For those who have read my reviews before you will know that I speak as I find and have no preconceptions other than I expect to get what I pay for and to pay for what I get.
Although this review is posted a good two weeks after we stayed at the Gatwick Cambridge Lodge Hotel I have started writing a draft of the finished copy on an “as it happens” basis.
On a dark Christmas day afternoon we arrived at the Hotel via satnav postcode info from the north and was delivered to the “destination” about 2 hundred yards from the entrance which is well positioned and well lit.
Unfortunately, the Hotel was in an area that had flooding issues and a water pump was engaged in pumping excess floodwater from the full car park so credit to them in trying to maintain normality especially on xmas day..
After finding a suitable parking space on dry land we negotiated our cases through a small crowd of social underclass, each coughing a lung up on 10 woodbines (no doubt a Christmas present to each other) whilst admiring each others’ shell suits at the immediate exterior of the entrance doors which made entry difficult and made our way across the marbled entrance floor.
The reception was busy but we were attended to reasonably quickly by a young female receptionist of whom seemed to be of eastern European origin and then noticed all the staff where of a foreign nationality that spoke broken but good English. One of the manageress’s came through with a plate of food and glass of drink which seemed less than professional but I suppose she was working xmas day and took advantage of the availability of left overs from an earlier party judging by her comment of "might as well grab it while I can" to a colleague
Our one night stay included 15 day airport parking (£89) and believed that we had to give up our car key. Not so. We had the option to keep it but was also advised that if the area was again flooded they would be able to move my vehicle if it was in danger. I agreed and gave them my key and thought that it was good advice to my benefit. (return to vehicle to issues to follow)
28. First floor, No lift and at the end of a half landing corridor blocked with an old armchair. Room was of an adequate size, basic but clean and quite cold as the radiators don’t seem to work or are inadequate (maybe part of the flood problems?)
The bathroom dated and basibally clean (Bath really stained) and the window had plain glass with a shredded net curtain so if you fancy taking a shower or getting a shave and a wash in full view of anyone wishing to stand outside and look up through the window then this is the room for you. Not Ideal.
There is a plain and clear warning on a poster above the TV. Food and/or Alcohol consumed within your room comes with a £50 fine…Be warned…If you didn’t feel like a naughty school kid before you arrived you will by the time you unpack your bag.
Went to the bar for a beer and glass of wine. £9.50 which is about average for this part of the country so no surprises there. Staff suitably attired and very polite. Noticed the hotel building is of good historic design but the décor was tired which was the nature of most areas in the hotel we saw.
Bottle of house wine about £17 (adequate quality but about £5 overpriced in my opinion), Steaks £17, Chicken dishes about £15. A decent choice of food and the menu masqueraded as high end food but fell short in our experience.
The main meals were advertised as being accompanied by "season veg" which was clever marketing given that it was Christmas day and my wife was served Salmon with Sprouts and Cauliflower Cheese!
I had Piri Piri Chicken that came with Sprouts and Cauliflower Cheese...And we noticed that the Steaks being served to other guest had accompanying portions of Sprouts and Cauliflower Cheese as did the Lemon Chicken, the Tornado Rossini, Beef Stroganoff and I dare say most of the main dishes of the evening taking advantage of the left over Christmas dinner event held in the function room earlier in the day.
Total damage for 2 bottles of house white, Salmon with toasted almonds, Sprouts and Cauliflower Cheese, Piri Piri Chicken, Sprouts and Cauliflower Cheese plus a single brandy and a single whisky…£70 including a £1.70 tip.
The food was served in good time was hot on pre heated plates which some hotels don’t bother to do so that is a plus. The waiter and waitress topped up our glasses when empty so they were attentive to the guests and the restaurant itself was clean and serviceable but a bit too “tinny” and "avant garde" for me bordering on pretentious.
Later this evening.
Back to our room at 10pm with the two nightcaps we were given permission to bring back to the room, and layed on the bed to watch the mini flat screen TV. The pillows were a special wafer thin variety and had to ring down for a couple more which duly arrived 10 minutes later.
Walls are also paper thin and wondered if this hotel was based on some sort of design theme from the “paper thin design and architectural workshop of Surrey” while we were subject to listening to other peoples kids playing up before bedtime and the TV programme of next doors room (over ours) which is always nice when beginning a 2 week holiday “to get away from it all”
(Update) Tried to plug in laptop charger into the twin socket next to the window to discover that one of the sockets is smashed and has metal sticking out of it. If this room is regularly serviced then such a “risk to life” hazard should surely been have reported to maintenance?
10:30 pm and noticed that the area is quiet outside and wish I could say the same for the room next door but this is probably due to the “paper thin design and architectural workshop of Surrey”again?
Interesting. We were told that continental breakfast is at 6 and cooked English is at 7. At 6:50 we wandered into the dining room to a selection of cereal & 2 fruit juices, tea & coffee.
A basket of toast turned up (no request asked for white or brown). We were then told at 7 the chef had just turned up but as we had an airport transfer booked for 7:30 we resigned ourselves to no hot food. At 15 minutes past 7, 2 cooked breakfasts turned up, once again without asking if we wanted one or not?..It was nice and hot on hot plates so no real complaints although the protocol is as far removed from any breakfast experience as I have ever had. Transfer to Gatwick all ok at £4 return each…At this point I’m in Vegas.
We returned on time at terminal S and made our way to bus pick up point number 9 as instructed on our leaflet we were given and telephoned the hotel for them to collect us. Sure enough, 10 minutes later the small mini bus turned up and we were quickly taken back to the hotel. The key was waiting for me at reception, no complications and my car had been moved to the back of the hotel. On inspection there was no damage and it started first time and so we set off home with no further issues.
Tips to management for a better Hotel.
Have designated smoking area away from entrance.
Do away with drinking and food ban in rooms...It's oppresive.
Prepare and serve meals with relevance to accompanying ingredients on the same plate… Sprouts and cauliflower cheese do not “accompany” well cooked Salmon and roasted almonds under any circumstance...Not even at Christmas.
Soundproof the walls.
Rooms need freshening up including frosted glass on bathroom windows…Plain glass is against building regs.
Have spare pillows / linen in rooms.
Fix electricution hazards.
This hotel is a sad case of nearly but not quite there. It has such potential and is only half a dozen basic steps away from being a really good, even classy establishment. Would I stay there again?...Probably not but would say that this hotel is a very affordable and economic way of starting your holiday abroad whilst having your vehicle taken care of. A 5 out of 10 for me. Cheap and very nearly cheerful.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Gatwick Cambridge Hotel is a Grade II listed characteristic hotel located near Gatwick Airport, built in 1858 by Grand Prince George, with many Victorian features beautifully restored. We offer bed and breakfast facilities with on-site Gatwick Airport parking at an excellent value. The hotel offers 24-hour transfers to and from Gatwick Airport at a cost of £3.00 per person each way. The hotel hosts the highly acclaimed Kemal Restaurant, which serves the finest Continental and Mediterranean cuisine at its best. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Gatwick Cambridge Horley
- Hotel Gatwick Cambridge
- Gatwick Cambridge Hotel Horley, Surrey