airport hotels

“Runway Chalet” now at JFK’s TWA Hotel

The 512-room TWA Hotel across the street from the JetBlue terminal at JFK Airport tempts travelers with a retro lobby complete with clacking flight board and the Sunken Lounge lobby bar.

Through February, the hotel has an ice-skating rink set up out back, right next to the 1958 Lockheed Constellation Connie airport-turned-cocktail lounge. (Skating fee: $15/adults; $10 kids under 12; skate rental: $10 adults/$8/kids; two free ice-skating shows each evening).

Now there’s another reason to stop by the hotel before or after a flight:

The Runway Chalet, a 1960s style ski lodged-themed bar, has landed at the hotel’s rooftop pool.

The tented and heated ‘chalet’ is decorated with vintage skiing gear and a retro ski lodge style fireplace.

The menu includes chocolate or cheese fondue, burgers and other items while the cocktail list includes concoctions such as the Idlewild Hot Toddy (Sailor Jerry rum and hot cider, with a cinnamon stick) and The Weather Delay (Belvedere vodka, hot chocolate and marshmallows).

Both the chalet and the rooftop infinity pool (heated to 95 degrees and referred to as a ‘pool-cuzzi’) offer views of JFK’s Runway 4 Left/22 right.

No need to be a checked-in guest to visit the Runway Chalet at the TWA Hotel’s Pool Bar, which is open from 11 am to 11 pm daily.

Doesn’t this sound more fun than waiting for an extra hour or two at the gate?

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.