Gone are the days when overnighting in an airport hotel meant noisy, cookie-cutter rooms, terrible service, bad breakfasts, and seemingly endless shuttle buses. Today’s stylish airport hotels are not only changing the art of the layover with their cutting-edge design and ultra-luxe amenities but are becoming destinations unto themselves. Here are five airport hotels worth getting on a plane for.
The TWA Hotel, JFK Airport, New York
Non-stop nostalgia. Stylish, sassy, and deliciously retro, the TWA Hotel (JFK’s only on-airport hotel) opened in 2019, paying homage to the 1960s golden age of air travel. At the hotel’s center: the historic 1962 TWA Flight Center, designed by Finnish-American architect Eero Saarinen (who also designed St. Louis’ Gateway Arch and Washington’s Dulles Airport). With its concrete curves and swanky lounge, the flight center is home to the hotel’s restaurants and bars, while two ‘new’ towers house the 512 guest rooms. Time capsules from 1962, rooms – crisp and clean – come with pole lamps, womb chairs, working rotary phones, martini glasses, and floor-to-ceiling windows (with soundproof glass) offering views of JFK’s runways.
Watch planes touch down (even in winter) from the heated rooftop infinity pool. Grab a drink inside Connie, a restored 1959 Lockheed Constellation Starliner propeller airplane turned cocktail bar, or order a martini at Sunken Lounge from servers wearing red tunic dresses, before heading to Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s Paris Cafe for a bite. Be sure to check out the aviation museum featuring vintage TWA uniforms, some by Ralph Lauren and Valentino, and take a stroll through the famous white-and-red ‘Saarinen flight tubes.’
Crowne Plaza, Changi Airport, Singapore
Urban resort. Word is that frequent travelers to Asia allocate extra time just to hang out in this exotic rainforest-like airport hotel, known for its exotic rooftop garden and soothing Southeast Asian color palette. Located in terminal 3, the 563-room Crowne Plaza hotel retreat feels more like a tropical retreat than a transient business hotel. Rooms, ultra-modern and high-tech, are bathed in natural light and come with giant bathtubs; while the outdoor pool, complete with lounge chairs, wood decking, and islands with palms makes you forget your (airport) locale.
Check out the 1970s-inspired bar in the hotel then cross the netted suspension bridge to The Jewel, home to the spectacular Rain Vortex, said to be the world’s tallest indoor waterfall. Visit the butterfly sanctuary and explore the verdant ‘‘indoor walking trails.’
The Fairmont Vancouver Airport, Canada
Layover meets luxury at Fairmont Vancouver Airport hotel, just steps from the airline gates, and the only hotel inside Vancouver International Airport. The 386 guest rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows that look out onto the tarmac, ocean, and North Shore Mountains. But you’ll never hear a thing, as a result of the soundproofed windows and designated ‘Quiet Zone’ floors. For ultimate relaxation, check into the Jade Suite, complete with hand-carved jade sinks, a bath kit with salts and a chamomile body scrub, and a dining menu by Chef Nandakishore.
Explore the city on a BMW cruiser bike, slip into the spa for a grapefruit jet-lag treatment, then stop by the signature restaurant, Globe@YVR’s Carry on Cuisine program, for specialties like smoked British Columbian salmon to bring along for your final destination.
The Hilton Munich Airport, Germany
Located between terminals 1 and 2, this 551-room hotel, with its light-filled atrium – towering mature palm trees (imported from Florida) and oodles of wall-sized modern art – provides much-needed grounding and O2. Guest rooms and suites offer a touch of art deco, along with views of either the interior atrium or courtyard.
Dive into the heated, spacious (55-foot long) pool, book treatments in the spa and replenish after hours of flying with ‘real’ food at the Mountain Hub Gourmet, loved for its alpine-inspired cuisine. Try the tyrolean spinach dumplings (white wine sauce, wild mushrooms, Tegernsee mountain cheese, and crispy sage) or Oma Gerdas Pfanne (salsiccia, bacon, onion potato mash, alpine cheese, and egg).
Westin Denver International Airport Hotel, Colorado
Designed to resemble a pair of blue wings – a bird in flight – the Westin connects directly to Denver International Airport’s Jeppesen Terminal. Inside, artwork by local artisans graces the walls, floor-to-ceiling windows offer stunning views of Colorado’s stunning Rocky Mountains. Rooms offer similar views – perfect for capturing sunrises and sunsets. But motorized blinds make it easy to block out the light when ready to collapse into the hotel’s signature Heavenly bed. Added perk: fur babies are welcome too.
Experience Colorado’s bounty without ever leaving the airport with the hotel’s Grill and Vine restaurant, serving seasonal, farm-to-table fare. Savor, too, the silence of this busy airport hotel – a nod to the heavy-duty soundproof windows, yes. But also the little touches like room service delivered on trays in lieu of rolled carts.