Our flight from London Gatwick to Dubrovnik was scheduled to leave at 6.50am. That would mean waking the kids up up far too early in order to reach the airport and check in at 4.50am. I wasn’t looking forward to a pre-dawn start to our Easter trip to Croatia.
Hampton by Hilton London Gatwick Park and Fly package
So I was pleased to be invited to review Hampton by Hilton London Gatwick’s Park and Fly package. This would mean that we could drive to the airport the night before our flight, get the dull airport parking business out of the way and sleep for as long as possible before our cruelly early awakening.
Hampton by Hilton hotel
The Hampton by Hilton hotel is right next to Gatwick’s North Terminal – which is where our BA flight was leaving from. We arrived at the hotel at about 9.30pm the night before our flight – the Teen had been working an evening shift at her supermarket job or we would have got there earlier. It took us a couple of goes around the North Terminal’s one-way system but once we’d spotted the brown ‘Hampton by Hilton’ signs we found our way to the hotel car park and parked about 20 metres away from the hotel building. In the dark the hotel loomed above us and it was hard to tell if it was a hotel or not. We took the lift up to the hotel reception to check in and to collect a car park permit showing the date of our return. The reception area was bright, spacious and modern. The friendly receptionist told us to leave the permit on the dashboard. Our car was to stay exactly where we’d left it for the duration of our week-long trip.
The receptionist gave us some key cards for our room and explained that breakfast would be served from 5am the next morning. He also offered to prepare breakfast-to-go bags if we didn’t have time to stop for breakfast at the hotel. We decided that we’d prefer to sit and eat breakfast for a few minutes at 5am instead of taking a breakfast bag to eat on the move.
We took the lift up to the sixth floor and found our room – number 605, officially known as a Queen Corner Room With Sofa Bed. As its name suggests, the room had a queen bed and a sofa bed. It also had a large flat-screen TV, a desk, bedside cupboards, a wardrobe, tea and coffee making things and an en-suite bathroom with a walk-in shower. The room had windows on two sides and overlooked the airport but we couldn’t see much as we were only there in the dark. The room didn’t feel cramped, even though the four of us were sharing it. Just inside the room entrance there was an empty area where we left our luggage. We each had a large suitcase and a cabin bag ready for our trip to Croatia and we just needed to take out our overnight things.
The last time that we all shared a room there was much tedious discussion over who would sleep where. But this time the Teen was so desperate to go to sleep that she opened up the sofa bed, declared that she didn’t mind which member of the family she shared it with as long as it wasn’t her brother and was asleep before I’d found my toothbrush. I joined her a few minutes later. The sofa bed was comfortable if a little compact for the two of us but we’re quite small (I’m 5’2″ tall and my daughter will overtake me soon) and it was fine for one night. All of us were soon asleep.
After what felt like a few minutes the alarm sounded on my iPhone. Even though it was 4.30am I had a quick shower in a vain attempt to try to wake up. My husband made us both a coffee. Our son was awake instantly, chattering with excitement as he dressed. Meanwhile our daughter was very grumpy and tired and not at all in the mood for engaging with her 12 year-old sibling.
We and our luggage were downstairs for breakfast by 5am. I didn’t feel like eating anything but chose a chocolate muffin and some orange juice from the selection on offer. There was also fruit, cereal, toast, tea and coffee. The hotel offers a full breakfast buffet with hot food from 6am. We ate in silence apart from my son who was very awake. I was pretending that I was still in bed sleeping.
Getting to the airport
Breakfast over, we walked from the hotel through a corridor to the North Terminal. I counted my steps as I walked: from leaving the hotel to reaching the lift to the departures hall took just 115 steps.
On our return
When we arrived at Gatwick after a week in Croatia we walked back to the hotel reception from the terminal, collected our car keys and a car park ticket and were loading our luggage into our car a couple of minutes later.
The Hampton by Hilton London Gatwick is comfortable, practical and its location couldn’t be more convenient. Our room was perfect for what we needed for one night. It was great not having to worry about arriving at the airport on time for our flight and I love the fact that we barely had to wake up in order to get to the check-in desk. I also like the fact that we parked our car right next to the hotel rather than leaving it in a car park and catching a bus to the airport with all of our luggage.
Family travel lowdown
We reviewed Hampton by Hilton London Gatwick’s Park and Fly package. Park and Fly prices start from £149.00 for two adults and two children under the age of 18 sharing a room. The price includes parking for 8 days along with breakfast and wifi at the hotel.
Disclosure: We were guests of London Gatwick’s Hampton by Hilton hotel for the purposes of this review but all opinions are my own.