You don't expect an airport hotel to be glamorous, but that's the first word that comes to mind arriving at the Sofitel Gatwick. Blame it on the soaring atrium and impressive water feature which greet guests emerging from the tunnel which links this hotel (it looks like such an anonymous box from the outside), with the North Terminal.
London's airport Sofitels are an upmarket franchise. Owners Arora also have the even more impressive hotel at Heathrow T5, but the Gatwick property is older, and despite a 2005 refurbishment suffers from old age in some areas. Wi-fi has not yet reached the rooms, and it took 20 minutes, with outside help, to reconfigure my laptop to work with the ethernet connection - infuriating when what a guest wants most after a comfortable bed and decent bathroom is trouble-free internet access. The beds are very comfortable indeed, but bathrooms are oddly schizophrenic. L'Occitane toiletries shriek of luxury, but a moulded vanity unit looked cheap, and there was no bathrobe one might expect at hotel with an advertised £200 per night room rate.
But in reality, rooms are far cheaper, and a bargain if you want to park for a week after staying a night to catch an early flight - just £115 for the eight-day package. Breakfast is extra, but the buffet was good, even if coffee was not. Luckily, there is a good selection of in-room teas. A service worth writing home about is the arrivals lounge with showers, gym and relaxation area for anyone wanting to refresh before leaving Gatwick, at just £20.
RATES: from £75, R/O
TEL: 0129 356 7070