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Author Topic: Renaissance, Heathrow  (Read 14383 times)

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RodBearden

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Renaissance, Heathrow
« on: September 05, 2010, 01:30:32 AM »
I'm planning to stay at the Renaissance Hotel at Heathrow soon on their Spotters Package deal.

Has anyone done this already and do they have any advice?

I'm planning on taking the laptop and RadarBox - I assume you can't open the windows, and they're probably triple-glazed, so will I get any reception at all?

I saw this week a photo on Airliners.net taken presumably from the Renaissance. Any hints about photography?

And are there any good pubs/retstaurants within walking distance?

And how much does the WiFi cost? If there's any reception, I'd like to share it.

PS I have Googled it and read the read a lot of the stuff that's out there already ;-)

Rod
« Last Edit: September 05, 2010, 01:39:51 AM by RodBearden »
Rod

EK01

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2010, 07:36:34 PM »
Rod,

Stayed many times at the Renaissance on their spotters package. Rooms that they use are excellent with great views of the southern runway. Don't know if you are a smoker, but they do include a limited number of smoking rooms (it used to be 4). At check-in try and avoid being given a family room as these have a connecting door and could turn out to be noisy depending on who is next door. A good breakfast is included but other meals can be expensive much better to use 'The Three Magpies' pub just along the road where you can get a great meal for two for what it would cost for one in the hotel. Another tip, if you run out of your free hoppa tickets, the normal service bus (bus stop just outside the hotel) is free, just make sure it's going to Heathrow Central. It's free within the Heathrow perimeter to encourage workers at the airport to leave their cars at home.
Finally, your room will be on the 'Club' floor which gives you free access to the Club room which has great views and free soft drinks. My tip is to take a few bottles along to your room as the staff have the tendency not to refill the stock until the Monday.
Not sure how the RB reception will be as I have not taken it but windows as far as I remember are only double glazed. Never tried the wi-fi. Have a great time. You'll love it.
Ian

RodBearden

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2010, 08:01:51 PM »
Many thanks for all this info, chaps - it's just the sort of thing I was looking for.

I've also been recommended The Pheasant as a good place to eat that's not too far.

Looking forward to it - haven't been to Heathrow for years (if you can't fly somewhere from Manchester or Blackpool, it's not worth flying to ;-)

Rod
Rod

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2010, 08:39:30 PM »
Hi Rod

I am so jealous!! Never knew this existed so have just been looking it up.  If I wasn't disabled I'd be going there too with me son Andrew-we are both plane daft  :) (or should I say plain daft). 

If we get a hint of anything unusual here in Orkney its mass panic and excitement.

Hope you enjoy your break.

Claire

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2010, 10:08:51 PM »
I've personally been many times in teh Renaissance hotel and in one word it is superb for spotters like us. Try to wake up before 6 AM not to miss the wide-body activity until 10 AM.

RodBearden

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2010, 12:21:00 AM »
You mean 6AM --- IN THE MORNING???  This is meant to be a holiday!

The wife will be well pleased!

OK - I'll try it the first morning and see how it goes. We got up at 5AM in Vegas to do our Grand Canyon flight/helicopter/helicopter/flight day last month, so I know it's possible. As you can tell by the timing of many of my posts on the forum, I'm a night owl and not a lark. There had better be a good breakfast to look forward to!

How we suffer for our hobby ;-(

Rod
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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2010, 11:43:38 AM »
LOL. Wife sleeps while you stay at the window looking at those B777/B/44/A380 landing. From 6 AM to 7 AM it's amazing.

RodBearden

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2010, 11:59:50 AM »
All right - you've sold it to me.

Wonder if I can move the bed to beside the window! If I can set a RadarBox alert to sound the alarm when aircraft are within 500 yards of me I might get the best of both worlds :-)

Rod
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EK01

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #8 on: September 07, 2010, 10:43:37 AM »
Rod,
If you are due to go soon, you will be able to take advantage of the early sunrise. The winter months are not the best time due to the dark mornings. Incidentally, the big stuff usually starts to arrive from 5.30am starting with the flights from Hong Kong.
Keep quiet so as not to disturb the wife and if she does start to become irritable, treat her to to a pampering session of steamroom, sauna and massage which is available in the hotel leisure club and usually gives you some peace from any moans for a couple of hours. Unfortunately there is no pool but there is a well equipped gym if she is that way inclined.

Ian
« Last Edit: September 07, 2010, 10:46:29 AM by EK01 »

RodBearden

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #9 on: September 07, 2010, 11:29:20 AM »
Thanks, Ian - very handy hints;-)

Rod
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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #10 on: September 07, 2010, 04:03:33 PM »
All right - you've sold it to me.

Wonder if I can move the bed to beside the window! If I can set a RadarBox alert to sound the alarm when aircraft are within 500 yards of me I might get the best of both worlds :-)

Rod

Rod

Couldn't you get your wife to nudge you every time something half decent crosses the threshold?

Obviously she would only have to do this from around 5:30 am until around your normal getting up time?

That way, your normal sleeping pattern wouldn't be too badly disrupted

Seems logical to me ;-)

Rich

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #11 on: September 14, 2010, 03:26:18 PM »
Well, been there, done that! For those who are interested, here's a detailed report.

What a great experience! Even the wife said WOW when we walked in and saw the stunning view over the airport. Many thanks to Ian, Terry and others who PM’ed me – your advice was spot-on.

I was lucky that the inner window opened easily, so photography, while it was still through one sheet of glass, was possible, and there was a nice wide sill for the standard RadarBox aerial and camera.



The hotel is right beside the touchdown point for runway 27R, so great landing shots are easy, and when it is being used for take-offs, most planes pose nicely beside you while they’re waiting.



On both sides of the room-width window, concrete pillars stick out a foot, reducing sideways visibility for human eyes and RadarBox aerials, but the aerial was happy being set up right next to the glass, so its angle of view was wider, and it could see what was coming before I could – perfect for warning of approaching interesting stuff. I was glad I had paid for the internet at the hotel (pretty expensive at £15 per computer per 24 hours – wired and wireless available) because the concrete pillars did cause significant drop-out of aircraft from, at a guess, about 10 to 3 miles from touchdown, but the live network filled in the gaps beautifully. There were also some gaps in the coverage where I could actually see aircraft, and I wondered if the radio signals were being reflected off the glass.

The one problem was that I got complacent, and often forgot that there are still some non-ADS-B aircraft, even at Heathrow, and that led to cussing and rushing for the camera when an interesting bizjet or cargo aircraft suddenly appeared without warning.

The RadarBox range was very impressive – see the polar which was just from 2 days’ use, through glass and in the south-facing window.



Most useful arrangement was to have the map with two views – one showing just the landing lineup, and one showing either a wider view for seeing what was taking off and on the way in, or showing detailed movements around the airport. The small size of the laptop screen wasn’t a problem, even though I’m used to by 22-incher at home. I just hid a few of the less relevant grid columns to make more room for the maps.



I tried applying an altitude filter to avoid clutter from overflights, but soon abandoned that when I realised that it also hid flights with no altitude showing – with status of N/A or Ground so ground aircraft at the airport disappeared too!

On the Saturday and Sunday mornings, 27R was used for takeoffs, but on Monday morning, it was used for landings, so I was up at 6AM and yes – it was worth it – a brilliant stream of heavy stuff, and I didn’t disturb the sleeping wife too badly!

The room itself was on the compact side, but crammed with all the facilities you would expect, including tea and coffee making, at least three power points, and a button to turn on the Do Not Disturb light outside.

The spotters’ package at the Renaissance includes a guaranteed runway view (we were on the third floor – I’m sure that would be preferable to the second), free English breakfast, free car parking, and entrance to the Club Lounge, also on the third floor, with free soft drinks, tea and coffee, two free internet PC’s, and the same stunning airport views. There’s also a £20 deal where you can get a day’s parking and access to the Club Lounge (but photography through two sheets of glass). Outside the hotel there’s a garden with picnic tables and a pretty good runway view, obstructed a bit by trees and the airport fencing. There is apparently a Sunday Spotters meeting there every week.



The hotel itself has the standard facilities including a gym and spar (no idea what they’re for), a shop, hairdresser and bureau de change, restaurant and a friendly bar that does good snacks. On the Sunday night we went to The Pheasant – a real “country” pub less than 15 minutes’ walk away. It does bar meals but we went to the restaurant – about the same price as the hotel restaurant, but a really different experience – well recommended.

Overall a brilliant weekend and I certainly want to do it again. And do take your RadarBox – it really adds to the experience.

Rod
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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #12 on: September 14, 2010, 03:40:16 PM »
Hi

That all sounds fantastic. Glad you enjoyed it so much. I'll keep fingers crossed we make it some day.

Claire

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #13 on: September 14, 2010, 04:08:34 PM »
Rod

Brilliant write up, was surprised at how the polar diagram looked given it was 'hotel glass' that was quite some distance you were reaching out to.

All the best

RodBearden

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Re: Renaissance, Heathrow
« Reply #14 on: September 14, 2010, 04:18:30 PM »
Yes - I was amazed that I got any coverage to the sides and especially to the north. I wonder if the metal Virgin hangar, and other metal airport buildings, were reflecting the signals towards me.

Rod
Rod