Hans D. Baumeister

Hans D. Baumeister

Hilton Terminal 5, Slough, UK ****

Stayed: February 2014

The name alone will make you believe this hotel sits right on Heathrow Airport property, possibly right next to Terminal 5. This isn’t the case; it’s situated outside of Airport property in Slough. Even though it isn’t very far away from the airport, going there takes surprisingly long, as the route is all twists and turns (about 15 minutes). There is a shuttle available, the ride costs money, though; the last time I took it, it was 10 pounds per person (one way!).

To be sure, the hotel is very comfortable. The room was large enough and modern, with exception of the bathroom (see below). Despite planes flying quite low over the hotel (depending on the wind direction), the noise was never a problem. The room also features an interesting brew-your-own coffee system: you unfold a little filter with coffee grinds in it in your cup and pour boiling water from the electric kettle over it. The process is actually quite fun and the result absolutely drinkable.

The bathroom was surprisingly poor: for one thing, the shower is also a bathtub - which is fine. Unfortunately, the tub isn’t sunk into the floor at all, so you’re stepping over a good 60cm of tub to get inside. Easier on the way in than on the way out. I would think that anyone not very flexible would have serious issues here.
The second annoyance is the sink. The sink itself is pretty small and covered by a good 10cm by a construction that also holds the mirror (as well as some unnecessary ambient lighting). Add to this the faucet, which is tiny and set so far back as to let the water barely hit the side of the sink:

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You may see this in a tiny bathroom, where there just isn’t room to mount anything larger. Here, it is completely unnecessary and extremely annoying. Washing your hands becomes a real challenge; give up on the idea that you’ll be washing your face in this sink!

There are several restaurants in the hotel, of which I frequented two: the
River Bar, which tries to be a bar and a pub, and Mr. Todiwala’s Kitchen, which features Indian cuisine.

I had a hamburger at the bar one night, with some beer to go with it. The quality of the food was fine, though the pricing is quite high, even for a hotel bar. I decided to leave quickly when they cranked all TV’s in the bar up loud to show a soccer game; for some reason, the sound wasn’t synchronized between all the TVs, which caused a very loud, train station effect which was excessively annoying.

I’d also had the chance to eat in the Indian restaurant with a couple of colleagues, one of whom is Indian with parents that run an Indian restaurant in the UK. While the food was very good, it was completely unusual for Indian cuisine: for one thing, they served some dishes with beef (usually a no-no!), for another they didn’t offer many of the standard dishes you would expect to see on the menu.

The menu was one of the most unusual I’ve ever seen in any restaurant: each dish had several paragraphs of text describing a situation or event the dish had been involved in at some point in human history. Figuring out what the dish really was turned out to be a challenge, especially because the print is so small, I had issues reading the menu in the subdued lighting at all. Very strange indeed.

On the subject of restaurants, breakfast needs to be mentioned as well. This takes place on the Mezzanine level, which is used by one of the other restaurants as “outside seating” in the evening. My room was booked with breakfast included, so I have no idea wether breakfast is usually charged separately or what it costs. It is, however, spectacular. The variety of dishes and foods is enormous, with everything you might be looking for in a Continental and English breakfast. Lots of different types of fresh fruit and a large selection of warm dishes. Perfect.

The hotel sits in a pretty nondescript area, which means there are very few restaurants or pubs in walking distance. Unfortunately, walking from the hotel is somewhat hindered by horrible walkway conditions as well the complete lack of pedestrian walkways in some sections starting at the exit from the hotel lot. There seems to be a problem with taking responsibility between the hotel and the city of Slough which ends up being a nuisance to any hotel guest looking to be on foot.

All in all, the hotel is quite comfortable and I can recommend it. If you have a park-and-fly deal, beware of the fact that the shuttle is a chargable item and that you’ll need to drive someplace to eat out the night before flying, unless you mind the elevated cost of the hotel restaurants.
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