A night at an airport hotel is usually about as comfortable as hunkering down in a plastic chair in the departures terminal. But several airports have created first-class havens that could be destinations in their own right.
Opened in late summer, the boutique Aviator Hotel at the private Farnborough Airport in Hampshire, England, provides seven high-tech meeting rooms near its sleek luxury suites ($511; aviator farnborough.co.uk). In Hong Kong, the Regal Airport Hotel now offers overnight stays in its award-winning OM Spa. Guests can enjoy canopy beds, flat-screen TVs and free-standing tubs ($613 for two, $499 for one; regalhotel.com). At the Munich airport, guests staying at the Kempinski Hotel can snack on healthy treats at the poolside bar ($687; kempinski.com). The Fairmont at Vancouver airport is outfitted with floor-to-ceiling soundproofed glass for dramatic—but quiet—runway views. A fish valet makes sure guests' catches make their departure flights ($90 for four hours; fairmont.com/vancouverairport). But the new Sofitel at London Heathrow might best them all. Accessed directly from the new Terminal 5, the lobby is themed "Antarctica" and includes a fountain cascading out from a mirrored ceiling onto floodlighted ice blocks. The 165-square-meter Imperial Suites feature bathrooms studded in Swarovski crystals ($5,193 a night; sofitelheathrow.com). Who cares if you miss your flight?