Airport hotels are better known for being a convenient and practical place to stay than they are for luxury. But all that might be changing: In recent years, many airport hotels have stepped up their game with updated guest rooms and resort-style amenities.
Gone are the days when a night at an airport hotel meant being boxed up in a cookie-cut room or sleeping under a wine-red comforter.
From day spas to swim-up bars – in some cases, just steps from the terminal – we’ve handpicked the world’s most luxurious airport lodgings when you travel:
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
This hotel is so luxurious that you’d never guess it was located in Terminal 3 at Singapore’s Changi Airport. There’s a gym, spa, several restaurants and an enormous courtyard with a swimming pool flanked by rainforest-style gardens.
Rooms are ultramodern and high-tech, outfitted with ergonomic furniture and business-savvy features like wireless printers, USB chargers and free international calls.
The day spa offers reflexology to cure jet lag, while the butterfly garden next door is said to help long-haul passengers realign their zen. Oh, and it happens to have been named world’s best airport hotel by SkyTrax’s World Airport Awards for the third year in a row.
From the terminal: Three-minute walk from Terminal 1
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport; 75 Airport Boulevard, #01-01, Changi Airport, Changi Airport Singapore (SIN), Singapore 819664; +65 6823 5300
The Cordis, Beijing Capital Airport
Located adjacent to Terminal 3 at Beijing International Airport, The Cordis, Beijing Capital Airport (formerly Langham Place, Beijing Capital Airport) offers fliers five-star luxury just minutes after they touch down.
There are spacious guest rooms, including several lofts, townhouses and even one penthouse. Each room features plush, custom-made bedding, sleek dark wood furnishings and sweeping city or lake views.
From the terminal: 5 minutes walk
The Cordis, Beijing Capital Airport; No. 1 Er Jing Road Terminal 3, Capital International Airport Beijing China 100621; 86 (10) 6457 5555
Sofitel London Heathrow
With a vast marble atrium decorated with fountains, zen gardens and abstract sculptures, the Sofitel feels more like an upscale city hotel than one connected to Heathrow’s Terminal 5.
All 605 rooms and suites feature large beds with Egyptian cotton sheets, pillow menus and oversized bathrooms with deep-soak tubs and separate rainfall showers.
The hotel’s spa is fairly impressive: There’s an aromatherapy steam room, sauna and even a hydrotherapy suite.
But what you’re really here for is the Perrier-Jouët Bar, where you can enjoy top-notch Champagne by the flute, bottle or even magnum (should wallets permit).
From the terminal: Five minute walk
Sofitel London Heathrow; Heathrow Airport (LHR), Terminal 5, London TW6 2GD; 020 8757 7777
Grand Hyatt Dallas/Fort Worth
For travelers catching an early flight, it’s hard to beat the convenience and comfort of this Grand Hyatt, located right inside Terminal D of DFW Airport.
Its 298 guest rooms – which underwent a $13 million renovation in 2011 – are chic, sleek and modern, with lots of art and fancy amenities like touchscreen room controls and deep-soaking tubs.
Onsite dining options are just as impressive: There’s an excellent Mediterranean restaurant and the only sushi bar at DFW Airport.
Amenities include a 24-hour gym and heated saltwater pool on the roof, oversize bathrooms with freestanding granite soaking tubs, and restaurant for soul food like Berkshire pork with grits and roast lamb from San Francisco’s famed Niman Ranch.
Then, of course, there’s the infamous Wine Wall, where guests can dine (and drink) surrounded by 972 bottles of fine wine.
But perhaps the property’s main attraction is the therapeutic rooftop pool. It’s chlorine-free, mineral-infused and boasts a salinity level almost identical to that of the human tear.
From the terminal: You’re already there
Grand Hyatt Dallas Fort Worth, DFW International Airport, 2337 S International Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75261, USA; +1 972-973-1234
Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong
Connected to the passenger terminal by an enclosed, climate-controlled bridge, the Regal is the only hotel with direct access to Hong Kong International Airport. Its 1,171 guest rooms are sleek and modern with double-glazed soundproof windows overlooking the airport and runways.
Travelers in need of extra pampering will get it at one of the Thai-inspired spa suites, which boast massage beds and outdoor hot tubs. Hungry? There are six restaurants on site, including Shanghainese food and Halal cuisine.
From the terminal: Two minute walk
Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong; 9 Cheong Tat Road, Hong Kong International Airport, Chek Lap Kok, Hong Kong; +852 2286 8888
Dubai International Hotel
Located inside Terminal 3 of Dubai International Airport, guests have to be in transit to be able to stay at this high-end hotel. But it’s worth the stopover: All 530 rooms are plush, spacious and modern, and many come equipped with leather massage chairs.
Suite guests receive a fruit basket upon arrival, in addition to complimentary chocolates, canapés and beverages throughout their stay. Hotel highlights include a 24-hour fitness center with steam room and sauna, a hot tub and two indoor swimming pools.
From the terminal: You’re already there
Dubai International Hotel; Dubai International Airport; Dubai, United Arab Emirates,+971 4 224 4000
Hilton Munich Airport
It might be in the middle of a bustling airport – built smack bang in between Terminals 1 and 2 – but you won’t get a better night’s sleep anywhere else.
The Hilton’s Art Deco-inspired guest rooms are completely soundproofed, with large, sumptuous beds and thick blackout curtains. But there’s plenty to do besides sleep: There’s a heated indoor pool, sauna, hot tub and well-equipped gym. The hotel highlight, however, is the lobby bar, which is flanked by 60-foot palm trees and serves strong cocktails well past midnight.
From the terminal: Five minute walk
Hilton Munich Airport; Terminalstrasse Mitte 20, 85356, Munich, Germany; +49-89-97820
citizenM at Charles de Gaulle Airport, Paris
The rooms at the citizenM at CDG are proof that luxurious doesn’t necessarily mean lavish – plus it’s a social-media influencer’s dream.
With their compact size and modern-minimalist aesthetic, they’re not flashy but still luxe. Think wall-to-wall windows, king-size beds, touchscreen lighting and room controls, and free movies on demand.
There’s a library of design books curated by Amsterdam bookshop Medno, an open-plan kitchen stocked with freshly baked croissants, gourmet salads, sandwiches and soups, and a living room furnished with Vitra chairs and a fireplace.
The rest of the hotel is designed to feel like a (very hip) home away from home: oversized, plush couches in the “living room,” a 24-hour open kitchen and bar. An eclectic art collection and well-stocked bookshelves make for additional diversions.
From the terminal: Three minute’s walk to Terminal 3; shuttles to 1, 2 and fast TGV trains.
citizenM Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport Hotel; 7 Rue de Rome, 93290, Tremblay-en-France Roissypole, Terminal 3
Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
With its lavish atrium lobby, five restaurants and thalassotherapy spa, the Novotel at Suvarnabhumi Airport is as upscale as any five-star hotel in the Thai capital.
Allrooms and suites are large and lavish, decorated with colorful silks, rich fabrics and contemporary Thai art.
Outside, is a beautiful courtyard landscaped with lush, tropical gardens and a large swimming pool. It’s not just any swimming pool, either: It’s centered around a swim-up bar that serves up killer cocktails.
From the terminal: Five minute walk
Hotel Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport; 999 Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel,Moo 1 Nongprue Bang Phli, Tambon Nong Prue, Amphoe Bang Phli, Chang Wat Samut Prakan 10540, Thailand; +66 2 131 1111
Airways Hotel, Port Moresby
When heads of state and mining bosses travel to Papua New Guinea, they stay at the Airways Hotel in the capital Port Moresby.
Its best room, the presidential suite, has a wraparound balcony with panoramic views of the runway at Jacksons International Airport, with a backdrop of the cloud-ringed peaks of the epic Owen Stanley Range.
The hotel’s open-sided restaurant and lounge, Vue, lets you drink in the same magical vistas. The steaks are fat and juicy, the red wine is served chilled and there’s always someone interesting to talk to at the bar.
The Airways also has Port Moresby’s top fitness center – a glass-fronted building with a gym, squash courts and a lap pool cantilevered over a cliff with more gorgeous views.
From the terminal: Five-minute shuttle bus
Airways Hotel, Jackson Intl Airport, Jacksons Parade, 7 Mile, Boroko, Port Moresby 111, Papua New Guinea, +675 324 5200
Hilton Frankfurt Airport
Set inside the Squaire, a striking nine-floor mirrored “groundscraper” raised above a train station, the Hilton Frankfurt Hotel is more than a place to sleep: it’s a statement.
From Terminal 1 the skywalk takes guests to the hotel lobby, a massive atrium of glass and steel bathed in sunlight during the day and color-changing orb chandeliers by night.
The hotel is one of Germany’s most popular venues for business meetings, with a high-tech business center and 11 conference and banquet rooms. Guests can continue to burn the midnight oil on the oversize desks in one of 249 rooms or sink into a deep sleep courtesy of blackout curtains, soundproof windows and 250 thread-count sheets.
From the terminal: Short skywalk to Terminal 1
Hilton Frankfurt Airport, The Squaire, 60549 Frankfurt am Main, Germany, +49 69 26012000
Jumbo Stay, Stockholm
Retro-fitted into a decommissioned Boeing 747-212B built for Singapore Airlines in 1976, Jumbo Stay at Stockholm’s Arlanda Airport is the joker on our list. Stepping inside it is like being zapped back to the 1970s – a psychedelic world where fabric-covered walls, retro lamps and bubbly colorful armchairs reign supreme.
The best of the 29 rooms, the cockpit suite, has a private bathroom, 270-degree runway views and hundreds of buttons and levers on the instrument panel to play with.
Coffee, cookies and meals can be purchased on board. Fancy a tipple? There’s a remodeled 1970s first-class bar on the top floor.
From the terminal: Five-minute shuttle
Jumbo Stay, Jumbovägen 4, SE-190 47 Stockholm Arlanda, Sweden,+46 8 593 604 00
Fairmont Vancouver Airport
Situated directly above the US departures terminal – a mere two-minute jaunt from baggage claim – the Fairmont is worth visiting for the breathtaking views alone.
Floor-to-ceiling windows give a front-row seat of the North Shore Mountains and runway, so guests can watch planes take off all day long. They’re double-glazed and soundproofed so no one will hear a thing.
Hotel highlights include an excellent day spa offering more than 120 treatments, and an award-winning restaurant, Globe@YVR, that specializes in Pacific Northwest Cuisine.
Bonus: There’s live music seven nights a week at the aptly-named Jetside Bar, situated right off the lobby.
From the terminal: 10 minute walk
Fairmont Vancouver Airport; Vancouver International Airport, 3111 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, British Columbia, Canada; + 1 604 207 5200
While you’re in Vancouver, the world’s best bartender for 2017, Kaitlyn Stewart, has plenty of suggestions about where to eat and drink, especially in the neighborhoods of Gastown and Chinatown.