From the outside, the Hilton Heathrow Terminal 5 hotel ticks all the boxes you would expect of a new addition to the international brand – clean lines, contemporary building, accessible location (although not necessarily the first place you would think of for a spa break given it’s proximity to an air terminus), and ample parking (486 spaces to be precise), but once you are inside it becomes a whole different situation altogether …
Don’t get me wrong, the interiors of the hotel are still ultra-modern, but it is here that the designers have been let loose, and you are greeted by an open-plan homage to contemporary art-meets architecture that culminates in a sweeping staircase at the hotel’s epicentre. Aside from the design itself, the overriding feature is space, which continues into each of the 350 bedrooms and notably into the corridors as well which are double width and give you an overwhelming (if somewhat childish) desire to cartwheel towards your room instead of taking a more orthodox, two-footed approach.
The Imagine Spa Thames Valley in the hotel is an all-encompassing spa experience. Yes, there is a gym with everything you could desire in the sweaty pursuit of firmer abs, but it is the spa facilities that really shine. Revolving around their thermal suite, complete with hydrotherapy pool, salt grotto, aroma steam room, sauna, feature showers and ice fountain, a Serail mud chamber or rasul, and a rather spectacular, circular relaxation area that glows pink in the dim light of a contemporary chandelier and swathes of diaphanous fabrics. There is also a ‘chill-out’ area where spa guests can have lunch, and eight treatment rooms including an accessible one on the ground floor for guests with any disabilities. Of course, all of this provides the ambient backdrop for a carefully considered range of treatments characterised by the VOYA brand (known for its organic, seaweed content) and Babor – again, an organic range using plant extracts from Africa, Asia and Brazil – all giving that reassuring sense of being so natural you would probably be able to eat it.
In addition to the CaffeMusetti (the only one of its kind in the UK) which is open from 6 am until 6pm offering pastries, teas, coffees and all those snacky bits in between, there are two restaurants: The Gallery – thus named because of it’s positioning at the top of aforementioned staircase and surveying the ground floor of the hotel, is divided into rather cosy niches and offer an extensive menu of British fare throughout the day – all presented with aesthetic care. The restaurant sits alongside a bar of the same name, which was inspired by Hendricks Gin, and accordingly has a rather sweeping cocktail menu complimented by British tapas, or alternatively, there is the hotel’s signature restaurant – Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen, serving Parsee Indian cooking in a refreshingly atypical, white environment complete with open kitchen and a 150 year old elephant that was rescued from a Maharaja’s garden. The menu also offers background information on all the dishes as specified by the TV Chef himself, Cyrus Todiwala.
As we say, the location at the same junction as Heathrow Terminal 5, is not necessarily the first place that springs to mind when you think of a spa break (although it is important to mention that with triple glazing you never hear a peep from the outside world), but convenient is an understatement in terms of accessibility. By road, it is moments from the M25, and there is a regular Heathrow Hoppa Service to all Heathrow Airport Terminals. Surprisingly, it is also surrounded by 13 acres of landscaped gardens, with bedrooms carefully positioned to benefit from aesthetic, green views and a silhouette of Windsor Castle in the distance.
Having opened at the end of 2011, the hotel and spa naturally excel at all the things Hilton prides itself on – customer service, contemporary design, and a cosmopolitan approach to cuisine, but it sets itself apart from standard conformity with undeniably impressive design, boutique spa choices, and an extremely welcoming ambience that emanates from the staff themselves.
– Book a meal at Mr Todiwala’s Kitchen – it is theatre and international dining all rolled into one.
– If you are staying overnight, upgrade to an Executive room, which gives you complimentary use of the Executive Lounge and all it offers including drinks, breakfast, snacks, canapés, sweets – you get the idea.
– If you have not been to the spa before opt for one of their rituals which offers you a couple of treatments and guides you through the thermal suite – it will ensure you get the most out of your spa day and are treated head-to-toe.
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