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While there are plenty of reasons to choose a centrally located hotel in your destination of choice, there are also several circumstances where staying at an airport hotel makes more sense. TPG Senior Points & Miles Contributor Jason Steele explores some of the best properties connected to airports both in the US and abroad.
Most of the time, airports are a necessary evil; spaces that we must cross through in order to make it to our flight on time. But by staying nearby — at a hotel that’s just steps away from the terminal — the airport can become a refuge, a resource and possibly even a destination.
This was my conclusion after spending a night in the remarkable new Westin hotel attached to Denver International Airport. In today’s post, I’ll take a closer look at Denver’s new Westin and several other hotels attached to airports.
The Case for Staying at the Airport
A late arrival, an early departure or a very short visit to a city are all examples of when you might want to stay within the vicinity of an airport. But unfortunately, staying at a property just outside of an airport can be very inconvenient. A hotel’s free airport shuttle bus is helpful, but it can operate sporadically and make multiple stops, and you never know when the number of waiting passengers will exceed its capacity.
Budgeting for these and other potential delays is always necessary and can rob you of valuable time to sleep, eat or relax before an early morning flight. Furthermore, the neighborhoods surrounding a major airport are generally not the best parts of town — properties can be drab at best, and services can be lacking at an off-airport hotel surrounded by parking lots, industrial areas or empty fields.
Contrast that with my recent stay at the Westin Denver International Airport. Its stunning lobby occupies a space that evokes the curved lines of the old TWA terminal at New York’s JFK airport (which itself will eventually be converted into the only hotel on that airport’s property). The guest rooms are equally spectacular because of the floor-to-ceiling glass walls, the expansive views of the city of Denver, the high peaks of the Rocky Mountains and even the terminal’s distinctive white fabric peaks.
Even more impressive is the pool and fitness center on floor 13. From here, as well as from their hotel rooms, guests can view the arrivals and departures of not just aircraft, but the new commuter rail trains to Denver, which begin service in April. For more information about this project, see my post, Domestic Airport Updates to Get Excited About!
Plus, since the lobby of this 519-room hotel is just steps from the security screening areas in the terminal, I was able to clear security within five minutes of leaving my hotel room, thanks in part to my membership in both PreCheck and CLEAR. Based on my experience, just about any gate at this huge airport should be reachable within 15 minutes from any hotel room, and downtown Denver is just a 37-minute train ride. You can’t beat that!
As you might expect, this kind of luxury and convenience comes at a price. Room rates for one night at the Westin Denver International Airport have been running in the $200-$300 range, and as a Category 5 property in the Starwood Preferred Guest program, the hotel costs 12,000-16,000 per award night. You can earn points toward free nights and other redemptions by using the Starwood Preferred Guest® Credit Card from American Express.
Other Hotels Attached to Airports
To my surprise, the new Denver Westin appears to be only the 14th hotel in the US that’s actually on the property of an airport. Here are some of the other hotels attached to large international airports in the US and a few hotels of note attached to foreign airports. And with the exception of Miami, all of the airport hotels in the US are part of a major loyalty program, so you can earn points from your paid stays or redeem your points for an award night.
Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport
This 860-room hotel is the largest hotel attached to an airport in the US, and it’s just a short walk from all of the domestic terminals via an underground walkway. It’s also convenient to the train, which will get you downtown. You can even request a “runway view” room if you’re an aviation geek like me! Rooms are currently being advertised from $109 per night, and award nights cost 35,000 points at this Hilton Honors Category 5 property. You can earn Hilton Honors points from the Citi Hilton HHonors Visa Signature Card, Citi HHonors Reserve Card, the Hilton Honors Card from American Express and the Hilton Honors Surpass Card from American Express. In addition, Hilton Honors is a transfer partner of the Citi ThankYou Rewards program when you hold a Citi Premier Card or the Citi Prestige.
Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport
This 445-room property sits atop the main terminal at the Orlando Airport, just an elevator ride from security. Earlier this year, I used my annual free night stay from my Hyatt Credit Card to stay here with my family after a late-night arrival. Amenities include the Hemisphere Steak & Seafood Restaurant and McCoy’s Bar & Grill (it’s just a short indoor walk to the terminal’s food court and shopping area as well). It also features a heated outdoor pool as well as a track for walking and jogging. Prices start at around $200 a night, and award nights at this Category 3 property are 12,000 Gold Passport points. In addition to earning points with the Hyatt Card from Chase, you can transfer Ultimate Rewards points to the Hyatt Gold Passport program.
Grand Hyatt DFW
The Grand Hyatt at Dallas Fort Worth offers 298 rooms and features a restaurant, lounge and sushi bar. It also offers a full-service spa, a fitness center and a rooftop pool. Room rates start at about $180 a night, and award nights are 12,000 points at this Category 3 property. Just don’t confuse it with the nearby Hyatt Regency, which requires a shuttle to the airport terminals.
Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental
This 565-room hotel is connected to IAH airport by an underground train, which is far faster and more reliable than a shuttle bus. The hotel offers an outdoor swimming pool, an indoor fitness center and a full-service lounge and restaurant. As a Category 7 hotel, it requires 35,000 points per night. You can earn these points from the Marriott Rewards Premier Credit Card, and Marriott’s also a transfer partner of the Ultimate Rewards program.
Westin Airport Detroit
This hotel is unique in that it offers its own private security entrance to the main McNamara terminal (used by Delta, Air France and Virgin Atlantic). The 404-room property also operates a free shuttle service to the North terminal (used by all other airlines). It offers an executive club lounge, an indoor heated pool, a fitness studio and a reflections restaurant and lounge open for lunch and dinner. Room rates start at about $140 per night, and as a Category 4 property, it requires 10,000 SPG points per night for an award stay.
Philadelphia Airport Marriott
With 414 rooms, this hotel offers a direct walkway to the airport terminal, which is now a major international hub for American Airlines. The property features the Aviation Grill full-service restaurant, as well as an on-site fitness center. Rooms begin at around $150 per night, and award nights are 35,000 points at this Category 7 property.
Hilton Boston Logan
This 599-room hotel is connected by an enclosed walkway to terminals A and E, and by shuttle bus to terminals B, C and D. Interestingly, you can also reach downtown Boston in 10 minutes by water taxi. The property features a fitness center, heated indoor pool and an outdoor walking/running path. For dining, it offers the Berkshires contemporary restaurant, Connolly’s Publik House gastro-pub and the Cafe Presto coffee house. Rooms start at about $179 per night, and award nights are 50,000 points per night at this Category 7 hotel.
London Heathrow (LHR)
Heathrow has two on-site hotels, a Sofitel by Terminal 5 (where most British Airways flights depart) and a Hilton by Terminal 4 (served by Delta and other SkyTeam partners). The Hilton is connected by a relatively long, but covered walkway, but it’s still preferable to rely on a shuttle bus. Rooms tend to start in the 150 GBP range, or about $225. At this Category 7 property, award nights go for 50,000 points.
Frankfurt Airport (FRA)
Frankfurt takes the cake for having the most on-site hotels of any airport in the world, as far as I know. That’s because the airport is attached to the largest office building in Germany called The Squaire. For more information about the numerous facilities and attractions at the Frankfurt airport, read my post, Tips For Exploring Frankfurt Airport On A Layover.
The on-site hotels are:
- The Sheraton Frankfurt Airport is adjacent to the terminal and boasts 1,008 rooms, two gyms, a sauna and a steam room. As a Category 4 property, it requires 10,000 Starpoints per night for an award stay.
- The Hilton Frankfurt Airport is in the immense Squaire office building attached to the terminal and above the airport train station. The property offers its own fitness center, bar and restaurant and there are also numerous amenities available in the Squaire. It’s a Category 8 property, requiring 40,000-70,000 points per night for an award stay.
- The Hilton Garden Inn Frankfurt Airport is a more affordable option in the Hilton chain and is also nearby in the Squaire. It includes a fitness center, wellness area, sauna and steam room. It’s a Category 6 property, requiring 30,000-50,000 points per night for an award stay.
Whether you have an early departure, a late arrival or a meeting in an onsite convention center, hotels directly attached to airports can be incredibly convenient options. Luckily, many of them offer great amenities like underground access to the terminals — not to mention rooms that offer great views of the runway.
What’s your favorite hotel that’s located directly next to an airport?