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emckeeve Sep 10th, 2007 06:48 AM

Gatwick hotel or London for one day
Arriving at Gatwick 8:05 AM on American Airlines from Dallas and leaving from Gatwick at 9:20 the next morning on British Airways for Barcelona. Wife hasn't been to London. Suggestions needed on how to see a bit of London. Get a hotel near Victoria Station? Store luggage at Gatwick for the night and take an overnight bag to London? Stay near Gatwick? I'm sure the latter would take up too much time unless luggage is stored at Gatwick anyway. How secure is luggage storage? Any help would be appreciated.

Robespierre Sep 10th, 2007 06:56 AM

That morning flight suggests that staying at the airport would be your best strategy. You <u>could</u> stay in London and make your way out at 7AM, but why bother? It will probably take about the same time to check in and out no matter where you sleep.

o Check into a hotel near the airport.
o Get a Southern Railway DaySave Group pass. Provides round-trip fare to LGW for &pound;10 each.
o Bop into London late morning, see some sights.
o Late train back to Gatwick.

DaySave is described here:

Dukey Sep 10th, 2007 07:27 AM

Take a look at the Arora International Hotel in nearby (to Gatwick) Crawley.

There is a special gate from the hotel grounds which opens onto the railway platform for an easy trip into London.

Robespierre Sep 10th, 2007 08:14 AM

Excellent idea. The trains between Crawley and Gatwick are twice hourly and the trip takes only 9 minutes.

Momof3sons Sep 10th, 2007 08:55 AM

I have to agree that you should spend the night at a Gatwick hotel. You can go to the hotel after your plane arrives and even if you can't get an early check in, you can store your luggage at the hotel then head into London.

One other option for hotels that I can recommend is the Gatwick Renaissance Hotel. Here is my review posted on tripadvisor:

&quot;Our party of six stayed at the Renaissance our last night before our return flight to the US. We were very pleased with the helpful employees at the front desk. The hotel was very clean and tastefully decorated. The rooms were large and very comfortable. It was nice to be able to control the air conditioning directly in our own room. The hotel is a five minute shuttle ride from the airport (the shuttle does cost 2.50 pounds for adults and 1.5 pounds for children). The only thing that I would say was a negative was that the cost of breakfast seemed quite high (we opted to get something to eat at the airport) although I've read reviews talking about how great the food is. All in all, we were very pleased and would definitely go back.&quot;

Overall, it has very good reviews.

alanRow Sep 10th, 2007 09:01 AM

&lt;&lt;&lt; o Get a Southern Railway DaySave Group pass. Provides round-trip fare to LGW for &pound;10 each. &gt;&gt;&gt;

Or get an Off-Peak Day Travelcard which includes travel on the Tube / buses

emckeeve Sep 10th, 2007 06:55 PM

Thanks to all for the useful information. Will study it carefully. Cheers.

Robespierre Sep 10th, 2007 08:52 PM

I'm trying to see how that Travelcard is priced. All I can find on the Fare Pal is the number for 6 Southern Zones. But on the zone chart, Gatwick is outside Zone 6.

Do you have a link to price information?

rkkwan Sep 10th, 2007 09:17 PM

My parents and I stayed at the Arora International at Crawley. Priceline 4*, $85 + fees. [I was almost embarrassed to see that at check-in, the rate was printed on the sheet - something like 45&pound;. ;) ]

Anyways, they have a shuttle to go to the airport, so we just rode that in the morning. From airport to hotel, we did take the train as we didn't care to wait for the shuttle.

WillTravel Sep 10th, 2007 10:15 PM

I'd favor getting a hotel right at Victoria station, taking the Southern train or the Gatwick Express to Victoria Station, dropping off your luggage, exploring the city, coming back and checking in and getting a shower, and then going out for the evening again.

The reason for a London hotel is that particularly since you are coming off a transatlantic flight, it's quite likely you'll want to go back to the hotel at least once before evening. If your hotel is by Gatwick Airport, that's not really possible.

emckeeve Sep 11th, 2007 03:31 AM

WillTravel - can you give me names of hotels near Victoria Station? Someone mentioned that the Thistle Victoria is attached to the station but I can't seem to get a reservation in May.

janisj Sep 11th, 2007 05:51 AM

I agree w/ WillTravel. If you are corked you may very well want/need to come back to the hotel just to freshen up or even to take a short nap. If you are at/near LGW you are stuck.

When you say you can't get a room in May at the Thistle - do you mean it is fully booked or that some booking engine won't allow you to book that far ahead or what?

But you really don't even have to stay right at Victoria. For a 0920 flight you'd want to be at the airport by 0615-0700, meaning leaving Victoria between 0545-0630. At that time of the morning there will be virtually no traffic so you can get a cab from any hotel in Victoria, South Kensington, Mayfair, Knightsbridge and only be a few minutes from the station.

Robespierre Sep 11th, 2007 06:13 AM

Keep in mind that making your trips into London and back to Gatwick on two different days will effectively double your transportation cost. If you do both the same day, you can get a Cheap Day Return, DaySave, or Travelcard. But if you go in one day and out the next morning, your best option is the more expensive Open Return.

If you think being in London just so you can take a nap* is worth having to get up a half-hour to an hour earlier to allow for the train trip - not to mention the extra money - then by all means go for it.

If your outbound flight were in the evening of the second day, I could see the point. But to stay in London and not get anything out of that second day doesn't appeal to me.

* Which most experienced travelers don't recommend anyway, because it interferes with your body acclimating to the time zone change.

doug_stallings Sep 11th, 2007 06:17 AM

I'm really cheap, so I'd probably book a room at the Yotel in Gatwick itself, take the train into London for the day, and then come back after dinner to get a good night's sleep. That way you don't have to transfer to an off-airport location and will be able to sleep a bit later.

janisj Sep 11th, 2007 06:22 AM

For cheap - I'd Priceline a hotel in the Westminster Zone. That would be cheaper than the Yotel at LGW. Sure, the website says &quot;From &pound;25&quot; but when I plugged in a Saturday night stay from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 a.m. it quotes &pound;82. That's nuts for that sort of accomodation. Yotel is really geared for folks who need a day room to sleep during a short layover. When staying overnight, they are more expensive than a regular hotel.

emckeeve Sep 11th, 2007 06:41 AM

Haven't heard of Yotel. Will investigate that too. I think the problem with staying at (near) Gatwick was the time it would take to drop off luggage and get back to the train. So if this Yotel is indeed in the airport, that would help, right?

doug_stallings Sep 11th, 2007 07:24 AM

I think the Yotel is still the best place to stay (rooms are really small, so keep that in mind). Look into the possibility of storing your luggage for the day and booking the Yotel just for, say, 9pm to 8am.

Robespierre Sep 11th, 2007 07:48 AM

If you stay in London, it will take time to drop off your luggage at a hotel, too. I think that's a wash - or so close it doesn't matter.

When you're spreadsheeting this exercise, be sure to account for the luggage storage fee if you can't leave your bags with the concierge. don't even quote prices on their web site, but I think you should brace yourself for something north of &pound;5 per <u>piece</u> per <u>day</u>.

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