Stay the night: Hilton London Gatwick Airport

A contemporary makeover is turning this airport hotel into a desirable stopover, says Kate Simon

You might think that an airport hotel is just a convenient place to get your head down for an early-morning departure or a late-night arrival. After all, that is its main purpose. But the promise of a steady flow of airport users doesn't mean that the surrounding hotels can take too relaxed an approach.

Competition for the airport guest is intense, as illustrated by deals that roll up accommodation with everything from parking to free child meals. And there's pressure to keep the guest rooms and facilities up to scratch, too. Hence, the ongoing refurbishment of this 825-room on-airport hotel.

One of the latest improvements is the £800,000 makeover of the lobby, which now has more seating yet feels less cluttered than its rather dowdy predecessor, and the revamp of the adjacent bistro, Amy's. Bedrooms are also being spruced up on a rolling programme of refurbishment. Even the weariest traveller is likely to notice the difference.

The rooms

There are five types to choose from, the newest of which have been refreshed in contemporary style using a clean yet cosy palette of white and warm shades of brown and maroon with modish furnishings and luxurious throws and cushions. Two styles of good-value family rooms (one type is the same price as an ordinary double) provide a comfortable bed for the adults and a mixture of bunks or single beds for the kids, depending on whether you need to accommodate two or three children. (Cots and rollaway beds are also available.)

For extra comfort, the executive rooms and suites include access to a special lounge with computer terminals, and reading and TV areas, where free snacks and drinks are laid on through the day. All rooms have cable TV, with pay-per-view options and video games, high-speed internet access, and that all-important automatic telephone alarm clock service. Bathrooms are spotless, though facilities vary with the price of the room, from walk-in showers to extra spa baths.

The food and drink

The Garden Restaurant is the main dining room, offering à la carte choices and a large buffet of filling meals at breakfast, lunch and dinner, plus the advantage of free food for children if accompanied by an adult. I ate in the hotel's smarter bistro, Amy's, and enjoyed a steak from the à la carte menu that was sourced, cooked and presented to a high standard, far surpassing my previous experiences of airport hotel restaurants (about £35 per head for two courses without wine). There's a branch of Costa Coffee near the main reception with a small seating area – this is also the area where you can pick up Wi-Fi – and two bars, one at Amy's and Charlie Fry's Sports Bar. The room-service menu includes dishes for children designed by parents' favourite, Annabel Karmel.

The extras

Unfortunately for leisure guests – the majority of people who use this hotel – the swimming pool and sauna were ditched several years ago in favour of a conference centre. There is a small gym next to the main lobby, open 24 hours, and an equally petite gift shop. The helpful concierge desk can offer ideas for local sightseeing and trips into London if you've more time to while away.

The access

All areas of the hotel are wheelchair accessible. There are eight specially modified rooms, suitable for guests with disabilities and an induction loop has been fitted at reception. Pets weighing less than 75lb are admitted, two per guest room, at a £30 charge.

The bill

Rooms are available from £105 a night during October half-term. Park and Fly packages cost from £149 for an eight-day stay and £189 for 15 days.

The address

Hilton London Gatwick Airport, South Terminal, London Gatwick Airport, Crawley RH6 0LL (01293 518080; hilton.co.uk/Gatwick).

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
Buddy DeFranco
people
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
filmIdris Elba responds to James Bond rumours on Twitter
Arts and Entertainment
Lena Headey as Cersei Lannister in Game of Thrones
film
News
i100
Sport
Yaya Sanogo, Mats Hummels, Troy Deeney and Adnan Januzaj
footballMost Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Accounts Administrator

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £30,000 Uncapped

    £25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Investigo: Finance Analyst

    £240 - £275 per day: Investigo: Support the global business through in-depth a...

    Ashdown Group: Data Manager - £Market Rate

    Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Data Manager - MySQL, Shell Scripts, Java, VB Scrip...

    Day In a Page

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    A timely reminder of the bloody anniversary we all forgot

    Who remembers that this week we enter the 150th anniversary year of the end of the American Civil War, asks Robert Fisk
    Downfall of Dustin 'Screech' Diamond, the 'Saved By The Bell' star charged with bar stabbing

    Scarred by the bell

    The downfall of the TV star charged with bar stabbing
    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Why 2014 was a year of technological let-downs

    Security breaches and overhyped start-ups dominated a year in which very little changed (save the size of your phone)
    Cuba's golf revolution: But will the revolutionary nation take 'bourgeois' game to its heart?

    Will revolutionary Cuba take 'bourgeois' golf to its heart?

    Fidel Castro ridiculed the game – but now investment in leisure resort projects is welcome
    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Ed Richards: Parting view of Ofcom chief. . . we hate jokes on the disabled

    Bad language once got TV viewers irate, inciting calls to broadcasting switchboards. But now there is a worse offender, says retiring head of the media watchdog
    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones