Florida 2018 - Part 1 - Bloc Hotel & Gatwick South Number 1 Lounge

Although we have now been back for about 6 weeks the holiday is still so fresh in my mind although it does feel like it happened a lot longer ago than that. My original plan had been to actually do these blog posts while we were away but that just didn't happen at all so I thought why not start writing some stuff up now. The holiday was almost three weeks long and there is a lot to share so I will break it down into several posts and focus each one on a certain element of the trip (parks, accommodation, excursions etc). If you want to know about anything in particular please leave me a comment and I will do my best to cover your request.

We travelled down to Gatwick the night before our flight, we typically don't like to travel to the airport on departure day as we are always worried that something will happen to delay us and we will be late or even worse miss our flights. Our usual hotel of choice at Gatwick is the Premier Inn on Airport Way however this time we were keen to try somewhere different and after watching several YouTube videos we settled on the Bloc Hotel at Gatwick South Terminal. The hotel is right in the terminal building so you don't have to worry about bus transfers etc, you come right out of the hotel and security to the departure lounge is directly on your left. The hotel is also right next to Giraffe, the airport Wetherspoons and a coffee shop so there are plenty of places to get food & drink.Its not the cheapest airport hotel around but in the grand scheme of what the whole holiday had cost we were not worried too much about that. We booked an Aspire Double room as they are slightly larger than the standard rooms, they also have a window which not all of the rooms at this hotel have. Check in was super smooth and only took a couple of minutes. We were actually allocated a Aspire family room so as well as the double bed we also had two pull down bunk beds and as an added bonus we had a runway view which was something we had really hoped to get. The room was very compact, its certainly not the roomiest place we have ever stayed in but for us it was perfectly adequate and we would have no problems in staying here again. The bed was really comfy, there was enough space to put our stuff for the evening and despite our location we were not disturbed by any noise at all. All the blinds and lighting in the room are controlled by a little bedside tablet which is very handy but my one complaint is that there didn't seem to be any USB charging points in the room - we checked everywhere so I am pretty sure we didn't miss them but if you know differently then please let me know. Also by the bedside you will find a little booklet which is full of vouchers you can use around the hotel. We took ours to the Nicholas Culpepper in the North terminal and got 15% off our meal and drinks, a great start to the trip! We didn't have to worry about checking either, we literally got up, dressed and left.

Airport Security is one of those thing we both hate as we always seem to end up in the slowest queue or behind the person with the forgotten liquids in their hand luggage. We had booked Premium Security, and at £5.00 each it seemed a no-brainer especially when you have hand baggage full of cameras and all the assorted paraphernalia that may result in your bags getting an extra search.  As it was the regular queues actually were not too bad on our departure day but the premium desks were empty and we were literally through in about a minute. At such a minimal cost this is something we would book time and time again for the pure frustration free security checks.

We had a quick whizz around Duty Free and then made our way to the No.1 Lounge which I had booked as a treat for us. We had discussed booking this at great length in the run up to the holiday as we were not sure if we thought it would be worth the money as we don't tend to eat and drink much prior to boarding our flights. As it was I ended up finding a great deal on-line so went ahead and booked it as I thought it would be a nice way to start our travel day. We were both quite apprehensive that the lounge wouldn't be all that but we needn't have worried at all, it was absolutely perfect. For the costs you get one hot food item (choices are dependant on the time of day), Tom had a bacon roll and I just had some toast & jam. You also get unlimited tea, coffee & juices along with pastries, fruit and cereals that you help yourself to. There is a bar where you can get yourself an alcoholic drink, Tom had a couple of pints and I, of course had prosecco to start my day off! Despite being quite busy the bright and airy lounge still felt quite calm and relaxed and there were plenty of areas where you could sit and just chill out till your flight is called. We managed to bag a table by the window which overlooked the runway so we could see the planes coming in & taking off which was rather nice. In addition to all the other plus points the lounge was spotlessly clean, the staff were polite & friendly, there were charging points all around and complimentary newspapers too. We both really enjoyed it and will definitely be booking it again as it was far nicer than just sitting in the departures lounge which can sometimes be a little noisy and crazy. You book a time slot dependent on your flight departure time and you have around 3 hours to spend in the lounge however if your flight is delayed you are allowed to stay on which is good to know.

Next post coming soon will cover our flights with BA and our 3 night stay at Disney's Port Orleans Riverside.

I hope you have enjoyed this post, thanks for reading.


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