The hotel is nearing the end of a refurbishment project which has seen work on its conference facilities, rooms and public areas, with the ground floor taking on Holiday Inn’s latest brand standards and Open Lobby concept.
Where is it?
Around a mile from Gatwick airport, just off the Longbridge Roundabout close to where the Travelodge Gatwick Airport Central is also located.
I arrived by train from London, and as I had little in the way of luggage, I decided to get off at Horley station (the stop before Gatwick rail station, but about the same distance from the hotel) and walk to the hotel.
A regular shuttle bus operates between the hotel and the airport 24 hours a day, every 15 minutes between 0500 and 0000, and every 30 minutes outside of these hours, costing £3 each way. Tickets can be bought from the hotel reception, or on board.
What's it like?
Works to the ground floor of the hotel have transformed the space, with the new Open Lobby consisting of a large reception desk directly to the left of the entrance, next to which is a display cabinet of essentials for sale including toothbrushes (£2) and toothpaste (£1.50).
Directly to the right of the entrance is the general manager’s office, which interestingly is glass-walled allowing guests to see whether anyone is inside (they were, talking to a colleague).
There were four reception staff on duty when I arrived at around 1730 on a midweek afternoon, and I was seen and checked in quickly. Bowls of free Granny Smith apples are available on the desks, and bottled water can also be purchased for £1.50.
Opposite the general manager’s office is a chilled grab and go display unit, with soft drinks and sandwiches starting from around £3.25, and past this is the main bar / cafe / lobby space, split into various sections.
There is a cafe bar with Starbucks coffee, a “Media Bar” consisting of a large communal desk with iMac, charging points and a printer, a “Media Lounge” with board games and a TV, and a separate dining area where tables can be reserved (guests can order from the same menu in both the cafe and more formal dining areas).
Decor is bright and light throughout, with splashes of orange, green, yellow and turquoise from furniture, cushions and quirky items displayed on wall shelves, including models of VW Campervans, vinyl records and even a large grass coloured hare (no idea why).
The refurbishment of the hotel’s rooms is nearing completion, with three floors finished and two more set to be completed by early next year.
Similar to the ground floor refurbishments, the rooms are bright, light and simply decorated, with splashes of yellow and turquoise from the bed cushions and armchair.
Beds have been replaced with Holiday Inn’s latest brand standards, and the previous open cupboard storage area by the door has been revamped with doors and a tea / coffee station (note there is no minibar in case you are looking to keep anything chilled).
Design features include a large round wall mirror, a couple of anglepoise lamps by the desk and sofa, and a few framed prints including one with the words “Hello sunshine!”
Below the flatscreen TV there was a long, thin shelf which I found useful for keeping my phone, keys, wallet on (and therefore keeping the main desk uncluttered), and I was impressed with the number of plugs and USB charging points – I counted a total of 16 positioned around the room. Free wifi is available throughout the hotel.
I asked to see an old room for comparison, and I can see why the refurbishment was needed – while functional, the older rooms are tired-looking and dark, compared to the light, airy feel of the refurbished ones.
Note that you can’t request a refurbished room online, so it’s worth phoning the hotel to request one in advance if they have any available, to avoid disappointment on arrival.
Also, there are a few rooms on the ground floor which have seen their bathrooms converted into smart new walk-in shower / wet rooms – again if you’d particularly like one of these rather than the standard shower-above-the-bathtub (the bathrooms in most rooms haven’t been refurbished in the recent works, other than to add new shower attachments) then again you’ll need to request this as they don’t appear as a separate category when booking.
Food and drink
Full English buffet breakfast is served between 0600 and 1000 daily – note that unlike some of the Gatwick properties, there is no early bird breakfast for those leaving on very early flights (mine was departing at 0540 so I missed breakfast on this occasion).
The all-day dining menu includes a wide range of dishes, from steaks, pasta, salads, fish and chips and pies, to pork belly, Singapore noodles, and chicken Kiev, as well as a number of small plates priced at £6.75, including baked camembert on toasted onion bread.
I had called down from the room to order room service at around 2000 – it took a long time to get through to anyone, but when I finally did the food arrived promptly and hot.
Note that children under 12 eat for free from the Kid’s menu, when an adult orders a main meal.
The hotel has a total of 11 function rooms which were refurbished around two years ago, and which can cater from between five and 220 guests. The largest area is the Concorde Suite which is divisible into three rooms, and the adjacent break out area has been more recently refurbished and features self-service coffee, drinks and snacks areas.
The refurbishment works have succeeded in bringing the property into the 21st century, with the Open Lobby and ground floor facilities feeling modern and well thought out, and rooms greatly improved.
- Best for Early morning flights from Gatwick, with the shuttle service running 24 hours
- Don’t miss The refurbished rooms – phone ahead to ask for one of these to avoid being given one of the older rooms
- Price From £108 for a standard double room in November
- Contact Holiday Inn London Gatwick Airport, Povey Cross Road, Gatwick, RH6 0BA; tel +44 (0)871 942 9030; higatwickairporthotel.co.uk