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Luton Airport is a strange place. On a hill above the station and the town, with a fee just to drive past the terminal, and big warnings up telling you not to even think about stopping your car. Low Cost Carrier planes queue up to take off next to luxury private Gulf Stream jets. All the way out of London, at yet surprisingly easy to get to!
But what if you need a hotel before or after? There’s a number of “budget” options just past the carparks, which never seem all that budget when you price up. Alternately, just up the road, there’s the Hilton Garden Inn Luton North. Is it worth the trek?
Checking in, I overhear a Gulf Stream crew discussing their flight out tomorrow. Clearly some visitors
think it is! Personally, I’d come in on the bus (bus stop outside, ~2 buses an hour from the airport, 4 an hour from Luton and Hitchin railway stations), but the big carpark and frequent taxis made me think I was something of an outlier doing that….
The hotel offers Online Checkin, on the web and on the Hilton Honors App, which lets you pick your room before you arrive. Checkin was therefore very quick for me, and as a Hilton Honors Diamond I was offered some bottles of water + told the times for breakfast. A few minutes after stepping off the bus, I was in my room, popping the water into the empty fridge provided for free in all the rooms. Wifi is free for everyone, and very fast + stable. Many other hotels could learn from this one on wifi provisions!
Rooms are a decent size, and you certainly don’t feel crowded even with 2 people. There’s a built-in desk, with power sockets nearby, and built-in USB chargers. Perfect for getting a bit of work done, or even writing a hotel review… Rooms feature either a comfy chair, or a sofa / sofa bed, and a decent new smart TV.
After a quick visit to the gym, it was downstairs for dinner. The restaurant looks a bit “hotel meh”, but unusually for a HGI, they offered both a normal menu and a weekly specials. I’d suggest trying the specials, as they were both interesting and very tasty, certainly not out of place in many a fancy London joint for double the price! Service was a little sporadic, as they seemed to be struggling with a big group, but generally friendly and helpful
Breakfast in the morning (free for Hilton Honors Gold and Diamond, otherwise generally a small extra fee at the time of booking) was better than many American HGI’s I’ve stayed at, with a number of cooked-to-order items available to.
Unlike the private jet pilots, I didn’t have a taxi waiting the next morning. Instead, a few minutes walk saw me waiting at the bus stop for the airport bus, and a few quid plus about 10 minutes to the airport. (The bus stop outside the hotel is confusingly not served by the express 100 buses that go to the airport, only the stopping ones between Luton and Hitchin / Stevenage). For anyone not travelling alone, the taxi wasn’t pricy, and reception were able to order them quite quickly. What’s more, with the current Hilton promotions, I got a decent slug of Hilton Honors + BA Avios from the short stay!