Review: Hilton London Gatwick

Filed Under: Hilton

I had a quick overnight in London, as my flight was arriving from Kigali and Brussels at around 5PM, and I had a 6AM flight the next morning to New York.

I decided to book the Hilton Gatwick, given that it’s connected to the terminal I’d be departing from the following morning, I’m a Hilton Honors Diamond member, and the rate was reasonable (under 100USD including VAT).

RwandAir uses the North Terminal at Gatwick, while the Hilton Gatwick is in the South Terminal. There’s a train connecting the two terminals, so I followed the signage in that direction.

Train between Gatwick terminals

Train between Gatwick terminals

Actually getting to the Hilton was more of an adventure than I had anticipated. It’s not actually difficult to find, but it involves a lot of corridors, moving sidewalks, elevators, and even going through the car park. At least that’s how I got there — maybe there’s a more direct way.

Walking towards Hilton Gatwick

Walking towards Hilton Gatwick

Walking through car park to Hilton Gatwick

Fortunately the signage is pretty self explanatory, so it wasn’t too tough to find.

Walkway to Hilton Gatwick

Entrance to Hilton Gatwick

The Hilton Gatwick has an atrium that spans a few floors, with the lobby bar and restaurant in the middle of it.

Hilton Gatwick lobby

Hilton Gatwick lobby

There was a queue at check-in when I arrived (the below picture was taken in the morning when I left), though I was helped within about five minutes. The lady checking me in was friendly, and confirmed that I had been upgraded to an executive room as a Diamond member.

Hilton Gatwick reception

I was assigned room 7441, located on the fourth floor (and not the seventh floor as you’d suspect based on the numbering). As it turned out, the seven referred to the fact that my room was in the new(er) wing.

The hallways are perfectly fine, though I can’t help but feel like they’re a bit drab. Purple was never my color.

Hilton Gatwick hallway

I usually don’t mind walking long distances, but it was a real haul from reception to the executive wing. Like, they should really give you a bottle of water, snack, compass, and map at check-in.

Hilton Gatwick hallway

I believe the executive wing is still fairly new, which is why it’s funny to me that it looks more modern, but still far from modern. I don’t think if they intentionally didn’t make it much nicer so they wouldn’t have to renovate the other wing anytime soon, or what.

Hilton Gatwick executive wing hallway

Eventually I made it to my room.

Hilton Gatwick executive room exterior

The room featured an entryway with a closet to the left and the bathroom to the right.

Hilton Gatwick executive room entryway

The room itself was quite nice — it had a comfortable bed, a chair with an ottoman in the corner, a dresser with a TV, and a desk with a chair in the other corner.

Hilton Gatwick executive room

Hilton Gatwick executive room

Hilton Gatwick executive room

Hilton Gatwick executive room desk

There was a small table by the window with two bottles of water, a kettle, and some instant coffee and tea.

Hilton Gatwick executive room kettle & bottled water

The bathroom was back near the entrance, and featured a tub, a walk-in shower, a sink, and a toilet.

Hilton Gatwick executive room bathroom

Hilton Gatwick executive room shower

Toiletries were from Crabtree & Evelyn, and were quite nice.

Hilton Gatwick executive room toiletries

The Wi-Fi in the room worked well, and as a Diamond member I received complimentary enhanced internet.

After dropping off everything in my room I decided to check out the executive lounge, also located on the fourth floor, but back in the main wing.

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge exterior

The Hilton Gatwick executive lounge is open daily from 6AM until 11PM, with breakfast being served from 6AM until 10:30AM, and drinks served from 6:30PM until 8:30PM. Then there are also refreshments throughout the day.

The lounge was in an “L” shape, with couches and chairs near the entrance, and then the buffet in the back corner of the lounge.

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge seating

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge 

I arrived in the lounge at around 6PM, so they didn’t quite have the evening happy hour yet.

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge buffet

Instead they still had the afternoon selection, which consisted of some small granola squares, packaged cookies, whole fruit, nuts, pretzels, chips, etc.

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge snacks

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge snacks

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge snacks

There was also a coffee machine, as well as soft drinks.

Hilton Gatwick executive lounge coffee machine

As you guys know, I always do what I can to photograph club lounge food spreads, but I’ve never seen anything quite like this. As you can see in the above pictures, the lounge was mostly empty when I arrived. Well, leading up to 6:30PM the lounge filled to the point that almost every seat was taken.

The second food came out people circled the buffet like hungry vultures. By the time I could get to the buffet they were out of food, and then when they brought refills the same exact thing happened.

So I was overwhelmed and just left. I was still hungry, though, so decided to check out the in-room dining menu, which read as follows:

There aren’t many things I’d expect to be good at an airport Hilton, though I figured the Indian option would be my best bet. So I ordered the chickpea, potato, and spinach curry, and it was actually excellent.

Hilton Gatwick room service dinner

After that I got a good night of sleep, and then left at around 3:30AM to head to the airport. Check-out was quick, and at this point I also walked past the Costa Coffee in the lobby, which was closed, but which is a feature I generally appreciate.

Hilton Gatwick Costa Coffee

The gym was also right by the entrance to the hotel, on the ground floor.

Hilton Gatwick gym exterior

The walk from there to the South Terminal was quick (maybe I just entered in an indirect way the night before?), and I was at Norwegian check-in in no time.

Entrance to Gatwick Airport terminal

Hilton Gatwick Airport bottom line

While by no means luxurious, the Hilton Gatwick did the job for a quick overnight, with an early morning departure from the South Terminal. My room was pretty nice and the rate was reasonable, and my room service order was good as well.

The executive lounge was pure chaos. I’m not sure if I was just unlucky, or if it’s just always that full.

Is there another Gatwick Airport hotel I should try the next time I’m passing through?

  1. There is a Hampton Inn by Hilton joined to the north terminal and I mean literally joined as opposed to Hilton south. The enterance is at the end of a row of checkin desks. Whilst no major benefits for diamond members (therefore I don’t use it much), it is quite new and clean. It’s certainly worth it for a short overnight stop.

  2. ” I also walked past the Costa Coffee in the lobby, which was closed, but which is a feature I generally appreciate.” Having an actual coffee machine in the room is a feature I actually appreciate. Really fail for a hilton to not have them

  3. I’ve stayed in 7441 (but more often 7447 and 7448) at the Hilton Gatwick probably at least a dozen times. Spent over 400 nights at that property over the years. Good memories!

  4. How long of a walk is it to get from the North Terminal to this hotel? Trying to decide if I should stay here and walk, the Courtyard and take the shuttle, or the Hampton before a departure from the North Terminal.

  5. Loving the trip so far Ben, thank you.
    The Sofitel Gatwick is excellent in my experience – their club level rooms have been renovated and the Prestige Suites in particular are very well done and often reasonably priced. In my experience the club lounge itself, though small, offers excellent service without the scrum, and the position opposite the North Terminal but by the monorail makes access to both terminals very convenient. Service levels are a step up for me compared to the Hilton, so I’d recommend it when your passing through next.

  6. Euro,

    Nobody walks between the two terminals. There is a shuttle train that takes just a few minutes. This means that you can stay at the hotels at either terminal regardless of which terminal your flight uses.

    This Hilton is a real PITA to walk to and from, as the article notes. At one point you are walking through a car park. Nasty.

    I prefer the Premier Inn at the North terminal, which is almost always cheaper than the others. Or Bloc hotel for an early morning flight from the South terminal, as it is just a few feet from security

  7. If that’s a premium “executive” room I don’t want to imagine what a regular, non-premium room is like in this hotel. I’m sorry, but the room, which admittedly is clean, looks like it was last decorated around 2002. The TV looks to be from about 2007 or 2008. The hallways — wow — maybe late 1990s? The bathroom, again very clean, looks like a hospital bathroom.

  8. The Hampton is the better HHonors property at Gatwick. No lounge or anything (it is a Hampton…) but just a better quality hotel than the old tired Hilton.

  9. Wasn’t this hotel where one seemingly regular hotel room was used by US Airways to allow business class passengers to shower after arriving on a US flight? I remember a long walk to the hotel and the name (Hilton) rings a bell.

  10. The Hilton Danube Waterfront in Vienna has a similar problem with their executive lounge. It’s always full. Often with screaming kids. It’s more like a crèche with a bar.

  11. It is a schlep and you took the correct route. Never seen it that quiet even at stupid o’clock in the morning. Reception is a bit meh but the lobby bar/restaurant staff organised a complex drinks and meal order for a group of 20 of us very well and the British buffet breakfast provided enough heart attack on a plate to last me to dinner time after I returned for a second night before heading home. Standard rooms aren’t much different, btw, and in the same time zone as reception.

    We Brits appreciate a kettle and tea, anon, and view US hotels’ coffee-only machines with the same disdain. When in Rome…

    Regrettable about the executive club buffet zoo. This, sadly, seems to be a UK/European trait. I attend a lot of trade shows and, if there’s free grub, you are likely to be killed in the stampede. Disgusted, I have several times given up and gone and paid for something else myself, away from the mob, served and eaten with some civility.

    Liking BA, fair review of an English hotel, eating a curry for dinner – we’ll Anglicize Lucky yet.

  12. There’s a M&S grocery with a pretty nice selection of prepared food to get food before the trek to the hotel and additional trek to the room. Just got drinks in the crowded lounge and brought them back to the room for a picnic.

  13. Rico

    Yep, my standard MO is to buy some sushi/sandwiches at M&S and a couple of bottles of wine. Cheaper than a cheese sandwich and a beer at the Hilton.

    The Wetherspoons pub/restaurant in the South Terminal is good too if you want something hot.

  14. Stayed here a few months ago and enjoyed it. Pretty decent, actually, for a rather inexpensive airport hotel.

  15. I stayed there when I was a college student beginning my semester abroad. How long ago? Well, I flew British Caledonian (and saved the British Caledonian luggage tags!).

    Good memories. The one obvious change: the room service menu is a LOT better than when I was there. 😉 Thanks for photographing it.

  16. Wow if that’s an exec room then you would be better off at travel lodge And as for a lounge with free food and beer , brits will always cause a stampede.

  17. The 1830 feeding of the vultures in the LGW Hilton exec lounge has been like that for many years & your description was spot on! It is possible to get quite a feed in there, maybe you need sharper elbows or to lose your spacial awareness – that seems to work well for many others.

    I’m surprised with your extensive travels you weren’t able to better appropriate food items 😉

    I’d agree with what you’ve said about this place. Decent enough for the purpose you used it. While not as close to the terminal as the Hampton at North terminal, the Hampton suffers dreadful noise from the baggage handlers which is why I actively avoid it now.

  18. While having an in-house coffee place is great in theory, I’m very much of the opinion Costa is the worst coffee chain in the U.K.

  19. The only other hotel where I’ve experienced that sort of stampede was the Hilton at LAX. And the food, when I finally got to it, was pretty awful to boot!

    As an American who likes a cup of tea, I really appreciate going to Europe where there’s a kettle in my room rather than a nasty coffee machine that hasn’t been cleaned in a million years that I’m expected to use to make tea. Who knows what’s growing in there. I can see if a kettle is clean and, also, clean it out…

  20. Yes spot on regarding the “feeding time at the zoo” in the lounge. Many is the time my partner and I have just gone to watch the frenzy! It’s mainly senior citizens with razor blades inserted in their elbows. That said the Hilton is my go-to at LGW. There’s not that much between it and the Sofitel in my view. I tried the Premier Inn once – never again. Oddly I quite like the bar at the Hilton and I don’t feel I’m being quite so ripped off with the F&B there as at the Sofitel which really leaves you a bit marooned in the North Terminal.

  21. the dinner seems underwhelming… the Naan bread is the usual packaged naan you get in TESCO…so much for Hilton

  22. Great breakfast at the Hilton Gatwick South, also found the lounge a great place to relax and enjoy a few drinks and nibbled in the afternoon. Not sure on the room, we were upgraded but it needed an update in our opionion, can’t beat the convenience of the location.

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