I dislike large chain hotels and generally avoid them like the plague. However, there are times when it’s the best option and for an overnight stay at Gatwick South, before an early morning flight, the “Hilton”:https://www3.hilton.com/en/hotels/united-kingdom/hilton-london-gatwick-airport-GATHITW/index.html?WT.srch=1&sitelink=1&sl=Gatwick_B&0&gclid=EAIaIQobChMIs9mhwuPn5wIVTLTtCh0cwgjCEAAYASABEgLWrfD_BwE&gclsrc=aw.ds was the cheapest option at £74.
On checking the details two hours prior to leaving home, I discovered we’d booked (and I use the collective as we’d both been sat at the PC), 16th February rather than the 3rd. A frantic telephone call followed and, although we were able to book a room at £81, we were unable to get a refund for the original prepaid, non-refundable, non-changeable initial booking.
It’s certainly a large hotel and on arrival late on a Sunday afternoon, a small queue waited to check in. However, several desks were open, the queue moved quickly, and we soon had our key to room 1127.
The room was much larger than we’d anticipated with a two-seater sofa and coffee table as well as all the regular amenities which were never used: TV, fridge, safe, iron and board, and tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom, with its walk-in shower, was similarly a good size, but again was largely unused as, with a wakeup call of 4am, we settled for a quick ‘lick and spit’.
On the same floor as reception and our room, was an open plan bar, ideal for a cider and catching up with the Sunday papers. Eating was slightly more problematic. The adjacent Amy’s, named after Hull-born Amy Johnson, had a relatively limited menu, and at £25 for a burger, was expensive. The Sports Bar on the ground floor had the football on, but probably had a less formal food offering than the next-door Garden Restaurant. So, having explored, and discounted all the alternatives, we returned to the bar for tapas. Having chosen three items: pitta with tapenade, tzatziki and taramasalata; halloumi fries with a chilli dip; and chicken satay with a peanut sauce, we received complimentary nachos and guacamole. All were priced at around £5 to £6 and, like our room, larger than anticipated. The service was good and a bottle of Sauvignon Blanc at £26, helped us to sleep when we hit the comfortable bed at 8pm.
The wakeup call was bang on time and, having dropped our key card off as we passed reception at 4.15am, we’d checked in for our flight, navigated security and were sat having coffee in Pret, 35 minutes later.
Whilst I still have an aversion to chain hotels, I was impressed with the Hilton although, having paid for two rooms, it turned out not to be the cheapest option. A little tip is, if you do have time the night before, check out your route from the hotel to check-in which will save time.