With five star hotels spread around the world, from Sydney to San Francisco and Bordeaux to Bogota, Sofitel is certainly a global brand.
But it is also one that flies somewhat beneath the radar in comparison to the likes of Hilton and InterContinental.
That’s despite the success of the beautiful Sofitel St James in central London, which we’ve featured repeatedly on this blog as a stalwart of the top TripAdvisor hotels, most recently in the context of an exciting exhibition.
Sofitel’s burgeoning international reputation was further enhanced recently when the Sofitel Heathrow was named ‘Best Airport Hotel in the World’ by USA Business Traveller Magazine.
That’s quite an accolade and certainly merits further investigation.
The hotel is relatively new and first opened in 2008, with direct access to Terminal 5 via covered walkway (and all other terminals via express shuttle). It’s also only 21 minutes from central London by train and so location-wise is hard to beat, a sentiment echoed by TripAdvisor reviewers.
As one recent TripAdvisor user stated, “if you need to be at Heathrow T5 early in the morning, this is the place to stay the night before.”
Boasting 605 modern rooms, the Sofitel Heathrow’s facilities include a luxury health spa with 5 treatment rooms and a round-the-clock gym.
It’s clear that the hotel is designed to soothe the soul of luxury travellers from around the globe. But it’s also well-equipped as a venue for business near the airport, with a conference centre able to accommodate over 4000 attendees and lots of smaller meeting rooms.
Reviewers on TripAdvisor note the relatively high expense of staying at the hotel but most felt that this was justified by the practicality of close proximity to Terminal 5 and the consistently good service.
As the hotel’s owners state, “the Sofitel London Heathrow is not an airport hotel, it’s a five star luxury hotel which just happens to be at an airport.” So you can expect quality and a price tag to match.
Minor gripes included the fact that one of the hotel restaurants is closed on Sundays (though there are plenty of 24/7 options at the airport) and that a number of rooms face an internal courtyard. But the general consensus on TripAdvisor seems to be overwhelmingly positive.
While the Sofitel is undoubtedly the best hotel at Heathrow, is it really the world’s best airport hotel? This may be more debatable as some guests have noted, particularly in light of several excellent airport hotels in Asia.
But this smart and contemporary airport hotel deserves its accolades.
If your budget doesn’t extend to the Sofitel then an alternative is the YOTEL at Heathrow with pod-style rooms at a fraction of the cost.
Its rooms are small but it delivers everything it promises at an excellent price, as our YOTEL video and recent guest reviews confirm.
And if you’re flying from Stansted airport rather than Heathrow, do also check out our review of the best Stansted hotels.
Photo credits: Sofitel Heathrow, YOTEL.