Airport Hotels that make traveling easier

I recall several years ago arriving on a late flight from Myanmar to Don Muang Airport in Bangkok, I had to stay overnight for my early morning flight. Not bad, I thought, thinking that I’d be able to rush into the centre of the city for a great Thai meal of Pad Thai noodles and a last minute shopping spree. Then I realized my flight would arrive too late for anything other than getting to the airport hotel.

Like airplane food, airport hotels have had a bad rap for years so I dreaded the thought. However, accommodations these days are not make-do shelters but spiffy resort styled hotels with all the frills. No more stuffy smelling rooms and soggy buffet styled food. But I still recall it was an easy walk with luggage atop a trolley cart and the short walk was a learning curve about airport hotels within airport complexes. This started me thinking about other airports and the much needed hotels.

Recently, this time on a return trip from Luang Prabang, Laos to Bangkok, once again the connecting flight was impossible until next morning. However, with the new and quite frankly, one of the best architecturally designed and convenient airports, Bangkok’s Suvarnabhum, seemed more like a fine destination. Streets of cafes and shops, easily accessibly pathways to the gates, convenient signage. But I did have to stay over. Although the Novotel isn’t within walking distance unless you are luggage- free – about a 10 minute walk,- there is a frequent shuttle bus. The hotel is so stylish that one could stay for a few days enjoying the outdoor pool, lofty terraces, grand rooms and a few restaurants and think you’ve hit a terrific resort by mistake.

Luggage delivery and pick up was as rapid as possible for this huge and extremely busy doublebut joined hotel. Truly, getting to and from the airport was effortless.

From immigration and customs, getting a trolley cart was easy and within a few minutes walk in the air conditioned walkway, I was at sleek reception desk of the Amari Airport Hotel. With a choice of accommodations and excellent business facilities this 423 room building was nirvana, especially after a long flight. The off-the-lobby airy restaurant, although mega large had a come hither cleanliness as did the fitness center, a very busy place. My room was spotless and even had lights bright enough to read with, albeit, not the most modern decor. Since then I’ve made a point of checking out attached airport hotels

The Mercure Hotel at Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam is unique in the Netherlands. It’s the only hotel accommodation before customs so you have to show your passport and flight ticket. With only 33 rooms all on one floor it’s often completely occupied. Reservations are definitely necessary. The Mercure Hotel was completely renovated in 1998 in updated décor. Check in and check out times are 10AM and it is one of the few hotels that accept pets. There’s a 24 hour open bar and restaurant, a coffee shop, airline desk and money changing facilities within the hotel and as most people known, Schiphol Airport has one of the best shopping arcades in Europe. Mercure also has non-smoking policy, so rare in Europe.

Also at Schiphol Airport is five star rated Sheraton Hotel. There’s direct access to arrival and departure halls for hotel. No need for taxi or shuttle services since once you’ve stepped off the plane, you’ve arrived. It’s an elegant, modern and functional 408 room property with a wide range of accommodations made especially convenient for business travelers. The hotel has a health club, indoor heated swimming pool, smart looking rooms.

The Hilton Copenhagen Airport was the first Hilton to open in Scandinavia, only a few years ago. In this short time it has already been awarded the Best Hotel in Denmark for 2002. Architecturally and visually it’s a contender with the award winning terminal, The 382 rooms are located in the four towers surrounding the hotel atrium. A restaurant, bar and lounge are located on the ground floor. Also, a fitness centre, swimming pool, sauna and Turkish bath . This hotel is directly linked to Terminal 3 with a covered walkway which enables guests to walk from the terminal to the hotel without ever getting their feet wet. And since there’s information about arrival and departure times in the lobby, there’s not need to leave until check- in at the airport.

The Hilton Melbourne, at Melbourne (Australia) International Airport is just a 30 second undercover walk from the international and domestic terminals. This 276 room hotel is relatively new with all the contemporary interiors one would expect, but especially keeping the business traveler in mind. The restaurant serves modern Euro and Australian cuisine and could be the perfect venue for a business luncheon. With a fully equipped health club, including indoor heated pool, spa. sauna and steam room, the Hilton Melbourne has everything you need to recharge your batteries. And for guests whose daily schedule includes a good run, just jog the length of the hotel corridors seven time and that’s equivalent to two laps in the world famous Melbourne Cricket Ground

There’s only one hotel located in the entire area of Rome’s Leonardo Da Vinci International Airport and that’s the Hilton Rome. It’s directly linked to all terminals by a covered overpass including a moving walkway. The 517 rooms are carefully designed for your comfort . A fitness centre, indoor pool with a whirlpool and two outdoor floodlit tennis courts are bonuses. There’s an extra charge for sauna, steam and massage rooms. Hilton Rome eateries include Artists Bar, an elegant bar decorated by the latest Italian artist generation, Caffe Tevere, a coffee shop offering delightful, tempting snacks and diet conscious salads and Le Colonne, the buffet has international dishes but with a decidedly Italian touch.

Sofitel Hotels are very well known in Europe and it’s a chain under Accor Hotels and Resorts signature are always upgrading. Just opposite the Athens International Airport, the 332 room property, built in 2001, has several services including a health centre, conference rooms secretarial services and a fine shopping arcade. There are 3 non smoking floors and an Executive Floor plus a restaurant known for its Mediterranean- style gourmet cuisine.

One of Sheraton’s best airport terminal hotels is the Sheraton Paris Airport Hotel at Charles De Gaulle Airport. It’s located right at Terminal 2 where you can take an escalator from the terminal right into the hotel lobby. Its architectural design has received numerous awards. And in France, eating is a no-brainer. The hotel has Restaurants Les Saisons and Les Etoile and afterwards, you can burn off the calories at the complimentary fitness centre.

With 294 renovated rooms, 20 meeting rooms, Sheraton Brussels Airport Hotel and Conference Centre is located opposite the arrival hall. How’s that for convenience? It’s was also designed to accommodate the busy traveler and is the only hotel adjacent to the National Airport. The 5th floor has an Executive Lounge which guarantees, privacy and comfort.

Arabella Sheraton Airport Hotel in Dusseldorf’s 200 rooms are located right within the airport also for even more convenience there’s a subway located just below. The two restaurants and lounge are comfortable and cheery.

Not matter where Maritim Hotel would have been located (this one in Dusseldorf’s International airport), I was smitten. If you have a zest for uber modern decor with all the stunning contemporary architecture, then this is the place. And it’s a 5 minute walk with great signage from the arrival gates to the hotel. And if that isn’t enough, it’s only a few minutes drive or subway to the centre of town. As for their restaurants, any gourmet would delight in Classico,Bistro Bottaccio, SushiSho or Rheinische Stov. And Skoll to Morley’s Bar, a great place to raise your glass for this hotel that also includes a wellness area, swimming pool, saunas and a fitness room. With 533 elegant rooms and suites, cable TV, analog and digital fax/modern sockets, a safe, mini bar, there’s little else one would need. And for disabled persons, there are special rooms for those with seeing or hearing difficulties and rooms for those suffering from allergies.

Voted the best airport hotel in the Asia-Pacific for two consecutive years, the Regal Airport Hotel in Hong Kong deserves the accolades. Connected to the terminal of the Hong Kong International Airport by a covered walkway, this huge hotel of 1,103 rooms is chock a block with amenities. There’s a garden pool and also an indoor pool, separate sauna, steam and massage rooms for men and women, a section for non smoking rooms, internet access, I in-room fax. On the 11th and 12th floor of this 12 story complex the Regal Club Lounge provides breakfast, cocktail hour nibbles, complimentary internet facilities, unpacking and packing services and free use of the conference room. Also 50% discount on laundry, dry cleaning, long distance calls to name a few of the favours. When in Hong Kong eat. So the Regal has a plethora of diners. Café Aficionado with international and buffet food, Dragon serves Shanghainese while Rouge serves Cantonese. There are a few others that would suit all palates.

Meanwhile State side, the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport Hotel opened up at the end of 2002. The 404 guests rooms and 26 meeting rooms all located in the Midfield Terminal. Each room has Westin’s signature Heavenly Bed and Bath and has complimentary gourmet

And Four Points by Sheraton Los Angeles International Airport with 563 rooms, is located in the terminal in Los Angeles and is one of the best Four Points properties. In typical California style, the beautifully landscaped pool area (heated pool), the complimentary 24 hour fitness centre superb location and appetizing cuisine at the Palm Grill, makes you want to stay longer. The hotel even has its own beer sommelier program and is highly regarded for its friendly service.

Winnipeg’s Sheraton Winnipeg Hotel is attached by an enclosed skywalk to James Armstrong Richardson International Airport. The 132 room complex has free movies and local calls plus microwave and fridge in each room. There are 8 meeting rooms and a great sports bar with VLT.

Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel, opened in 1999 was the first to offer hypo allergic rooms. Much thought has gone into this building. On the 11th floor there are 42 room where the fiber cluster pillows and duvets feel like feathers, hospital quality air filtration system, hypoallergenic bathroom amenities, central vacuum system to reduce dust in this 392 room hotel. All rooms are soundproof and spacious.

Pearson International’s Terminal One airport is a stone’s throw to the Sheraton Hotel. Just step on moving sidewalk and find the 474 rooms have all been upgraded to suit this modern terminal. To book this offer for your upcoming meeting at the Sheraton Gateway Toronto call 416-814-1299.

Transfer Hotel at Copenhagen Airport in Kastrup is located in Terminal 2. This small hotel has 11 single rooms and is located on the lower level. There is a caveat that after 9 p.m. the rooms must be rented for a minimum of 8 hours. Prices are reasonable. For a two hour stay during the day for single occupancy, it’s approximately $40 while doubles are about $50. Only airline ticket holders can use the hotel and the services which include a sauna ($20), tanning booth ($2 for 5 minutes), and showers ($20).

Istanbul International Airport Hotel at Ataturk International Airport can be reached in the International Arrivals Terminal. Out of the 85 rooms, 21 are for travelers in transit. Each room includes a shower, toilet and even wireless Internet service. If you’re staying for only two hours, it’s about $45 with longer stays at a lower price. Tel 90 212 465 –40030

It’s never an inconvenience to have to stay over in Los Angeles. One of my favorite hotels, when in need, is The Westin LosAngeles Airport, a short free shuttle service just 5-7 minutes from LAX. It’s a sophisticated hotel and the staff so helpful that they were able to obtain a reasonably inexpensive limo to take me to Beverly Hills for a few hours. Back at The Westin Hotel, The Daily Grill and my Starbuck’s ‘cuppa’ met my sudden hunger pangs before heading to the sauna. The pool looked inviting but ran out of time since I had a very early next morning flight. And a plus is that pets are welcome.