A few weeks ago, needing to make a 6.30 am (ridiculous, I know) flight from London’s Gatwick airport, I booked a single room at the Yotel there. They are located inside the South Terminal, a short elevator ride below the shopping concourse. The AirTrain-style robotic rail link to the North Terminal departure area is only a one minute walk from the elevator. Staying here probably allowed me to get at least an extra hour of sleep compared to what I’d have gotten had I stayed in central London. Gatwick is at best a 30 minute trip, not counting hotel checkout and/or snagging a taxi. (I’m not sure when the Tube’s regular schedule starts but, at 4 am, not a question I’d want to have the wrong answer to).
Visit Yotel’s Gatwick website and look at images 3, 4 and 8 in the Image Gallery. This is what my little one-person cubbyhole looked like (except I didn’t have my laptop) and it was perfect for an overnight. The wet room with shower, toilet and sink was closed off from the rest of the room with a glass slider, which kept the space from feeling overly claustrophobic, though I can understand how people with this malady might not want to stay here or, at least, not stay in a single room. The only window is the one facing the corridor and it has a shade for privacy.
Yotel has round-the-clock room service and the prices were quite reasonable. I already had some food for the morning with me, else I’d have ordered something. And, even at 5am, airports will have at least a couple of places open for grabbing breakfast or a coffee.
The room felt like a sleeper cabin on a train, without the swaying or clickety-clack. With the bed so far off the floor (presumably plumbing and electrical works are below), it’s as though you’ve gotten lucky and drawn the top bunk bed. A flat-screen TV is mounted above the foot of the bed with a good variety of channels. I got to watch an episode of Denmark’s The Killing, with English subtitles. Different story line from the U.S. version, and interesting enough that I may look for this on Netflix.
There is a small shelf below the mirror, another one above the head of the bed where two halogen lights provide plenty of light for reading and the outer edge of the bed is wide enough for a cell phone or alarm clock. If you’re a restless sleeper, though, better to put your stuff on one of the other shelves. After all, the floor is a long way down!
I liked this accommodation so much that I’m seriously thinking of taking an earlier flight next time I fly to London. Most of the time, I fly from JFK at 11pm so I don’t wait so long to get into my London hotel room. (I’m at an age where a nap of a few hours after that numbingly long, red-eye trans-Atlantic flight is pretty much essential).
Now I know I can book a really nice crash pad (minimum booking is 4 hours) and not have to wait for my restorative 40 winks. The website can give details on room rates.
They also have a location at Heathrow and at Schiphol airport in Amsterdam, which could come in handy next time I want to visit Keukenhof.
You’ve gotta try it!