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The Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel is a recently renovated and wheelchair accessible accommodation in close proximity to London’s Heathrow Airport (LHR). Many rooms in the hotel offer fantastic views of the airport runway, making the Renaissance a perfect choice for aviation geeks on a layover.
I recently stayed at this hotel, which is part of the Marriott family of hotels & resorts, for one night of a multi-day stopover in London. During my stay, I had the opportunity to meet-up with friends who were also traveling/connecting through London and the Renaissance Hotel was a great place for us to gather.
Reservation & Check-in
I made my reservation fairly late, two days prior to check-in, via the hotel’s website. My booking was for a wheelchair accessible hotel room with a roll-in shower. Because the reservation was so last-minute, I was surprised and delighted to score a rate of £63 GBP (~$81 USD).
Check-in at the hotel was complete in under five minutes. Due to my Platinum status in the Marriott Rewards program, I was offered my choice of a welcome amenity or bonus points. Always thinking of my next trip, I took the points. I also received complimentary access to the executive/club lounge, which offers a complimentary breakfast, light snacks throughout the day, hors d’oeuvres in the evening and a happy hour at night.
Wheelchair Accessible Hotel Room #1724
My hotel room, number 1724, was located on the first floor (one level up from the lobby). Due to the renovations that were underway, some of the signage was a bit confusing. After about 5 minutes making my way through the first floor maze, I found my room.
The queen size bed was set at a favorable height relative to the seat of my wheelchair – a difference of only about three inches. The bed was remarkably comfortable, and I was in a bit of heaven with the abundance of pillows – six total! There was also a chocolate waiting for me which I could not resist.
There was space to park my wheelchair on both sides of the bed. There was much more space to the right; the left side required was a tight fit requiring skillful operation of my chair.
Power outlets were affixed to the extended headboard on both sides of the bed. They were easy to reach, and gave me a place to charge my power wheelchair. Power outlets in the United Kingdom supply electricity at between 220 and 240 volts. If you are traveling from the United States, where electricity is supplied at 120 volts, you’ll want to protect your wheelchair and battery with a step-down power transformer. I recommend the 500W Rockstone power transformer – this is the device I use when traveling abroad.
Directly across from the bed was a flat screen television with a large selection of cable channels. When in the United Kingdom, I enjoy watching the real BBC – the BBC America version that we have in the states just isn’t the same.
While the hotel has been recently renovated, the wheelchair accessible rooms were not enlarged – the space is quite cramped. The first photo above was taken from in front of the TV, looking toward the bathroom and primary doors.
Also pictured are the coffee and tea supplies provided to guests free of charge.
Wheelchair Accessible Bathroom
While the bedroom area was quite small, the bathroom was of normal size and laid out in a manner to promote accessibility.
The design of wheelchair accessible roll-in showers at hotels in the United Kingdom is my favorite anywhere in the world. The roll-in shower design at the Renaissance was just like those I have reviewed at other London-area hotels, including the Hilton London Wembley and the Hilton London Paddington.
A built-in shower chair folds down from the wall and, in my opinion, is the most comfortable type of shower seat on the market. In addition to a fixed grab bar on the wall, grab bars also fold down to surround the shower chair. These grab bars are unfortunately obscured by the shower curtains, which are drawn from both sides.
The handheld shower nozzle and water controls were within easy reach of the seat. The water pressure was strong, making for a fantastic shower experience.
The toilet was just as accessible as the shower, with plenty of space to park a wheelchair alongside. A total of four grab bars, arranged vertically and horizontally on the nearby walls, ensured safe transfers from my wheelchair. One grab bar folded down from the wall – just like those surrounding the shower.
The sink was small, but accessible.
Emergency alert cords hung from the ceiling next to the toilet and the shower. These cords are to be pulled in an emergency – for instance, if you should fall and are unable to get up. This is a great accessibility and safety feature that I wish would be implemented in the United States.
Location & Transportation
While you won’t be able to walk from the airport to the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel, there are a lot of convenient transportation options.
The Heathrow Central Bus Terminal is connected to the various airport terminals via an underground tunnel network. From the bus terminal, you can take bus route #140 to the hotel. The red double decker buses are wheelchair accessible via a ramp at the center of the bus. The hotel is within the Heathrow Free Travel Zone, so you’ll not need to pay a fare to ride the bus.
London’s black cabs are wheelchair accessible. You can request one at the airport taxi stand on the curb. Fares are variable, but I would not expect to pay less than £10 – a fare of £15 (~$19 USD) is much more likely.
For public transportation from the hotel into the City of London, take the bus back to the airport and ride the Heathrow Express to London Paddington Station.
In summary, I had a fantastic stay at the Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel that was both comfortable and accessible. Should I ever require a hotel in the vicinity of LHR airport, the Renaissance will be at the top of my list. If you are able to secure a favorable room rate like I did, selecting the Renaissance Hotel should be a no-brainer!