Want a classy airport hotel? Try these in London & Amsterdam

By Karen Bowerman, a Travel Professional

Read more on London.

Overall rating:4.7 out of 5 (based on 3 votes)
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Recommended for:
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Airport hotels are often featureless and costly. But if you know where to look, you can find style and luxury without having to break the bank! Here are some suggestions for London and Amsterdam

Airport hotels tend to be functional and pricey. But there’s no need to think that just because you’re staying close to the runway, you have to compromise on space, style or luxury.

Here are some of my favourite airport hotels – proof that you don't have to settle for a box room for the night. 

The Radisson Edwardian, Heathrow

Jump on the shuttle bus and within minutes of landing at the world’s busiest airport you can be relaxing in the sauna or enjoying a cocktail at the Radisson Edwardian, Heathrow – voted best airport hotel in the world for seven years running by Business Traveller Magazine.

Check in

The receptionists greet you with genuine warmth in a  marble lobby that's clean, shiny and home to Smiffy, the most cheerful concierge I’ve ever met.

What’s the style?

The hotel has a touch of bling about it with sparkly lights and corridors lined with wall-to-ceiling mirrors. Statues and artefacts abound.

It's decorated personally by Amrit Singh, the wife of the chain's owner, along with her colleague Michael Attenborough. Sometimes, I'm told, Singh swaps pieces in the hotel for something she has at home. When I asked if she really had the space for shoulder-high pitchers in her sitting room I was assured she did.

Best points

  • The sense of space - wander round the Newbury Suite with its statues, palm trees and fountain or head upstairs to the Atrium.
  • The orchids - they’re everywhere, towering out of silver urns. I got caught, red-handed, squeezing a petal, just to check they were real.

Drinking and dining

The Radisson Edwardian has a massive bar and two good sized restaurants with set and a la carte options.

Look out for…

The Atrium. This is my favourite spot and perfect for a cup of coffee. Check it out at night when its pillars glow green! 

The contemporary space is made up of low bridges of glass and steel which span a "floor" of shallow water with fish blown from translucent glass. Listen carefully  - you may even hear bubbles!

Don’t miss…

The Spa. Even if you’ve only chosen the Radisson Edwardian for its Park & Fly deal, make sure you indulge! Enjoy the sauna or the unusually spacious steam room; test your nerve in the plunge pool or lay on a heated bed for an Ayurvedic massage where your therapist drips oil onto your spine and massages your back with heated basalt stones.

You’ll forget you’re at the airport.

The details:

Radisson Edwardian hotel, Heathrow
Rooms £75- £350 a night. Pegasus spa – free to guests. Ayurvedic/hot stone massage £40 for 40 mins

Travel to and from Heathrow:
Taxis: £10-£15: Shuttle bus - £4 single, £7 return runs every 20 minutes: Free bus (285,140,111) from Central Bus station to Bath Road. Get off at the Marriott opposite.

The Hilton, Gatwick

Getting from the airport to your hotel doesn’t get any easier than this! The Hilton, Gatwick is the only hotel in Gatwick  linked to the South Terminal by a covered walkway. Wheel your trolley from carousel to check-in

If you’re flying to or from the North Terminal the hotel’s five minutes away by shuttle bus.

Check in

Check in was quick and efficient and a slightly cheeky request for a discount brought results.

What’s the style?

The Hilton is modern and airy with muted decor and splashes of colour. The lobby is flooded with light thanks to an impressive glass ceiling. My only niggle is that it feels a little corporate in places but its location more than compensates.

Best points

  • Accessiblity - the terminals and Gatwick airport railway station are just minutes away.
  • The beds - if the beds I've had are typical then nodding off to sleep has never been more cosy.
  • Soundproof rooms - fabulous.

Drinking and dining

The Hilton has two restaurants and two bars with vegetarian and vegan options and a range of prices to suit various budgets.

Look out for…

The gym – it’s hidden away and very compact but open 24 hours a day. Great if you want to  re-energise after your flight.

Don’t miss…

Your plane. Just because the Hilton's close to check-in don’t leave everything to the last minute!

The details:

The Hilton, Gatwick
South Terminal London Gatwick Airport Crawley RH6 0LL
Rooms from £80-£100 a night.

CitizenM hotel, Schipol, Amsterdam

CitizenM is within easy walking distance of Schipol Airport and the World Trade Centre. It markets itself as affordable luxury but its appeal is in its distinct quirkiness.

Check in

Check in is almost fun – in a DIY kind of way. The lobby has touch-screen  “kiosks” and staff (sorry “ambassadors”) on hand to help. But basically it’s up to you to type in your name and relevant details.

The best bit (if you want to play along) is choosing the view from your room – lake or runway? (There are pictures to help!)

I didn’t think it mattered that much until I discovered I had a wall-to-wall window!

What’s the style?

The hotel is trendy, brightly-coloured and verging on minimalistic. If you like gadgets, technology, free movies and international calls that won’t cost any more than Skype, then it’s definitely for you. If you want lots of individual service then it’s probably not.

Best points

  • Picking up your tasty “to go” breakfast - hanging in a brown paper bag from the branch of a model tree!
  • The wording on the choice of shower gels – offering zesty or calming fragrances – once you’ve worked out what kind of person you are!

Drinking and dining

CitizenM doesn’t do traditional dining but there is a 24 hour “food outlet” (think snack bar) - CanteenM. Here, yet again, doing it yourself is order of the day. Choose a high-brow ready meal, pop it in the microwave then order your drinks from the barman. Almost like being at home. (Although here there’s always sushi if you can’t be bothered to cook).

Look out for…

Your toes, as you’re likely to trip over them soon after you enter your room. Rooms may  ooze style but they're very compact  (14 square metres) and you're left wondering where best to place your suitcase. (If you like to be able to walk round your bed, forget it – it's wedged between walls).

Don’t miss…

  • Your "pod" shower. I felt as if I was about to be beamed up to the Starship Enterprise, in full naked, glory.
  • The high-tech, handheld "moodpad" which controls your TV and music etc and also sets your wake up call.

If you want to enjoy your room to the full (and not oversleep) establishing a good relationship with your pad is key. The problem for technophobes (like me) is you’re expected to relate to it intuitively.

After several frustrating minutes I was about to go to sleep with the lights on when some button or other (goodness knows which) instigated shut down.

I fell asleep with relief and dreamt about design versus function.

The details:

CitizenM, Schipol Airport
Jan plezierweg 2, 1118 BB Amsterdam, Schiphol
Rooms: 99 – 150 euros a night.

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More information on Want a classy airport hotel? Try these in London & Amsterdam:

Author:
Karen Bowerman
Traveller type:
Travel Professional
Guide rating:
4.666665
Average: 4.7 (3 votes)
Total views:
146
First uploaded:
30 December 2010
Last updated:
3 years 5 weeks 7 hours 16 min 6 sec ago
Destinations featured:
Trip types:
Business
Budget level:
Budget, Mid-range, Expensive
Free tags / Keywords:
airport hotels

Karen recommends

Hotels

Price from Rating
(out of 5)
1. Radisson Edwardian Heathrow
N/A
2. Hilton Hotel Gatwick Airport
N/A
3. Citizenm Amsterdam Airport
N/A

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Community comments (3)

Rating:
5
0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

This is a great idea for a guide. It is so true that airport hotels are usually bland and you have highlighted this issue really well and presented the reader with great alternatives. Today's sophisticated traveller might expect something nicer from an airport hotel.

I enjoyed the layout of this guide with its short paragraphs and headings that make it very easy to read. This works really well with Internet writing as people are often scanning articles.

The hotel's sound so great that I wonder if such places could be become a destination in their own right. I mean most people stay one night at these places so where do they find the time to enjoy all the facilities? I guess if I ran one of these places I would probably offer a very cheap deal for 2 night stays to try to encourage guests to stay longer.

This guide could easily become a series for airport hotels around the world!

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Rating:
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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

Having just returned from a ghastly Gatwick experience,where I waited for ever for a hotel shuttle in freezing conditions, I read this guide with a mixture of enjoyment and envy.

I found it very well written, and I liked the clear format.

Maybe I'll put luxury before economy next time.

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Rating:
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0 of 0 people found the following comment helpful.

I found your article nicely paced Karen, and I liked the detail about the hotels. I almost chose CitizenM for our forthcoming stay in Amsterdam but in the end chose to stay in the city centre.

While you generslly focussed upon fairly standard but good choices, I'm sure there must also be a market for a piece on less likely choices near airports.

Paul

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