Sleep with the planes: 10 best airport hotels in the United States and Canada

Nov 14, 2019

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There are airport hotels, and then there are hotels in airports. Those two are as similar as tuna fish and caviar.

Generic airport hotels are a dime a dozen. They range in quality from “good enough” to “avoid at all costs,” and generally require at least a shuttle bus to get to your bed and shower.

Hotels within airports, on the other hand, can be your oasis on a long travel day. These are the hotels where you sleep near the airplanes without even leaving the property. You can have tarmac views and skip all of the extra transitions, meaning you can be at your final destination for the night within minutes of landing.

Related: These are the most and least expensive U.S. airports in the U.S.

The presidential suite at the Grand Hyatt DFW has a view of the tarmac. (Photo courtesy of Grand Hyatt DFW)

Not only are runway views pretty clutch for the AvGeeks among us, but at the end of a long travel day, sometimes one more step than necessary to get where you’re going is one too many. With young kids along for the ride, I religiously seek out hotels within the airport whenever possible on travel days that are set to start or end beyond our regularly scheduled hours of operation.

Whether you want to catch up on your planespotting or simply maximize your sleeping hours before or after a flight, here are our 10 favorite hotels within (or attached to) airports in the U.S. and Canada.

Grand Hyatt at SFO

Guest room with a view of the tarmac at the Grand Hyatt
Guest room with a view of the tarmac at the Grand Hyatt at SFO. (Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

Frequent flyers out of San Francisco International Airport are rejoicing with the recent opening of the airport’s first on-site hotel, the Grand Hyatt at SFO. Accessible by AirTrain — which means no waiting for the shuttle bus — puts this new hotel at the top of the list for SFO travelers. The hotel’s station gives you easy access to all of SFO’s terminals, a BART station and the rental car center.

TPG plans to check the hotel out for ourselves, soon, but based on the stats, the hotel, has 351 guest rooms, including 22 suites, and a Grand Club.

You can book an overnight guest room, many of which have views of the airport and surrounding hills. Or you can book a “micro stay” at a day-use room starting at $125 for six hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.

Grand Hyatt at SFO
There’s even a view from the bathroom! (Photo courtesy of Booking.com)

Room redemptions are available from 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night. You can also find points + cash rates (10k points + $90 when we checked) or a club upgrade room from $179 plus 3,000 points. Those points can come from the World of Hyatt Credit Card or be transferred 1:1 from Chase Ultimate Rewards.

TWA Hotel at New York-JFK

The Sunken Lounge. (Photo by Brendan Dorsey / TPG)

There’s kitsch and then there’s the retro-futuristic TWA Hotel at New York-JFK’s Terminal 5 — the only on-site hotel at the international airport. Two six-story hotel wings were built onto either side of the original Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal, which first opened in 1962. The 512-room hotel opened in May 2019.

Initially, it had a few kinks to work out, but is now turning out to be a king of the airport hotels.

TWA Hotel guest room. (Photo by Alberto Riva/TPG)

The TWA Hotel is a throwback to the golden age of travel and is decked out with everything from the era — including rooms with vintage aviation posters, working rotary phones and TWA amenity kits.

The rooftop bar and pool that overlook JFK’s runways are a coveted spot for AvGeeks and other guests (non-guests can pay to access the pool). There are a total of six restaurants. Rates for many dates start around $215 per night with day-use rooms also available.

A pool with a view. (Photo by Brendan Dorsey/The Points Guy)

The TWA Hotel even has an excellent 10,000-square-foot fitness center, in case you need to get some movement in before boarding your next flight.

The Peloton Room in the TWA Hotel gym. (Courtesy of the TWA Hotel)
The Peloton Room in the TWA Hotel gym. (Courtesy of the TWA Hotel)

Fairmont Vancouver Airport

Years ago, after we’d cleared customs on a late-night arrival in Vancouver, there was no more welcome sight for our tired family than that of the Fairmont Vancouver, a five-minute walk from the U.S. departures level at Vancouver International Airport (YVR).

Fairmont Vancouver guest room. (Image courtesy of Fairmont Vancouver)

This is not your run-of-the-mill airport hotel. Here you’ll find a spa, indoor pool, afternoon tea and a lounge for eligible guests. If you want the best they have to offer, you can pay more for runway views in a renovated room. Rates start at under $200 US per night, and Fairmont is now a part of the Le Club Accor loyalty program.

Westin Detroit Airport

Should your travel plans land you at the Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), you can sleep near the planes without leaving the airport in a room at the Westin Detroit Airport.

Image courtesy of Westin Detroit Airport
(Image courtesy of Westin Detroit Airport)

Rooms at this Category 5 hotel will set you back 35,000 Marriott points per night on standard dates (so consider using an up to 35k certificate from the Marriott Bonvoy Business™ American Express® Card or Marriott Bonvoy Boundless™ Credit Card). Sadly, standard rooms do not guarantee a runway view. However, all guests of the hotel can make use of the hotel’s dedicated TSA security line.

Do note that the hotel is located within the McNamara Terminal that serves Delta; those flying other airlines may need to take the hotel shuttle to the airport.

Grand Hyatt DFW at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport

The Grand Hyatt at DFW is one of my favorite airport hotels, as it has played host to many beginnings and endings for our journeys. The hotel is inside DFW‘s Terminal D, which is accessible by the Skylink train from other terminals. Coincidentally, this location also places the hotel close to the Amex Centurion Lounge at DFW.

(Photo courtesy of the Grand Hyatt DFW)

Here you will find runway views, large 450-square-foot rooms, above-average menu items in the restaurant and a rooftop saltwater pool. If you have time for a workout or spa treatment, the Grand Hyatt DFW has those, too.

The downside is that rates can get pricey here, generally starting in the $200-to-$300-per-night range. You can also use 20,000 World of Hyatt points per night for your stay.

Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport

Families take note because your Orlando vacation just got better. The Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport hotel is as inside the terminal as it gets. The hotel’s location puts it close to all MCO airport terminals and, coincidentally, right next to the airport Disney and Universal Studios gift shops (consider yourself warned if you have little shoppers).

Hyatt Regency MCO. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Take the elevator up to the hotel or down to clear security lines with virtually no wasted steps.

There are 445 rooms, and you can have food delivered to your room from the hotel’s McCoy’s Bar & Grill or just walk to the airport’s nearby food court or sit-down restaurants, such as Macaroni Grill and Chick-fil-A. There’s even an outdoor heated pool with seasonal poolside service.

Cash rates are often $200 or more, but using 12,000 World of Hyatt points is a steal at this property with its light-filled atrium. You could also use an annual Category 1–4 award from the World of Hyatt Credit Card.

Hyatt Regency MCO. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)
Hyatt Regency MCO. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Staying here with your family after landing in (or before departing from) Orlando is a wise move — especially if you have an evening flight to the theme-park capital or are positioning yourself the night before a cruise out of Port Canaveral (because ships wait for no one).

Westin Denver

The drive along I-70 to the mountains can sometimes be a tricky experience during winter weather, so even if you didn’t plan an overnight at Denver International Airport (DEN), you may find yourself needing somewhere to hunker down.

Westin Denver Airport Hotel. (Photo bySummer Hull/The Points Guy)

This hotel is technically not in the airport, but it is connected to the airport’s Jeppesen Terminal by an extremely short covered walkway, right next to where you will clear security.

View of Denver Airport from the room. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

Rooms here (with oh-so-Heavenly beds) will set you back 35,000 Marriott points per night (on standard dates), but if you just need a place to rest during the day, ask about discounted day rates. That tip applies to pretty much all of these hotels.

Westin Denver International Airport guest room. (Photo by Summer Hull/The Points Guy)

If you have time and energy to explore or get some exercise, the hotel has an indoor pool. The hotel also is connected to Denver’s commuter rail, which takes you Downtown Denver in less than 40 minutes. You can then connect onto the Winter Park Express Train and avoid driving completely.

Tampa Airport Marriott

If you need to rest at the Tampa International Airport (TPA) without stepping outside, look to the Tampa Airport Marriott. Like many other Marriott airport hotels, awards here cost 35k points per night on standard dates. What is unique about this hotel is that day-use rooms can even be booked online.

Image courtesy of the Tampa Marriott Airport Hotel
(Image courtesy of the Tampa Marriott Airport Hotel)

There’s a rooftop pool, and if you have Marriott elite status, you might even benefit from the club-level rooms at this in-terminal hotel.

InterContinental Minneapolis – St. Paul Airport

If you want to stay in the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP), your answer is in Terminal 1 at the InterContinental MSP. Standard rooms in the hotel are normally bookable from $150 or more, or 35,000 IHG points per night. You can also use the anniversary free night certificate that comes with the IHG Rewards Club Premier Credit Card. (The certificate is valid for hotels with redemption rates up to 40,000 points per night.) The hotel also appeared on a recent IHG PointBreaks list for 15,000 points per night, which is a great deal for such pre- or post-flight convenience.

Image courtesy of InterContinental Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport.
(Image courtesy of InterContinental Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport)

You probably won’t get bored during a stay at this hotel, as there is a complimentary shuttle to the Mall of America, which is just five minutes away.

Excelling not just at runway views, the hotel also has a direct-access TSA checkpoint, spa, thermal pool and outdoor courtyard.

Image courtesy of the MSP Intercontinental Hotel
(Image courtesy of InterContinental Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport)

Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto International Airport

This Sheraton with close to 500 rooms is connected to Terminal 3 of Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ). It has a club lounge, an indoor pool and costs 35k Marriott points per night on standard dates. While the location can’t be beat for easily-accessible rest at YYZ, some reviews mention noise and the need for an update, so this property may be a notch below others on the list.

(Image courtesy of the Sheraton Gateway Toronto Airport)

Bottom line

Airport hotels are not all drab, depressing places that are only for weary travelers who get stuck overnight. Some hotels within airports are very nice, especially if you are the type of aviation enthusiast who enjoys sleeping that close to the planes.

And if you’re a true AvGeek passing through Southern California who prizes planespotting over, say, food, then you may want to look into the H Hotel at LAX, which won the heart of our managing editor, Alberto Riva.

Featured image by Brendan Dorsey, The Points Guy.

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Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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