Features

Location, Location, Location of airport hotels

30 Nov 2011

Is staying close to the airport a highly convenient alternative or a last-ditch option? We offer the lowdown on a wide-ranging selection of airport hotels 

The editorial team is often on the road and have had a chance to stay at a variety of airport hotels in the past couple of months. In part one of our two-part series, we find that like non-airport hotels, not all are created equal.

NOVOTEL SUVARNABHUMI (BANGKOK)

ROOMS 612 guestrooms classified as superior, executive, and junior or executive suites.

INTERNET RATE Superior room costs from US$134 without breakfast and includes tax; Executive Premier Floor room costs from US$203 with breakfast and tax.

DETAILS 999 Samutprakarn 10540, Thailand; tel +66 2 131 1111; wwwnovotelairportbkk.com

FROM/TO AIRPORT The hotel’s 24-hour shuttle van is stationed outside Gate 4 of the arrivals hall and departs every 15 minutes. This is similar for the departure time from the property.

CHECK-IN/CHECK-OUT TIME A 24-hour flexi policy is adhered to, meaning if you come in at 1800, you can check out at 1800 with no extra charge. I arrived at 1500 but since I had an early morning flight the next day, I couldn’t take advantage of this perk.

SURROUNDINGS The hotel is part of the sprawling Suvarnabhumi Airport complex, which features no lifestyle offerings. If you are desperate to shop and have time, you can leave your belongings in your room, dash back to the airport, jump onto the Airport Rail Link’s Express Line (departing every 30 minutes) and be at the Makkasan station in 15 minutes, where you can connect to the MRT underground train for downtown Bangkok.

COMFORT My superior room was on level 2 and not far from the lifts. It had a king bed and windows overlooking the pool area. Its navy-blue tones put me in a relaxed mood immediately.

WIFI Provided free only for executive room guests and costs THB200 (US$6.50) for one hour, THB500 (US$16) for 12 hours and THB700 (US$23) for 24 hours.

BREAKFAST Having had an after-midnight meal earlier and rushing to catch my flight, I skipped the buffet spread at The Square.

F&B OUTLETS Since this property also doubles as a meetings and events hub, there is quite a range of F&B outlets. These include the round-the-clock restaurant The Square (where I came to have a much delayed dinner at 0130); Kinsen Japanese Restaurant; Golden Village Chinese Restaurant; and Sala Thai, as well as the Atrium Terrace and Splash Poolside Terrace.

OTHER FACILITIES There is a pillarless grand ballroom, a lushly landscaped pool and Vous spa with an extensive menu.

VERDICT I have stayed twice at this property and have had a good night’s sleep both times. The range of facilities backs its claims to be more than just a transit hotel.

Margie T Logarta

HILTON CHICAGO O’HARE AIRPORT (CHICAGO)

ROOMS 860 rooms, including junior suites.

INTERNET RATE Basic rooms start from US$229 without breakfast, and junior suites start from US$329 for a stay in mid-December.

DETAILS O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois, 60666; International Free Number: +800 4445 8667; www.hilton.com

FROM/TO AIRPORT The hotel is a short, easy walk from Terminals 1, 2, 3 and a free shuttle bus is available from Terminal 5 (leaves approximately every 15mins) taking only a few minutes.

CHECK-IN/CHECK-OUT TIME Check-in is at 1500 and check-out is at 1200.

SURROUNDINGS The hotel is located at Terminal 2 (the only hotel in the airport grounds) amidst mostly aircraft and parking stations. There is a pleasant grassy area at the back of the hotel with seating.

COMFORT My junior suite included a sofa, coffee table, reclining chair and work desk, plus a king-sized bed, and coffee- and tea-making facilities. The bathroom was extremely small, especially in comparison to the room, with a combined bath and shower.

WIFI Provided free in-room for Hilton HHonors Gold and Diamond members, otherwise it is charged at US$8.50 per hour, or US$15.50 to US$17.50 for 24 hours, rate dependent on speed and bandwidth. There is free internet in the lobby area.

BREAKFAST As breakfast was not included, I waited to eat at the airport, but most guests eat breakfast in all-day dining outlet Andiamo.

F&B OUTLETS Other than Andiamo there is grab-and-go Caffee Mercato and Sports Edition Bar. There is also fine-dining restaurant Gaslight Club, but it is not operated by the hotel.

OTHER FACILITIES There are a host: ATM machine, foreign currency exchange, gift shop, 743 sqm fitness centre, pool, 43 meeting rooms ranging in size from 325 sqm to 1,066 sqm and three ballrooms, as well as a business centre with UPS. Pets are allowed.

VERDICT Top marks for convenience but the hotel is looking tired (it opened in 1991) and I found my room, although big, uncomfortable as the carpet appeared unclean (am sure it was just worn) and the bathroom was disturbing, more toilet with shower than bathroom with toilet.

Vicki Williams

HOTEL IBIS FRANKFURT AIRPORT (FRANKFURT)

ROOMS The property has 132 rooms (all 18 sqm), including ones for people with reduced mobility. All come with free internet, although breakfast is optional.

INTERNET RATE For a weekday in mid-December, online rates start from €69 (US$97) without breakfast and €79 (US$110) with. But it seems that you get better deals by just walking in.

DETAILS Langer Kornweg 9a-1165451 Kelsterbach, Germany; tel +49 6107 9870; www.ibishotel.com

FROM/TO THE AIRPORT I arrived at the airport at 2200 and, deterred by the €260 (US$365) “best available rate” at the adjacent Sheraton, found this hotel online. Too tired to try to find the free shuttle bus (which runs between 0445 and 2315), I took a taxi to this hotel, which cost me €15 (US$21). In the morning, I took the shuttle bus back to the airport. The ride took about 15 minutes.

CHECK-IN/CHECK-OUT TIME I checked in at around 2230 and was told that my check-out time was 1200, with the option to extend it to 1500. I took the option.

SURROUNDINGS This is really the most basic of airport hotels, located in a rather deserted area with nothing but a strip mall across the road. It wasn’t open when I was there, but even if it were, I would be unlikely to make much use of it. You come here for the bed and the shower.

COMFORT The basic lobby has a counter for check-in, check-out and information, and there is a small bar next to it from which simple food is served round the clock. I had a palatable goulash.

WIFI It is free and you can access it anywhere in the hotel with your password. But it does not support multiple gadgets simultaneously.

BREAKFAST It is included, and it was quite a good selection for a budget hotel brand. Other than the usual cereals, toast and fruits, there were cold cuts and even smoked salmon – not too bad for a budget airport hotel.

F&B OUTLETS Only the very simple bar area and the restaurant for breakfast.

OTHER FACILITIES Nil

VERDICT I paid €60 (US$84) for the night and for that price, I felt that it was good value. The bed was reasonably comfortable and the shower was strong. The free wifi, 24-hour food offerings and smoked salmon at breakfast were unexpected and pleasant surprises. The location is slightly inconvenient but the other option, Sheraton, which is linked to the airport, was significantly more expensive. Even with the cab fare included, staying here was worth it.

Reggie Ho

HILTON HELSINKI AIRPORT HOTEL (HELSINKI)

ROOMS 264 rooms, including five suites with private saunas.

INTERNET RATE Internet rates for one night in December in an entry-level room, including breakfast, start at €124 (US$171).

DETAILS Lentajankuja 1, Vantaa, Finland; tel +358 9 73220; www.hilton.com

FROM/TO THE AIRPORT The hotel is a five-minute walk from the arrivals hall of Helsinki Airport, via a covered walkway. Fortunately, you can take luggage trolleys all the way up to the entrance of the hotel.

CHECK-IN/CHECK-OUT TIME Check-in starts at 1400 and check-out is at 1200.

SURROUNDINGS Dreary and drab since the hotel is surrounded by the airport’s infrastructure alone and there was nothing else within walking distance; but then again, with Helsinki vying to be a major transit hub, the importance of a great view is overshadowed by having quality facilities so close to the airport. There are large shopping malls, such as a jumbo Stockmann store, a 10-minute drive away from the airport and hotel for those who have time to spare.

COMFORT The lobby is large with a high ceiling and plenty of natural light making it inviting and refreshing, especially after long flights. The décor is simple and contemporary and though rooms are quite small, measuring from 28 sqm up to 58 sqm, they are cleverly designed to include all essential amenities without feeling clustered. I found the bedside tables especially clever as they were built into the wall thus saving more space. Bathrooms have both a bathtub and a rain shower.

WIFI Wireless and wired internet rates start from €10 (US$14) for 24 hours.

BREAKFAST The hotel serves a wide variety of ordinary breakfast staples, including a large fruit buffet.

F&B OUTLETS There is one restaurant, where the breakfast is served, and a bar located beside it; both are located in the lobby and benefit from the same comfortable and spacious feel.

OTHER FACILITIES Since Finland has a prominent sauna culture, the hotel of course offers a sauna as well as a gym and a small business centre next to the reception. It also has six meeting rooms, and a ballroom that can accommodate up to 340 people.

VERDICT Excellent for an airport hotel considering most people would spend no more than two days at most here.

Alisha Haridasani

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