Lucy Thackray
Lucy Thackray


April 2024

Five – actually cool – airport hotels around the world

Airport hotels are synonymous with no-frills functionality – but these striking pre-flight pads have made themselves the destination

twa cluster

TWA Hotel, New York JFK Airport

Kennedy Airport’s TWA hotel is as cherished by architecture nerds as it is by AV-geeks. Sculpted to look like a pair of tilting wings, Eero Saarinen’s 1962 Trans World Flight Center building has become the ultimate plane-spotter’s hotel, with an infinity pool on its 10,000sqft, runway-view observation deck. Don’t miss the Jet Age museum, celebrating the golden era of flight.
Terminal proximity: Inside the airport complex, connected to Terminal 5.
What’s for dinner? Of six restaurants and eight bars, fan favourites include glam Paris Café, by star chef Jean-Georges Vongerichten, and Connie Cocktail Lounge built into a restored TWA Lockheed Constellation L-1649A jet.
The room: A Deluxe King with a runway view will have you transfixed by take-offs (from £375). You can also book a four-hour stay for short layovers.

auckland cluster

Naumi Hotel, Auckland Airport

The definition of a design hotel, with a Yayoi-Kusama-inspired ‘Dotty suite’ and a ‘Ziggy suite’ inspired by Missoni’s signature zig-zag fashion designs, the Naumi is a wow-factor stop on your way into or out of New Zealand. There’s also a swimming pool and yoga garden – and free minibars for all.
Terminal proximity: A five-minute taxi from AKL’s terminals.
What’s for dinner? Fijian-style goat and hoisin pork belly at pan-Asian Paksa, with its dandelion-head-esque light fixtures.
The room: We’d book the Blush suite (from £180, B&B) for its flush of coral pink and freestanding bathtub.

bloc gatwick

BLOC Hotel, London Gatwick

Though it opened in 2014, BLOC Gatwick is still one of the most cutting-edge airport hotels out there. Famous for its compact, smartly designed rooms and killer views of the runway, it draws inspiration from Japan’s ‘capsule hotels’, with dark décor and purple mood lighting to ease jet lag. It’s techy, too: you check in via an app and use your smartphone as the room key.
Terminal proximity: Landside in Gatwick’s South Terminal ‒ a few steps from security, so you can get in early.
What’s for dinner? There’s no restaurant here, so bring a bite from South Terminal’s M&S or Caffe Nero ‒ you’ll get a ten per cent discount for being a BLOC guest.
The room: The VIP corner rooms will delight AV-geeks with their double-sized runway views (from £256).

crowne plaza cluster

Crowne Plaza, Singapore Changi

Known by savvy travellers as the most lavish airport hotel out there, Changi Airport’s Crowne Plaza has a tranquil outdoor pool surrounded by palm trees and jungle foliage, a swish spa and lush, rainforest style gardens in the surrounding Jewel development. After check-out, take the airport’s whizzy sky train to your terminal.
Terminal proximity: Inside Terminal 3, a short shuttle from the other terminals.
What’s for dinner? Lobster laksa or poke salmon bowls at blue-green-tiled Azur, or satay skewers with your Martini at the 1970s-style Bar ’75.
The room: Rooms are rather more business-smart than design-wow, but a Standard Room with Pool View will give you those tropical-feel views

radisson red edinburgh

Radisson RED, Edinburgh Airport

Radisson’s glossy boutique brand is set to open an outpost just minutes from Edinburgh’s airport, with eight floors of rooms boasting eye-catching interiors, splashes of scarlet and oversized wall art; plus a must-visit cocktail bar. You’ll have to wait until it opens in 2025, though.
Terminal proximity: It will be 1km from the airport ‒ a 13-minute walk or a short bus journey.
What’s for dinner? Eclectic modern Scottish bites and cocktails infused with local ingredients, served in the top-floor restaurant and bar, overlooking the runway.
The room: Stick with a Standard ‒ all rooms are nicely kitted out with wall-high art prints, red leather chairs and crisp white linen, plus polished, grey-tiled bathrooms.

This article has been tagged Destination, Hotels