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The décor is in fairly good shape despite having a slightly outdated design.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

  • Phatbear says:

    One of my colleagues spent the week in the hilton gatwick south this week and reported back to me as im supposed to be staying there for 11weeks on the bounce from mid jan next year and his feedback has now got me considering staying at the sofitel and using the transport to get to work in the south terminal.

    Alas my work place wont spring for anything other than a basic room.

    • Lady London says:

      Although it kind of goes against the grain for HfP points readers as there is no loyalty scheme that I’m aware of for it, lots of people I’ve met who stayed at Gatwick have recommended the Premier Inn and said booking ahead rates are fine.

      • Phatbear says:

        Given the 55 nights im going to be away from home i have to offset it a tad getting something out of it ie hilton honors points or club accor points if i change to the sofitel. Thanks for the heads up though!

        • Leo says:

          Honestly it’s not that brilliant of a Sofitel – I don’t think there’s a great deal of difference between the Hilton and Sofitel – and I don’t think it’s worth the extra schlep. The Premier Inn – it’s very busy and the lifts will drive you mad if you are there for any length of time! But as a one off it’s not a bad option.

        • Chris says:

          There is no comparison. The Sofitel is a league above the Hilton, and I like the Hilton plenty

          The Sofitel lounge is hilariously tiny – really no bigger than my suite last time I stayed – but the dining options and quality of food and bev, the gym, the proper car park if needed, the proper walkway…

          And that Atrium…

      • Rob says:

        I was booked in there too (thought I’d put Rhys in one hotel and me in the other to get 2 reviews) but in the end I decided to let him go alone. Looked perfectly ok.

  • Dale says:

    I’ve stayed at Hilton Gatwick, it’s usually very reasonably priced, mostly cheaper than the Hampton so with Diamond benefits it’s a no brainer for the odd overnight. Also always get upgraded to the newer wing.
    For a late flight into Gatwick it’s ideal to get the GE into Victoria in the morning and you can leave your luggage at the concierge.

  • sunguy says:

    I *HATE* what they did at Gatwick, you used to be able to walk through the carpark – negating the idiotic stupid foolish pathetic (add any negative verb here) lift down to walk up in the corridor.

    There was a door from the carpark which connected directly to the far end of that souless corridor – it just meant walking though the car park.

    However, it would seem the idiotic management at Gatwick (supposedly – according to the hotel) saw this as far, far too sensible, and despite the doors still being there – they are now boarded up!!!

    This has been for years, an easy way to/from the hotel – no issues as far as Im aware….but thanks to GIP…they want you to take the lift down just to walk up a slope…

    I wonder when they will start trying to sell you items on that walk – adding in stuff that will make GIP more money ?

    • Rich says:

      Was told that when the South Termonal was refreshed and super premium parking introduced, they didn’t want humble passengers bashing their luggage into the fancy cars, hence the lift….

  • Doug says:

    I have stayed here often. Like others have mentioned, Honors members are usually upgraded to the new wing, which is light, cleaner, though also colder and further from reception. I have also found the wifi to be very ‘iffy’ here.
    The hotel does seem reluctant at times to recognise diamond members but I do suspect this is because it is a very busy hotel and upgrades may not be readily available.
    As for the restaurant, I have found it to serve one of the best breakfasts I have had in a Hilton and the service is nearly always prompt and friendly. Wifi is usually an issue in the garden restaurant, though.
    Did you spot the Gym by any chance? This is something I look for in a hotel and, in this hotel, it is just a small room by the rear entrance.

  • Richard says:

    Terrible hotel. Lounge like a zoo and found at least 20 moths in our just before going to sleep!

  • Mark says:

    The terminal transit train clearly has two rails- It is NOT a monorail!

    • Shoestring says:

      nope, it’s single rail – 2 single rail tracks, side by side so that they don’t ever crash, one up & one down, then reverse direction

  • David says:

    I stayed there2 and my view is about the same as yours.
    Hilton should be more clear that although it is connected to the airport given the long long hike to get to it and having to exsit and the re enter the airport its defiantly Not convenient there are other hotels although not strictly conected are more easy to access

    • Chris says:

      This is a fair point. The crappy Courtyard is only slightly further a walk than the Hilton, and for sure a shorter stroll once you’re checked and looking for your room!

  • Mark says:

    The exec lounge can be terribly overcrowded and to be honest, it was a little like being the single bloke at a ‘big fat gypsy wedding’ reception the day I was there last week… couldn’t find a seat among the crowd of people in there (a number of people had their feet on seats, others had their feet on the low tables opposite the food/drink area) and staff were trying desperately to catch up with the number of bottles of wine and vodka people were getting through. I was rather taken aback… Grabbed some chicken wings and a glass of wine and headed back to my room. Ho hum… Breakfast was better (quieter) and well managed by the staff.

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