Passing through Amsterdam Schiphol Airport on Saturday, it was great to see that the Airport Library is back open with plenty of comfortable seating, lots of books, a grand piano. My faroite whimsical touch: the “airport library” lampshades.
If you’re going to get Stuck at the Airport, you’d be lucky to get stuck at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport.
Amenities include a great play area for kids, a top notch art collection, plenty of lounge chairs for napping, an observation deck, free Wi-Fi (for an hour), a library and lots more. You can even get married at the airport.
So I was pleased – but not surprised – to learn that the airport was rolling out something new: an in-airport park filled with greenery and gadgetry.
Here’s the story I wrote about the park for msnbc.com travel.
A new park-like space at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport offers a breath of fresh air for weary travelers.
Airport Park, which opened Wednesday, features a post-security “haven of tranquility” that employs imagery and technology to help set the tone. Photos of famous parks and projections of butterflies adorn the walls. The piped-in sounds of animals, bicycle bells and kids at play create a park-like soundtrack. Wooden picnic tables, chaise lounges, trees and chairs upholstered in “ivy” complete the scene.
Hungry travelers will find food and beverage nearby. Travelers who want to work will find power outlets. Those who want to get some exercise can ride stationary bicycles that generate energy to recharge portable gadgets.
The welcoming indoor/outdoor green spot is the newest addition to the airport, which already invites travelers to spend their dwell time at a casino, a library or at the airport’s branch of the famed Rijksmuseum.
For those who find the indoor park too much of a tease for the real thing, there’s also an outdoor terrace with real greenery and trees, benches, picnic tables, views of the airfield and that much sough-after airport amenity: fresh air.
It’s “a good example of how airports around the world are increasingly upgrading the airport experience in order to become a preferred hub for travelers,” said Raymond Kollau of airlinetrends.com, an Amsterdam-based consumer trends research agency.
Kollau concedes that parks won’t be popping up inside airports everywhere, but said Schiphol’s new park is “relevant and fun.”
From my recent Bing Travel slide show, here are a few more posh airport amenities:
Offering travelers the world’s largest airport slide, a transit hotel with a roof-top pool and free foot massages, live entertainment, movie theaters and computer games, Singapore’s award-winning Changi Airport consistently tops the posh chart. Posher yet: five fanatically-tended-to themed gardens displaying, respectively, ferns, orchids, cactus, sunflowers and more than 1,000 live butterflies.
Posh perusing is available at Taiwan Tayoun International Airport, which now has a library with 2000 paper books and 400 e-titles for passengers on layovers. The much larger Airport Library at Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport opened last year. The “sitting area with added value” offers a multi-media collection of books, films and music about Dutch history, culture, art and literature.
Maintaining a posh state of mind in transit is easier if you look and feel great. Thankfully, spas offering manicures, haircuts, facials and back, neck and foot massages are becoming commonplace in many terminals. At Finland’s Helsinki Airport, relaxation goes a step further: a Finnair-branded spa offers a choice of spruce, stone, steam or a traditional Finnish sauna.
They say music hath charms to soothe the savage beast. So can music relax stressed-out travelers? We think so. Especially if you catch one of the regular concerts offered at airports in Austin, Nashville, San Diego or San Francisco. The poshest airport musical act may take place at Portland International Airport, where John English (“The Voice”) delivers Frank Sinatra tributes twice-weekly.
For more, see the full posh airport amenities slide show on Bing Travel – or check back here tomorrow.
Now there are even more!
Starting this week, Schiphol is offering free WiFi access – for one hour – anywhere in the airport terminal, including Schiphol Plaza, the lounges, piers and gates. Free Wi-Fi is becoming common at U.S. airport, but in Europe it’s still rare.
But, wait, there’s more.
From Friday, December 17 through Sunday, December 26th Schiphol Airport will have holiday entertainment that includes an ice queen, flashmobs, wish-granting fairies, gift-giving Santas, a giant reindeer head lit with 16,200 LED Christmas lights and a miniature version of the Netherlands’ famous elfstedentocht – the 11-city skating marathon in Friesland.
Stay tuned for more photos….
Here’s a brilliant idea:
Amsterdam Schiphol Airport has partnered with the Dutch Public Libraries to open the world’s first airport library. The library is just past passport control, on Holland Boulevard, and offers passengers waiting for a flight a place to read books in 29 different languages, listen to music, watch films and download material free of charge.
This from an airport that already offers travelers a great collection of art, a casino, a seafood bar, a chocolate bar, a fun forest for kids, a branch of the Rijksmuseum and lots more.
Her Royal Highness Princess Laurentien of the Netherlands was on hand for the opening of the Schiphol Airport Library on Holland Boulevard
Now… when we will have library branches in US airports?