(Dean Friedman) – Holiday Inn Ariel, London Heathrow
I’ve driven past the Ariel Hotel several hundred times over the years, it’s a distinctive circular building on the A4 Bath Road, so when I found I had a flight out of Heathrow at stupid o’clock on a Sunday morning, I decided to travel to the airport the previous night and stay over – much less stressful.
I checked in late Saturday afternoon, after a relatively painless journey across London by train and tube and the ‘Hotel Hoppa’ bus from the airport.
The Holiday Inn Ariel is served by two ‘Hotel Hoppa’ buses, that run from 04:16 through until after 11pm.
I walked into reception to be greeted by a couple of automated check in screens, no receptionist, but clearly I looked sufficiently bemused to encourage Kornelija to help me check in, which she did politely and promptly. I presented my card to pre-authorise payment for dinner and a few drinks. I was also given a “guest of the day” card which gave me 20% discount on ‘food and beverage consumption’ – result!
My room – 360 – was clean and efficient, nothing to complain about, with a large TV, extensive beverage capabilities and – gasp! – a ‘Corby’ trouser press.
Dinner in the restaurant ‘The Junction’ was better than expected, although they were due to close for a large private party; much of the restaurant had been declared ‘out of bounds’ nearly two hours before the aforementioned party.
Back in the room, the bed was extremely comfortable, and while room 360 was not a ‘runway’ view room (they’re a tenner or so extra) it was possible to glimpse aircraft as they came in to land.
Check-out – at 5am – was as efficient as check-in, and reception phoned for a cab for me. A very roomy ‘S’ Class Merc. which was excellent value at a tenner to Terminal 2.
All in all, I found the Holiday Inn Ariel to be modern, clean and very well maintained, particularly given its considerable age. I suspect it’s only a matter of time before it’s replaced with something taller than its three floors, but I would be happy to stay there again if circumstances required.