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There are around 20 mainstream hotels around Gatwick plus countless guest houses on offer. There are about ten relatively large chain hotels within 1km of the terminals, the rest either double up serving the local towns of Horley or Crawley or offer a ‘quiet retreat in the English countryside’.
Gatwick room rates are seasonal, as the main airport for the British flying away to the sun prices are much higher in the summer than in the winter months. Weekends are also cheaper than midweek for rooms. Guest houses tend to be more stable with their prices.
There are three hotels linked directly to each of the two passenger terminals and one hotel situated inside the South Terminal itself, called BLOC Hotel Gatwick, situated adjacent to the South Terminal Departures entrance. The Gatwick Hilton is linked to the South Terminal, the Sofitel Gatwick and the latest hotel at Gatwick Hampton by Hilton are both linked to the North Terminal. Until 2005 the Sofitel was called the Le Meridien. Linking the two terminals is a free monorail that runs every 2-3 minutes taking only about 3 minutes. The South Terminal is the original airport complex, the location of the train station used by most passengers to transfer into London.
The 4 star Hilton and Sofitel are the ultimate in convenience, attractive to businessmen on expense accounts. As a result room rates here are normally the most expensive available at Gatwick hotels. But with e the new 3 star Hampton by Hilton you can stay close the Gatwick at a more reasonable room rate.
The Premier Travel Inn Gatwick Central is the only budget hotel within walking distance of the Gatwick terminals. The Premier Travel Inn is about a 5 minute walk from the North Terminal, the route is luggage trolley friendly but not covered. There is also a transfer bus, (chargeable). The Premier Travel Inn is very well received by customers and is in many ways the benchmark for value of all Gatwick Hotels. The only other hotel in the passenger terminal complex is the Courtyard by Marriott hotel, opened in 2009.
Just to the north of the terminals, (less than 1km) are a cluster of 3 hotels. In descending order of cost/luxury, these are the Holiday Inn Mercure and the Airport Inn formerly the Best Western Moat House. The Mercure Hotel was previously the Renaissance Hotel, some facilities from when it was the Renaissance like the indoor swimming pool are not open now. All three hotels are on the edge of Horley, a small town. A 10 or 15 minute walk will bring you to shops, pubs and restaurants of this town. A petrol station between the hotels sells snacks, newspapers etc.
All three hotels are connected to the terminals via either the hotel shuttle bus service or their own transfer buses for which a fee is paid, (see transfers below).
South of the terminals are three budget hotels, Ibis, Travelodge and Premier Travel Inn South. Travelodge is the cheapest, sited on an industrial estate by the main runway. The Ibis is a modern block next door to the Premier Travel Inn which is in extensive grounds and has an olde worlde pub. The Ibis has its own minibus for transfers and the Travelodge has the Hoppa Bus running schedules, both for a charge. The Premier Travel Inn has no transfer facility, if you have no car use the Premier Travel Inn by the terminals instead. The Travelodge sometimes has rooms available for £29 only available direct on the Travelodge web site and only available more than 7 days in advance. For those used to Travelodge hotels, the Travelodge Gatwick is probably below average for the chain and there is no free parking.
In Crawley town centre, (the largest town in the vicinity of Gatwick) are two 4 star hotels, the Arora and Clarion. At off peak times, both of these hotels offer very competitive rates and have bus shuttles to the airport. There is a wide range of restaurants, shops and a large multiplex cinema in Crawley. These hotels offer an escape from the hotels restaurants and bars in the evening that most other Gatwick hotels don’t have. The Ramada Hotel also in Crawley has a shuttle bus to Gatwick, but is a 15 minute walk from the town centre, though close to a large Tesco supermarket.
The rest of the hotels are spread across a wide area.
Another noteworthy hotel if you are a golfer is the Copthorne Effingham Park, in the middle of the countryside with its own 9 hole golf course. It has a similar sister hotel just called the Copthorne.
If you are looking for family rooms, the Premier Travel Inn Gatwick and the Felbridge offer a benchmark for value in the mainstream hotels. Others with family rooms include the Holiday Inn, Arora, Sofitel, Hilton and Europa hotels. The local guest houses also are good for family rooms.
Day rooms are available at The Hilton, Sofitel, Premier Inn Central and often the Ibis.
In the South Terminal is the Yotel where you can rent 'cabins' by the hour.
There is a lot of Guest Houses in the Gatwick area. The Gatwick Guest House Association has over 30 guest houses listed, all inspected by the association. At off peak times Guest Houses are no cheaper than many Gatwick hotels but of course you get a good breakfast thrown in and hopefully more personal attention.
In the last year or so there has been a marked change in the transfers offered by the main hotels. Since Heathrow banned complementary hotel buses, replacing with chargeable Hoppa Buses, Gatwick hotels have gradually upgraded their buses and nearly all now charge for using this facility.
Unlike Heathrow there is a not a uniform bus service used by all hotels. Most hotels charge around £3 per transfer in a wide variety of vehicles and there is a marked difference between hotels in the times and frequency of operation – check your hotel for the operating time of the transfer bus if you have an early or late flight.
Most Guest Houses either offer complementary transfers or have an agreement with a local taxi company – again check times of operation of transfer facilities. A number of these Guest Houses are situated in Horley, notably along Massetts Road, which is linked directy to the North and South Terminals at Gatwick by bus no. 100, and also to South Terminal by bus no. 20. Buses on both routes run daily from early morning until late at night (since September 2016 the 100 has gone 24-hour) and the single fare is £2.30 (September 2016).
For more information about the 20 and 100 buses click here
Holiday Extras is a UK company that take allocations of rooms at all of the Gatwick hotels. All their prices have a best price guarantee and it’s a simple way of seeing all the prices for all of the hotels at Gatwick on one screen. They also often have deals, commonly free transfers or special discounts on meals.
You can of course go direct to each hotel chain.
Like many airports, room rates can often be a loss leader, the incidentals can often add up to more than the cost of the room. Most mainstream Gatwick hotels are relatively isolated; it’s quite an effort to escape the hotel restaurants and bars and for a couple you can pay around £10 for transfers. Breakfast can range from £5 to more than £15 depending on the hotel.
Note Gatwick hotels are generally more expensive in the summer months than the winter months and also tend to be more expensive midweek than at the weekend.
Most Gatwick hotels offer hotel and parking packages that are very good value. These are typically an overnight stay at the hotel plus 8 or 15 days parking. Some hotels offer the parking in their own grounds, others you drive to one of the dedicated airport car parks at Gatwick. The cheaper packages have the parking component at the hotel, but often this means that your car is in a car park not as secure as the dedicated car parks. Dedicated car parks also offer complimentary terminal transfers, most Gatwick hotels charge for the transfer.
If you are away for substantially more than 15 days it is often cheaper to book parking and hotels separately. Extra days made available tending to be at list prices rather than easly available discount prices.
Holiday Extras, APH, FHR and Superbreak are the main players in the hotel and car parking deals at Gatwick. Most of the hotels will also offer such deals direct on their own web sites. There are comparison websites that compare multiple websites for combined hotel and parking packages such as Bestairportparkingdeals and many other web sites offering hotel and car parking deals who are mostly afilliates or sub agents of Holiday Extras, APH, FHR or Superbreak.