Having panicked the family out of the door, and foregone any kind of pre-beach grooming, I find myself at Gatwick three-and-a-half hours before take-off – way too early to even check-in.
Once through security, though, I’m delighted to find No 1 Gatwick, a private lounge and spa where membership is £69 a year. This gets you fast-tracked through security (sadly, something we only find out about after we’ve been through it), premier boarding and a lovely lounge with a free bar laden with pastries and cake. We sit for a good hour sipping champagne as the kids spot planes taking off. There’s also a cinema room, a games room and a ‘cosy’ lounge, alongside a spa, but this gorgeous-looking place closes at 6pm: no mani-pedi for me, then. I hit the shops and find Cath Kidston, Superdry and Ted Baker to part me from my sterling. In duty-free, I sample Mac and Lancôme for free, and stock up so I can do my own chipped nails when we get to our villa.
If I hadn’t supped so much free fizz in No 1 Gatwick, I could have also shopped at Lacoste, Harrods and Havaianas. But je ne regrette rien.
It’s great that: if you fly regularly from Gatwick, No1 Gatwick’s perks are really worth the cash.
It’s a shame that: the spa closes so early. Boo!