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.
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:
….. 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.
…. 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.
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:
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:
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:
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
How to earn Marriott Bonvoy points and status from UK credit cards (June 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.
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.
You can also earn Marriott Bonvoy points indirectly:
- American Express Gold (30,000 bonus Amex points – SPECIAL OFFER TO 19TH JULY)
- American Express Rewards Credit Card (5,000 bonus Amex points)
and for small business owners:
- American Express Business Gold (20,000 bonus Amex points)
- American Express Business Platinum (40,000 bonus Amex points)
The conversion rate from American Express to Marriott Bonvoy points is 2:3.
(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.)