A Room With a Runway View: Airport Hotels for Plane Spotters

Book a stay at one of these spots for a front-row seat.

A Room With a Runway View: Airport Hotels for Plane Spotters

The Renaissance is across the street from the Delta Flight Museum.

Photo by EQRoy/Shutterstock

Airport viewing decks offer fleeting glances of planes taking off and maneuvering while you’re rushing to the gate. But if you really want to slow down and take time for some serious plane spotting, these hotels offer a ringside seat to the action.

Some have well-positioned balconies, others offer a view from the bed, and still more feature plane spotting packages as part of the deal. So seek out one of these hotels next time you’re traveling and want to really get a good look at the airborne ballet of a well-run airport.

Grand Hyatt DFW

The Grand Hyatt DFW sits atop the international terminal at Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and has recently introduced a special plane spotting guide that gives guests details on the aircraft types that may pass by on a daily basis.

Renaissance London Heathrow

Known as home to some of the best runway-view rooms in the world, the recently renovated Executive rooms at the Renaissance London Heathrow are privy to an enormous variety of international airlines taking off and landing. Guests can even watch the action from bed.

Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel

The Renaissance Concourse Atlanta finds itself directly in front of the airport’s busy runways. Better yet, the furnished balconies mean guests can stand outside to enjoy the view or snap an unobstructed photo. There is also an aviation package that includes binoculars, tickets to the Delta Flight Museum across the street, and toy planes for kids.

San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront

The San Francisco Airport Marriott Waterfront enjoys one of the best positions along the bay to watch planes on final approach into SFO. Guests can enjoy the av geek views from their rooms, but also along the jogging path and benches that line the waterfront.

Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schipol

The Hilton Amsterdam Airport Schiphol’s airport view rooms offer panoramic scenes of the taxiways, including many planes parked at remote stands waiting for passengers.

The Hilton Charles de Gaulle is right by the iconic Concorde.

The Hilton Charles de Gaulle is right by the iconic Concorde.

Photo by alredosaz/Shutterstock

Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport

While transferring between planes at Paris Charles de Gaulle airport can be harrowing, a stay at Hilton Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport is a rewarding perk for aviation fans. The hotel is situated between the three main terminal complexes and adjacent to the iconic Concorde now mounted on stilts near the taxiway.

Hyatt Regency LAX

It’s tough to find a better spot to work out than the Hyatt Regency LAX. The action at Los Angeles International Airport is in plain view from this hotel, which sits in the center of the airport’s quartet of runways. The gym is located at the top of the building, giving it maximum views of the airport action.

Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport

The Hilton Chicago O’Hare Airport is connected to the domestic terminals at Chicago’s busiest airport and has some of the best plane spotting rooms in the country. This is the only hotel directly connected to the airport terminals. Ask for a Runway View room to get the best views of takeoffs, landings, and everything in between from the floor-to-ceiling, soundproof windows.

Calgary Marriott In-Terminal Hotel

Marriott has several onsite hotels at Canadian airports, and the Calgary Marriott In-Terminal Hotel is one of the great ones for plane spotting if you request rooms facing the runway through floor-to-ceiling windows. While many guests prefer the Rocky Mountain vistas, fans of aviation know to request an airport view.

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport

The Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in Singapore offers direct views from Premier Rooms with Runway Views (they’re made even better thanks to travel-sized binoculars in the room). This category includes vistas of the runways from the showers or tubs where guests can soak in silence thanks to soundproof windows. The outdoor pool is a favorite for those who love to hear roaring jet engines.

Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport

The Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport, located inside the terminal of Detroit’s international airport, offers exceptional views of the terminal and adjacent concourse packed with Delta and SkyTeam partner aircraft coming and going all day long.

InterContinental Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport

The new InterContinental Minneapolis/St. Paul Airport is the only hotel connected to the airport terminal and comes with excellent views of the runway and taxiway action from its guest rooms. Don’t miss the penthouse-level observation bar where you can sit back with a drink and pretend to be an air traffic controller.

Solis Two Porsche Drive

Atlanta may be home to the world’s busiest airport, but the best place for plane spotting is not in the terminal, but at the Solis Two Porsche Drive. From many of the guest rooms and especially the rooftop bar and lounge, guests can watch planes taking off and landing as they relax. Transportation geeks have more than just aviation to entertain them; it also overlooks the Porsche Experience Center’s driver development track.

Hilton Boston Logan Airport

See the aviation action firsthand from an Airport View room at the Hilton Boston Logan Airport. Connected directly to the airport terminals, this is a popular spot for overnighting travelers and aviation geeks alike.

Fairmont Vancouver Airport

The Fairmont Vancouver Airport is a favorite of plane spotters for its floor-to-ceiling windows facing the cross-border terminal for flights to the United States and distant runway action. There’s a plane spotting guide provided for guests to learn about various types of aircraft they can see, and some rooms even have telescopes to catch every last detail.

Four Points by Sheraton Bangor Airport, Maine

It may seem like an unlikely plane spotting base, but the Four Points by Sheraton Bangor Airport, Maine is the last refueling stop on the U.S. eastern seaboard, making it the ideal diversion point for many transatlantic flights on occasion. Once the Dow Air Force Base, it regularly handles military C-47s for the Air National Guard.

It has welcomed Air Force One, Concorde, and private planes for a variety of celebrities, including John Travolta and Clint Eastwood. For a peek at all of the action, book one of the 55 rooms or a suite facing the airfield.

>> Next: How Ideas Become Airplanes: The Long Journey of Cathay Pacific’s Newest Airbus

Ramsey Qubein is a freelance travel journalist covering hotels, cruises, airlines, and loyalty programs from around the globe.
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