Review: Bloc Hotel Runway Suite London Gatwick

I arrived at the Bloc Hotel around 2:30pm after my flight from Fort Lauderdale. Unlike most airport hotels, i.e. the Sofitel Heathrow, this hotel is actually in the terminal. After leaving luggage claim, I walked straight toward Marks and Spencer before taking a sharp right turn, at which point signs appeared for the hotel.

Bloc Hotel Lobby

I had to take the elevator up to the reception area, which is on the same floor as security. The reception is beautifully designed in my opinion, and makes great use of limited space.

No1 Hotel Lobby No1 Hotel Lobby 2

There was minimal paperwork at check-in, which took less than two minutes – a good start to my stay. Three minutes after arriving, I was escorted to my room: The Runway Suite. Rates for this room are usually around £240, which is an incredible deal for a two room suite in an airport terminal. Since the Bloc Hotel is a Norwegian Reward partner, I could earn 12% cash back on my booking, which translated to 305 CashPoints. Thanks to their partnership, my total cost went down to just over £210!

The Bloc Hotel offers six hour day rates on their standard rooms for £29, while night rates start at £59. For the best value, I’d book a standard room day rate combined with Norwegian Reward for under £27, or go for the full suite if staying overnight.

The Runway Suite was located on the 8th floor, a short elevator ride from the reception. There were quite a few doors to pass in the corridor before I reached our room.

Our room - 848.
Our room – 848.

Upon entering the room, I was greeted by a spacious living room with a dangerously distracting view of the tarmac below. Panoramic windows on the walls provided a 180 degree vantage point of all the action at London’s buzzing Gatwick Airport. There were several high top chairs along the desk by the windows.

Bloc Hotel Runway Suite Bloc Hotel Runway Suite 2

The room offers great views of Norwegian's beautiful 787s!
The room offers great views of Norwegian’s beautiful 787s!

The Bloc Hotel doesn’t offer a mini bar or room service so everything in the room is complimentary. This enables them to offer check out at the click of a button on the in-room tablet. Ease and speed of all administrative aspects of my hotel stays are important to me, so I loved the hassle free check in and check out procedures that were enabled by the lack of purchasable amenities.

The tablet also controls lighting, curtains and air conditioning, which I found cool.

The in room tablet that controls lighting and check out.
The in-room tablet that controls lighting, temperature, curtains and check out.

They have a small table with a coffee machine and kettle to the left of the entrance.

Bloc Hotel Runway Suite Coffee machine

Opposite the entrance is a large wardrobe, which has plenty of space for suitcases.

Bloc Hotel Wardrobe

In the corner, there was a big sofa with an abundance of colorful pillows. A TV was mounted on a pillar in the center of the room.

Bloc Hotel Sofa 2 Bloc Hotel Sofa Bloc Hotel Sofa 3

Meanwhile, the bathroom was located across from the entrance and had several unusual design elements. Everything was black, which merged quite well with the overall color scheme of the hotel.

Bloc Hotel Bathroom Bloc Hotel Bathroom 3 Bloc Hotel Bathroom 2 Bloc Hotel Bathroom 4 Bloc Hotel Bathroom 5

The shower had excellent water pressure, though it was slightly challenging to avoid getting water on the floor of the bathroom. I really liked the toiletries from Zenology.

I loved the shower!

Bloc Hotel Shower
I loved the shower!

While in the bathroom, I’d recommend opening the window blinds since they’re closed by default. Who doesn’t want to see Norwegian Dreamliners pushing back in the mirror while getting ready for the evening?

Norwegian 787 Norwegian 787

The bedroom was through a door in the living room.

Bloc Hotel Living Area

One wall was lined by a big window, while the other had more closets. There was a TV on the wall across from the bed.

Bloc Hotel Bedroom Bloc Hotel Bedroom 2 Bloc Hotel Bedroom 3 Bloc Hotel Bedroom 4

The bed was top quality and I slept very well. There was no outside noise from the airport, which is important at an airport hotel. My only complaint is that I didn’t get to enjoy the bed as long as I would have liked to, since I had to get up at 6am the next morning.

Overall, the highlight of the room was obviously the view, which is nearly unparalleled in terms of tarmac views. I sat by the windows all evening and tracked inbound and outbound flights on FlightRadar24 while watching from the comfort of my room.

Runway suite view Runway suite view 2

While I tried to work, it was hard with a temping view like this. Thankfully, the internet speeds reached almost 100mbit/s – the fastest I’ve ever had at a hotel – which somewhat boosted my productivity.

Once dark, the room lit up in a purple shade. At first I thought the mood lighting could be controlled with the tablet, but apparently the purple lighting couldn’t be changed or even turned off.

Tarmac view from Bloc

Bloc Hotel at night
The strong lighting was somewhat overwhelming after a few hours.

When it was time for dinner, I simply took the elevator down to departures, walked 50m to Marks and Spencer, bought all my favorite meals and snacks and was back in my room five minutes later. How awesome it that?!

The bedroom also had purple mood lighting, which is covered when the curtains are drawn. I think it looks sleeker in the bedroom, though.

Bloc Hotel Bedroom at night Bloc Hotel Bedroom at night 3 Bloc Hotel Bedroom at night 2

The next morning I packed and headed downstairs to security, having already checked out by tapping the tablet in my room. What I hadn’t realized when I checked in was security is literally next to the lobby. It took less than 60 seconds to get there from my room. If only travel was always such a breeze!

Bottom Line

The Bloc Hotel offers unique and affordable accommodation in the heart of London Gatwick. Leveraging Norwegian Reward, I saved £30. At £210 per night, this has to be one of the best value airport suites out there. Between the fantastic view, the convenient location and the overall ease of staying at the Bloc Hotel, booking a room there is a no-brainer if you have an overnight or a long daytime layover at Gatwick.

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Comments

  1. OMG that view! I would be glued to it the whole time I stayed there. If they had that set up at LHR I would book a room even when I wasn’t travelling!

  2. This used to be the old Norfolk House office block where we had our office from 2005-2010. The view is very familiar! Judging by the view, you had the corner suite on the top floor which used to be ACL’s office. I spent many hours there negotiating for out-of-hour slot exemptions! Amazing to see how it has been transformed.

  3. Daniel, as much as I like your TRs, I don’t know how anyone could consider 200 quid a “good deal.” Yes, it’s a suite, with awesome views, and at an airport hotel (in London, no less). But, IMHO, I really don’t see the value… Personally, I wouldn’t spend more than £150, and even that’s really pushing it.

  4. I / we? This is like Frau Schlappig boozing by the bar “I” and dragging an escort to her room “we”.

    Well whatever tickles your man fancy…

  5. You consider 210 pounds a great “value”!?. LOL. I hope they are paying you for this review, otherwise that’s absurd. I would consider that expensive in Central London, let lone at an airport.

  6. I have mixed feelings on your description of £210 as an “incredible deal”. On the one hand, the convenience is outstanding and, of course, the view is great. On the other hand, the room isn’t particularly nicely furnished (there’s a fine line between “minimalist” and “cheap”, and they’re straddling it), has some design issues (that pillar in the middle of the living room, and the purple you-cant-turn-them-off lights), not well appointed (not even a microwave or mini-fridge?), and from the sounds of it, amenity-free (no gym or anything like that.) I did just look at their (annoying) website, though, and it does list several dining options, so that’s actually not bad (sorry, I’ve had food from M&S and it’s nothing to write home about.)

    I guess it comes down to a question of how much someone values the convenience – not having to leave the airport and deal with shuttle buses and the like (I gave a cab driver twenty-five quid once – thank the gods for expense accounts! – for what should have been a £5-6 ride from LHR to a nearby hotel because I was way too tired to deal with anything called a “Hotel Hoppa”), and thus increase your rest time. And, of course, there is the plane porn!

  7. Considering the angle of the hotel is quite niche, I’d consider £210 more than reasonable. Especially for London (well, Sussex). Is £60 for that view for an evening too much, considering most of your basic airport offerings aren’t far off £150 average?

    I’d definitely pay that. And I would imagine this article will make for quite a nice advert. I never knew it existed and now it’s a high priority to experience. I remember that very view from the old spectators gallery at Gatwick before such things were dissolved. That was when EasyJet had about two flights a day and Ryanair were operating a 737-200. Nostalgia.

  8. I stayed here in a corner room with my airplane-mad 4 year old and we LOVED it. Such a unique experience to be sleeping above the apron: we watched the planes until they stopped around midnight and then again when they started at 6. We’ll be back in January before a 6.30am flight to France.

  9. The view & convenience are amazing.
    The price is SHOCKING!
    Check yourself into the Hilton, get yourself decent views of arrivals on short finals & save yourself £165 – plus be able to switch your lights on & off at your own free will 😉

    PS: @Third Passport – eye spy with my little eye 😀

  10. Not really true to say that the Sofitel Heathrow isn’t in the terminal. It is immediately next to Terminal 5 and connected to it directly by a walkway very close to arrivals and departures.

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