The gal has written before about the challenges of feeding the five thousand, or something like it – think back to breakfast at Wynn Macau, in its lovely inside-out café decorated in all the yellow-red-pink hues of the rainbow. A third of the way around the globe, London Hilton Gatwick Airport is an 821-room hotel connected right to the airport’s South Terminal, and since the airport works, unlike Heathrow, 24 hours a day there are comings and goings at every hour. Most guests, not surprisingly, only stay one night, and sometimes that is a short night. The responsibility of managing the efficient operation of this luxury hotel falls on its GM, Guy Hilton, and it is activity the whole time – see the video below.
Yes, that is right, Guy Hilton of Hilton, what an easy name to remember – but who could forget this lovely man anyway? He is a sports fanatic, currently getting ready for the forthcoming Paris Marathon on April 3rd, 2016. Right now he has lots of sportspeople in the hotel, undergoing training sessions for everything, it seems, from football to field hockey. They all need feeding, and fast. The hotel’s fourth floor executive lounge copes well at breakfast (as I saw in Berlin last week, it now has some high-up communal tables, which really takes the pressure off single customers not wanting to share with unknown others). But the main restaurant is the archetypal well-oiled machine, and it copes brilliantly.
Shown to a seat, you are brought a whole pot of coffee, which avoids that annoyance of having to minimaw until you can get a server, whose eyes are inevitably facing the other way, to bring you another cup. The buffets are well set out and labelled, as you can see. There are big containers of juices, and masses of bottles of water – though the late idiosyncratic columnist Michael Winner would have taken aim at the Hildon, a brand which for some reason he hated. One thing I especially like is having masses of trays of already-cooked fried eggs, sunny side up, and lots of ready-cooked boiled eggs. You therefore only really have to wait if you want an omelette. Another plus is having two, not one, roller toasters, which cuts down on toast preparation time.
For those who want à la carte, there are alternatives – yes, this luxury hotel has thought of everything. At the entrance to the restaurant are help-yourself coffees, teas, fruits and pastries, and, conveniently on the way from the main lobby to the airbridge walkway to the terminal, there is a Costa Coffee outlet, which the hotel runs. There is no excuse, therefore, for missing a good breakfast, which all good sportspeople know is essential to optimum fitness health. Talking of which, apparently Expo West in Anaheim CA last week, a gathering place of some 3,000 food exhibitors, showed new trends. Americans are finally clamouring again for full-fat after years of tasteless fat-free, and the terms ‘gluten free‘ and ‘paleo‘ are giving way to ‘grain free’, and look for more and more fresh produce that is labelled ‘heirloom‘.