Tim Sargent once spent a week in Dallas, and never left the airport.
Instead, he was checked in at the Grand Hyatt DFW, a plush airport hotel just outside Terminal D. “I’ve been there at least 20 times for meetings,” says the San Diego–based biotech executive.
“Dallas is a huge hub, and it’s central, so it’s convenient for colleagues around the country. Staying at the airport, you don’t have to pay for a lot of cab fares. And the hotel is actually really cool.”
Airport hotels have come a long way since their first mainstream incarnations, as bare-bones motels meant for bleary-eyed layovers. An increasing number of airport hotels now have spas, rooftop pools and fine dining that goes far beyond the toast-your-own-waffle breakfast spread.
One big reason? Business travelers like Sargent. “Airport hotels are finally stepping up to the level of services and amenities we’ve been seeing in downtown business hotels for quite a while,” says Jan Freitag, senior vice president with hotel research firm STR.
The best airport hotels make it tempting to stay past the business meetings and into the weekend. At the Radisson SAS at Oslo’s Gardermoen, for example, travelers can play virtual golf on one of 32 courses around the world. The Four Points Sheraton outside LAX invites guests to join its Beer Club and have a craft beer left bedside for turndown service. The Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong even boasts its own luxe wedding facilities.
Want your next airport stay to be more than a fly-by? Check out our list of the world’s best airport hotels.
Radisson Blu Hotel London-Stansted Airport
The main restaurant at this Vegas-worthy hotel—connected to the main terminal by a covered walkway—features entertainment that evokes Cirque du Soleil. Occupying a 43-foot-high structure that lights up at night and holds 4,000 bottles of wine, Angels Wine Tower Bar has acrobats (or “wine angels”) who fly up and down on wires to get your bottle from on high. Feeling athletically inspired? Hit the hotel’s gym, which offers yoga and spin classes, and even swim lessons for kids. (radissonblu.co.uk; doubles from $106.)
CitizenM Hotel Amsterdam Schiphol
Wandering into the lobby of this mod-style boutique hotel (set just outside the car rental exit of the airport) is a little like browsing in a sleek design shop; the series of living rooms, all outfitted with streamlined modern Vitra furniture, are stocked with Macs for complimentary use (and free Wi-Fi). Guestrooms are equally aesthetically pleasing: You can store your open suitcase in a special drawer underneath your XL bed, enjoy a rain shower in your bath or control your room’s colored ambient lighting with a “mood pad.” (citizenm.com; doubles from $139.)
Sheraton Düsseldorf Airport Hotel
Talk about a penthouse suite. This one-story, oval-shaped hotel is located entirely on top of the airport’s Car Park 3 and is surrounded by a landscaped roof garden with tables and chairs, summer food service and turtle ponds, as well as sweeping city views. There’s a 24-hour fitness center, free computer stations and Wi-Fi, eco-friendly rooms in warm earth tones and a Bavarian tavern with its own beer garden. (starwoodhotels.com; day rates from $106, overnight from $197.)
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