13th October 2015 at 21:07 #459189
Anonymous13th October 2015 at 21:07 #459190
I won the Seatplans review competition for March 2015 and my prize was a free night in a VIP room at the Bloc hotel at LGW’s south terminal plus a 2 course dinner at Giraffe. I know that some people here at BT use the LGW airport hotels so I thought I’d put my thoughts down here in case it’s of any use.
Having arrived at the South Terminal’s departures level, I looked around for the signs to the Bloc hotel, which were easy to find and follow. The Bloc’s reception is on the third floor and I found the staff to be very friendly as they gave me my electronic door card (which you need to access the different floors as well as your room) and a voucher for dinner at Giraffe. The door card comes in a luggage tag, which I found a bit unnecessary and gimmicky (although it’s easy enough to remove the card to put in your wallet).
My VIP room was a dual-aspect room on the seventh floor with a great view of the South Terminal’s apron and the monorail. The room was a good size with a king-size bed (that included a built-in TV). The décor was neutral and tasteful in shades of brown and grey with a tiled floor. The room included a wardrobe, armchair, Nespresso machine (with a decent choice of caffeine capsules) and hair dryer and guests are given 2 complementary 330ml bottles of water. Note though that there did not seem to be an in-room safe, which is something I’m always keen on.
The bathroom was a little on the small size and didn’t have a bath (so anyone who likes a long soak the night before a flight will be disappointed) but it did have a large walk-in rainfall shower complete with 2 more spray heads for those who like to be *really* clean and Zenology amenities. Bizarrely in addition to the bathroom sink, there’s a second separate sink within the room itself. I’m not entirely sure why the room has 2 sinks but it seemed to me to be unnecessary and a little silly, especially as the bathroom sink didn’t have a plughole or space for my own toiletries whereas the in-room sink did. Also irritating was the lack of places to hang towels in the bathroom – the designers having gone for hooks rather than rails, which I find to be very impractical as towels usually fall off them. Finally, although the bathroom was stylishly decorated with Armani Roca ceramic tiles, they’re not particularly practical for a hard water area like Gatwick as you could see limescale beginning to form on some of the tiles.
The air conditioning, lighting and curtains are all controlled via a touchscreen mounted on the wall, although there are also separate light switches throughout the room. I found the touchscreen very easy to use, although the screen was pretty sensitive and I had more fun making the curtains open and close than a person my age really should.
The TV is connected to Sky, which means it has a much better range of channels than you’d normally expect in a hotel – certainly it’s better than the Hilton and Sofitel, which were only offering Freeview channels the last time I stayed with them. However it did take me a little while to work out how to use the TV and actually connect up to the satellite stations. I don’t know if that’s a normal problem or if someone had fiddled with the controls prior to my stay, but it was making me very frustrated especially as there are no instructions and no in-room phone to contact reception to get someone to sort it.
I suspect that the biggest disappointment in the room for BT travellers will be the lack of any real desk facilities for those who want to do some work before their flight. The table provided is unusually high and served by a bar stool, which offered no back support and which I found too uncomfortable to use. There was also no power point near the desk, so you can’t plug your laptop in to work. This seemed especially silly to me given that the area where the second sink is could easily have been turned into a much more useful mini desk area. For all that though, I can’t say it was a problem for me personally because I’m mainly a leisure traveller so working is the last thing I want to do.
I used my dinner voucher at the Giraffe next to the hotel. Bloc has a special dinner menu deal with Giraffe, which is what you have to redeem the voucher against. That menu has less choice than the ‘normal’ Giraffe menu, although even a fussy eater like me found plenty I could eat and if you have your heart set on something from the main menu then you have to pay for it. I ended up going for a hamburger with chips (which was very good) and a baked cheesecake (which was creamy and smooth although I didn’t like the rhubarb compote).
Ultimately for me the rating of a hotel room depends on the quality of sleep and I certainly had a good night. The mattress was of a medium firmness and so too were the pillows. The external airport noise was no better or worse than any of the other LGW hotels and in any event, the flights stopped after about 11pm.
Previously I’ve used the Sofitel and Hilton for stays at LGW and I normally use room price as the determining factor. Notwithstanding my gripes and quibbles, having done a quick and dirty price search I think the Bloc is competitive with both other properties and the location is probably better – certainly I would give it serious consideration once BA move to the South Terminal because the location is excellent – especially if I can book it via hotels.com (which is where I’ve moved most of my business now because it’s loyalty scheme works better for me).
Hopefully the above is of some use to BT members. I’d like to thank Seatplans and Bloc for my prize, which I did enjoy.13th October 2015 at 22:12 #459191
Hi , great review and useful to hear a full account , I sometimes use a hotel at LGW to stay the night before an early flight , we usually stay at the Sofitel mainly because we use BA for flights , and would now probably use the Hilton when they move flights to there next year .
The Hilton is ok , mainly for convenience and we have previously been U/G to the exec rooms there which are very nice , but it does feel like you’ve walked halfway to Redhill !! I would certainly check the room rates at Bloc now , as its well located near the central search area , as it was formerly the offices and training rooms before conversion . Another well located hotel worth viewing is the Doubletree at the NT , I’ve not stayed in the rooms there , but the public areas seemed fine , and again very near the security entrance if you want a quick getaway !
The Giraffe restaurant is not too bad , had perfectly ok meals there , also the Beehive ( pub ) is ok for drinks and meals .14th October 2015 at 15:46 #459192
Great review, thank you.
Good timing for me as I need to book a hotel at LGW – I couldn’t resist a BA CW Sale trip to Malta!15th October 2015 at 06:41 #459193
As a Hotelier, I loved your review, really thorough!15th October 2015 at 20:29 #459194
Oh gosh – thank you to all. I was worried it was a bit nitpicky.
Andrew – I know what you mean about the Hilton – it does feel a bit like a marathon at times, especially when you’ve got a heavy suitcase with you. I like Giraffe as a restaurant – it’s consistent and fun and their deserts are good.
Speedbird – I was tempted by the BA fares but can’t justify it right now! Happy travels!
dutchyankee – well if you ever want a mystery shopper … 😉
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