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Review: the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel

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This is my review of the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel.

Yesterday I reviewed the Crowne Plaza London Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel (click here). As part of our project to re-review all of the Terminal 4 hotels, I also spent a night recently at the Holiday Inn Express.  Both hotels share the same building and, interestingly, share many of the same facilities.

This poses an interesting question for potential guests.  The Holiday Inn Express is around £30-£40 per night cheaper than the Crowne Plaza.  Whilst the Express rooms are smaller, they are not so much smaller. 

Review Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel

More importantly:

  • both hotels share the same main bar (there is also a separate bar / casual dining restaurant on the Holiday Inn Express side)
  • guests at both hotels can eat at the Urban restaurant, even though it is nominally on the Crowne Plaza side
  • guests at both hotels can use the Crowne Plaza lobby level cafe
  • whilst the hotels have separate reception areas, they use the same bank of lifts and the hotels are not separated by floor.  Each floor contains both Holiday Inn Express and Crowne Plaza rooms.
  • Holiday Inn Express guests get free breakfast in the Holiday Inn Express restaurant, whilst breakfast in the Crowne Plaza restaurant for their guests is £17.95 (traditional English) / £14.95 (continental) for adults

The only area that is strictly out of bounds to Holiday Inn Express guests is the gym, which is only for Crowne Plaza residents.

Even if you are looking for a ‘classy’ experience, I wouldn’t blame you if you decided to save £35 plus the cost of breakfast by staying in a Holiday Inn Express room.  You can use the saving to have a few drinks in the smart shared bar or to put towards a meal in the Urban restaurant.  You can read more about the bar and restaurant in my Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4 review here.

Back to the Holiday Inn Express Heathrow T4 …..

Access to the hotel is via the gangway from the Departures level of Terminal 4.  The same gangway also leads to the Hilton Terminal 4 (reviewed here) and the Premier Inn (review) but the Holiday Inn Express is the nearest.

I’m not going to repeat what I wrote yesterday about the shared bar and restaurant. This review just focuses on the differences between the two hotels.

This was my room:

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel bedroom

It is smaller than the Crowne Plaza room although the circulation space is the same. The extra space at the Crowne Plaza is taken up with the desk and, in the bathroom, the separate bath – the Express is ‘shower only’.

Ignore the fact that I had a view over the atrium whilst my Crowne Plaza room had an external view. This is purely the luck of the draw – both hotels have a mix of interior and exterior facing rooms. You can debate whether, as a Diamond Elite member of IHG One Rewards, I should have been given an external view.

As you can see, there is nothing to complain about.  Everything still looks new, the bed is a decent size and there are plenty of sockets including a USB B. 

The throw on the bed and a decorative red pillow, both present when I toured the hotel in 2018, were gone, as also happened at the Crowne Plaza. The images on the hotel website still show these items.

There is also a chair and a small work table, with an adjacent plug:

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel bedroom

The only major difference to the Crowne Plaza rooms is the lack of a formal desk.  You get a kettle with tea and coffee, as you do in the entry-level Crowne Plaza rooms. Unless things have changed since 2018, you only get a Nespresso machine in a Club room at the Crowne Plaza.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel bedroom

Heading into the bathroom, everything is almost spick and span.  There is less room around the edges of the sink than in the Crowne Plaza but that isn’t a major niggle.  Toiletries are from dispensers, branded ‘Soak’, but this is also the case in the Crowne Plaza.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel bathroom

The shower is also perfectly acceptable – it is a sign of how good ‘budget’ hotels are these days that the facilities are better than many of us have in our own homes. There is only one shower head – you need to head to a Crowne Plaza room if you want the option of a rainfall shower.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel bedroom

You don’t get a bath at the Holiday Inn Express. You need to be in a Crowne Plaza room for that.

My one niggle was that the base of the tap was noticeably grimy:

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel bathroom

This ‘hidden’ iron and ironing board is a useful touch – the mirror is on the other side.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 hotel iron

Food and drink at Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4

Guests are welcome to use the smart ‘Destination’ bar, shared with the Crowne Plaza, and use the ‘Urban’ restaurant on the Crowne Plaza side.

The image below is the ‘Holiday Inn Express side’ of the lobby, although guests at either hotel can wander around all of the facilities. The HIX also has its own dedicated bar which is more casual and perhaps better suited to families with small children.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 restaurant bar

I can imagine that some Crowne Plaza guests looking for a less formal or cheaper meal than offered at Urban end up on the Holiday Inn Express side.

I had fish and chips here, which came in at £14. It arrived in exactly five minutes (I checked the time on the receipt) which was a bit suspicious, but it did the job.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4

Here’s the thing. A few feet away, in Urban on the Crowne Plaza side, fish and chips costs £20, not £14. The description is identical – cod, peas, tartare sauce, chips. It’s all very odd.

In general, main courses are cheaper on this side of the hotel at around £14.


Breakfast is your typical Holiday Inn Express buffet. Whilst the seating area is spacious, the buffet area itself is very tight and it wasn’t always easy to move around.

Interestingly, the hot items (sausage, egg, beans) are identical to those served for £18 at the Crowne Plaza restaurant next door. You can tell because both hotels serve a specific sort of Cumberland sausage which is shorter and wider than usual!

Holiday Inn Express heathrow terminal 4 hotel breakfast

There is a little more choice over at the Crowne Plaza but fundamentally there isn’t a lot of difference between the two breakfasts – apart from having your coffee waiter-served instead of self-serve, and of course the £18 per person price difference.

Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 breakfast buffet


I was very impressed by the Holiday Inn Express London Heathrow Terminal 4, as indeed I am in general by modern Holiday Inn Express – and Hilton’s equivalent Hampton – hotels. They offer a quality of budget accommodation which would have been unthinkable a generation ago.

The co-location with the Crowne Plaza offers the best of both worlds. You have high quality but low(er) cost rooms and the ability to use the more upmarket Crowne Plaza bar, restaurant and lobby cafe if you want to eat or drink in a smarter environment – although you will pay a premium for the privilege.

For cash, rooms are typically £100 midweek (free breakfast included) at the moment, compared to £140 (room only) at the Crowne Plaza. I have seen the gap as low as £17 (£83 vs £100). Whether you intend to stay for breakfast – and, if you do, whether you’d get it free at the Crowne Plaza as a Diamond Elite member of IHG One Rewards – is likely to sway your decision.

Redemptions on a typical night were 16,000 IHG One Rewards points vs £83 per cash, so 0.5p per point. A night at £106 was 17,000 points so the ‘price to points’ correlation is not straight line.

You can read our full series of London airport hotel reviews here.

The Holiday Inn Express Heathrow Terminal 4 website is here if you want to find out more or to book.  The Crowne Plaza website is here for comparison and here is our Crowne Plaza Heathrow Terminal 4 review.

IHG One Rewards update – January 2024:

Get bonus points: Our article on IHG’s January 2024 bonus promotion is here. You will receive double base points on every cash stay between 1st January and 31st January 2024. Click here to register.

New to IHG One Rewards?  Read our overview of IHG One Rewards here and our article on points expiry rules here. Our article on ‘What are IHG One Rewards points worth?’ is here.

Buy points: If you need additional IHG One Rewards points, you can buy them here.

You get a 100% bonus when you buy IHG One Rewards points by 2nd February 2024. Click here.

Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from IHG and the other major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.

Comments (45)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Geoff says:

    Another small niggle at the HIX, which I don’t suppose you experienced 😉, is the hairdryer/mirror setup. The socket is at ground level but the curly flex is not really long enough to reach head height. So you either kneel at the mirror, or plug in elsewhere and use the reflection in the TV!

  • Lady London says:

    That little computer table in newer HIXes frustrates me. It’s really only big enough to put an espresso cup and saucer on. Very frustrating to have laptop on it with no space around it to put other things you’re working with.

    • Blair Waldorf Salad says:

      Wrong height to your body too. I often arrive at LHR with a few solid hours of work to do. I’m not sure that table would suffice comfort-wise. At CP T4 I did my work then 2 more hours of Black Friday shopping and the adjustable desk chair made it a doddle.

    • Rob says:

      The cup can fall through the hole in the table!

  • Save East Coast Rewards says:

    Like you, I consider HIX and Hampton to be a similar concept, except for one key difference. Every Hampton I’ve been to has a gym so it seems to be a brand requirement whereas this HIX specifically excludes it. We really should be lowering the barriers for people to exercise, but of course they’re not a charity so why not allow HIX users access to the gym for a small fee (paid at reception, keycard updated) if they really can’t bring themselves to offer free access?

  • Nigerian Prince says:

    HIX’s breakfast scrambled egg has a strange texture

  • RussellH says:

    > a specific sort of Cumberland sausage which is shorter and wider than usual

    As a recent resident of Cumberland, I find I object ever more strongly to the modern, inappropriate adoption of the term “Cumberland sausage” as marketing guff for something that can be recognised at a single glance to be nothing of the sort.

    Genuine Cumberland Sausage (as found on a local butcher’s slab) will be around 2 metres long. You cut it to the length that you want. The meat is **coarsely** chopped, not minced, and it tends to be very heavily spiced, because spices used to come into the port of Whitehaven, which in second half of the 18tgh century was the biggest port on the west coast – yes, bigger than either Bristol or Liverpool.

    • John says:

      Most HIX food is recognisable at a glance to be nothing of the sort. You already mentioned the egg mix but there’s also the “croissants”, “fresh fruit”, “juice” and so forth

  • HAM76 says:

    When moving to large bottles they made one unfortunate decision. The soap dispenser ist right above the toilet paper roll. So all sort of wet drips from previous guests end up there.

  • Alan says:

    Yep have stayed before and doing so again in Jan before an SQ flight from T2. 17k IHG vs 50k for HGI T2/3 so I’ll put up with the minor extra hassle!

  • Chris says:

    USB-B? More likely an A or C. Full B was mostly used on printers and scanners though the old Moto Razr phones had mini b on them.

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