Our review of Hilton London Gatwick Airport, at the South Terminal

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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:

hilton london gatwick airport review

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:

hilton london gatwick airport review

Trying to find your room can be a bit of a challenge given the confusing signage:

hilton london gatwick airport review

With a Diamond upgrade, I was given a room much larger than I needed. It had a King bed as well as two singles:

hilton london gatwick airport review

and:


hilton london gatwick airport review

…. with two large wardrobes, a small table and four chairs and a desk, all of which seemed to be older than me:

hilton london gatwick airport review

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.

hilton london gatwick airport review

The décor is in fairly good shape despite having a slightly outdated design.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:

hilton london gatwick airport review

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:

hilton london gatwick airport review

and

hilton london gatwick airport review

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.

hilton london gatwick airport review

and

hilton london gatwick airport review

and

hilton london gatwick airport review

Executive Lounge

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.

hilton london gatwick airport review

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:

hilton london gatwick airport review

and

hilton london gatwick airport review

…… as well as complimentary drinks and canapes early evening.  I didn’t see these as I arrived very late.

Conclusion

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 via UK credit cards

As a reminder, there are various ways of earning Hilton Honors points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses!

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which earn Hilton Honors points.  That page is regularly updated with the latest special offers and will still be accurate even if you are reading this article months after publication.

(Want to earn more hotel points?  Click here to see our complete list of promotions from the major hotel chains or use the ‘Hotel Promos’ link in the menu bar at the top of the page.)

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Comments

  1. Just left this hotel last yesterday after a one night stay.

    I thought it was your typical dated airport hotel that doesn’t need investment as such because it serves its purpose to what it is. I know that sounds rather simplistic but we have countless others that are exactly the same and not just in the UK. They live on being convenient.

    Pleased I redeemed points instead of the £149 cash rate. Would never pay more than £80 for this hotel and that would be purely down to convenience.

  2. Our room earlier this year on a so called Diamond upgrade needed a serious update, they left the heating on so high we needed to use the air con all night to bring it back down to a comfortable temp. I believe there is a new section which may have more modern interiors but for all its bad points, its location is brilliant and breakfast was a pleasant experience.

  3. I stay here a lot. I prefer it to the Sofitel and the Premier Inn. I’ve always been upgraded both formerly as Diamond and now as gold. I was upgraded even when I stayed using Iberia Avios from the recent 90k bonanza. The bar is ok and IMHO it’s easier to get food than the Sofitel. The exec lounge is always full with the usual hordes massing around the free drink. It’s ok basically. Much cheaper if you book well in advance.

  4. Stayed last month and manager confirmed that renovations start early next year

  5. Phil Huff says:

    I’ve stayed here plenty of time and most of the currents are pretty reasonable. However, there’s a newer wing with more modern rooms that are far better than those in the main building, albeit a long walk away. If memory serves me correctly, they’re the rooms that start with a ‘7’, so 7324 would be the new wing, third floor, room 24.

    I switched to the Bloc Hotel within the airport recently. That was interesting, but perfectly reasonable for the two short overnight stops I had.

  6. I stay here a lot and have always had an upgrade due to diamond. Last week I arrived from Glasgow at 8am had a coffee at the Costa and at 9am asked about dropping my bag, she said as diamond I can check you in. I paid £69 public sector rate and by 9.30 I was in the exec lounge having breakfast. Went into London and came back at 6.30 for canopies and drinks. At 8am I was having breakfast again. I did well for £69 let me tell you that.

    • I’ve been looking at public sector rates, the only downside is that you have to pay up front, but I guess if you make a flexible booking you could check the public sector rate a few days before and change if available. Did you have to show any ID? I don’t tend to carry mine unless working so would need to remember it if so!

      • I’ve not been asked for my ID whenever I’ve stayed. In fact, at hotels with digital check in and digital key, there has been no need for me to visit the front desk – have just gone straight to the room and opened my door using my phone. Same with check out, just left the hotel and then received the invoice via email after 12pm.
        Have always taken my ID though just in case they ask.

    • Curiousy says:

      Jason, work or leisure?

  7. Stayed here before a recent trip to Florida – unfortunately I would be somewhat more harsh in my review: I thought it was an overpriced dump. My party had 3 rooms & had to change several times to find ones that didn’t smell of sewage. Sound proofing is definitely an issue as well, so the location is really the only thing going for it.

    • If you aren’t diamond then I absolutely urge you to avoid this hotel. There are better hotels on site. From south terminal you would actually walk less to use the Hampton or Accor Sofitel

  8. We stay every year for our pre-christmas visit to the UK and have found it great every time. Obviously we all know that any hotel has good and bad days so I may just be lucky, we are always upgraded (Gold) and get a room very similar to this. It can be a bit of a drag (sorry for the pun) with your bags to get there but is my preferred in Gatwick hotel, if I have more time I will stay at the Arora in Crawley as you have access to the town and if I was going to Virgin Atlantic I would stay at the Premier Inn opposite so I guess Rhys was luckily you needed a review.

    • You live abroad, yet you actively choose to stay here when visiting the UK pre-Xmas? Really?

      I genuinely find this odd. Surely you could find nicer and a lot more interesting places to stay…unless your delightful aunt lives nearby? 🙂

  9. Didn’t they say this hotel was going to be hugely improved when it was taken over by Arora recently?

  10. “the Hilton London Gatwick Airport does have the unique selling point of being the only hotel within walking distance of the South Terminal building”

    Bloc?

    • The block that’s physically inside the building you mean?

      Yes, it did strike me that was a strange oversight…

      Plus in all honesty we loved.bloc, with kids it’s a fantastic choice before a 5am start – soundproofed, dark, and bunk beds – what else ya want?

    • flyforfun says:

      Yes, I’ve stayed at the Hilton and the Bloc and my preference is for the Bloc. I don’t need a full hotel facilities for an over night stay. Price drives me so last time I was at the Hampton which wasn’t bad, but I was leaving from Sth terminal so had to go back.

      Booked the onsite Premier Inn for £35 for a night in Feb, half the cheapest other rate. Again will need to travel to the other terminal but don’t care!

  11. Traveltoomuch says:

    I stay here frequently (over 40 nights this year) I am diamond and always get upgraded to the new wing (close to exec lounge) but yes a decent walk from reception.

    Paul C’s shortcut was very useful but it was closed off months ago.

    Exec lounge staff are usually very good and are very helpful but evening food has been substantially reduced this year. Now, just soup and a bread roll plus 2 small sides (pakora, spring roll or chicken wings) and a small tub with a few sticks of carrot or cucumber. Not enough for a meal.

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