Want to go hit the beach, eat farm-fresh delicacies or take a poolside yoga lesson? It's about time you considered staying at the airport. Terminal-convenient hotels are much more than jet-lag flophouses these days, and at the following luxurious lodgings, you're more likely to have an authentic local experience than a bland, boring one.
These hotels may lie just steps away from the hot tarmac, annoying security screenings and unexplained delays, but one thing's for sure: your layover has never looked this good.
Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel, United Kingdom
Accessible via a walkway from Terminal 5, the Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel is a traveler's best overnight choice without taking the hour-long tube journey into the city's center. The hotel's over 600 rooms and suites feature a menu of lush amenities like radios and telephones in the loo, complimentary mini bars, and one extremely posh Swarovski crystal bathroom. The hotel's tea salon offers 31 tea options and comfy sofas, and the Perrier-Jouët Bar is the perfect spot for some pre- or post-flight bubbles. La Belle Epoque – the Sofitel's French restaurant – is the airport's only fine dining establishment.
Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Hotel, China
The Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Hotel claims to be located within just a 15-second walk from the airport's Gate 12—that's impressive. Guest rooms here have Bose mp3 player docks, glass bathrooms, and C.O. Bigelow amenities. Upper-level suites boast platform beds and memory foam pillows. Business travel guests might make use of the hotel's connectivity lounge sponsored by Microsoft, but, if you can ignore your email, head instead to the hotel's outdoor pool and tennis court. The Pullman's grand Cantonese restaurant – the Tian Yuan Chinese restaurant—has 18 VIP rooms, so don't settle for less.
The Westin Denver International Airport, Colorado
The Westin Denver International Airport is a destination on its own. The 14-story, aviation-inspired design hotel sits just steps from the airport's TSA screening line and is a convenient commuter rail ride from downtown Denver. Guests at the Westin won't want to leave though because the hotel's indoor pool offers all of the floor-to-ceiling Rocky Mountain views you could need.
Even if you didn't have space to pack for the gym, poolside yoga sessions are always a possibility thanks to the hotel's New Balance gear lending program, which stocks gym shoes and fitness apparel for guests to use. Guests get to keep the socks!
Any exercise you do fit in is best topped off with a bowl of Rocky Mountain buffalo chili from the hotel's Grill & Vine restaurant or a craft cocktail in the Westin's Mad-Men-sleek lobby bar.
InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo, South Africa
The porcupine spine art installment hanging from the ceiling of this Johannesburg hotel's Quills restaurant assures transferring travelers that they've landed in the right place. The restaurant offers a taste of local South African produce, including bushmeat, and celebrated local wines and beers, and the hotel's Camelot Spa hosts an indoor heated pool with Johannesburg views. The hotel's rooms and suites are the perfect place to fight jet-lag – plush beds are surrounded by African-inspired decor, soundproof windows and blackout curtains.
Grand Hyatt Dallas Fort Worth, Texas
Even if you don't need to stay overnight, it's worth checking into one of the Grand Hyatt DFW's Day Use Rooms for access to the hotel's chlorine-free swimming pool, pillow-top beds, granite bathrooms and runway views. Don't get up to crank that AC—a bedside control panel dims the lights, closes the window shades, and adjusts the thermostat with the touch of a finger. The hotel offers a terminal re-entry program through which guests can enter the airport without flying to access shops and restaurants. In addition, the airport's only sushi bar is in the Grand Hyatt itself, accompanied by the Grand Met restaurant with a 972-bottle Wine Wall—the perfect background for selfies taken with locally-sourced produce.
Hilton Beijing Capital Airport
The Hilton Beijing Capital Airport is five minutes from Terminal 3, so, upon landing, taking care of that growing dim sum craving at the hotel's Yue Shang restaurant is a valid first move. Your next move should be a quick check-in to the hotel's humidity-controlled guest rooms before a spot of swimming in the marble pool complex with floor-to-ceiling windows. If you're staying in a suite, be sure to allot a generous amount of time for watching HD TV from your bathtub. Later, enjoy live music at the stylish Long Bar.
Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, Singapore
As if the butterfly garden, movie theater and swimming pool inside Changi Airport weren't enough, the Crowne Plaza at Changi Terminal 3 ups the ante with pool-access guest rooms and thriving rainforest gardens. Some rooms here have runway views, and marble bathrooms with soaking tubs come complete with amenities from The White Company, London. The hotel's unique building was conceptualized by local firm WOHA Designs and allows for natural light to dominate – it even seeps through to the building's business event spaces through skylights.
Fairmont Vancouver Airport
Did you just come from a fishing trip in the heart of the Canadian wilderness? Cool—your catch will fit well in the Fairmont's fish freezer, tended to by the in-house fishing lodge valet who does not act as if your smelly souvenir's hotel stay is simply a detour on its way to your mouth. While your new companion is chilling on ice, do some laps in the hotel's three-lane, mechanized lap pool or soak in an air-jetted bathtub. Rooms are stocked with fancy Le Labo amenities and the brand's signature afternoon tea comes with runway views here.
Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi
In the opulent style that's become expected in this part of the world, the Yas Hotel Abu Dhabi makes a stay near the airport seem like a stint in paradise. The hotel's 499 rooms and suites enjoy views of Yas Island's marina and famed Formula 1 racetrack – the Presidential Suite has a private lap pool, steam room, gym, sauna, and hammam. The rest of the hotel's guests will have to make do with two rooftop infinity pools and beach access. The island offers bike-share systems for exploration, perfect for working up an appetite to satisfy at one of the hotel's six international restaurants. The hotel's Rush Nightclub is the only club in the world built over an F1 racetrack.
Cordis Beijing Capital Airport
The Cordis Beijing's main Cantonese restaurant – Ming Court – is the sister restaurant to a two-Michelin-starred Hong Kong restaurant with the same name. If that's not enough of a reason to stop by, consider one of the hotel's lofts, townhouses or penthouse, decked in contemporary wood paneling and soundproof floor-to-ceiling windows. On the hotel's highest floors, Club Place rooms include butler service – each room is tended to by five team members, and guests enjoy access to the exclusive Club Lounge. For business travelers, Portal Work & Play combines a connected workplace with cocktails, tapas, and DJ-spun tunes.
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