Tamsin Wressell checks in at Mission Control at this futuristic airport hotel
I’m deep underground at Gatwick Airport’s South Terminal. I’m handed a key card and an extra glass at Mission Control — or what would usually be referred to as reception. The ‘crew’ give me a quick rundown of how things work: I should leave my key at Mission Control when I check out at 3am, Wi-Fi is free and complimentary tea, coffee and hot chocolate as well as bottled water can be requested around the clock.
Operating on a capsule concept, cabins can be booked per hour to catch shut-eye before or after flights. A trippy white and silver corridor lit by fluorescent purple lighting leads me to my Premium Cabin, which I have for seven hours. With the shutters open, all rooms are on show from the corridor in all their futuristic, spaceship-style glory.
My room is compact yet cleverly designed. An adjustable bed is propped up as a sofa, facing a flatscreen television hanging above a table and a single chair folded against the wall. A glass-walled washroom spans the length of the room, with a walk-in rain shower and basic toiletries. With all the high-tech innovations, I remain exposed to the relatively quiet corridor in my space-age pod until I figure out how to control the shutter (it’s a manual pull-down, it turns out). With my privacy pegged, I glide the bed down from sitting to lying, using the space underneath as storage for my suitcase.
Any sounds from the airport are completely shut off, but there are still a few occasions where I feel like we’re going to take off — the lighting, minimal space and overall theme is a little disorienting. Hairdryers and alarm clocks can be borrowed, and there’s a food and drinks menu available 24-hours, with reasonably priced pizzas, noodles and other treats, as well as a breakfast box.
I don’t have the best night’s sleep, but with a flight leaving from the North Terminal, I’m at the gate within five minutes of leaving my cabin with a complimentary to-go cup of coffee in hand.
Plus, I’ve found out how I’d fare on a spaceship, which is always handy to know.
Arrivals Concourse, South Terminal Gatwick Airport, Horley, Gatwick RH6 0NN. From £32 for four hours for a standard cabin, and from £49 for four hours for a premium cabin.