Airport Hotels Go Glam

Posted November 27, 2018 6:45 p.m. EST

A photo provided by Moxy Hotels shows the Moxy Vienna, located just outside Vienna International Airport. The hotel is one of a new breed of airport hotels using modern design and luxury amenities to be more than just places to sleep. (Moxy Hotels via The New York Times) -- NO SALES; FOR EDITORIAL USE ONLY WITH NYT STORY AIRPORT HOTELS ADV02 BY SHIVANI VORA FOR NOV. 27, 2018. ALL OTHER USE PROHIBITED. --

In recent years, several hotel properties have opened at airports around the globe with attractive amenities, sleek design and tasty food. They are welcoming places for travelers to spend a night or even a multiday layover.

“The old stereotype used to be that airport hotels were dumpy or staid,” said Reneta McCarthy, a senior lecturer at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University. “That’s no longer the case, and you see many more interesting and vibrant properties, most notably from companies who want to reinvigorate their brands.”

An Artistic Experience Close Enough for a Layover

McCarthy recently stayed at the Westin Denver International Airport, one such hotel. “It was such a happening spot with an airy lobby and had a unique design sensibility,” she said. “I would definitely go back and recommend it to others.”

The hotel is in a building designed by the architecture firm Gensler and is LEED platinum certified. Its design is meant to resemble the wings of a bird; the building has a curved shape that swoops down in the middle, revealing views of the adjacent terminal, while the glass curtain walls reflect the sky. The Westin commissioned three artists to create the large-scale works in and around the property. One of them is Patrick Marold, a local artist, whose sculpture “Shadow Array,” is made with 236 beetle-kill spruce logs from southern Colorado and is situated outside.

Other amenities include a 24-hour gym, free guided group runs and a restaurant, Grill & Vine, that features views of the Rocky Mountains and serves farm-to-table cuisine.

Embrace 24-Hour Amenities and Selfie Elevators

Elsewhere, Moxy Hotels, Marriott International’s design-driven hospitality brand, has several airport locations including at Vienna Airport in Austria, Frankfurt Airport in Germany and Heathrow Airport in Britain.

While each property has its own décor and amenities, all Moxys offer a free welcome cocktail, 24-hour grab-and-go food and beverage outlets, and buzzing lobbies that showcase local art and double as hangout spaces. They each also feature photo booth elevators where guests are encouraged to take selfies (which they can then post on Instagram, of course, providing free advertising for the hotel).

Perks Designed to Make You Want to Stay Awhile

Similarly, Renaissance Hotels has made a push in the past two years to reimagine the airport hotel experience. The company has unveiled new properties that emphasize design and have myriad amenities that are meant to entice travelers to linger.

The Renaissance Warsaw Airport has modernist-inspired interiors and is adorned with graphic art from the Polish Poster Gallery. The property also has a large pool and a restaurant that serves modern Polish cuisine.

In Florida, the Renaissance Orlando Airport Hotel has a large outdoor pool with spacious cabanas, and a 60-seat amphitheater. It is also home to a Malabar, an in-house bar that serves craft cocktails using in-house made elixirs.

At Dubai International Airport, the Jumeirah Creekside features a glass-bottom swimming pool and a notable collection of more than 480 contemporary art pieces at the property, as well as two pools, one indoor and one outdoor on its rooftop. In addition, guests are given the flexibility to stay for 24 hours, meaning if they check in at 8 p.m., for example, they do not have to check out until 8 p.m. the following day.