Airport hotels, sometimes a necessary evil for passengers facing dawn departures, can be basic to the point of brutal (I hope never to be forced to revisit one in Verona which was a disgrace for a city whose tourism is rooted in romance).
But at the other end of the scale is a new breed luxurious enough to be a destination in themselves, and Sofitel hotel’s two London airport hotels fall into that category.
Sofitel hotel Gatwick may not be quite so sybaritic as its Heathrow T5 counterpart, which has an exotic tea lounge and two-rosette French restaurant with chef’s table, but it is exceedingly warm, welcoming and luxe from the minute you enter its warm and welcoming atrium lobby through a womb-like tunnel from the transit points of the North terminal.
Beds are supremely comfortable, functional bathrooms are lent a touch of class with magnifying make-up mirrors and covetable Hermes toiletries. While all rooms are well-furnished with extras like an armchair from which to enjoy the large-screen TV, and have a proper business desk with plentiful plug points and data port, some are superior and enjoy bathrobes, slippers, complimentary water and extra bandwidth which makes the free wi-fi even more worthwhile.
Three restaurants offer a choice of award-winning French cuisine, Asian specialties and “the flavours of Parisian street life” (whatever that means) at Le Cafe. There are also two bars and a fitness centre open 24/7.
While the rooms are a relative bargain at £98 rack rate, you can do even better by booking through the airport facilities firm Holiday Extras. They offer the room only from just £87.20 per night – and if you add eight days valet parking, the £131 total price represents truly outstanding value, a luxurious way to mitigate the discomforts of rising at dawn to catch
that early plane.
www.holidayextras.co.uk 0800 1313 777