enjoying the advantages of airport hotels

Sometimes, we have to do layovers at airport locations in order to catch an early morning flight somewhere else, or even to kill lengthy periods of time between flights when all we want to catch a few winks, and maybe even be pampered a little–or a lot! Make the most of these opportunities. They may give you a chance to quickly explore a city you may not otherwise have had time for, they may save you the agony of having to drive to an airport at an ungodly hour, or they may just provide you with an opportunity to savour some local culinary favourites or an exotic spa treatment you may not otherwise have taken the time to try.


It was fun having the chocolate body wrap at the spa located at Pearson International Airport in Toronto.

As I live an hour from the Winnipeg airport, I’ve had to stay overnight at airport hotels on several occasions. A longtime favourite for stays at Winnipeg’s James Richardson International Airport is the Lakeview Signature, Trademark Collection by Wyndham (formerly the Four Points by Sheraton Hotel.) Unfortunately, with the construction of the new terminal building the hotel lost the privilege and convenience of being a simple walk across the street from the check-in counters. Now, one must take the free shuttle to the new terminal building from the hotel. But it is still one of your best options for overnight stays if catching an early morning flight in Winnipeg.

The Starwood chain that once owned the global network of Sheraton properties has a lovely hotel at Terminal 3 of Pearson International Airport in Toronto. I’ve had the pleasure of staying at the Sheraton Gateway Hotel (now run by Marriott) on several occasions and indeed, it has been the gateway for many of my international trips. It is so convenient to get off a plane, board the elevator and wheel your luggage right into the hotel to rest, relax, refresh, or step out a bit before your next connection.

The Sheraton Gateway has many services including the Vaccaro Spa–which currently due to COVID is only offering mobile services. When they’re fully open, they do have a cocoa and seaweed ‘chocolate body wrap’ that I had several years ago. Try it! (See photo above.)

On Canada’s West Coast, I’ve had the pleasure of staying at the Fairmont Vancouver Airport Hotel voted 4th Best Airport Hotel in the World in 2020 by SKYTRAX, a company that annually issues the “Best Airport Awards.” The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is a fabulous place to stay if you have a layover or super early departure out of Vancouver International Airport. And they have a wonderful restaurant to please your palate. Beats standard airport or airline food any day!

On arrival in Peru, we had the pleasure of staying at the Wyndham Costa Del Sol Airport (formerly the Ramada Costa Del Sol Airport Hotel) in Lima. Again, this reservation was made to facilitate ease of travel, as we had a morning flight to the small city of Tarapoto and our entry into the Amazon jungle from there. But we were thrilled with our stay at the Costa Del Sol. In fact … after a week of trying various meals and beverages throughout Lima, I can say with all honesty that the airport hotel had the best Pisco Sours anywhere! And some lovely Peruvian cuisine as well. So we were very pleased to have had the convenience and authenticity of location all packaged into our entry into the country.


The Pisco Sour is Peru’s most popular drink.


My friend Virginia checking into the Costa Del Sol at Lima Airport.

When in Rome in 2010, we took the advantage of staying at the Hilton Rome Airport Hotel. Having the convenient airport location enabled us to catch an early morning flight the next day, and quickly enjoy the sights of Rome before settling in for the night.

And on a recent trip to Zurich, Switzerland, I had the pleasure of an overnight stay at the Radisson Blu Hotel at Zurich Airport. The image below shows you the massive lobby wine bar that welcomes visitors for a drink. Yes, those are wine bottles in the tower!


How about you? Have you had some positive experiences staying at an airport hotel? Has the convenience of staying at airport hotels created opportunities or experiences that may otherwise have eluded you?

I look forward to continuing the discussion. And I look forward to more great travel. When it is safe to do so.

Doreen Pendgracs

Known throughout the Web as the "Wizard of Words", I've been a freelance writer since 1993. I researched and wrote Volume I of Chocolatour that won a Readers' favourite Award in 2014. Always enjoy experiencing new destinations and flavours.

49 Responses

  1. Maureen B. Ross says:

    This is very insightful and informative content. Thank you, Doreen, for sharing this information and creating such a great blog.

  2. Van says:

    What a great idea to stay next to the airport and enjoy a little relaxation time. The spa sounds fantastic!
    Van recently posted…Secrets To Avoid Crowds At Watkins Glen Falls NYMy Profile

  3. Alexander Miller says:

    You can save a lot of hassles and money when you stay in a hotel at the airport. Airport hotels are generally less costly than a downtown city hotel and can provide flexibility to book for a few hours to accommodate your layover. I love them!

  4. Agent Choc says:

    Have never stayed at airport hotel, was always considering them as a flight cancellation stay, or a brief conference places.
    Nice article, thank you for sharing your experience.

  5. Zandra H says:

    The airport hotels you’ve featured look very relaxing. This is what I want when I travel as there are so many stressful things to battle in our everyday life.

  6. I’ve stayed at a few hotels close to airports but none directly connected and none as nice as the ones you’ve written about here. I think the nicest one was the Indigo Hotel in Toronto. It was a new boutique hotel when we stayed there about 10 years ago. Thanks to a good bus service to the airport from here we can usually arrange to arrive at the right time to check in without having to stay at a hotel. We are also lucky enough to have family who live close to the airport in Toronto. When we can travel again I might check out the Sheraton with the spa–even if it’s just before a flight. That would be a definite way to get on the plane in an already relaxed state!

    • For sure, Christine! I had my hair done and had the chocolate body wrap and I felt like a million bucks! Indeed there can be some pretty neat experiences to enjoy while we’re waiting for connecting flights. Thx so much for stopping by to comment.

  7. We almost always fly out of Providence RI and we always book one of the nearby hotels that offer “park and fly”. It’s hard to believe but quite often it’s cheaper to book the hotel and leave our car there than it is to pay for parking at the airport. Most of these hotels offer a complimentary breakfast and the shuttle makes it stress free to get there in the morning. To us, it’s part of the adventure!
    Sherryl Perry recently posted…Biden’s Border Crisis: Yemen Terrorists Cross Uncontrolled US-Mexico BorderMy Profile

    • For sure, Sherryl. I, too, have used hotels near the hotel to do park n fly. But I have to tell you, with our winters and the amount of snow we can get, that isn’t a happy alternative — unless the hotel has indoor parking. One year Reg and I came back from a hot holiday in winter, only to find the car completely buried in snow in the parking lot of the hotel!!!

  8. With our ‘commute’ between the Pacific Northwest and rural Greece we pretty much have to have a stay at an airport hotel somewhere along the way. One of our favorites is the Sofitel at the Athens Airport, which is footsteps from the terminal.
    Jackie K Smith recently posted…Travel to Greece ~ A Matter of Test and TimeMy Profile

    • Thx for that tip, Jackie! I haven’t been to Athens for a very long time (25 years ago!) so it’s definitely time to go back as I love Greece! I’ve heard great things about Sofitels, but I don’t think I’ve ever stayed at one. Or if I did … it was a very long time ago! It’s great learning how many amazing airport hotels there now are in the world. I’m glad you made it back to Greece safely.

  9. Nice article regarding airport hotels. Its always good to carry a book (paper, kindle or digital) or have a selection of “pending” podcasts to listen in case the layover is long but not long enough to go and find a hotel nearby.
    BTW, Did you enjoy the Amazon jungle?
    All the best.
    Amazon Experience recently posted…What to do in Iquitos Peru?My Profile

  10. Alan says:

    I love the Pod Hotel at Heathrow, its a great option as its actually inside the terminal http://www.yotel.com/en/hotels/london-heathrow-airport
    Alan recently posted…How to Save Money Booking a Holiday to JaveaMy Profile

  11. I do agree with you and the content was well written. In most of the cases I will prefer to stay in the hotels near to airport, as it can be very easy to reach the airport. In some cases I will stay in the serviced apartments and it is extremely calm and quiet place.
    Hotels near Cochin International Airport recently posted…ROR Sitemap for http://www.airporthotelscochin.com/My Profile

  12. Kerry says:

    The thing that i liked about airport hotels is time saving and also less chances of being missed the flight. I found that these hotels are little expensive however we can look for the best deals available online. Doreen, I really like your current writing topic:Chocolatour…

    looking forward for more post..

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Kerry. Yes, airport hotels can certainly be expensive, but I think the convenience outweighs the cost.

      We have another night booked at the Sheraton Gateway in Toronto in a few nights and know it will be a comfortable and convenient way to end our amazing trip to St. Lucia.
      Doreen recently posted…does chocolate beer contain real chocolate?My Profile

  13. Doreen,
    I had the pleasure of staying at the XXXXXXX LAX Airport this weekend, to attend a Miles and Points seminar for travel geeks like myself. But, I say pleasure, not because the hotel itself was such a treat, but because they happen to have a glitch in their system, whereby when you book this particular hotel, then use the BRG, best rate guarantee, they somehow zero out how much you are supposed to pay, and write the rate in a small box on their screen in which the desk clerks don’t read, and then when you go to check in, it looks like you owe $0 and they don’t charge you! Plus I was signed up for their “get one night free” promo! Now that is a great airport hotel!

  14. Shamis says:

    I haven’t had the need to stay at an airport hotel, yet. Mostly because I book hotels in advance within the city so I can roam around to see city attractions easily. Longest I have spent at an airport must be at Toronto waiting for my flight back to Calgary 🙂 Anyway so far I’ve only heard good things about Sheraton.
    Shamis recently posted…Alluring Uniforms of Yesterday’s Flight AttendantsMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Shamis: Airport hotels are ideal when you only have a short stopover in a city and need to get up at an ungodly hour to catch a flight. I’ve found them to be most convenient in that regards, ad have made some great discoveries along the way!

      And yes, you can’t go wrong with a Sheraton hotel,. I’ve always enjoyed my stays at Starwood Properties, the parent org of Sheraton and W hotels.

  15. I have sometimes stayed at an airport hotel the night before a flight, but I can’t remember anything spectacular about them. However, I do agree with you that it helps to stay there if you have an early morning flight. You just get up and go and no messing with traffic.
    I am interested in this pisco sour you had in Peru. I have never heard of those but the picture makes it look like a tasty drink.
    I like your blog. 🙂

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks so much, Bethany. I’m glad you’re enjoying the blog.

      No, you don’t hear too much about Pisco Sours here in North Am. I think it’s because they’re made with Pisco, a Peruvian brandy that is not too widely distributed. The drink is somewhat similar to a Whiskey Sour. I’d love to be back in Lima enjoying them, as I know there is much of the city that I have yet to discover. Stay tuned!

  16. Rene Mccarty says:

    Nice webpage. I got a lot of good info. I’ve been following this topic for a bit. By the way, have you noticed much impact since Google made their most current improvement?
    Rene Mccarty recently posted…Live Phone Psychic ReadingsMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Hello, Rene. Thanks for your comment. No, I haven’t noticed any significant change in traffic to the blog. It’s slowly growing thru word of month and my efforts on social media platforms such as Twitter, LI, Google+ & now Pinterest.

  17. The best layover experience I’ve had was at the Frankfurt airport when I took the high speed train ( just 20 minutes) to Wiesbaden where I bathed in thermal waters that date back to 1st century AD for just $15.
    Michele Peterson recently posted…Maya waterfall hike in Chiapas, MexicoMy Profile

  18. Doreen says:

    Thanks for sharing your comment, LGB. It’s always great to hear from you.

    Yes, it’s a shame that we had to sacrifice the attachment of the hotel when they built the new terminal, but as you say … the Winnipeg Airport is now worldclass, so it was worth the exchange.

    Hope you enjoyed your trip to FLA.

  19. I’ve stayed at the Four Points Sheraton Airport Hotel in Winnipeg many times. It is actually one of my favorite Winnipeg hotels (I’ve stayed in quite a few different ones over the last few years)! Rooms are nice, and the food from the restaurant is quite good. I live 4 hours from Winnipeg and most times we fly out early morning so staying close to the airport is essential. I recently stayed there on my way to Florida and I must say I do miss the enclosed walkway attached to the old airport. It was so easy and convenient. That being said, the new Winnipeg Airport is beautiful and worth the short walk outside or the shuttle. I will definitely stay there again and recently I signed up for their frequent rewards program.

  20. Traveled from Italy last month and had a lovely overnight at the Holiday Inn Malpensa. It’s a few miles from the airport, but a wonderful, quiet property with caring hotel staff. Live and Learn: there’s a Sheraton at Malpensa that hadn’t shown up on the searches! Next trip we’ll try there and I’ll click back for an update. Peru? Ecuador? What a trip!

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Rose and thanks for dropping by the blog.

      It’s wonderful how we’re developing such an amazing group of chocolate-loving travellers!

      Stay tuned for lots of posts about South America. It was quite the trip!

  21. I have to admit that I haven’t *yet* had a good experience but I’m highly likely to try this chainnow that you’ve reviewed it! I often do have to stay at an airport so I’ll try and swing one at onbe of these places!
    Mostly About Chocolate Blog recently posted…Pink Marc de Champagne Truffle Easter EggMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for dropping into the blog, Judith.

      Just wait until the next few posts, when I’ll talk about my chocolate travels in Peru and Ecuador. So many amazing discoveries …

      Sounds like you’ve been eating some pretty terrific chocolate creations, too. Enjoy!

  22. Appreciated blog. Thanks for posting this blog.

  23. Eduardo says:

    For me, staying at an airport hotel is a good idea for travelers since it can save you a lot of precious time especially if you are boarding a flight soon.
    Eduardo recently posted…christmas sheet musicMy Profile

  24. I generally hate airport hotels because of the ugliness that surrounds them and the price you have to pay for convenience. But I must say that the airport Ramada Costa del Sol in Lima (despite the deceiving title) was an exception. They really looked after us! Not only was the Pisco Sour one of the best, it was complimentary. Roger often ends up there too, so much so that on our latest Visa bill we couldn’t figure out if the Costa del Sol charges were his or mine! The quality of the service is even more surprising because they have a captive audience: North American flights come in to Lima at night, but flights to the main tourist areas such as Cusco don’t start leaving until the next morning.

    In a similar vein, Toronto’s Pearson is finally improving their food offerings: http://www.theglobeandmail.com/life/food-and-wine/trends/trends-features/dining-at-torontos-pearson-airport-will-get-a-big-upgrade/article2397382/. I can’t wait.

    • Doreen says:

      Yes, I was surprised at the excellent service and quality of the food and drink at the Costa Del Sol. And the fact that the restaurant was open 24/7. That is really amazing and commendable. So often, hotels don’t cater to guests who arrive at odd hours, but like you say, Virginia, I guess they are used to people coming in late and leaving early, so they’re right on top of things. No need to order off a lousy room service menu when you can eat (and drink) in the comfort of a lovely resto.

      Glad to hear Pearson is expanding their food offerings. For a large international airport, they definitely were lagging behind many other airports.

  25. Bindhurani says:

    I never stayed in an Airport hotel. Mainly because I never went to see foreign countries, without having a relative there. Your blog makes me think of taking advantage of airport hotels when we go to see Europe. I think, it will take a long time for us to go….
    Bindhurani recently posted…Weekend trip to Webster’s falls and Tews FallsMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Hi Bindhurani: Travel is quite infectious. Once you begin to travel for the sake of exploring new places and things and not for the sake of visiting family, it will take on a whole new light and have a whole new attraction for you. The possibilities are endless as are the wonderful things you will learn and explore. And as I have taught my husband … it doesn’t have to be expensive!

      Granted, some destinations are more expensive than others. And yes, on the whole Europe can be quite expensive. But, wow! Is it ever worth the cost and effort.

  26. A.K.Andrew says:

    Good to hear your recommendations Doreen , and glad you had a good trip. I’ve rarely had to stay at an airport hotel – usually do the schlepp in from the nearest town. Really good to hear about the Rome Hilton as I love Italy.
    A.K.Andrew recently posted…Writing Like SteinbeckMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for dropping by, A.K.

      Yes, I love Italy, too. One week just wasn’t enough! Will have to try and get back to launch my book as Italy has some amazing chocolate!

  27. did I just hear you say chocolate? In that case I certainly won’t blame you for not wanting to have a stowaway… I love Belgium chocolate, dang now I am getting a choco – fix coming on….lol

    Have fun!
    Diane ( Blogneta) recently posted…Talk about Pet Peeves| My Top 3 Pet PeevesMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Diane: This blog is basically about chocolate travel. Check the archives! You will find tons about great places to find amazing chocolate. Including Belgium!

      I’ll be talking about Peruvian and Ecuadorian chocolate over the next couple of months. Let’s just say … I was impressed!

  28. I didn’t realize that you were also a Canuck..whoo hoo! I live in Alberta, so we are almost neighbors ^-^

    I have to be honest and say that I have not traveled in many many years, but I remember those days with a great deal of fondness and reading about your experiences brings back many memories.

    um, maybe next time you go anywhere, I could make myself small and travel in one of your suitcases? no? sigh, well I tried!
    Diane ( Blogneta) recently posted…Talk about Pet Peeves| My Top 3 Pet PeevesMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for dropping by the travel blog, Diane. I love AB. I think we’ll be in Calgary in Sept. Have good friends there. I’m glad I love to travel as I certainly do enough of it!

      I don’t think I have any room in my luggage. It seems these days I always have to leave room for the chocolate on the return journey home. 🙂

  29. I agree with you when it comes to staying at an airport hotel. I use to travel a great deal for work and one the place I frequented was Baltimore. There is a Four Points Sheraton at the airport. It was my favorite hotel to stay while in Baltimore. The food was amazing and service was the best in the area. It was also at the airport making my early flight back home a breeze.
    Susan Cooper recently posted…Apple Oat CrunchMy Profile

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks so much for your comment, Susan.

      I’m sure you’ve made the folks at Starwood very happy. They’ve been known to read my blog from time-to-time.

      I’ve never been to Baltimore, but you’ve given me a reason to add it to my list. Do they have any good chocolate???

  30. I love the Fairmont Hotel in the Vancouver (Canada) airport. When our flight was delayed, we went back to the hotel and took a nap. And, on another trip, we loved just walking down in the morning (after coffee in bed) and right to our gate. Makes for a stress-free day, no? Love your posts. Sorry about the sand flea incident!!

    • Doreen says:

      Thanks for your comment, Irene. And thanks for visiting the blog.

      I don’t believe I’ve had the pleasure of staying at the Fairmont at Vanc Airport, but I certainly love Fairmont Hotels, so I can imagine that it would be lovely, and oh-so-convenient when you have an early morning flight out of Vanc.

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