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Review: Hilton London Gatwick Airport hotel, 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.

Hilton Gatwick South

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

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The décor is in fairly good shape despite having a slightly outdated design.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


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


hilton london gatwick airport review


Hilton Gatwick South breakfast

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


hilton london gatwick airport review

…… 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 read our full series of London airport hotel reviews here.

You can find out more about Hilton London Gatwick Airport on its website here.

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Hilton Honors points and status from UK credit cards (August 2022)

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.

EDIT: Until 25th October 2022, there is an exceptionally generous sign-up bonus on The Platinum Card. You will receive 60,000 Membership Rewards points – double the usual amount – and £200 to spend at Amex Travel. You need to spend £6,000 within six months to earn the bonus.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points, £200 travel credit and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

Did you know that the Virgin Atlantic credit cards are a great way of earning Hilton Honors points? Two Virgin Points can be converted into three Hilton Honors points. The Virgin Atlantic cards are the only Visa or Mastercard products in the UK which can indirectly earn Hilton Honors points. You can apply here.

You can also earn Hilton Honors points indirectly with:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Hilton points is 1:2.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Hilton Honors points

(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.)

Comments (80)

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

  • Scott says:

    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.

    • Bill says:

      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

  • Adam says:

    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.

    • Fred says:

      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? 🙂

  • Nigel says:

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

  • jc says:

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


    • Chris says:

      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!

  • 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.

  • Jovanna says:

    I much prefer the Hampton at the North Terminal. Reception can be a bit frosty but the rooms are so much nicer and often receive an upgrade to a corner room.

    • Peter K says:

      Found the bed in a corner Hampton room VERY hard. Got the extra duvet for the rollaway bed to use as a mattress topper and it was still a bit hard!

  • Rich says:

    As a Diamond member did they not offer you a side plate for your Pain Au Chocolat?

  • HelloGoodbye says:

    Is a diamond allowed to book a room for someone else and allow them to receive the benefits?

    The hotel must have been aware of your name, because they have no history of giving anything other than an executive room (or deluxe room) for diamond members.

This article is closed to new comments. Feel free to ask your question in the HfP forums.

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