This is our review of the Hilton London Gatwick Airport hotel, at the South Terminal.
With an early morning meeting in the diary to plan Virgin Atlantic’s sponsorship for our Christmas party, I ended up spending the night at Gatwick Airport. We decided to kill two birds with one stone and add another hotel to our collection of Heathrow and Gatwick airport hotels reviews – click here for the full list.
We booked the hotel using 30,000 Hilton Honors points from Rob’s account, since it was a last-minute booking where cash rates were higher than you’d usually expect.
The Hilton is the only full service hotel directly connected to the South Terminal, but getting to it is a bit of a challenge. You have to exit the terminal and cross the bus lane to the short stay car park, take the lift up one floor to floor 2 before turning right through a set of automatic doors. Then it’s a long walk through this soulless corridor:
The hotel itself is in a huge 1960s building. It’s wide rather than tall, with over 800 rooms on four floors. It was difficult getting a sense of the building as it has many different wings and zones. Here is the lobby atrium:
Trying to find your room can be a bit of a challenge given the confusing signage:
With a Diamond upgrade, I was given a room much larger than I needed. It had a King bed as well as two singles:
…. with two large wardrobes, a small table and four chairs and a desk, all of which seemed to be older than me:
Connectivity is a little lacking, as you’d expect for an older hotel. There is only a single plug socket beside the bed and to use this you had to unplug the bedside lights!
The room comes with an empty mini fridge, kettle and tea/coffee selection. If you are an Hilton Honors Diamond status holder they give you your two bottles of water at check-in, which you must carry up yourself. This would be annoying if you have lots of bags, which luckily I didn’t.
The décor is in fairly good shape despite having a slightly outdated design.
The room itself was very dark. This is constrained by the building itself – it only has very narrow windows. You can see the curtains next to the black panels in this courtyard view from my room:
The bathroom is clearly an older format, with a shower over the tub, but it was clean and newer than the furniture in the room. It came with Crabtree & Evelyn products:
The bed itself was comfortable. In most hotels I find myself overheating since the rooms are temperature controlled and the duvets heavier than they need to be. At the Hilton, however, the lighter duvet was perfect for me.
This is an airport hotel with many guests staying in order to catch very early flights. This wouldn’t have been a problem if the room had a bit more soundproofing. .… I ended up waking up at the same time as an Italian family next door. I was also woken a few times by doors slamming shut.
Breakfast is served on the ground floor in the Garden Restaurant. It is the usual selection of hot and cold food, though I did spot some smoked mackerel! No smoked salmon, however, unlike at the Crowne Plaza I stayed at recently.
The Executive lounge, open to those in Executive rooms and those with Hilton Diamond status, is mainly set up with tables and chairs alongside a few sofas.
The only newspapers they had were the i and the Irish Independent (!), which I thought was a little disappointing.
The lounge serves free continental breakfast in the mornings:
…… as well as complimentary drinks and canapes early evening. I didn’t see these as I arrived very late.
Though it won’t be winning any design awards in a hurry, the Hilton London Gatwick Airport does have the unique selling point of being the only hotel within walking distance of the South Terminal building, even if it is a maze to get to! That said, there are a number of walkable options at the North Terminal – primarily the new(ish) Hampton by Hilton which we reviewed here and which has free breakfast for everyone – and there is a free monorail linking the terminals.
The Hilton Gatwick building is very spread out, and thanks to its size it felt both a little soulless and difficult to navigate. With a little clearer signage, and potentially some room renumbering, they might be able to make it a little easier.
On the whole, it was a pleasant but not outstanding experience as you’d expect from your average airport hotel. Hilton Diamond members will find it better value as they will get free lounge access. Cash rates vary – they were around £149 when we booked but I can see midweek rooms as low as £71 in January.
The standard Hilton Honors redemption price is 30,000 points although it drops a little lower on dates where cash prices are also low. Given our standard value of a Hilton point of 0.33p, a redemption can be good value on nights where prices are £100+.
You can find out more about Hilton London Gatwick Airport on its website here.
How to earn Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards (May 2021)
There are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards. Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.
Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Hilton Honors Gold status for as long as they hold the card? It also comes with Marriott Bonvoy Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status. We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.
Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted in three Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.
You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly via American Express Gold, the American Express Rewards Credit Card and – for small business owners – American Express Business Gold and Business Platinum.
(Want to earn more hotel points? Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Offers’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)