A Travellerspoint blog

Bristol - Gatwick

We're on our way!

semi-overcast 8 °C

As we have an early morning flight, we thought we'd travel up to Gatwick the night before and stay overnight in a hotel close to the airport, and you certainly can't get much closer than Premier Inn at the North Terminal – it is literally across the road from the terminal entrance, within the airport itself.

David drops me off at the front door and goes off to park the car in the long term car park – the hotel itself may be cheap (especially considering its position), but their car parking charges sure ain't! Trying to negotiate two main bags, my camera bag and a hand bag; I am somewhat confused in the hotel “lobby”, as there does not appear to be a reception desk there. Nor any other desk. In fact, there is no furniture whatsoever. I can't be the only one who has been a little flummoxed by this, as a uniformed “meeter-and-greeter” is directing everyone to the lifts to reach the check-in area two floors up. OK

I use the expression “check in area” rather than “reception”, as this place is very modern and high tech and doesn't in fact have a “reception” in the traditional sense, just a row of self service check in machines like are now often found in airports.

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You enter your surname and the computer brings up all your other details. It is quick and painless and spews out a couple of room card keys. I leave one with the attendant for when David arrives back, and head for the lift to take the luggage to the room.

Our room number is 324, so I press the 3 button in the lift. As there is only me in the lift, I don't have too much trouble wheeling both the bags out when the lift stops. I look for the familiar signs pointing which direction room number 324 is, but again this hotel has managed to confuse me – all the room numbers start with 7. It appears the lift completely missed the third floor and went straight to number seven. Oh well, maybe I didn't press the right button.

I wait for another lift to come, so that I can go back down to the correct floor. Despite there being three lifts, it seems to take ages, with a couple of lifts going straight past the floor on their way down from a higher elevation. Oh well, maybe I didn't press the button hard enough. I press it again, and eventually a lift does turn up. I get in and make sure I press the 3 button. It doesn't stop at the third floor, however, it goes straight down to the ground floor again. This time I know for sure that I did not make a mistake! I am not too keen on lifts at the best of times – not only do I suffer from claustrophobia, I was also sexually assaulted in a lift as a teenager – so this isn't exactly building up my confidence.

Finally. The lift and I are both on the third floor. After dumping the bags and ringing David to tell him where to collect the key from when he arrives, I go down to book a table at the restaurant for tonight's dinner. I press 0. The lift goes up to floor 6. A couple of other guests get in and they press 0. The lift goes straight to the correct floor. This is getting personal.

On the way back up again I get in a lift with a woman in a wheelchair and her carer. I am relieved when a staff member presses the buttons for us: floors number 3 and 6, as this time we surely will get to the correct floors. No such luck. The lift decides it wants to go to floor -2, despite there not being anyone on that floor awaiting the lift.
Eventually I get to my right floor, via levels 9 and 6. Thank goodness we are leaving this psycho lift behind!

At dinner we chat with Antony, the Venezuelan waiter, about travel in general and the political situation in his home country in particular. I order a starter after dinner instead of a dessert – a lovely baked Camembert served with sweet onion marmalade and a couple of cute little mini-baguettes.

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Our table overlooks the short term car park at the terminal, so we can watch the cars driving down and down the spiral exit. Oh, the excitement of a world traveller!

Posted by Grete Howard 07:20 Archived in England

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