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Plane spotters and #AvGeeks everywhere love a good runway view, but when it’s from your hotel bed, it’s even better. These 10 airport hotels provide prime views that are worth shelling out extra for if you’re seeking a place to sleep near the runway.
1. Fairmont Vancouver Airport (YVR)
This luxury property sits atop the airport terminal, with rooms that overlook the runway, transborder departure gates (aka. flights to the US) and parts of the central terminal. Higher floors are obviously the best, but telescopes mean that there’s plenty to see no matter where you are. The hotel has even created a plane spotting guide, found on the desk in each room, to help people in their quest to see them all. Budding pilots can even book a special package that bundles together flight simulator lessons with the room rate, but you must call the hotel in advance to guarantee availability first.
2. Houston Airport Marriott at George Bush Intercontinental (IAH)
Recently updated from top to bottom, this hotel is located on the airport grounds, providing excellent runway views and a birds-eye perspective of United’s major hub. Views are equally awesome from the meeting rooms or the revolving restaurant on top of the hotel. Request even-numbered rooms in the south tower to survey Terminal C or odd-numbered room that overlook Terminal B and the control tower. Higher floors offer the best views, especially those that end in -70 and higher on the even-numbered side.
3. Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino St. Maarten (SXM)
Ask any true fan of aviation what their favorite airport approach is and SXM is sure to pop up. The Sonesta Maho Beach Resort & Casino St. Maarten has several buildings so it’s important to request an airport-view room on a high floor. This gives you a great spot to snap photos and watch the rush of planes that begin arriving midday. Beachgoers duck down to avoid being brushed by an engine, which is quite an experience in itself. Take note of when the larger aircraft are scheduled to arrive from Europe — the most popular is the KLM 747-400 from Amsterdam.
4. Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel (ATL)
With balconies that look over the tarmac and a pair of the airport’s runways, the Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel is yet another favorite. A constant stream of planes touch down and lift off almost right in front of the hotel. As the world’s busiest airport, the action is entertaining no matter the hour. Keep in mind that only one side of the hotel faces the airport (the other overlooks a parking lot), but the good news is that the views are excellent no matter floor you end up on.
5. Renaissance London Heathrow Hotel (LHR)
In the perfect position on the edge of the runway, this recently remodeled Renaissance property has windows that peer out to the spot where many aircraft lift off or begin their rollout on landing. Heathrow’s sheer number of international carriers and the variety of aircraft that go through it make this a plane spotter’s dream. For a real treat, request a runway-facing room or book one of the plane spotter packages that include club lounge access and breakfast.
6. Radisson Blu Hotel Manchester Airport (MAN)
This urbane hotel is directly connected to one of England’s busiest airports and has apron views from many rooms, the restaurant and the bar and lounge. Be sure to show your preference for aviation at check-in lest you be given a room facing the parking lot.
7. Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol (AMS)
One of the most iconic buildings in the heart of Schiphol is the new Hilton, with its uniquely shaped windows and exceptional views of the active tarmac and runways. Chances are, you’ll get to see every single member of KLM’s fleet at some point, but there is a fun variety from other world airlines, too. Avoid rooms facing the interior atrium if you want to snap plane pics, or at least book the swanky club lounge, which also looks out toward the airport and control tower.
8. Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel (SYD)
Located closer to the international terminals at SYD, the Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel gives you a front row seat to all the action. While a large part of the tarmac is hidden from view, you can still expect to see plenty of runway and aircraft movement from the rooms and conference areas.
9. Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport (MCO)
Not only is this property convenient — the entrance is in the middle of the airport terminal — it also offers excellent views from open-air balconies. The higher the floor, the better. And the faint smell of jet fuel only adds to the experience.
10. Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport (CDG)
You’re not dreaming — that is an authentic Concorde aircraft mounted on a stand outside your window. You’ll also get to see impressive views of Terminal 1 and various aircraft as they taxi past the hotel. While the Sheraton sits atop Terminal 2 and offers amazing runway and tarmac vistas, the Hilton wins out because the legendary Concorde sits in the foreground.
What are some of your favorite airport hotels?
Featured image courtesy of Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport’s Facebook page.
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