From Runway to Reality: 7 Best Airport Hotels in the US
For too long, the airport hotel has been regarded as a soulless purgatory for the most transient of travelers: a (usually) wallet gouging means-to-an-end for travelers with canceled flights or a series of corporate group meetings. But the winds have shifted in recent years. Tired utilitarian accommodations are being elbowed aside by newer transit hotels with ever-better technology and business services, eye-catching style, and amenities previously seen only at upscale resort properties (spa treatments and pillow menus, anyone?).
And while there are still some major airports begging for smart hotel options (we’re looking at you, JFK and LGA), others have raised the bar for this formerly utilitarian stay.
Below, we highlight seven domestic airport hotels that are first-class options for business travelers.
The pool at the Aloft San Francisco Airport (Photo: Aloft)
The Hotel: Aloft San Francisco Airport
Where It Is: It’s on the edge of Millbrae, located a half-mile south from SFO, with free and frequent shuttle service 24/7.
Why We Like It: Although it’s more of a stylishly practical spot to bed down before an early morning flight than it is a long-term work space, we like this two-year-old Aloft for its convenience and quiet — and that it doesn’t sacrifice a fun design. Guests skew younger and less corporate than the typical business road warrior.
Best Amenities: The hotel encourages time out of your room, with an indoor pool and backyard patio space adjacent to the bar (DJs and live music on weekends). The lobby contains old-timey board games and a pool table.
Dining Options: It’s limited to grab-and-go sandwiches and salads or light snacks at the typically busy bar.
Pet Peeve: The business center is actually an extension of the open air lobby space, so if you need a spot for private meetings or quiet work time, you’re out of luck.
The Details: 252 rooms, rates from $169.
A guest room at the Custom, in LA (Photo: Custom Hotel)
The Hotel: The Custom Hotel, Los Angeles
Where It Is: It’s about one mile from LAX’s main terminal — accessible by free shuttle service (running 5 a.m. to 2 a.m.) — and a mile and a half from the beach.
Why We Like It: The tongue-in-cheek mod ’60s décor and relaxed vibe attracts younger road warriors who blur the lines between work and play (think communal tables with power outlets, a small pool with cabanas). Staff uniforms are a nod to the airline uniforms of the era. Small but otherwise well-equipped rooms come fun with LED mood lighting.