The UK’s 4th busiest airport and one that has received architectural plaudits and some tough critics throughout the years has, until recently, been without a Hilton flagged property. A Hampton by Hilton has been built on what Google Maps shows is almost on the runway. We flew in to see how it serves the travelling public.
I had pre-booked a package on the Hilton website to include one nights accommodation and 8 days parking, this came in at a reasonable £115 and – at the time of booking – cheaper than just parking in the long stay at the airport. Overnight stay, Hilton night credit, Hhonors points, free breakfast and saving money? These packages are well worth comparing before booking airport facilities.
If you are arriving by car then it couldn’t be simpler to find, as its next door to the main terminal building, with a barrier entrance just before the drop off zone. I parked up right next to the reception entrance and that’s where my car stayed for the entire 8 days; no off site parking here.
A warm welcome at reception, with some chat about the weather and full diamond recognition. This included an ‘upgrade’ to a room with a runway/apron view. All the rooms are the same layout and size at a Hampton Inn, so that was a welcome touch. In the key pack was also a voucher for a ‘free appetiser and non-alcoholic drink’ in the lobby lounge bar. The hotel operates the common iPad number plate registration system, so ensure you register your car on arrival to avoid a ticket.
The hotel is bright and well designed, I have a real soft spot for the simplicity and functionality of the Hampton hotels in the UK. The room matched the rest of the hotel; a large bathroom with walk in shower and marble sink unit, a comfortable bed with quality linen and a desk for working. Everything you need for a short stay and all in excellent condition.
A fuzzy feeling touch was a personal welcome letter in the room from the general manager, including his mobile number. Also next to the desk is a flatscreen TV and below a ledge with tea/coffee items.
Next to the window, with amazing views over the satellite terminals and runway, is a sofa that would turn into a bed for a family room. Two bottles of water were also waiting in the room, one of the Diamond perks.
I decided to check out the lounge and see what my voucher would get. It was an interesting use of language as the voucher normally states a snack and a drink from the shop, but this stated appetiser and drink from the lounge bar. Turns out its exactly what I thought it would be; a packet of crisps and a can of coke. You can’t have anything from the menu or bar.
I took a browse of the familiar Hampton menu whilst munching on my crisps and ordered nachos to start with a chicken burger for main course. This was charged to my room with a smile and came insanely quickly – I had barely read three pages of the complimentary i newspaper.
The portion sizes were huge, and the food of good quality. I would say the prices are at a level you would expect for a hotel with a captive audience, but the quantity of food makes for excellent value. During dinner I returned to the bar for a bottle of water, but the tender refused to allow me to room charge the item, saying my card was not pre-authorised – I specifically remember doing this including PIN authentication and had also been served £30 of food too. She made little effort to rectify the situation, and left me feeling rather silly for being able to purchase a £3 bottle of water.
I returned back to the room, for a good shower with relaxing products from the dispensers on the wall (shampoo, conditioner and shower gel are provided) and a fluffy large towel. I had an excellent nights sleep on a comfortable bed with quiet air conditioning keeping the room cool. The noise insulation is also perfect, with the airport sounds completely mitigated.
On this occasion my flight was even too early for the 4am breakfast start, but the included Hampton breakfast is normally very consistent and to be recommended. Access to the terminal building is through a walkway, lift and straight across the front of the departure area, a quick 5 minute walk and you are checking in.
For the price paid, the convenience and view this hotel has to be your choice at Stansted and thoroughly recommended by THH.