“ Balcombe Road, Maidenbower, West Sussex RH10 7ZR Tel: +44 (0)1293 8866 66 Fax: 44 (0)1293 8866 80. 6 miles from London Gatwick Airport, this is a country house style hotel. Please visit the website (though it's not the official website!), for further „
I have used this hotel two years running following us being faced with extremely early flights which would result in us having to leave our house in the middle of the night which with a 4 year old is never a good idea.
I found the hotel on the internet when looking for a place to stay which also offered 15 days car parking. The price was very reasonable, under £100 for all of us plus parking and I found several reviews which gave good feedback. One of the real selling points for this hotel for us was the fact the shuttle transfer ran all night, many hotels they stop after 2am and you have to book taxis which is tricky when you have two kids, two buggies and 4 suitcases.
The hotel is extremely easy to find as it is just off a slip road from the motorway and the instructions provided on the hotels website were more than adequate. You actually drive past the back of the hotel when you come onto the slip road.
The hotel has a mediteranean feel to it and is pleasant to look at from the front. The exterior was clean and well maintained. On entering the hotel you are in a large lobby with marble effect flooring. It is clean and spacious. The reception is well run although often only had one person on at a time so this can cause queues if you happen to arrive at the same time as another family.
Once checked in you are handed a slip of paper to display in your car and directed to park around the back. The car park is a little chaotic as it is basically a gravelled area with no real parking bays and unfortunately some people can't seem to park in a straight line. Both times we managed to find a space easily and secured our car. The car park doesn't appear to have great security there was no guard or cameras that we could see. So we took the added precaution of fixing our steering lock.
The room we were given was a family room and consisted of two double beds. The rooms were clean and came with the usual tea and coffee facilities you would expect in any hotel. Clean towels and toilettries were also provided and the room had a TV with a few satellite channels.
The hotel at night is quite noisy as the nature of the hotel means many visitors are there to catch early flights so the corridors are full of people wheeling suitcases up and down. We didn't get the best night sleep but it was much better than being sat in a car for several hours and our daughters slept like a log.
On both occassions we ate at the bar and the food was fine. It was standard pub style food and was served quickly. The staff were all very friendly and they were very good with our children. The food and drinks were overpriced compared to our locals pubs but to be honest I would expect this from any hotel let alone one at an aiport.
The transfer to the airport was booked the night before and on arriving at reception the next morning the driver was there waiting for us. The transfer is in an old style bus which our children loved. There was ample seating and room for suitcases to be stored so they were out of the way of the aisles. Both times we had the same driver and both times he helped us to get our baggage on and off of the bus.
The transfer took about 15 minutes and he dropped off at both the south and north terminal. The driver was very friendly.
I would recommend this hotel. It was cheap and did exactly what you wanted it to. Provided you with a comfortable bed for the night and a transfer to the airport.
Faced with an early flight from Gatwick which would have meant a 3.30 am departure from our Northampton home I decided to look into hotels that also provided airport car parking and transfer services as overall this worked out a lot cheaper. We were looking at airport parking fees of about £60 for the duration of our holiday however a family room at the Europa Hotel including breakfast, free bus transfers and up to 15 nights parking came to £82 which seemed a great deal. The hotel is part of the Britannia chain of hotels.
We booked our stay through one of those hotel booking sites, can't exactly remember which one and all we needed at check in was the e-mail conformation. The hotel is located just off Junction 10a of the M23 and you can see the hotel from the motorway as you exit. The actual address is Balcombe Road, Crawley and in total it is about a fifteen minute drive to the airport.
The hotel has plenty of parking however it can be a bit of a maze trying to fid a space at times especially as we arrived late in the evening. I was a little concerned over the security of the parking especially as upon arrival you are asked to display a notice on your dash board stating when you return, this to me seems like placing an advert advising criminals how long they have to break in while you are away, it is intended to ensure your car does not get clamped but you would think that a less visible method could be used. In the end my fears were unfounded as my car was fine when I returned however unlike specialist airport parking which relies on high fences and CCTV here the only deterrent are the CCTV cameras and the human presence of people in and around the hotel. I certainly made sure nothing was visible and removed my radio control.
From the front the hotel has a Mediterranean feel to it and this is the look that the designers went for as it continues inside as well. Outside it is a low two storey design with tilled sloping roofs and a bell tower on top. Inside the reception area is spacious and inviting and tastefully decorated. The one down side to this design is the tiled floor which means that all of the wheeled luggage makes an awful racket when it is bought in, well certainly ours did which attracted glances from those sat in the bar area nearby. I artfully deflected these by glaring accusingly at the kids like they were responsible and then shrugged conspiratorially at those in the bar, works every time with the added bonus that the kids would not talk to me for the next five minutes.
Registration was efficient even if I did have to return to the car to display the burglar invitation on the dash. I booked our transfer time and also an alarm call for our earlier departure. I was advised that breakfast was served from five thirty in the morning and then we were off to our room.
The room itself was very spacious and well laid out. There were one double bed and bunk beds for the kids with plenty of free floor space. The room was also very clean with a large bathroom that was well stocked, a vanity table and plenty of storage space and a TV that actually responded to the remote control. The beds were very comfortable and the room was at the right temperature which is not something you can say about many hotels that either freeze or part boil you. One thing I especially liked about this hotel was how quiet it was at night, you would not know that you were right next to a motorway and major airport and the only noise I heard was from other guests going to their rooms and given we were up very early in the morning this was not an issue for us. Thankfully it was only the lobby and surrounding areas that were tiled floors, the rest of the corridors were carpeted however I did find the rather tight fire doors a bit awkward when wheeling cases.
We left too early for breakfast but I did have a quick mooch around and it was a buffet style and looked pretty good however we needed to leave at 5.45am for the airport so decided to eat there instead. In the evening there was a good selection of food and the prices were pretty reasonable, the food looked comparable to a Harvester in price and quality and the bar prices were not overly extortionate. I would uses that 90% of the guests are fellow travellers (the rest is conferencing and meetings) and there is Wifi throughout for business guests as plenty of laptops were evident in the bar with people working away.
There is a free airport shuttle transfer however it runs every forty five minutes and I would always recommend booking ahead when you arrive as you are not guaranteed a place otherwise as it can be over subscribed and it is a long wait for another. Certainly our early departure was crammed full; it takes 15 minutes to get to the south terminal and another 10 to reach the north. Pick up on the return is clearly marked. We were fortunate in that when we landed ad had navigated customs and baggage we only had a ten minute wait, I must admit if we had just missed one and faced with a 45 minute wait I would have opted for a taxi back to the hotel as it would not be too costly, no more that £15 I would guess.
My only real issue with the hotel is that the wake up call I had booked never happened which is not good given the whole purpose of the place is to give you a nice sleep and the knowledge that you will be at the airport on time, I had two of my own alarms set anyway so it did not cause me any inconvenience.
Overall it was a good stay and I would use them again if I had an early flight from Gatwick as by the time you take off the cost of airport parking it is worth the bit extra. There are a couple of concerns that the transfers are limited and the parking is not as secure as normal airport parking. You should also be aware that if the car parks are full you will be directed to another location to park. Oh and remember to pack your own alarm or use the one on your mobile phone.
For further details check out www.britanniahotels.com
Thanks for reading and rating my review.
My family and I recently stayed overnight at the Gatwick Europa hotel prior to flying off on our holiday. On arrival we had to queue for twenty minutes in order to check in, however being in holiday mode we were not bothered. In the evening we had a meal in the restaurant which, although very pricey, was quite good, and of course we were in holiday mode. The family room for four was quite adequate and clean, no problem there. We went to bed early, alarm set for 0230 and the transfer bus booked for 0330. At 0330 we boarded the bus with one other family and set off on the five minute ride to the airport. It was a white knuckle ride, overtaking on the inside at 90 mph. When we sailed right past the airport turnoff I naturally thought that the driver knew a better way. It was only when we were proceeding anticlockwise on the M25 and I heard the driver talking on his mobile phone (still doing 90 mph) and asking the hotel how to turn around on the motorway that I realised all was not well. We eventually managed to turn around after 40 miles and made it back to the airport just in time. When we arrived back from our holiday I reported the matter to the hotel assistant manager. I pointed out that it was hardly the start to our holiday that we had planned and that we would have been no worse off if we had driven to the airport directly from home. In fact we would have been much better off financially. She admitted that it was unacceptable, the boy who drove the bus was under age and she would be in touch regarding some compensation Six weeks down the line and we have heard nothing. I would not recommend this hotel to any holiday maker.