Airport Hotels No Longer Deserve a Bad Rap

Once booked out of necessity, airport lodging is now experiencing a renaissance.

airport hotels
People walk inside the new Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol hotel during the official opening. The hotel offers 433 rooms and 1700 square meters for meetings and events. (KOEN VAN WEEL/AFP/Getty Images)
AFP/Getty Images

Once seen as low-rate spots to crash for stranded travelers, sleepy flight crews and bargain hunters, airport hotels are going through a renaissance. With chic designs and high-end amenities, some airport hotels are even becoming destinations for fancy conventions and weddings. Other travelers use airport hotels as their base for vacation or business instead of staying downtown, especially if they have an early morning or late-night flight.

For example, the TWA Hotel, built around Eero Saarinen’s iconic terminal at New York Kennedy’s Airport, will open next spring and feature 1960s flair plus seven layers of soundproofing material in each window. The Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol has an on-site spa with sauna and steam rooms.

The Fairmont Hotel at  Vancouver, British Columbia airport the features afternoon tea and live music seven nights a week. In addition, for those who have traveled to Vancouver to take in the area’s world-class salmon and trout fishing, the Fairmont offers a “fish valet” and freezer to store your catch until departure. Down in Los Angeles, there’s no reason to subject yourself to downtown traffic to find a great meal. The airport’s Radisson LAX just went through a $75 million renovation and became a Hyatt Regency, and now showcases food from local Asian and Latin American chefs.

This boom is all happening because the economics of airport hotels turn out to be so strong, writes The Wall Street Journal. In 2017, 73.7 percent of rooms at U.S. hotels within a shuttle ride of an airport were occupied and hotels that are part of airports—either built into terminals or directly connected by walkways—do even better, with 80 percent occupancy.

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