The most convenient way to bail on early morning airport commutes and drab roadside chain motels is to stay nearly adjacent to your departure gate. Airport terminal hotels are increasingly common around the world, and many of them are full-on luxury experiences despite the fact that the main reason for staying in them — late-night arrivals and early-morning departures — generally means you won’t have time to appreciate all of the amenities. But if you end up with a super long layover or a dreaded flight cancellation, you could do worse than staying at these airport terminal hotels. Just try not to sleep in and miss your flight, considering you’re right next door.
1. Fairmont Vancouver Airport — Vancouver, British Columbia
The Fairmont Vancouver Airport has the brand’s standard trimmings. An upscale restaurant in the lobby hosts live music and a bustling bar scene. The rooms are hyper-modern and kind of feel like corner-office suites. What makes this hotel worth the stay, beyond its 30-second walk to the ticketing check-in counters, though, is the view. From your room’s massive bay windows, you can spot the differences between a 737 and an Airbus A320 with the help of a complementary “plane spotting guide.”
2. TWA Hotel at JFK International Airport — New York, NY
Gone are the days of actually having to head into Brooklyn to experience New York’s epic food hall scene. The new TWA Hotel, which opened this year at JFK, throws the airport experience back to when flying wasn’t just enjoyable — it was classy. A cocktail lounge occupies an old TWA airplane, and runway-side rooms offer front-row seats to planes lifting off. There’s also an infinity pool overlooking the runway, which we suppose gives departing passengers something to look at instead of that seatback magazine.
3. Hilton Munich Airport — Munich, Germany
You’re likely going to be drinking a good amount of beer while in Munich, so make your departure as responsibility-free as possible by staying at the Hilton Munich Airport. It’s walking distance from both Terminals 1 and 2 and is designed to feel like you’re in a luxury lodge high in the Alps. Charles Lindbergh, the hotel’s upscale buffet restaurant, switches up its themed buffets each week, taking inspiration from other countries — which should make a nice break from the schnitzel and pretzels you’ve gorged on throughout your time in Munich.
4. Westin Denver International Airport — Denver, Colorado
Denver’s airport is 27 miles from downtown in a setting that looks more like the open plains of the Midwest than the jagged mountain landscape that Colorado is known for. If you’re staying anywhere west of Aurora, an early morning flight means leaving the hotel before sunrise and slogging across I-70 towards the plains. Or you could book a room at the Westin Denver International Airport, an addition to the Jeppesen Terminal that opened in 2015. The hotel was built to look like those little airplane wing pins that airlines used to give out to kids back when legroom and free checked bags were a normal thing. It features an in-house art gallery and an outdoor plaza that hosts everything from business meetings to an annual beer festival, and when the time comes to actually head to the gate, the security checkpoint is just downstairs.
5. Crowne Plaza Changi — Singapore
As far as modernity and architecture are concerned, Singapore is the best-looking city in the world. The Crowne Plaza Changi keeps up the image within the already ridiculously attractive Changi International Airport. It’s located within Terminal 3’s Skytrain reach and comes with access to Jewel, the self-described “rain vortex” inside the terminal that is actually the world’s largest indoor waterfall, inside the hotel’s Forest Valley. This sounds like something out of Fern Gulley, and that’s pretty much what it is. It can go toe to toe with the Gardens by the Bay as the coolest thing you saw in Singapore.
6. Grand Hyatt DFW — Dallas, Texas
You don’t have to dive into the Gulf of Mexico to do some saltwater swimming in Dallas if you pay a visit to the rooftop saltwater pool at the Grand Hyatt DFW. Another cool thing about staying inside the Dallas airport is that you can actually walk to the airport’s best food court and some great shops pre-security, which is ideal for acting like you totally didn’t forget to buy your significant other a gift on your trip. If a bit of privacy is in order, order room service from the McCoy’s Bar & Grill inside the hotel.
7. Sofitel London Heathrow — London, England
Sofitel apparently set out to build London’s best spa inside Terminal 5 at Heathrow Airport. Whether or not you were overwhelmed by the massive urban jungle that is London, the Sofitel London Heathrow is worthy of your final night in town, if only because of the spa. There’s also a Champagne bar for those who have had their fill of gin. Either option is the perfect way to celebrate the fact that you don’t have to worry about missing your tube time in the morning.