Honestly speaking, we are not big fans of airport hotels. Most are overpriced with small rooms which are usually well worn around the edges. Service is often lacking due to their ‘prime airport location’ attitude, where else are you going stay?
So will the Sofitel at London Gatwick’s North terminal be any different?
Arrival & Check-In
Getting to the hotel is easy with a direct pedestrian link to the North Terminal. We arrived by car using the meet and greet parking service. This was quite painless although we did have to wait 10 minutes for our car to be collected simply because everyone seemed to have arrived at the same time, 5 pm.
Check in was efficient and relatively friendly for UK standards and we were soon directed to the lifts, help was offered with the bags. Receptionists did direct everyone to the same set of lifts which were quite busy, later we found another set of lifts on the opposite side of the lobby which were much quieter.
The standard room was a decent size for an airport hotel. Our room was directly facing the airport and we had a clear view of the runway. Although 747’s were starting up oppoosite us we had no issue with the noise, it was surprisingly quiet.
The room decor won’t win any design awards but it was clean, simple and had the usual facilities. The beds were actually quite comfortable.
The bathroom was fine with the shower above the bath, plenty of towels and a decent supply of toiletries. Again, the design won’t set the world alight but the quality was pretty good.
The Bars & Restaurants
The hotel has 3 restaurants La Brasserie, Vanda Pan Asian and the Urban Café as well as two bars the Kua Bar and La Terrasse Bar.
We tried the Kua Bar in the lobby and the restaurant, Vanda.
The selection and quality of the drinks and food were good but as what often happens at these busy airport hotels, the service could have been much better. Where were the simple things like trained staff or a visible manager?
The bar service was very slow despite there being quite a lot of staff. Also, it makes sense that if someone is given a menu for drinks than in a couple of minutes they would be ready to order.
The food in the restaurant was good but again the service was lacking, in this case quite abrupt. The reaction when asking for a jug of water was as if we had asked for free champagne all night!
What was annoying was that these issues could be easily fixed. A number of places seem to spend a lot of money on the designs and fittings etc and ignore basic staff training.
Would We Stay There Again
Overall we would stay there again, the rooms were a decent size, the location was excellent and it was a relaxing way to start our holiday. However please improve the bar and restaurant staff, the next day we were flying to the US and it was staggering to see the different attitude to customer service.
What have been your experiences of airport hotels? Have you found a really one, please let us know?
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