In the high school cafeteria of the hotel industry, airport accommodations are generally the equivalent of the headgear-wearing captain of the local larping society.
But get ready for a She’s All That–style transformation, because airport hotels are in the midst of a major makeover. Gone are the breakfast buffets with overcooked eggs, weak coffee and disturbingly bright overhead lighting. Instead, travelers sip fine Champagne in an elegant salon, or order room service from one of London’s favorite sushi shops, without traveling far from the tarmac. Ready to check in and check it out? Bring a good appetite and an open mind. Here are the world’s six best airport hotels for culinary travelers.
1. Fairmont Vancouver Airport
In addition to killer views of the Shore Mountains (book a room on the north side for the best vistas), the 392-room Fairmont at Vancouver’s bustling airport has a delightfully Canadian amenity for those bringing bait and tackle on board. An onsite Fish Valet packs and stores guests’ best catches in a 575-cubic-foot freezer upon check-in, to ensure locally caught Pacific salmon and halibut flies as freshly as possible. Toast your catch at the Jetside Bar, which, in addition to a full bar, has an unexpectedly enjoyable afternoon tea between 2:00 – 4:30 p.m. daily.
2. Regal Airport Hotel
Frequently voted the world’s best airport hotel by the dedicated travelers who fill out such surveys, Regal is a 1,000-key behemoth within walking distance of the passenger terminal at Hong Kong International Airport. Head straight to Rouge, one of six on-site bars and restaurants, and enjoy traditional Cantonese fare like tea-smoked chicken, or braised grouper with bitter melon in black bean sauce. Or consider one of the remarkably well-priced tasting menus, which include five courses like baked stuffed sea conch and sautéed clams with asparagus for a mere $42.
3. Sofitel London Heathrow
A short walk from Heathrow’s Terminal 5, Sofitel brings Gallic chic to the London gateway. Of the five onsite bars and restaurants, the Perrier-Jouet Bar feels the furthest from the tarmac. The elegant Champagne bar pours an impressive list of French wines and Champagnes by the glass in an airy, gold-flecked atrium, and is the sort of place where road-weary business travelers start talking about Baudelaire before wishing each other Bon voyage.
4. Radisson Blu Zurich Airport
With a prime location across from Terminal One, and Nordic chic interiors by Matteo Thun, ZIA’s Radisson Blu gives good stopover. At the Vegas-tastic Angels’ Wine Tower Bar, acrobatic, costume-clad servers access 4,000 bottles of wine and Champagne from a 50-foot-tall tower in the lobby’s multi-story glass atrium. Because nothing says wilkommen like a sommelier in white latex.
5. Yotel Gatwick
Sushi at the airport is generally a bad idea, but the Yotel at London Gatwick provides a compelling argument to the contrary. The first capsule hotel from the founder of London’s popular Yo Sushi chain, Yotel Gatwick’s guestrooms have Jetsons-worthy design and a high-tech room service menu of surprisingly tasty salmon rolls and crispy haddock cakes. Complimentary coffee, tea and hot chocolate are also available 24-7.
6. Kempinski Airport Hotel, Munchen
Munich International may be one of Europe’s busiest airports, but its long hallways, lackluster eateries and endless rows of escalators tend to underwhelm. Enter Kempinski, which has a 15,000-square-foot lobby complete with soaring palm trees and a bar pouring stellar local beers like Konig Pilsener and Hofbrau Dunkel just minutes from the runway. Looking for more of a salubrious stopover? Consider a fresh-pressed juice from the swim-up bar at the onsite indoor pool instead.
More travel guides on Food Republic: