Get Free Airport Parking with the Holiday Inn... for up to 21 days

13 October 2008

http://img373.imageshack.us/img373/2373/airportparking1044792osfy1.jpgIn response to my "Mile High Club Part 1" post here at Bitterwallet, reader Lam wrote a great response on obtaining free parking at Gatwick airport by staying overnight at the Holiday Inn hotels.

"A good tip if you are planning to park at the airport is rather stay the night before your flight at a airport hotel that includes up to 15 days free parking. Often this works out cheaper that using the aiports parking, plus you don’t need to get up at dawns crack and make a nervous dash through traffic to make your flight.

Holiday Inns group hotels offer ”Park, Stay & Go” just look for the little tab on their websites. As an example, I stayed at their Gatwick Holiday Inn the night before my flight for £89 including 15 days free on-site parking. Had I paid to just park at one of the long stay carparks at Gatwick it would have cost me £94.60."

15 days free parking with a free hotel room thrown in working out cheaper than the ridiculous rates at the airport? Sounds good to me.

I decided to do some investigation on my own.

The Holiday Inn Gatwick

Based on Trip Advisor reviews, the hotel is ranked as the 6th best out of 17th in Horley with an average review rating of 3.5. Horley's 6th best hotel? Sounds like the dream place to be for a lifetime.

Ok, so it's nothing on my bucket list, but remember the objective is a simple cash hack to save some money while bagging a free hotel room. It's also slightly away from the airport, so you can probably go easy on the earplugs at night.

Here is a review:

This is the 4th time we have stayed here on a parking/overnight deal. This time i booked through holiday extras and paid £107 for overnight and 15 nights parking. Check in was quick and simple. We gave them the car keys and the car was kept on site and brought to the front of the hotel on return. We just parked at the back when arriving. There is a mini bus which costs £3 per person whih runs every 15 minutes from 4am. A cab costs aprox £8. Its about 5-10 minutes to the airport.

The rooms are spacious and clean with tea/coffee making and basic tolietries. The food and drink are pricey but we have found a fantastic pub nearby so do not eat tere. The pub is the six bells. Cross the rd outside the hotel and walk to the junction,turn left past the garage to the church. Through the graveyard and there it is-on a river with great food and service. We have found that when returning it is best to get a cab as saves all the waiting around when tired. The staff are polite and very helpful. can't fault the hotel for convenience and service. It gets the holiday off to a nice relaxed start.

Sounds good to me. But just in case, I thought I'd ring The Holiday Inn themselves and see what they have to say.

The Official Word

I contacted The Holiday Inn Hotels. They play some sickly sweet music. Then a nice lady called Ivy answered.

We discussed the weather. I then asked her for all the juice I needed:

The price varies on the date, as we all know prices vary depending on hotel room supply and demand. You have a choice normally of 5, 8 or 15 days for the 'Park, Stay and Go' package.

But that's not all.

Currently, they are also offering a 21 day package. Good deal for those of you that somehow manage to get such a long holiday! (If so, we all want to know your secrets)

In terms of pricing, as mentioned it varies. If you were departing this saturday, the price works at £79 for a 4 day package, £89 for an 8 day package for £89, and £99 for a 15 day package.

The 21 day is at a special rate of £109. Not bad for 21 days of parking, and a hotel room at Horley's 6th best thrown in.

How it Works

When you first arrive at hotel, you can park your car at the short stay area. This means that if you need to go off site during the day, you can do so with ease.

When checking out, you hand your keys over. They will take your flight details, and move your car to the long stay area, where ex military and secret service will guard it with their life (surely).

You then hop over to airport on the shuttle bus. It's apparently labelled as 'courtesy' bus but costs £2.50 per person (doesn't courtesy mean free, cheeky?), and runs 24 hours pre day, every 15-20 minutes. As mentioned, you can always hail a Horley cab which will cost around £8 to the airport. At least you'll feel like an international traveller of luxury.

After your little vacation, return back to the hotel via the hopper bus with your nice tan, and your car will be at the collecting area.

Oh, don't forget to tip the valet.

Final Note

We also tried to enquire whether group rates would be cheaper. Unfortunately, it won't make a difference. So no group tours for the HUKDers just yet.

For those of you near other airports in the UK, let us know if this offer is also available!

Holiday Inn "Park, Stay and Go" [Holiday Inn]
Phone number: 08704009030 (But always say no to 0870: 01293787600)

TOPICS:   Travel

3 comments

  • Lam
    and remember to use your Priority Club reward card from Holiday Inn ( or get your free one now ) because points mean prizes - well free nights when you have enough points. The plus side is you get Priority check-in which is handy at airport hotels when you arrive behind a couch load of tourists. Other hotels offering Park, Stay&Go or Park&Fly include Hilton, Travelodge, Best Western, Park Inn, Comfort Inn, Thistle, Quality Inn, Premier Inn, Marriot, Sheriton, Crowne Plaza and Jurys Inn. Good to follow Vince Wongs example and read reviews about the hotel first on Trip Advisor, also making sure that " courtesy" bus does it rounds to your hotel. I prefer to use a hotel that keeps my car "on-site", for two reasons (1) I know it safe and looked after (2) Some of the above hotels do charge you for one nights parking and then ask that you drive your car to the airports long-stay carparks in the morning. A bit cheaky I know. Now you see why "on-site" parking is a better option. Oh and loads of the above hotels really don't make it easy for us to find their Park&Fly rates, so check out www.holidayextras.co.uk they search all hotels at your chosen airport and show the rates. Ring the hotel to see if they can beat the price or book direct with holidayextras. As an example, leaving Heathrow this Saturday for a 7 night vacation staying one night at the Crowne Plaza with you car tucked up in their on-site carpark for the duration will set you back £99, or £89 if you book with holidayextras ( other fine websites are also availble ). Moral of the story is staying a night in a hotel before you fly can be cheaper than parking alone at the airport, or maybe just a few pounds more but you get a good nights sleep in a luxury hotel ( something inessential but conducive to pleasure and comfort ). Sweet dreams
  • Vince W.
    fantastic advice Lam! You've done it again. Have you found Holiday Inn rates to usually beat the others?
  • Lam
    Vince. For Gatwick and Heathrow - yes Holiday Inn ( and even Holiday Inn Express which only costs around £86 a night with that great free express buffet breakfast for up to 2 adults and 2 kinds thrown in with the parking - though you park it yourself at the airport long-stay ) But for other airports it's hard for me to say. Doing a quick search, where there is a Holiday Inn, the rates are excellent considering what you are getting. It won't be a flea or bed-bug infested room ( oh yes, those nastys like to travel too ) and you won't be kept awake by the aircraft noise. You will get a comfortable nights sleep, service second to none and most importantly in my view, something for nothing - that being you would have forked out that money anyway for the parking so why not take advantage of a hotel night before you fly. btw: with Holiday Inns you can opt to use your " hotel night" on your return from holiday if you prefer, rather than before you fly, which is handy if you are landing late at night and don't fancy the drive home.

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