October 13 2010
Airport hotels rarely blip on my radar. Too transient to be personal. But there are exceptions, of which the Sofitel London Gatwick is one. And there are particular reasons for commending it. Since the sale of GB Airways, the franchise partner which operated many flights to the Mediterranean for British Airways, services to these destinations are again being run by BA, many of them from Gatwick’s North Terminal. But they depart early, often very early, so that the aircraft can complete the return journey the same day.
Planning a long weekend in Sicily, the obvious choice was BA’s 8am departure to Catania. Rather than face an unspeakably early start from London, we took the Sofitel option. Good choice. For not only is this the sole hotel at Gatwick North Terminal, it is one of the best airport properties encountered in years of editorial travel. Perhaps that is not so surprising as the group, often underrated, adds finesse to the chain experience. As with the boutiquey Sofitel St James in Pall Mall, the staff here are friendly and well trained, the guestrooms crisply designed and comfortable. Downstairs La Brasserie is good, the Oriental Restaurant (second picture) even better.
As for the wake-up call, it sounded a lot more cheerful at 6.45am than my home alarm would have done when set for two hours earlier.
From £105, room only.