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A Flying Visit
Sofitel London Gatwick (Crawley)
Member Name: Cat19
Sofitel London Gatwick (Crawley)
Date: 21/06/08, updated on 13/06/09 (412 review reads)
Advantages: Connected to terminal, comfortable rooms, good service
Disadvantages: Expensive breakfast, queues at reception.
The main reason I chose the Sofitel was its highly convenient location, we were not planning to get to the airport until the evening, had to return our hire car and the last thing I felt I would want to do would be faff around with airport hotel buses. No need to do this with the Sofitel as it is connected to the North Terminal by a covered walkway.
We arrived at Gatwick at about 8pm, dropped off the hire car and crossed the road to enter the main (North) terminal. We have stayed at the Sofitel before, so we knew to take the escalator up one floor and from here it is clearly sign posted. It is a very short walk and a few minutes later we went through the glass doors to the hotel reception.
My first impression was of a very large, modern and elegant lobby area. My second feeling was dismay at the number of people waiting to be checked in ahead of us. I recalled that it was exactly the same on my last visit even though we arrived at about 11.30pm that time. I guess that's the thing with airport hotels though, people arriving around the clock.
There were about five or six staff at the desk, but some of them were working in twos so presumably were trainees. The desk to the far left is a dedicated check in for people who had booked "Executive" rooms, however I was grateful to find that they would take the next in line from the regular queue if they had no executives waiting. It did seem to take an unnaturally long time for some people ahead of us to check in. I had no idea what they could possibly be talking about; we just wanted to get our key and go. Overall the process probably took about ten minutes, which is not a silly amount of time but perhaps a bit longer than normal.
The hotel was very busy this particular day, but nevertheless the receptionist that checked us in was polite and unflustered and clearly used to working a busy reception desk. During the process she asked us did we want to have dinner in the hotel that night and recommended we book if we did because it was so busy. She told us the four restaurant options, we chose the Oriental Restaurant and she booked it for us there and then. She also asked if we wanted to pre-order breakfast which would be at a reduced price of £10.95 each if we booked there and then but would be £16.95 each if we waited until the following day. I thought even the £10.95 was somewhat extortionate for breakfast so we declined this offer.
We were allocated a room on the first floor and took the lift up. For security, the lift requires a room card in the slot but we found it a bit temperamental, the guy who checked in ahead of us was still trying to make it move when we arrived. Eventually we were moving.
Our room was a corner room and as we had chosen the cheapest rate available we were not surprised to find that it was pretty small but nor did we mind for an overnight airport stay. Like the public areas of the hotel, it was very tastefully decorated, modern and everything still looked brand new. Except for the TV, that stood out as being pretty old fashioned and it had a small screen. There was a minibar in the room but it was empty, you have to request for it to be stocked, we preferred to have an empty fridge so we had somewhere to put the soft drinks we had brought with us. The bathroom was an average size hotel bathroom, it was an attractive grey marble but most importantly the shower over bath was easy to operate and there were no water pressure or temperature problems.
As I mentioned earlier, we had booked a table in one of the restaurants, but as soon as we got to our room we changed our minds and decided to cancel and order room service instead. There was a good menu with both healthy and unhealthy options and on this occasion we decided to be unhealthy with hubby choosing the burger and me a pizza. I certainly deserved this treat after having just spent six hours mowing and tidying up the overgrown garden in our new house in the UK, I am not sure hubby was quite so deserving as he avoided all the hard work on account of his "grass allergy". We were told the food would take at least forty minutes as it was very busy and so we were very pleasantly surprised when it turned up in about twenty. We both thoroughly enjoyed our food and with a bottle of wine and service charges it came to £60.
We both had a good nights sleep, the bed was very comfortable and we did not hear a peep from the corridor or neighbouring rooms. Next morning we remained in our room until check out time of 11am. As the terminal is so close by, my husband wandered over to the Marks & Spencer's food store (handily situated at the end of the walkway more or less) and picked up a few things for breakfast that we had with the complementary tea and coffee in the room.
In anticipation of another queue at reception, we filled in the express check out card, which can be dropped in a wooden box on the way out. However when we got downstairs there was nobody queuing so my husband decided to settle up at the desk after all.
We had booked our room over the Sofitels own intranet site about a week earlier and the rate including taxes was £99. When we arrived we found it had been reduced to £85 including taxes, we didn't bother to find out why in case it was a mistake! Had we required parking this would have been roughly another £30 for 8 days or £60 for 15 days.
Overall, I was very satisfied with the Sofitel. It is stylish and very comfortable but for me the best part was the convenience of being able to walk to it from the terminal building and not have to bother with the buses. If you need to stay in an airport hotel, then I think this hotel provides a good start or pleasant ending to any trip
Summary: A good start or pleasant ending to any trip.
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