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The 9 Best Airports to Spend Time In

By Rachel Levin

May 5, 2015

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The days of dreading a layover may be over. Airports around the globe are creating irresistible reasons to linger. (That picture up there, of the Centurion Lounge at SFO? Does that look like an airport lounge?)

The Four Seasons Lanai Lounge
The Four Seasons has started what we hope will become a trend: comfy, quiet, well-stocked airport lounges for its Lanai-bound guests. Papaya smoothies, cappuccinos, cheese and crackers await—as does a concierge ready to check you in early, so you can head straight to the white-sand beach for swim—or to the new champagne bar—when you arrive. The Four Seasons Amman has a lounge at Amman Airport in Jordan, too. More please.

Esenza by SHA
Some people like to cram their face into a cradle for one of those 10-minute chair massages on their way to the gate—but if you really want to feel good before boarding, head to Madrid, where renowned SHA Wellness Clinic has opened two macrobiotic mini-spas, which guarantee a pre-board boost better than Airborne. 

Forest Valley
Singapore’s airport has always been notoriously squeaky-clean, but by 2018 it’ll have some dirt—dirt planted with leafy ferns, shrubs, and thousands of trees in what will be a full-on, five-story garden, complete with a 40-foot cascading waterfall. Got a layover? Lace up your shoes and take a real hike in between flights.


The Centurion Lounge
Attention Amex cardholders, things just got better than Auntie Anne’s Pretzels. We’re talking menus created by local superstar chefs (Scott Conant in Las Vegas, Cedric Vongerichten at La Guardia, Dean Fearing in Dallas, Michelle Bernstein in the soon-to-open Miami lounge); showers with L’Occitane shampoo; and cushy-quiet workspaces. Beanbags and video games keep kids happy. Wine selections curated by Anthony Giglio and handcrafted cocktails designed by mixologist Jim Meehan delight the adults. Get your Gin Basil Fizz as early as 10:30 a.m. $50 one-day pass for American Express card holders, free for Platinum members and immediate family or up to two travel companions.

The Perfectionist Cafe
There are only four chefs in England to have three Michelin stars, and Heston Blumenthal, of Berkshire’s Fat Duck, is one of them. Now, at his Perfectionist’s Café, in the sparkling new $4.2 billion Queen’s Terminal you can eat his fancy beer-battered fish ’n’ chips for 14 pounds, chased with whiskey cocktails with smoky tobacco-infused ice and nitro ice cream topped with crystalized rose petals.

Terminal 2
The world’s most punctual large-hub airport is poised to get even better when its newly renovated Terminal 2 opens in 2016.  Plans include a “premium” gastronome level, where passengers can feast at leisure while looking down on all the grab-and-go eaters, then take a rest in full recline chairs before boarding.

Image courtesy of the Centurion Lounge.

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