We’ve been there: the hours-from-now flight rescheduled due to a missed connection; the overnight layover between long international flights; the crack-of-dawn departure flight from an airport located more than an hour’s drive from the city center. For many, those scenarios result in long hours waiting in the airport. But as airports are being modernized and expanded, more and more hotels catering to upscale and business travelers are being built right into them, especially in European, Asian, and Middle Eastern cities. Below, we highlight seven airport hotels — all of them walkable from the terminal — that are top-flight.
The Crowne Plaza in Singapore’s Changi Airport is gorgeous and convenient (Photo: Choo Yut Shing/Flickr)
The hotel: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, Singapore
Where it is: A link bridge connects the hotel directly to Terminal 3. Terminals 1 and 2 are accessible by Skytrain.
Why we like it: A gorgeous floral design motif, garden courtyard spaces, and huge guest rooms (with deep soaking tubs) give this chic, modern rest stop a resort-like feel. For plane spotters, the hotel is a great vantage point for watching a procession of mega-sized A380s and 747s.
Best amenities: Not only do Executive Club rooms allow access to the terrific Club Lounge (complete with breakfast, all-day canapés, evening cocktails, and two meeting rooms), but a number of Club rooms on the third floor open directly onto the large, tropically landscaped outdoor pool.
The Crowne Plaza’s Azur restaurant is one reason you’ll likely skip room service (Photo: William Cho/Flickr)
Dining options: You’ll likely pass on room service (though it’s 24 hours) in favor of either the theatrical, buffet-style Azur or fine-dining Imperial Treasure (Cantonese) restaurants for their excellent and extensive offerings. Two bar/lounges also serve up small and shareable dishes to go with their cocktails.
Pet peeve: The fitness center and spa are a bit small.
The details: 360 rooms, rates from $209.
The Sofitel London Heathrow is an attractive, full-service hotel (Photo: Sofitel London Heathrow/Facebook)
The Hotel: Sofitel London Heathrow
Where it is: The hotel is connected via a ground-floor link bridge to Heathrow’s new Terminal 5.
Why we like it: It’s hard to beat as an attractive, full-service hotel that’s connected to the terminal in an airport whose connections are always a gamble.
Best amenities: The full-service spa has a hammam (steam bath). There’s complimentary Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service (though items are pricey, even by London standards).
Dining options: In addition to two full-service restaurants — one of them French, naturally, as Sofitel is a Gallic brand — there’s a Perrier-Jouët champagne bar and a lounge for afternoon tea.
In case afternoon tea isn’t your thing, this hotel also has a champagne bar (Photo: Sofitel London Heathrow/Facebook)
Pet peeve: Standard room views are uninspiring, as none face the runways except the most expensive suites.
The details: 605 rooms, rates from $230.
Forget that cab to the airport; this Sheraton is built right into Paris’ Charles de Gaulle (Photo: Sheraton Paris/Facebook)
The hotel: Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel & Conference Centre, in Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport
Where it is: Directly built in the airport’s Terminal 2 and right above the TGV and RER train station.
Why we like it: The unbeatable accessibility into CDG as well as the train station.
Best amenities: An interesting atrium-style design and guest rooms that are both spacious and quiet.
Dining options: Two French restaurants and a sports bar are adequate, though nothing to write home about.
A social hour is always a good thing but the bar here is nothing special (Photo: SheratonParis/Instagram)
Pet peeve: Complimentary Wi-Fi is limited to the lobby and Link@ Sheraton business center.
The details: 252 rooms, rates from $269.
Don’t worry about all the air traffic; you won’t hear much inside the soundproofed Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel (Photo: Fairmont.com)
The hotel: Fairmont Vancouver Airport
Where it is: It’s located directly above the U.S. departures terminal via escalator, and a 30-minute train ride on the Canada Line into downtown Vancouver.
Why we like it: Ultra-convenience aside, the hotel’s triple-glazed, floor-to-ceiling soundproof windows overlooking the runway and North Shore mountains ensure a quiet stay. A full-service spa, large guest rooms with deep soaking tubs, and 24-hour services make this a top-notch hotel.
Best amenities: Self-service kiosks in the hotel lobby let guests check in to flights on Air Canada, WestJet, and Northwest Airlines. The Carry-On Cuisine program through room service lets you order meals to take onto your upcoming flight. The hotel sells its own honey made from bees on airport grounds.
Afternoon tea at the Fairmont. Try the honey made from the in-house bees (Photo: Fairmont.com)
Dining options: Globe@YVR offers plane spotters West Coast cuisine complete with an open kitchen, stone fireplaces, and floor-to-ceiling windows. We love the daily afternoon tea service at the Jetside Bar.
Pet peeve: Although in-room Wi-Fi is complimentary, one must first sign up for Fairmont’s guest loyalty program, the President’s Club.
The details: 392 rooms, rates from $287, day rate (8 a.m.-8 p.m.) $110 for four hours, then $19 each additional hour up to maximum eight hours.
The fun and convenient CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam Schiphol (Photo: CitizenM Hotel/Facebook)
The Hotel: CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam Schiphol
Where it is: The hotel is a four-minute walk from Schiphol’s departure gate 3.
Why we like it: Built from stackable, prefab components, CitizenM pioneered the concept of an airport hotel as a fun, design-centric, affordable, and lightly staffed (i.e., no bellman or room service) spot. Case in point: There are self-check-in kiosks, and the tiny rooms are nevertheless efficiently laid out, with king-size beds and cylindrical glass-enclosed showers.
CitizenM packs a lot into a little bit of space (Photo: CitizenM Hotel/Facebook)
Best amenities: Every room has wall-to-wall windows and a central control panel that adjusts mood lighting, temperature, and blackout curtains. In-room Wi-Fi and movies are complimentary.
Dining options: Grab-and-go sandwiches, salads, and drinks are available at the 24-hour canteen.
Pet peeve: Rooms come in only one size and are a tight squeeze for two people.
The details: 230 rooms, rates from $120.
You can walk from the airport to Langham Place Hotel, but you certainly don’t have to (Photo: Langham Place Beijing Capital Airport)
The hotel: Langham Place Beijing Capital Airport
Where it is: While it’s possible to walk the roughly one kilometer from Terminal 3 to the hotel, there is a 24-hour (pink!) hotel shuttle bus from Terminals 2 (outside Gate 3) and 3 (outside Gate 5) that takes you there in less than five minutes.
Why we like it: Bold contemporary Chinese artwork — some part of a rotating art gallery — fills the public areas of this chicly designed hotel that also happens to be nearest to the equally slick, Norman Foster-designed Terminal 3. Guest rooms with floor-to-ceiling windows are spacious (the smallest measures 484 square feet); specialty suites such as the Townhouse (double-height ceilings) are stunning.
Langham Palace’s pink hotel shuttle bus is hard to miss (Chris&Jean/TripAdvisor)
Best amenities: Early-arrival and late-departure guests have access to the Traveller’s Lounge for resting, working, or showering. Meeting spaces and banquet facilities are some of the city’s best.
Dining options: There are four restaurants, including an outpost of Hong Kong’s Michelin-star-rated Ming Court. Room service runs 24 hours, with an additional early-morning lobby breakfast from 4 to 6 a.m.
Pet peeve: No spa treatments or pool on site to relax in. Elevator banks are far from the front desk area.
The details: 372 rooms, rates from $240, day rate (8 a.m. to 6 p.m.) $105 (not including service charge).
A welcome new addition to Cairo’s airport: Le Méridien Cairo (Photo: LeMeridienCairoAirportHotel/Instagram)
The hotel: Le Méridien Cairo Airport, Cairo International Airport
Where it is: It’s connected by an air-conditioned pedestrian bridge to Terminal 3.
Why we like it: Although brand new (it opened in late 2013), this Le Méridien has successfully filled a big hole in offering efficient and upscale accommodations within a traffic-snarled airport that’s far from Cairo’s city center.
Best amenities: Guest rooms are contemporary, light-filled, and kitted out with 37- or 42-inch TVs, complimentary Wi-Fi, and floor-to-ceiling windows that can face the runway or a large outdoor pool ringed with lots of loungers.
The dining choices here are diverse and will soon get even more so (Photo: LeMeridienCairoAirportHotel/Instagram)
Dining options: Plans for five restaurants ranging from a sports bar to Singaporean to informal Lebanese (opening Aug. 1 after Ramadan). Twenty-four room service.
Pet peeve: As of yet, there is no shuttle service for guests arriving at or going to Terminal 1.
The details: 349 rooms, rates from $98. Day rate, $40 for two hours, $10 thereafter for a maximum of five hours.