Cancellations, delays and lost baggage are setting a chaotic theme for overseas holidays this summer. Unsurprisingly, a trip to the airport now fills most people with dread.
Unfortunately, there are no immediate solutions to the problems currently facing airlines – but there are ways we can make the whole experience less of a drag, particularly if you’re travelling with family.
Booking a stay at an airport hotel is a sure-fire way to ease stress and avoid hours wasted pacing up and down terminals. No longer a place to simply sleep and shower before or after a flight, many are now as glam as their city-based counterparts.
Add an extra night to your trip at one of these gate-side stops, to guarantee your holiday extends beyond take-off and touch-down.
TWA Hotel, New York
In the days before dreary document checks and snaking security queues, airports exuded glamour. Part of the 1962 Trans World Airlines Flight Center designed by Finnish architect Eero Saarinen (famous for bringing the tulip chair into the world), this retro-themed hotel revives the buzz and excitement once associated with flying.
Book in for an overnight stay or short stints from four to 12 hours, to experience a range of restaurants and facilities. Take a dip in a heated infinity pool overlooking the runway; workout in a 10,000 sq ft fitness centre with 14 Peloton bikes and a yoga studio; or get your skates on for weekend Roll-A-Ramas in the world’s only outdoor skating rink on airport tarmac (from $20).
A 1958 Lockheed Constellation airplane, which once served as an Alaskan bush plane, has been transformed into cocktail lounge ‘Connie’, while a Twister Room provides an opportunity to relieve any airport-induced anger by playing a wall-to-wall version of the 1960s game.
For true aviation nerds, there’s a chance to explore exhibitions of TWA memorabilia, curated by New York historians. Artefacts include a flight attendant’s logbook, uniforms, vintage lounge furniture and 1960s inflight amenities, including gilded playing cards and silver serving ware.
How: A Daytripper stay (4-12 hours) starts from £124 for four hours. An overnight stay costs from £322, including unlimited local and international calls. Visit twahotel.com.
Northern Light Inn, Iceland
A geothermal power station might not sound like the best bedroom view, but the space-age setting of this designer hotel fits with Iceland’s other-worldly appeal.
A short distance from the international airport at Keflavik via a free shuttle service, this family run boutique hotel, wellness spa and restaurant is within easy reach of the Blue Lagoon and far enough from light pollution to make aurora viewing a possibility.
The wellness centre features a range of facilities to ease post or pre-flight stress: relax in a floatation tank, sit in a sauna; or revitalise limbs with compression therapy, using wraparound pads to reduce swelling and fatigue. Also in the hotel is Max’s Restaurant, named in honor of the owner’s golden retriever, which serves local foods, Nordic specialties and select wines.
How: From £223 per night, room only. Visit nli.is.
Radisson Blu Stansted, UK
Got an early morning take off or late landing? This smart hotel with 500 bedrooms or suites located along a covered walkway from the main terminal of this London airport services travellers at one of the UK’s busiest airports. A 14m refrigerated glass wine tower housing thousands of bottles of wine runs through the centre of the Wine Tower Bar, where acrobatic ‘Wine Angels’ in harnesses provide entertainment and fetch refreshment for visitors below. The hotel is also home to the PACE Health Club, which offers cardio and resistance training equipment, an indoor pool, sauna and steam room in which to while away the time before and after flights. The club holds daily exercise classes, including spinning, yoga, aqua aerobics and swimming lessons for all fitness levels.
How: From £103 per night, room only. Visit radissonhotels.com.