveltips.co.uk

The bed was comfortable enough but as mentioned the room was hot and we were unable to do anything about this either.

Carpets?

Image (c) Andy Higgs, Grown-up Travel Guide

Oh yes, and the vile stains suggested that a serial killer who was unconcerned about being caught had been a previous occupant. There must have been enough DNA in the carpet to keep the CSI people busy for weeks. I find this totally unacceptable and it didn’t exactly make me feel like a ‘preferred guest’ even though I was using all those points for my stay.

Bathroom

Some of the rooms have a bath and some just a shower – ours had a bath which was a plus. The bathroom was small, predictably old- fashioned and bore signs of many years of use.

Free internet I hope?

No, you have to pay which I also think is unacceptable and seems to diverge from Radisson/Park Inn’s usual service

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Hotel Review – Clarion Hotel Stockholm, Sweden

Image (c) hotelwithheart.com

Having recently reviewed the new flagship Clarion hotel in our home town of Trondheim – and not being overly convinced it was a resounding success, at least yet – I decided it was time to include a review of one of the brand’s Swedish properties. The Clarion Hotel Stockholm is a large hotel a couple of metro stops from the centre of town, so a little more convenient in terms of locations than the previous hotel we stayed at, the Best Western Time Hotel.

But you loved that place, right?

Yes, so this hotel had rather a hard act to follow. Having said that, my criteria for the stay were a little different so let’s see how it shapes up.

Can’t wait! I wonder if we’re looking at another 6/6 for the Swedish capital?

Well I guess you’ll just have to read on and find out…

 

Clarion Hotel Stockholm, Ringvägen 98, Stockholm 10460, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 462 1000

Website: http://www.clarionstockholm.com/startpage

Email: cl.stockholm@choice.se

When?

Mid-July 2011.

Vital stats:

Four stars (unofficial rating as Norway does not use the international star system). Opened 2003, 532 rooms over 8 floors.

Location, location, location?

The hotel is right next to the metro station at Skanstull, which is the fourth stop after the Central station. The airport express has its own platform at the Central Station and crossing to the regular metro for the journey south to the hotel involves quite a walk; worth remembering if you’re heavily loaded. It could be worth getting a taxi instead…

Image (c) petermakela.com

The hotel is built right on top of a motorway tunnel, as this view from an upper floor shows. However, you’ll not notice any noise at all as it’s evidently well sound-proofed.

What about parking?

Parking is naturally extremely expensive in Stockholm but if you wish to make use of the hotel’s secure facility you can do so for rates of SEK 310 and up.

Why choose this place?

This time I was travelling with my wife and daughter in the middle of the summer holidays. So our search criteria were for a quiet but central location with an extra bed in the room, for a reasonable price. The Clarion Hotel Stockholm delivered on these counts.

Room

Image (c) Clarion Hotel Stockholm

There are four types of room and two types of suite. We had a standard room, which was cramped with the extra bed even though this seemed to be a permanent feature. We never really decided whether Rebecca was supposed to sleep on the sofa part, just use the mattress or sleep in the ‘drawer’ arrangement which was just big enough. She thought the drawer option was fun so used that – a proper extra bed would have been a better option but I guess we can’t complain as there was no extra charge for what we had. Room features were as follows: LCD flat-screen TV, writing desk with chair, mini-bar, iron, telephone, wireless internet.

Image (c) Andy Higgs

The double bed was large and very comfortable, which is a major plus.

Carpets?

Oddly enough, again there were carpets which while clean, are never as nice as wooden floors. Or is it just me?

Bathroom

Image (c) Tim Hulsen and Miaomiao Zhou

About half the rooms have a bath and half just a shower – ours was one of the latter but you can see one of the former above. The bathroom was small but well designed, modern and light. As in Trondheim, rather than the usual individual bottles of shampoo, conditioner et. al. there was a dispenser by the washbasin and in the shower. These were filled with some sort of own-brand all-in-one gel which is okay (and better for the environment) but probably not the best for your hair. As usual the shower door failed to keep water forming on the floor.

Free internet I hope?

Yes, free to guests who use their room number and surname to get online. You can access the internet via a PC and a smartphone simultaneously without any issues. The service worked fine in all areas of the hotel as far as I could tell.

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