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Stay and Park
Sofitel London Gatwick (Crawley)
Member Name: helencb
Sofitel London Gatwick (Crawley)
Date: 02/01/07, updated on 02/01/07 (1028 review reads)
Advantages: Location to the Terminal, Beds, Ambience
Disadvantages: A little pricey
A flight from Gatwick - the only option for our recent holiday to Bermuda - meant we needed one night's accommodation near to the airport itself, to ensure we had no hold ups on the morning. As we would also need 12 nights parking I scoured the internet for inclusive stay and park deals.
This was not really ever going to be a cheap stay because of the parking element. The Sofitel was certainly not the cheapest option but it is attached to North Terminal via a bridge and I felt it was worth paying a little extra for a little bit of indulgence and for the convenience.
The actual rate quoted was £160.85 for the Classic room and up to fifteen nights parking. This however excluded the VAT, which is quite an unusual way for UK hotels to quote rates. The rate was room only and did not include breakfast, which was quoted as an additional £17.95 per person for a full English, an amount I could simply never justify paying, even if I was on a business and not leisure trip. We booked direct with the hotel website, which offers the best cancellation terms, compared to agent bookings.
The hotel is obviously easily located at the airport and there is a small carpark which can be used while checking in initially. Our rate included leaving the car at the NCP Long stay car park, which was another deciding factor, as this is preferable to leaving it in another off airport style car park.
The lobby of the hotel is extremely impressive. The building is an atrium style, so many rooms over look the lobby itself. There are a couple of bars, which are very contemporary, and the whole place has a modern elegant feel to it. There are several glass lifts to the upper floors, which looked impressive as they lit up at the different floors. Check in itself took a few minutes, as there was a small queue, although it was efficient with several staff on duty.
Up to the room, and this certainly did not disappoint, the beds were very inviting with their pure white very plump duvets. The furnishings felt modern and up to date as did the bathroom. The TV was of the modern style and provided cable channels as well as pay per view films, as you would expect in a hotel of this standard. The bathroom itself had an impressive collection of Roger and Gaullet toiletries, in 50ml tubes. I don't normally bother swiping hotel toiletries and indeed most of the time don't use them, but these felt a little more indulgent than the normal brands. Our standard room also had a mini-bar, although we did not use this. The hotel has 500 rooms in total, 340 of which are non-smoking, and two rooms are available for persons with reduced mobility.
Despite my initial plan to have a nice evening meal, when it actually came to it, I was too shattered as I had only flown in from Geneve the previous night. We therefore elected for room service, the menu being fairly extensive. The prices were reasonable, I felt. We both opted for a burger which was a high quality Aberdeen steak variety with lovely caramelised onions, and this was around £15 each by the time the tray and service charges had been added on. Once in the hotel we also learned that they did offer an a la carte style breakfast options, and it was possible to order just eggs or omelettes for example, for around £9. Room Service was delivered within a reasonable time frame, despite the fact that the hotel was bursting at the seams that night, and the food was hot.
The long stay car park is only a few minutes drive away, but then you need to get the bus back after parking the car, and so it is important to allow enough time for this.
Checking out was perhaps a little too efficient, as I was not given a copy of the bill for inspection, but simply given the total amount verbally. This was more than I expected because of the missing VAT element, and the total came to £222 including the accommodation, meal and parking elements. The parking alone would have cost about £70 booked directly so this meant the total for the room was around £120. Obviously this feels a little steep but even a lodge style room would probably have a rack rate of around £60 near the airport, and I felt the comfort of the sofitel beds, and the close proximity to the actual terminal justified paying a bit more.
The beds themselves are worth a mention. Sofitel has a concept called Mybed, which focuses on softness plus comfort plus support means sleeping like a baby. AS well as the mattress there is a feather bed duvet style layer that you sleep on. I have to say that the bed was lovely with a good temperature, and weight and beautiful softness. Sleeping in as many hotel beds as I have, I felt this was another great selling point and another reason why I was keen to use the hotel
Overall while I did not get to sample the restaurants itself and my stay in the hotel probably amounted to a little over 16 hours, I felt that the Sofitel offers comfort and more than adequate amenities for anyone requiring an airport hotel (although it offers much more including extensive conferencing) and I am glad we picked it. I would certainly stay here next time I fly from Gatwick.
(The BA Arrivals lounge for North Terminal is also situated within the hotel, on the same floor that we were on.)
Summary: A great airport stop which offers more indulgent accommodation
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