Flight

Airports You Can Actually Enjoy.

If you’re like me and you hate dealing with the airport, you’ll be happy to know that some airports around the world have added some amenities that make your time there more pleasant. When I was recently at Tokyo’s Haneda Airport, I stayed in a nice hotel that was inside of the International Airport terminal. They had rooms outside of security, where I stayed, but they also had rooms inside of the secure area, so that even travelers only in Tokyo for a long layover could find a place to lay their heads for the night. I’ll go into that more in a bit, but I was inspired by my experience to do a little research on airports around the world that offer up some great amenities to travelers. If you’re planning a trip that involves any of these airports, make sure to check out these awesome bonuses and your travels will be just a little more relaxing.

Tokyo’s Haneda Airport (HND)

When I stay at a fancy place that provides fancy robes, I document it because I don't get to be fancy too often.

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While we’re talking about Haneda, I would like to go a little more in depth into the awesome amenities they have there. As I mentioned, I stayed at the Royal Park Hotel-The Haneda. I stayed in the part outside of security, since my stay was for my last night in Japan and I didn’t have to fly out until 4pm the next day. We arrived on the Shinkansen from Kyoto at noon and took the subway/Tokyo Monorail to Haneda Airport, arriving at around 1pm. Check-in wasn’t until 3, but they held our bags for us as long as we wanted. We then went back into the city and had a great afternoon exploring Harajuku and going up into the Tokyo Tower to catch incredible views of the city before heading back to the airport hotel and checking in. Since it was still fairly early, we explored the airport for the rest of the evening. They have a beautiful area upstairs in the terminal where you can go shopping and dine out. The restaurants there are actually nice, sit down places…not at all like the order at the counter stalls usually featured at airports. We had a wonderful sushi dinner at a restaurant that felt nothing like being inside of an airport. After that we went out onto the observation deck to catch a view of landing planes and views of the city before heading into the Planetarium Starry Cafe to spend a relaxing evening gazing at presentations about the stars and animated art pieces while sipping cocktails. How wonderful! The hotel room itself was really nice and comfortable, and after a leisurely breakfast in the morning they once again held our bags while we explored until it was time to check in (the check in counter was located about 50 feet from the entrance to the hotel).

I should mention the Royal Park Hotel at Haneda also has rooms inside of security as well as “refresh rooms” that can be rented by the hour and contain a recliner chair and a shower for weary travelers with less time who just want to freshen up. I loved my time at Haneda Airport!

Let’s look at a few other airports with some great amenities, though…

Changi Airport in Singapore (SIN)

Changi Airport in Singapore is another awesome airport with great amenities. Did you know this airport has a rooftop swimming pool? The airport lists things you can do to get the most out of your time there in convenient time blocks on their website. You can catch a movie, stroll through a butterfly garden, slide down Singapore’s tallest slide, and check out a lot of beautiful artwork. They also have a rooftop cactus garden to explore.

Just like Haneda, they also have their own in-airport hotel so you can stay if you arrive late, have an early departure, or just want to catch a few hours of sleep on a long layover.

Incheon Airport- Seoul, Korea (ICN)

In keeping with the trend of amazing airports in Asia, South Korea’s Incheon Airport sports a new “capsule” hotel, but it’s really a lot bigger than a traditional “capsule” as you can see in the above photo. People who have stayed there said the rooms are really silent, and they come with a private shower, so it’s a great way to get refreshed on long journeys. You can rent the rooms in three hour blocks as well, so if you’re only going to be there for a layover and just want to have a nap and a shower, that’s an option for you.

If you’re looking for entertainment options while you’re at the airport, this place has you covered. In addition to a sweet capsule hotel, they also have a movie theater, a roller blading rink, 7 different gardens, a beauty spa, a sauna, and a casino to name a few amenities. You definitely won’t be bored here!

Vancouver Airport (YVR)

Really cool "Pacific" walk through to welcome international visitors #vancouver #travelcanada

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If you’re planning on spending some time in Vancouver, Canada, you should know that there is a pretty awesome aquarium inside the airport terminal. It’s affiliated with the larger Vancouver aquarium in Stanley Park, but this airport aquarium is nothing to sneeze at.

If you get tired of the aquarium, there is plenty of art on display around the airport for you to enjoy, and if you’re traveling with kids, make sure to stop at one of the children’s play areas to give your kids (and yourself) a break.

Johannesburg Airport (JNB)

If you’re heading to South Africa, you’ll be pleased to learn that the Johannesburg airport has a huge hotel in the middle of the airport. You wont’ need to leave security to get some much-needed rest. The top floor of the airport has a spa. If you are a on a long layover, they will hold your bags for you, let you change into a lovely robe, and spend some time lounging by the pool and sipping water with fruit while you await a massage. Sounds good to me. Sign me up!

San Francisco Airport (SFO)

I have to shout out a little love to my home state of California! While those of us in Southern California are stuck with the mega stress-inducing airport that is LAX (Los Angeles International), our Northern California counterparts can relax in the airport’s meditation room. Ahhhhh.

SFO airport kicked off the airport yoga trend back in 2012, when they opened their first free yoga room between Terminals 1 and 2, and then a second in Terminal 3. In both studios, you’ll find a dimly lit and noise-free room, equipped with yoga mats and floor-to-ceiling mirrors. The only unfortunate part about this serene space is that both studios are located in the domestic departures area, meaning international travelers don’t have access. Still, if you find yourself flying domestically in San Francisco airport (as I often do), check it out!

Chicago O’Hare Airport (ORD)

Chicago O’Hare offers a free and peaceful yoga studio airside on the mezzanine level. This 15×16 foot space is complete with bamboo flooring, full body mirrors, frosted glass windows and yoga mats. An in-studio TV plays a combination of yoga practices and nature imagery, and there is a soothing audio recording to match. There is also a flight information monitor with up to date departure and arrivals information. While there is no designated changing room within the studio, there are public bathrooms (and an urban garden) nearby.

 

Dallas-Fort Worth Airport (DFW)

Sprinting between Terminals B and D to catch a flight at Dallas Fort Worth? Take a pause near D40 and slip into the terminal’s fully outfitted yoga studio. You’ll know you’re there when you pass the silhouettes of other yogis practicing behind a series of folding screens. A strip of tiled floor is covered in yoga mats, and decorated with a series of yoga-inspired paintings and potted plants. Large windows provide a great view of the runway, and the studio otherwise connects with the airport’s walking path.

 

 

 

London Heathrow Airport (LHR)

In keeping with the airport yoga trend, Heathrow opened a yoga studio in 2014. It was originally supposed to be a pop-up, but it’s popularity prompted them to make it a permanent fixture at the airport. Sadly, it’s not free to the public. If you want to check it out, you have to buy a day pass to the SkyTeam lounge. That being said, the pass also gives you access to an oxygen bar (never tried one but I’m curious), a wine bar, complimentary food and drink, and a wellness center. The yoga mat is also included in the price, so if you’re looking for some relaxation at Heathrow, it might just be worth the splurge.

 

Doha Airport (DOH)

#DohaAirport #pool #QatarAirways

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Qatar’s Doha airport has a swimming pool, a day spa, as well as many reasonably priced lounges and just about everything you could want in an airport for relaxation and entertainment. If you have a long enough layover, there’s even a bus tour of the city you can sign up for! It’s an amazing airport, according to everybody I know who has ever been there. Can’t wait to see it for myself!

 


Have you been to any of these airports? What was your experience? What amenities do you wish all airports had? Know of any airports with cool amenities I neglected to mention? If so, please leave us a comment so we can all benefit from the tip!

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