Have you heard of Bloc Hotels? If you happen to spend a lot of time in Gatwick airport (or in fact, Birmingham’s Jewellery Quarter), chances are you’ve heard about the Bloc hotel chain. I’ve been curious to try them for a while now after hearing them mentioned in a few conversations with other travel writers. So when I had an early morning flight booked from Gatwick to Belfast recently I decided to book myself in.
What are Bloc Hotels?
Bloc hotels are basically a collection of low-cost airport hotels that take away all the fanciness and offer a simple but comfortable bed for the night. The ethos is simple and convenient ‘without the unnecessary extras’ to keep the costs down.
If you visit their website, you’ll see that one pilot and freelance writer described them as ‘…a cross between a seriously upscale design hotel and a Japanese pod’. I’ll tell you whether I agree further down in this post….
How do I get to Bloc Hotel Gatwick?
The first positive thing I will say about Bloc Gatwick is it’s so convenient if you’re travelling from Gatwick airport because it’s INSIDE the airport! OK so it took me a while to actually figure out where the hotel entrance was. But all you have to do is head to Gatwick’s South Terminal and walk towards the far side of the terminal concourse. Jump in the lift to the 3rd floor and hey presto, you’re there.
The arrival at Bloc Hotel Gatwick is super speedy (as long as you know where you’re going!) There’s a small but sleek reception desk where I received a friendly welcome and I was handed my keycard to my room within seconds. I then had to get in a lift to the 7th floor and walk down a quiet corridor to my room. So far so good.
The Bloc room
The room itself
Bloc Hotel say they’ve merged both Scandi and Japanese principles in their hotel design which wasn’t suprising when I checked in – My room was very compact. It wasn’t claustrophobic though, it was very clean and the bold purple lighting gave it a super modern feel.
My standard double room had a double bed set against the wall and a TV at the foot of the bed. There was one small bedside table and a dressing area with a side bench and chair. The hairdryer had no nozzle on it but it wasn’t the worst hotel hairdryer I’ve used. All the lights here (and the window blind) are controlled by an electronic touch screen. So be prepared if you’re a fan of good old-fashioned switches.
Apparently, the hotel group worked with a Scandinavian sleep institute to make sure their rooms are at an optimum temperature and I have to say, it did feel just right – not stuffy and not like lying in a fridge, which is often the case with overly air-conditioned hotel rooms. Amazingly, I also wasn’t bothered by the noise of aeroplanes even though the hotel sits right by the runway.
The bed, pillows and duvet were all very clean and comfy.
Contact Reception via WhatsApp
Once you’re in your room at Bloc, you’ll notice there’s a mobile number for reception which you can add to your phone and then WhatsApp them if you have any problems or questions.
I also had a couple of queries and the reception staff were very speedy and friendly in their replies. I may be a bit behind the times but I think this is the first time I’ve stayed in a hotel that has a WhatsApp service. Handy, right?
The Bloc bathroom
The bathroom itself is very compact and is built like a wet room. The toilet has a tiny sink built into the top of it and when you use the shower, you will get the entire room wet, including the toilet seat – which is fine providing you only use it once.
There are small bottles of toiletries provided and the shower is excellent – with both rain shower and a traditional shower head to choose from.
Anything else I need to know about Bloc?
Before I travelled to Gatwick, I did some noseying around on the Bloc Hotel website and noticed a section for special offers in some of the airport restaurants and cafes. I didn’t make use of them as I’d eaten dinner before I arrived, but it’s worth noting if you’re arriving into Gatwick in the afternoon and want a decent meal. You can see their latest offers here.
If you do need refreshments, the hotel rooms come with a couple of small bottles of water and the airport departures is a short walk away – which has a few shops, vending machines and cafes. There are no tea and coffee facilities in the room though, which was a little disappointing.
With many budget travel options, if you know what you’re getting, you won’t be disappointed. The lack of tea and coffee facilities was a minor let down and you wouldn’t want to spend very long in these hotel rooms – especially once you’ve soaked the bathrooms. But Bloc does exactly what it says on the tin and the location, right next to the security gates in departures, is so convenient. I felt very smug being able to walk straight through security just moments after check-out.
It’s also worth noting that Bloc Gatwick offers park and fly packages which includes fast-track security passes. It’s all on the site if you want to check it out.
Would I book Bloc again? Absolutely. I wouldn’t go as far to say that it’s like a seriously upscale hotel but it’s a very clever concept and offers a very comfortable stay at a fairly reasonable price (I believe you can get a basic room from around £79).
The hotel group claims that ‘no other hotel will get you closer to your flight.’ And you know what? I think they’re right.
Bloc Hotel, South Terminal, Gatwick Airport, West Sussex, RH6 0NN
Want to read about some more hotels? Check out my latest reviews….