airport hotels

Grand Hyatt at SFO – a keeper!

San Francisco Int’l Airport has a swank on-site hotel

Grand Hyatt at SFO

Fresh fly-in convenience at SFO Airport

With the recent opening of the 12-story, $237 million Grand Hyatt at SFO, San Francisco International Airport joins the ranks of major airports with a luxury hotel on property.

It’s at least a half-hour journey from the airport to downtown San Francisco, so the new at-the-airport hotel is ideal for fly-in meetings and conferences and those times when you’ve got an early flight.

Sarah Cain, We Will Walk Right Up To The Sun, courtesy City and County of San Francisco; photo by Randi Malkin Steinberger.

The 351-room hotel has its own stained glass-adorned stop on the SFO AirTrain and tech-loaded meeting rooms with aviation-inspired names such as Supersonic, Stratocruiser, and Astrojet.

For on-site dining, Twin Crafts Market & Bar offers casual dining and a 24-hour market, while the Quail & Crane restaurant has a menu blending Northern California and Asian cuisine.  

 Art at Grand Hyatt SFO

All rooms at the Grand Hyatt at SFO have soundproof, floor-to-ceiling windows.

Rooms on one side of the hotel face the airfield of the International Terminal and each of those rooms is equipped with a handy airplane spotting guide and a loaner pair of binoculars.

Many rooms also have large bathrooms with soaking tubs that offer views of the airfield as well.

Rates at the Grand Hyatt SFO start at $329/night. Day-use rooms: start at $125 for 6 hours between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m.  

World’s Best Airport Hotel: Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

Just like Singapore’s award-winning Changi Airport, there are plenty of reasons to love the award-winning Crowne Plaza Changi Airport.

For starters, it is attached to Changi Airport. That makes the hotel a convenient and very welcoming place to land after, or before, a very long flight.

Amenities such as superb service, deep soaking tubs, an outdoor pool and some rooms with bonus views overlooking the runways are truly delightful.

I’ve just checked in for my second stay at the property. The welcoming vibe after a 17-hour journey is another reason why it is easy to understand how the hotel snags the Skytrax Best Airport Hotel in the World year after year.

Even better, the hotel’s USB press kit comes in the shape of an airplane! That garners the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport another award: Stuck at the Airport’s occasional award for “USB Press Kit of the Week.”

Harriet’s hotel stay

A big Stuck At the Airport thank-you to the Hilton Los Angeles Airport hotel, which hosted me for a night recently while I was in town to tour Los Angeles International Airport for a story about the best places to eat in each terminal and a visit to the brand new United Airlines Polaris lounge.

I hadn’t stayed at this property for quite some time and was pleased to find upgraded rooms, strong WiFi and live music in the lobby, which is evidently a regular Wednesday evening feaute.

This hotel has a variety of dining options, but I tried out Andiamo, the onsite northern Italian restaurant, where the staff made a solo diner feel welcome and which has a great scallop dish on the menu.

This hotel may also have the hardest-working shuttle bus driver. He was driving when I arrived in the evening and there again the next morning and he was super-pleasant to every single rider, even though few of them gave him a tip for lifting their super heavy suitcases on and off of the bus.

Have a favorite place to stay near Los Angeles International Airport? Please share your recommendations.

California’s role in aviation history? A quiz.

Here’s an aviation history quiz:

What do the first major U.S. airshow, the first and only flight of the Spruce Goose and SpaceX have in common?

Hughes H-4 Hercules (“Spruce Goose”) model. Courtesy SFO Museum

California.

This nice timeline created by Air New Zealand lays out some notable events, people and aviation products from the Golden State.

Not in the timeline?  The first airport hotel, opened at Oakland International Airport in 1929. See my story about hotel and other at-the-airport inns in my “At the Airport” column on USA TODAY.

In the meantime, here’s ANZ’s timline of California Aviation.

Skip the shuttle: choose a cool airport hotel

I’ve got a story this week in the CNBC Road Warrior section all about  airport hotels and some of the newest ones on the horizon. 

Here are the highlights of that story.

Skip the shuttle: At-the-airport hotels take flight

With the official ribbon-cutting this week for a new four-star hotel at Minneapolis-St. Paul International, travelers now have one more major domestic airport where it is possible to skip the hotel shuttle and go directly from a hectic day of flying to a comfortable night’s sleep in a fluffy bed.

The 12-story, 300 room InterContinental Minneapolis-St. Paul Airport Hotel is connected to Terminal 1 via a sky bridge and has a spa, conference center and its own security checkpoint, offering quick access to the gates for those flying with just hand baggage.

MSP’s hotel is a public-private partnership (with Graves Hospitality) and is just the latest example of airports recognizing that in addition to offering convenience, having an on-site hotel is a revenue generator that can give an airport a competitive edge.

In 2015, Denver International Airport opened the doors to the 519-room Westin Denver International Airport hotel and conference center on the plaza adjacent to the Jeppesen Terminal. In addition to on-site dining and an indoor pool and fitness area, the hotel has an extensive art collection and commuter rail access to the city.

Courtesy Denver Westin International Airport

At Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport there are two hotels directly accessible from the terminals: a Hyatt Regency DFW at Terminal C and a Grand Hyatt DFW inside Terminal D with an outdoor rooftop pool overlooking the runways, multi-dining options and a Terminal Re-Entry program that gives guests access to the amenities inside the terminals.’

The Wayne County Airport Authority recently partnered with Starwood Hotels and Resorts to give the Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport Hotel attached to the McNamara Terminal at Detroit Metropolitan Airport a $15 million makeover.

The hotel has conference rooms, day rates and a fitness enter with a pool offering runway views (day passes $15), and a TSA security checkpoint adjacent to the lobby. Hotel staff can also arrange gate-passes into the terminal for guests.

Miami’s airport has had an in-terminal hotel since 1959. The Miami International Airport Hotel now sits pre-security in Concourse E and offers day rates as well the first airport Air Margaritaville restaurant (on the lobby level) and, on the top floor, the country’s first Viena Brazilian restaurant.

At Orlando International Airport, the 25 year-old in-airport Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport is owned by the airport authority and operated by Hyatt,

“The hotel serves as an extension of the airport’s goal to provide the best ‘Orlando Experience’ possible and is a wonderful amenity for all airport customers,” said airport spokeswoman Carolyn Fennell, “It is also a significant driver of the airport’s annual revenues.”

Among a variety of perks offered guests staying in the Orlando airport hotel is luggage delivery service. “Just get off the plane, come to the front desk, provide your bag claim ticket and our bellmen will deliver the bags directly to your room,” said Fennell.

Elsewhere in the U.S., travelers will find hotels inside or connected to several other airports, including Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (a Marriott), Boston Logan International Airport (a Hilton), Philadelphia International Airport (a Marriott), Hartford’s Bradley International Airport (a Sheraton) and Chicago O’Hare, which offers day $20 passes (with discounts for Hilton Honors members) to the indoor pool and extensive fitness center.

Airport hotels of future

In the next few years, travelers will be able to check into on-site hotels at more airports.

A Grand Hyatt with 351 rooms, 15,000 square feet of meeting space and direct access to the AirTrain light rail system is scheduled to open in summer 2019 at San Francisco International Airport.

An InterContinental hotel is set to open at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport in 2020.

And the Chicago Department of Aviation hopes to both build a new hotel next to Terminal 5 and renovate and modernize the current O’Hare Hilton by 2023.

In the meantime, work is progressing on the much-anticipated TWA Hotel at John F. Kennedy International Airport.

When it opens in early 2019, Eero Saarinen’s iconic 1962 TWA Flight Center will be transformed into a swank 505-room retro-modern hotel with 50,000 square-feet of art, meeting and event space; a 200,000 square-foot lobby that may lay claim to the title of the largest hotel lobby in the world; and a rooftop observation deck with a pool and an aviation museum.

Have you stayed at an in-airport hotel- or choose these over near-the-airport hotels? Please share your comments and suggestions in the comment section below.