Flying / Stylish Stays / Travel Tales

An Unexpected Stay At Sofitel London Heathrow

It was in unusual circumstances that I came to stay at one of the World’s Best Airport Hotels*.

Had things gone to plan I should have been sleeping in the sky – half way to Australia. A mechanical fault with my plane, however, meant that after taking off from London Heathrow Terminal 3, I landed in London Heathrow Terminal 5 just 3 hours later.

The airline, British Airways, unsure of how long it would take to fix the plane and aware it was now midnight, very calmly and kindly distributed vouchers to everyone on the full aircraft for meals and accommodation at the Sofitel Heathrow Airport.

Hundreds of us subdued and disappointed passengers skulked into the cavernous foyer and could not have received a better reception. Despite having to come through passport control and collect our luggage in the same city we had set off from, I was grateful to discover we need not leave the terminal building to reach our rooms for the night. An approximately 3 minute walk from baggage reclaim, through a covered walkway, this stylish French oasis was waiting.

Sofitel London Heathrow

The hotel provided a buffet for passengers despite it being nearly 1am because BA had not been able to serve food on the flight and they had (rightly!) assumed we would all be hungry. I have no idea what I ate but remember being extremely grateful food was provided.

In my room I rifled through the luggage I had not expected to open again until I was in Australia and made use of the ‘large for London’ floor space. Falling into the huge welcoming pillows I slept far better than I had expected to on the flight this evening.

The next morning I was up early to find out what was the soonest I could be on a plane out of London. As I showered I caught up on the days news via the TV speakers helpfully installed in the bathroom. Luckily the BA customer service desk was only a 3 minute walk back into the terminal – unfortunately my walk was fruitless as I was told I wouldn’t be flying until 9pm that evening.

It was only 6am so I shuffled back to my room at the Sofitel and begrudging embraced those welcoming pillows once again. A few hours later I decided to check out the breakfast options. The breakfast buffet was pretty standard but the service from staff, however, was exceptional. Courteous and helpful, they treated us BA refugees as if we were fee paying customers, their sympathy to our predicament was touching. If only the restaurant had some peanut butter for my toast – one waiter searched but, alas, came back empty handed!
Sofitel London Heathrow

Although not ideal to be hanging around in a hotel for 24 hours, especially if, like me, you have a 24 hour journey to Australia ahead of you, if I had to camp somewhere near London Heathrow it would be at the Sofitel. If you are not tempted to spend money in the spa, hair salon, shop or bar the 24-hour gym is complimentary and the recreational areas are more than comfortable for resting.

I have only one complaint – and it is one I have made many times in London hotels – why no free Wi-Fi? Hundreds of business passengers, and perhaps hundreds more stranded passengers like myself, must end up in this building – it would leave a lasting positive impression if they were able to get on with their work here without paying for it. (At the time of writing Wi-Fi access costs £6 per hour or £15 for 24 hours.)
Aside from this I’d definitely be happy to stay a the Sofitel London Heathrow again, hopefully next time in better circumstances.

Ways To Take The Pain Out Of Flying From Australia To The UK

*The Sofitel Heathrow was named best airport hotel in Europe, and third best airport hotel in the world, at the World Airport Awards in 2011

About Author

I'm a full time blogger with a passion for travel and interiors. A travel blogger for 12+ years, I took a course on interior styling during the pandemic when travel was not an option. I now run 2 Instagram accounts - @jayneytravels, which covers authentic, affordable luxury escapes and @ourtravelhome which is all about decorating our new build home with a modern rustic style.


  • whatisabackpacker
    July 29, 2011 at 12:24 pm

    ha who'd of thought firstly that BA would lay this sort of spread on for its passengers at last minute, and secondly, that a hotel like this is just 3min from the baggage collection….loose. great post!!

  • Jayne
    July 29, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    I was more than surprised myself! Kudos to BA for dealing with the problem is such a good way. Cheers for commenting Neil 😉

  • Andi of My Beautiful Adventures
    July 29, 2011 at 4:28 pm

    That is quite an impressive hotel! I once stayed at a hotel in Cancun courtesy of Cubana, because of my delayed flight back from Cuba, that really impressed me.

  • Jayne
    July 30, 2011 at 2:33 pm

    Takes the pain out of the delay doesn't it Andi!

  • […] for years without anyone taking any notice but more recently I have had emails from hotels like the Sofitel London Heathrow thanking me for my kind words about them, which I really appreciated. Bloggers are also learning […]


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