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That was one expensive holiday!: Day 0 – Down to Gatwick

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by wickesy, Oct 21, 2008.

  1. wickesy
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    wickesy Earning my ears

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    Me: David – 36
    Dad: Ray - 61

    Wednesday 16 April 2008

    I was awake at 6:30 and by 8:00 I had decided it was time to get up. As we weren’t due to be picked up until 2:00 I had decided to leave my packing until today so having got up and dressed I did my packing and spent the next hour or so remembering little things that I had forgotten and adding them to the case.

    Once it got to 11:15 I logged on to the Virgin website and attempted online check in only to be told that I could not be checked in at this time and would have to check in normally at the airport. That was no big deal as we were doing twilight check in anyway but I kept trying and eventually managed to check in online at about 12:10. As everything was now done I settled down to watch some TV and wait for our cab to turn up at 2:00.

    At 1:10 Dad called up the stairs that he thought the cab was here and I replied that the driver would have to wait because I was not ready. Dad went out to speak to the driver who said that the traffic had not been as bad as he thought it would be and as he was early he was happy to wait until we were ready. This is the second year we have used airportscars.co.uk and I would definitely recommend them if you do not want to drive to the airport. They have always been punctual, their vehicles are spacious and clean and their drivers are smartly dressed and very courteous.

    By 1:33pm we were both ready, our luggage was loaded up and we were on our way to Gatwick. We made our way out through South London and Croydon and onto the A23. As we were heading down the Purley Way we got stopped at some traffic lights and a van pulled up beside us waiting to turn right. I happened to glance across only to see…one of our company vans!! Bearing in mind we were half an hour earlier than we should have been, we only have about four company vans and we were miles away from our factory, what are the chances of that happening as Harry Hill would say.

    The traffic Gods were smiling on us and we arrived at Gatwick South Terminal just under an hour after we had left home. If only we could guarantee making that sort of time at 8:00 on a Thursday morning we wouldn’t have needed the overnight stay! We made our way into the terminal and ended up being the second people at Twilight check-in, and that only because another family slipped in front of us as I was getting the paperwork out of my bag.

    Once we had relieved ourselves of our cases we made our way to the monorail for the short hop to the North Terminal and walked round to check in at the Sofitel. We were allocated room 113, which is an atrium facing room on the first floor. Something that had changed since we stayed at the Sofitel last year, and that I hadn’t read about on the forums is that you need your room key to operate the lift (to any floor) and you also have to insert your room key into a slot in the room to operate the lights and air conditioning. As soon as you take your key out of the slot the lights go out and the air conditioning stops, which is a great way of saving electricity.

    [​IMG]
    View from our window.
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    These two were taken last year but the layout was the same this year.

    By now it was about 3:10 so we went down to the bar in the hotel and had a pint of lager each to get our holiday started. After our drinks we went back to the South Terminal and into the Wetherspoons pub in Gatwick Village where we had another pint each, Dad had Beef and Ale Pie and I had a BBQ Chicken Melt with chips.

    Following our meal we had a quick wander around the South Terminal before going back to the room to fill out the waiver and Customs forms and I began typing up the trip report.

    After a short break we went back down to the bar and had a couple more drinks and while we were down there we discussed the pros and cons of buying into DVC before deciding that we would take the tour at some point during the fortnight with a view to possibly getting some points at the Contemporary Resort when it is officially announced.

    At around 9:30 we decided to call it a night and returned to the room where we relaxed for a while before going to bed ready for the big day tomorrow.

    Tomorrow: Day 1 - The Journey
    Last edited: Oct 22, 2008
  2. Taja
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    Taja Earning my ears

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    Is Softel the airport hotel with small rooms you can rent for a period of time if you have a layover? :unsure:

    I think I saw something about them on the Travel Channel recently. It would be great for a quick overnight to catch a morning flight or any time you just need a comfy bed and clean facilities!
  3. wickesy
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    wickesy Earning my ears

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    I don't know if they do rooms for short layovers (day rooms) but if you need a room for the night it is certainly one of the best hotels to stay in. It is one of only two hotels (the Hilton being the other) that is directly connected to the airport terminals meaning no need to worry about transfers to and from the airport.
  4. Dizneyblonde
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    Dizneyblonde Secret's Birthday Fairy!

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    We want to stay at the Sofitel next year if we can get it with coach travel from Plymouth at a good price.
  5. nannav
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    nannav Earning my ears

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    wow what a lovely hotel we flew from our local airport 20 mins away so didnt need hotel

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