Helipads - Sky is the Limit

31 May 2010

Helipads have many functions. Some hotels prefer to keep a low profile and only use helicopters to ferry the crème de la crème, while others are happy to open up the opportunity to any of their residents for the right price. Some hotels only use their helipads for absolute emergencies, and yet others market it as the perfect venue for an incentive cocktail or a dinner party. But, as our team found out, having a helipad is not as rare as one would think and there is at least one hotel with a helipad for every major destination.



Burj Al Arab

The tallest and one of the most luxurious all-suite hotels in the world, Burj Al Arab is built in the shape of a sail on a reclaimed island. Hanging at 211m above sea level, like a flying saucer, the hotel’s helipad once served as a tennis court for a match between sports legends Andre Agassi and Roger Federer. Since this public relations stunt to promote the Dubai Men’s Open in 2005, only a few very select events have been held there.

Burj Al Arab Helipad

The Burj Al Arab helicopter airport transfer service is the most popular service, making use of two Augusta 109 Executive helicopters, operated by a local company. For hotel residents, the nine-minute, one-way journey covering 25km costs AED10,000 (US$2,722) for one person, AED11,500 (US$3,130) for two, AED13,000 (US$3,538) for three and AED14,500 (US$3,947) for four passengers. The price includes perks such as assistance from hotel representatives and the use of the VIP lounge. Other types of scenic aerial tours can be arranged.




The Peninsula

Offering a harbour view with Hongkong’s iconic skyline, The Peninsula is a byword for luxury and elegance and has long been a favourite of the premium business traveller. The helicopter flight, which takes off from the rooftop helipad, can be used both for airport transfers and sightseeing.

The Peninsula Hong Kong Helipad

The hotel offers a special “Fly and Dine” package for two people starting at HK$5,370 (US$691). You can take your business partner or a loved one on a 15-minute sightseeing flight of one of the world’s most awesome cityscapes and the surrounding islands. Landing back at the hotel, you can choose any of the hotel’s fine-dining restaurants for lunch or dinner.




The Hyatt Regency Kathmandu is one of the few five-star hotels in Nepal. The hotel’s helicopter service can be used to explore the breathtaking views of the Himalayas. One favoured option is to book the helicopter for an early morning flight to the lower reaches of Mount Everest for a breakfast that will be unforgettable.

Hyatt Regency Kathmandu Helipad

The Hyatt Regency team will provide five-star catering. They recommend you take a bottle of champagne to celebrate your “peak of achievement”.



Carcosa Seri Negara

Visitors to any Formula 1 event know well that the roads leading to the circuit often see more drama than the race itself.

The colonial hotel of Carcosa Seri Negara in Kuala Lumpur found an ingenious solution. The manicured lawns at the Seri Negara mansion can be turned into a helipad and have been used to ferry groups of spectators to the race. The flight is around 20 minutes and can save hours of being stuck in Kuala Lumpur’s notorious traffic jams.

The hotel is able to offer the commuter service to individuals as well as small groups.




The Peninsula

Located in the heart of Makati City, the Philippine’s premier financial hub,  “The Pen Manila” charges in-house guests P2,000 (US$43.88) and non in-house guests P2,500 (US$54.85) for landing rights on the rooftop helipad.

The hotel’s Peninsula Academy aims at offering residents a truly unique experience through educational programmes and adventures that enrich the spirit. It is in the process of developing aerial tours to two popular tourist attractions, one to the tiny island of Corregidor and one to Taal, the smallest volcano in the world.

Despite some requests to use the helipad to stage events, the hotel has not yet acquiesced to the idea.




Crown Entertainment Complex

Located on the north bank of the Yarra River, the Batman Park helipad is a couple of minutes’ walk across the bridge from the Crown Entertainment complex, which houses the Crown Towers, the Crown Promenade and the soon-to-open Crown Metropol hotels as well as the Crown Convention Centre. The location is also ideal for those attending events at the Melbourne Convention and Exhibition Centre.

Aside from airport transfers, Melbourne Helicopters offers a range of trips such as a city overview, flights to the Mornington Peninsula and into the wine country of the Yarra Valley.

www.melbournehelicopters.com.au and www.crowntowers.com.au


Royal Cliff Beach Resort

Pattaya is Thailand’s leading mainland beach resort and sits along the Gulf of Thailand just over an hour from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi International Airport.

The Royal Cliff Beach Resort complex consists of four hotels, the Royal Cliff Beach Hotel, the Royal Cliff Beach Terrace, the Grand Hotel and Spa and the Royal Wing Suites and Spa, offering a total of over 1,000 rooms. The complex also includes the Pattaya Exhibition and Convention Hall (PEACH). This makes the resort one of the largest and most popular meetings venues in the country.

The resort has two helipads, one at the Grand Hotel and Spa and the other at PEACH.

The latter helipad gained international fame during the 2009 Asean Summit, since it was used to evacuate Southeast Asian leaders from the forum when it was overrun by Thai anti-government protesters.





Last October, the Hilton Shanghai was finally able to use its rooftop helipad for the first time since opening 21 years ago, albeit not for its original purpose but at least for a high-profile event.

After some persistent lobbying of city officials, the hotel was able to host the “Meet the Masters” evening cocktails in the 43rd floor venue. The event brought together the world’s top tennis players and sponsors in a convivial setting of drinks and photo opportunities. And now, with the World Expo Shanghai 2010 in full swing, the signature space will certainly be put to good use again.

The helipad measures around 300sqm and can accommodate up to 100 guests for both cocktails and sit-down dinners. Weddings and product launches can also be arranged there. Charges per person start from CNY350 (US$50).


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