Arranging a hotel and parking at Gatwick airport – or indeed Heathrow, Luton or Stansted as well, I travel frequently from all of them – is always a major headache. This could be to do with the fact I usually leave it to the very last minute, pretty much just before I set off, or sometimes the night before if I’m particularly organised. Either way, it’s usually a case of panic-Googling until I find something that looks not too expensive or too cheap (you read horror stories of cars being dumped in a field or driven for miles while the owner is away) and then just going for it.
Organising airport parking
So when I was given the chance to try out Airport Parking and Hotels (APH) I thought this would be a chance for me to be organised for once. The concept is simple enough: you go online and put in the details of your trip, where you’re flying from, whether you want to include a hotel stay the night before and whether you’d like off-airport parking or a meet-and-greet service. APH has its own off-site car parks at Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham airports but also offer on-site parking and meet and greet services via third parties and has been going since 1980 so that seemed reassuring, plus the fact it won the ‘Best Airport Parking Company’ award at the British Travel Awards 2018 for a ninth year running.
The first time I’d used APH
Having tried everything from parking at Gatwick’s own official car parks to meet-and-greet at the airport itself, to other off-site airport parking services, this was the first time I used APH but the booking process and emailed instructions were very clear. As my flight was at stupid o’clock in the morning (check in at 5am) I was put up in a nearby hotel, the Crowne Plaza Felbridge – and I was given two booking codes – one for the hotel and one for the parking. Each code accessed detailed instructions online of how to get to each location and how much time to leave for each journey (APH recommends you get to the parking site 45 minutes before the earliest check in time) so I felt in safe hands.
Staying at the Crowne Plaza Felbridge
The hotel was far smarter than I’d expected, with a 116 bedrooms and even a indoor pool with sauna, steam room and jacuzzi. My room wasn’t vast but had everything I needed – TV, bath, kettle, iron etc – and my only complaint would be that it was up quite a lot of stairs and there wasn’t a lift – which meant hauling my luggage up and down to my room. As it was such an early start the next day there was just time for a quick swim and sandwich in my room (my stay was room only) before all too soon it was 4am and time to get up and out.
Getting to the APH car park
The APH car park was ten minutes along some winding Sussex lanes and next to the Wyevale garden centre which was a handy marker. There I parked my car, checked my car keys in – there was a lot of activity for that time in the morning but the short queue moved fast – and then hopped on the transfer bus which was handily waiting to take me and my fellow travellers the 12 or so minute journey to Gatwick.
Getting my car back after the holiday
After a very enjoyable week wine-tasting in Cyprus (article to follow later) the return journey was equally smooth. I’d been given a card with instructions on what to do when I landed, namely text my booking reference to a phone number and then follow signs for the off-airport buses. A short wait at the bus stop later and then the transfer bus arrived to take us back to the APH car park.
Overall the whole process was very smooth and there were no hiccups on the way. It’s definitely an option to consider, although people with children or lots of luggage might prefer an on-airport car park or even a meet and greet service where you just drop your car off at the terminal itself, cutting out the transfer buses. However there’s no denying that at around £100 for a hotel stay and a week’s worth of parking (prices vary depending on time of year) it’s very good value compared with parking-only options which are of a similar prices but without the night in the hotel beforehand. Whatever you decide – enjoy your holiday!
My hotel stay and car parking were courtesy of APH hotels. Airport Parking and Hotels (APH.com) offers a wide range of parking and hotel options at major airports in the UK. One week of parking at APH Gatwick with an overnight stay at Crowne Plaza Felbridge Gatwick costs from just £102 per room. Price is based on travel in June 2019. To book, visit www.aph.com or call 01342 859442.
Also travelling from London Gatwick? Here’s a link to some other hotels recommended by APH: https://www.aph.com/community/holidays/gatwick-guru-aph-gives-the-lowdown-on-gatwicks-best-airport-hotels-for-different-types-of-travellers/
Plus how about some ALadyofLeisure.com favourites? If you stay at one of these before your flight, it’s like having an extra holiday…
Just 9 minutes away from Gatwick…
20 minutes away from Gatwick…
31 minutes away from Gatwick…