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Review: Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel, part of Marriott Bonvoy

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This is our review of the Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel, part of Marriott Bonvoy.

It is probably the last stop in our tour of Courtyard hotels at UK airports. We started this trip just before lockdown – I reviewed Courtyard Inverness Airport in March 2020 – and as the country opened up we’ve been to Courtyard Luton Airport (fairly new), Courtyard Glasgow Airport (old but refurbished), Courtyard London City Airport (brand new) and Courtyard London Heathrow Airport (brand new).

We haven’t made it to Courtyard Aberdeen Airport yet. There are six other Courtyard hotels in the UK which are not at airports, with Exeter Sandy Park opening in April 2022.

The Courtyard London Gatwick Airport website is here. HfP paid for its own stay.

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

The photo tells the story

One glance at the picture above tells you that this is not a brand new Courtyard hotel. It doesn’t even use the current Courtyard logo.

A plaque in reception says that it opened in 2009, but it feels older. I’m not sure if it was rebranded from something else at that point.

This means that, with the best will in the world, it is never going to match the standards of Courtyard Heathrow Airport, Courtyard London City Airport or Courtyard Inverness Airport. These are all brand new hotels with the latest interior design scheme and all impressed me.

To be honest, I’d say that Courtyard Gatwick Airport is the worst of the UK airport bunch. It’s certainly not a bad hotel, and I’d happily stay here again if the price was right, but it is utterly forgettable.

Getting to Courtyard London Gatwick Airport

Gatwick isn’t short of on-site hotels. Even if are flying from the South Terminal, the train makes the connection to the North Terminal very easy. I liked the modern Hampton by Hilton in the North Terminal when I stayed there (review here, but not from my stay) and there are other options too.

The easiest way to get to the Courtyard Gatwick is to walk. Take any lift in the South Terminal marked ‘buses’ or ‘car rental’ and you pop out at ground level. From the lifts it is a well signed:

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

….. and flat – but not sheltered, so be wary of rain – walk.

You will read various different estimates of how long it takes to walk. From the exit of the South Terminal lifts to walking into reception took me nine minutes with hand baggage. You can see green hulk of the hotel in the distance after three minutes.

If you don’t want to walk there is the NSL airport shuttle (route G2) which operates every 20 minutes from 04.03 to 23.43. It costs £3 per person with children under 16 being free.

Check in

…. started off slowly, with both desks empty and the back office, seen via an open door, also empty. It took 3-4 minutes for someone to appear, but as she appeared in the company of a small child I imagine there was a good reason for the absence.

I was checked in quickly and my Bonvoy status acknowledged.

I had used a Marriott Bonvoy Platinum Elite ‘Suite Night Award’ to upgrade in advance to a Junior Suite. This wasn’t a ‘waste’ of a suite upgrade because it was due to expire in June and my alternative uses for it were slim.

My room

The hotel is ‘P shaped’. My room was next to the lifts, on a corner where two corridors met, and I would occasionally get other guests chatting outside my door. Overall occupancy was low and I imagine it could be more annoying if the hotel was full.

It was a decent size, although of course it was a Junior Suite:

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

My iPhone makes the room look brighter than it was. The sole window was only about two feet wide, with a view over an empty two level car park.

From the other direction:

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

As you can see, you get the standard curved Courtyard desk plus, in total, two casual chairs, a desk chair and a two seat sofa.

Connectivity at the desk was decent with a USB, two UK plugs and one European socket. There were another four UK sockets and two USBs by the bed.

The bathroom certainly wasn’t suite-sized as you can see:

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

and

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

That said, as an older hotel it had a bath as well as a shower which may please some. Toiletries were the Nirvae brand which often crops up at a Courtyard.

My room contained a Nespresso machine, a bath robe and slippers, but these may have only been there because I had a suite. There was also the standard tea and coffee tray and two free bottles of water.

I spent around eight hours awake in the hotel, seven of which were in the room working, and it was perfectly acceptable.

Food and drink at the Courtyard Gatwick Airport hotel

Courtyard hotels are meant to have a mini market. These can be impressive, with a decent range of food and drink available. Not at Courtyard Gatwick. The ‘market’ is actually a couple of vending machines:

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

This is especially annoying as there is nothing else very close to the hotel. There is, apparently, a McDonald’s and a KFC if you continue walking but it seemed a trot and I’m never that desperate for a McChicken sandwich ….

The bar and restaurant occupies one long space to the front of the hotel. There is an equally large space to the other side of reception which appears to be used as a break-out space for various meeting rooms, and seems a bit wasted.

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

What you can’t see easily from the photograph is that this is also a very tall space, as well as a very long one, and it really struggles to get any atmosphere. On the positive side, unlike Courtyard London Heathrow, the owners haven’t stuck in huge TV screens showing the news on mute every 10 feet.

As a Titanium Elite member of Marriott Bonvoy I got a $10 food and beverage credit. Breakfast is not free at Courtyard hotels so if nothing else it would cover most – not all, I imagine – of a breakfast for one.

Courtyard Gatwick has decided to retain automated food and drink ordering. You scroll through food and drink options from a small tablet on your table, and your items are brought to you. When you’re done, you pay at the bar.

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

It was the standard Courtyard / Hampton / etc menu – pizza, burger, curry etc. I had a Thai green curry for £14, which was a far bigger portion size than the curry I had at Courtyard Heathrow for a similar price.

Having a very early flight to catch, I didn’t stay for breakfast and can’t give you any feedback – sorry.

Review Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel

Conclusion

The Courtyard London Gatwick hotel is a perfectly average hotel which does its job well. There is absolutely no special reason to stay here, but also no special reason to avoid it – apart from the faff of walking from the terminal or paying for the shuttle bus.

In my case, it worked out well given that I could:

  • burn a Suite Night Award and
  • get $10 of F&B credit via my elite status and, via the current Bonvoy promotion,
  • earn two elite night credits for a one night stay and
  • earn 1,000 bonus Bonvoy points

I paid £107 but this can move around considerably. What really matters is how it compares with the other hotels which are in, or walkable from, the airport.

You also take a look at Rhys’s 2018 review of the Hilton London Gatwick Airport in the South Terminal, Anika’s review of the windowless cabins of YOTEL Gatwick Airport, a reader review of the BLOC hotel inside the South Terminal and Anika’s 2016 review of the Hampton in the North Terminal, which I have also used and liked.

You can read our full series of London airport hotel reviews here.

The Courtyard London Gatwick Airport hotel website is here.


How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards

How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (May 2022)

There are various ways of earning Marriott Bonvoy points from UK credit cards.  Many cards also have generous sign-up bonuses.

The official Marriott Bonvoy American Express card comes with 20,000 points for signing up, 2 points for every £1 you spend and 15 elite night credits per year.

You can apply here.

American Express Marriott Bonvoy credit card

Marriott Bonvoy American Express

20,000 bonus points and 15 elite night credits Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points by converting American Express Membership Rewards points at the rate of 2:3.

Do you know that holders of The Platinum Card from American Express receive FREE Marriott Bonvoy Gold status for as long as they hold the card?  It also comes with Hilton Honors Gold, Radisson Rewards Gold and MeliaRewards Gold status.  We reviewed American Express Platinum in detail here and you can apply here.

The Platinum Card has doubled its sign-up bonus to 60,000 Membership Rewards points, which convert to 90,000 Marriott Bonvoy points, if you apply by 1st June 2022.

American Express Platinum card Amex

The Platinum Card from American Express

60,000 points (SPECIAL OFFER) and an unbeatable set of travel benefits – for a fee Read our full review

You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:

and for small business owners:

The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.

Click here to read our detailed summary of all UK credit cards which can be used to earn Marriott Bonvoy 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 (36)

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

  • Kevin says:

    Just double check if the suite night award can only be used for pay stay but not points stay as i am planning a holiday in June that might able to utilise it before expire.

    • Rob says:

      Reward stays are fine. Usual rules apply though – you need to have enough suite awards for your full stay length, only certain brands accept them, you’ll only know if its cleared five days before arrival.

      • Kevin says:

        Thx for the confirmation Rob. Will try to make use of the SNA with reward stay that going to be expired soon for the Sheraton hotel in Dubrovnik.

  • Nick says:

    Does anyone know if the travelodge near north terminal is walkable? Distance-wise it’s fine, just whether the roads are accessible. I normally stay in Redhill or Croydon if I have an early flight as it tends to be half the price of the airport but the travelodge appears to be a bargain for my next trip in May…

    • ChrisA says:

      I stayed there a few years ago – seem to remember that it was a bus journey.

    • Chrisasaurus says:

      Not safely walkable, no

    • SamG says:

      Word of warning- their windows do not open and the AC / airflow was useless , we had a very miserable night recently. A shame as otherwise it was perfectly serviceable

  • BJ says:

    Why so many Marriott reviews? Surely in light of the relative disinterest in Bonvoy indicated by the survey it is time to scale these back in favour of other things, primarily Nectar and other points/miles earning opportunities? If hotel reviews are to continue to feature heavily on HfP then it seems clear from readership perspective the focus should be on Hilton and IHG not Marriott.

    • Rob says:

      These Courtyard ones are filling in a gap caused by doing a lot of Hilton / IHG ones in the previous years. It was embarassing that we’d never actually reviewed an airport Courtyard.

      In a broader sense, we cover what we’re offered if we’re not spending our own money. Marriott is far more proactive.

      There is now going to be a spurt of Hyatt stuff, slightly oddly, because I was gifted Globalist status (oddly, not because of HfP) so I’m going to try it out and see what happens! These will all be cash stays.

      I also think that people are, on a trip by trip basis, brand agnostic. It doesn’t matter what status you have – if a competitior opens a great hotel next door then that’s where you’ll go.

      • BJ says:

        OK, fair enough. With all the hikes in redemption rates and dynamic pricing I suspect even the most ardent brand loyalists will become increasingly agnostic. We have seen IHG PB rubbished and then ended, Hilton now tamperring with guaranteed benefits such as breakfast. If they continue to remove these things that provide the perception of added value people will lose confidence in loyalty. I think if the 5for4 at Hilton and Marriott both went that would entirely reshape my own personal strategy.

      • Tariq says:

        Indeed. My first choice is whoever has the best points promo combined with rate. I do enough nights/stays per year to achieve Hilton Diamond and Marriott Platinum so naturally it’s a choice between them as the free breakfast makes the rate I have to book cheaper than competitors unless there is a special/specific reason to stay elsewhere.

      • Harry T says:

        @Rob how did you manage to get gifted Globalist status?

        • Rob says:

          Emyr was given a few for his top clients and, on my personal spend with him, I am one of them. Sending him £500k of reader business each year probably helped too 🙂

      • Will in SJC says:

        Looking forward to the Hyatt articles, Rob. Since moving to the States they have become my brand of choice- tried IHG for a while but the hit or miss standard of Kimptons put me off. The acquisitions over the last couple of years have helped add some non cookie cutter decent hotels.

        The only disappointing factor has been the limited number of Hyatts in the Uk…though that is v slowly changing.

      • chrism20 says:

        Looking forward to seeing some of the Hyatt ones particularly as there will soon be a few more properties here in the UK to consider.

        The Edinburgh Regency is slowly getting there.

  • Terry Gammon says:

    I stay at the Premier Inn north terminal. No walk at all as it is a the bottom of the escalator. Very handy good hotel with a descent bar & cafe.

  • Jeff77 says:

    Good and balanced review

  • Matt says:

    I stayed at this Courtyard in October 2020. I agree that it’s perfectly fine, but nothing special. It was spoilt for us by the air con not working – we had a room with no outside window, which made for a very hot night.

    We subsequently stayed at a Four Points, which was nicer, newer, had a pub attached and was an easy Uber away from the airport.

  • gordon says:

    Slightly off topic…. Problems and long queues at Heathrow again today.Issues with EPassport gates (Maybe to do with the previous IT failure) and lack of staff apparently. It’s more a case of worrying about if there’s going to be long waits at the airport rather than not being able to get to your destination because of covid now….

    • Jeff77 says:

      Those staff issues aren’t going to go away any time soon, given that it’s not particularly quick to recruit airport staff and many of those who used to do those jobs have got better paid jobs elsewhere.

      • Mike says:

        Isn’t EPassport Border Force’s job? They work for HMG and I don’t remember any redundancies.

        • Jeff77 says:

          The delays aren’t just due to e passport gates though

          • lumma says:

            The Egates arent fit for purpose, they don’t work properly with the newer passports with the flimsy photo page. My last passport (issued 2007 in Thailand) worked first time every time in the Egates. My newer passport, issued 2017, works only about 25% of the time and if it does it’s on the third go. Arrived at Gatwick a few weeks back and there must have been over 100 people in the “seek assistance” queue, with one person working.

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