Airport hotels used to be where travelers stayed when they had a long layover, an early flight out the following day, or were jetting into a city just to attend a short meeting or event. Today, however, airport hotels are evolving, in part because airports are becoming more attractive places to spend time. As points out, new properties built inside terminals are not simply a convenient option for travelers in the midst of a journey, but are becoming resort-like venues and bona fide destinations of their own.

Airport Hotels Evolve

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport is built right into the terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport (DTW). The luxury hotel has its own security checkpoint, and non-flying guests can get passes that enable them to take advance of the restaurants and shops in the terminal. The fitness center and pool overlook the main runway.

In Florida, swimmers at The Hyatt Hotel at Orlando International Airport (MCO) have full view of the tarmac while they take a dip, while the Orlando Inn will retrieve guests’ luggage at baggage claim and deliver it directly to their room.

There are two upscale airport hotels at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW) and one will open at Denver International Airport (DEN) in November. A growing number of cities, including Atlanta, Minneapolis/Saint Paul and New Orleans, are planning similar hotel projects.  In New York, the option to create a hotel is included in the $4 billion makeover of LaGuardia Airport, and a hotel complex with 505 guest rooms and 40,000 sq. ft. of event space is included as part of the redesign of the old TWA terminal at John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK).

At many of the luxury airport hotels, visitors and guests can take advantage of spa services or enjoy a meal at an acclaimed restaurant.

An Attractive Option When Stranded

Airport hotels provide an attractive option to travelers who get stranded at the airport due to mechanical problems or an unexpected storm. Instead of sleeping on the floor or across three uncomfortable chairs, they can check into a comfortable hotel for a few hours, or overnight.

While most of the airport hotels in the United States today are decidedly upscale, more low-end properties may be opening in the future. Capsule hotels, which are popular in Japan, offer tiny rooms with just the most basic of amenities. This may be perfect for travelers needing a quiet place to shower or catch a few hours of sleep before continuing on their journeys. Capsule hotels have been introduced under the British brand Yotel at Gatwick Airport (LGW), Heathrow Airport (LHR) and Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS).