Review: The Hilton Gatwick Airport

If you’re short on time, let’s cut to the chase: this is a terrible, terrible hotel. Even among shabby airport hotels, this takes some beating.

@TheFrankFlyer and I stayed there last night, as our flight to Palma de Mallorca departed at a very unreasonable 0825 this morning. This was far too early for a schlep down from London, so we opted to head down after rush-hour and spend the night.

All in all, it was a pretty terrible experience.

My list of complaints about this hotel is pretty long, but don’t get me wrong: I wasn’t expecting luxury. I was expecting a comfortable bed for a good night’s sleep and a quick walk to check-in this morning. Nothing more, nothing less.

What we got was:

  • An insane queue to check-in, with the check-in staff engaging in long and rambling conversations with guests while many others had to wait in line.
  • Filthy carpets throughout the hotel, with enormous stains and rips, not to mention very worn areas.
  • A room that had been barely cleaned since the last occupant left. This meant we had used tissues lying on the floor, dust bunnies hanging from the ceiling fixtures and more dust on pretty much every surface.
  • The bed linen stank. Not of cleaning products or even fragrance, but that horrible stale smell when fabrics havn’t been washed in ages. The pillows in particular were rank.
  • An incredibly uncomfortable bed.
  • A single sachet of coffee included in the drinks amenities.

All this made for a very disrupted night and not a lot of sleep. I’m afraid I don’t have any photos of the experience. I was so taken aback at just how grotty the whole place was, I didn’t think to reach for my phone.

The airport hotel experience

When you stay at an airport hotel, you’re either arriving very late or setting up for a very early departure. It’s about access to a shower and a bed and maybe some food if you need it. Most travellers don’t stay in an airport hotel for very long, so it’s all about the quick turnaround and the basics.

The Hilton Gatwick isn’t deserving of the name – not even a Hampton Inn. It needs to be completely refurbished and either rebranded to better suit its amenities or upgraded to better match the Hilton reputation.

As a Hilton Gold Card holder, I know my Hiltons. This was, in comparison to every single one of them I’ve stayed at, by far the poorest in every sense.

Giving some feedback

On checking out this morning, both @TheFrankFlyer and I explained just how terrible our experience was and I have to say the checkout agent was a little taken back. After explaining we were Hilton Gold card holders he offered us a 50% discount on the room, which I think was a very fair response. However, I wonder if we’d have had the same response if we weren’t frequent Hilton guests.

And I wonder if they have any plans at all for upgrading the hotel and bringing it into the 21st Century. I won’t be staying where again until they do.

Next time, I’ll be staying at the Yotel again, which definitely lives up to all its promises.

  1. One to avoid, then! That said, airport hotels often fall into the tatty/crowded/noisy category, though nothing excuses dirty rooms and foul bed linen.

    Liked by 1 person

    Reply

    1. They sadly do. But from my perspective, this was bad even for an airport hotel. And there are options at Gatwick, so they should really get their act together.

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