Background The Courtyard by Marriott offering has undergone a major revamp in recent years, bringing a much-needed contemporary feel to the brand. This Gatwick hotel opened in April, and is the first of the new-generation Courtyards to open in the UK, with properties currently under development in Belfast and Aberdeen, and around 50 new Courtyard hotels planned for Europe over the next five years.
What’s it like? The hotel occupies five floors, with an atrium allowing lots of light into the public areas. Most of the facilities are located on the ground floor around a central area comprising of the reception, the hotel bar, and the 24-hour Marketplace. This store replaces in-room minibars, and sells a range of snacks and travel accessories including cans of soft drinks (£0.70), mini tubes of Pringles (£1.25), packs of four disposable Gillette razors (£8) and torches (£9).
Where is it? On Buckingham Gate, around ten minutes’ walk to the east of Gatwick’s South Terminal (with access to the Gatwick Express and other train services). The hotel is not yet signposted but, thankfully, the adjacent Schlumberger House is, so head towards this and past the Hilton – you can’t miss the green exterior of the Courtyard. There are 150 parking spaces (charged at £15 for 24 hours or included within certain packages). Alternatively, an NCP bus operates between the hotel and the airport (£2.50 for adults, free for children).
Room facilities Rooms either face the front, the back, or inwards on to the atrium. If you’re after a light room, opt for one of the outward-looking ones as the atrium-facing bedrooms do not offer quite as much daylight. All rooms are double glazed to keep out aircraft noise, and features include flatscreen TVs with 16 free-to-view channels and pay-for movies, a workdesk with a comfortable chair, wifi internet access (charged at £4.95 per hour, £11.99 for 24 hours), tea and coffee-making facilities, a laptop safe, air conditioning and an iron/ironing board. I didn’t particularly miss the minibar, but it would have been good to at least have an empty fridge, as some hotel chains now provide.
Bathrooms have a combined bath and shower, except for 60 of the rooms in which there is a walk-in shower only. Junior suites are slightly larger than rooms in the lower categories, and feature extra amenities such as a sofa, a Philips Senseo coffee machine, and a bathrobe and slippers.
Restaurants and bars The hotel’s food and beverage offering goes by the name of Volare, and serves a buffet breakfast in the morning and Mediterranean cuisine in the evening. The adjacent bar is open 24 hours and serves food and drink in a more relaxed setting, with a flatscreen TV that was showing football when I visited.
Business and meeting facilities There is an open business centre in the lobby, with three computers and a couple of printers. Wifi internet access is available throughout the hotel, charged at the same rate as in the rooms. The hotel’s three meeting rooms are also located on the ground floor behind reception, with two of them capable of being joined together to create a space accommodating up to 70 delegates.
Leisure facilities There is a modest but modern gym on the first floor, accessed by keycard and open 24 hours a day.
Verdict A modern, well-equipped hotel, near to the airport.
How many rooms? There are 218, of which 107 are Kings, 78 are Double Doubles, 22 are Junior Suites and 11 are accessible rooms.
Room highlights Modern bathrooms, and comfortable workchair and desk.
Price Fully flexible online rates for a midweek stay in June started from £95, including breakfast.
Contact Courtyard by Marriott London Gatwick Airport, Buckingham Gate, West Sussex; tel +44 (0)1293 566 300; marriott.co.uk