If an “airport hotel” is a few miles away from the terminals, is it really an airport hotel? Maybe so, but it can’t compare with a location right on the airport grounds, especially at large airports — like the Hilton at Chicago O’Hare, or the two Hyatts at Dallas/Ft. Worth.
Not many of these have been built in recent years, but three of them are in the works at some of the nation’s busiest airports — Denver, New York JFK and San Francisco.
The first to open will be the new Westin at Denver International Airport, due to start accepting guests on November 19. If you’ve passed through the airport recently, you must have noticed the big, curvey, greenish-blue building at the south end of the main terminal. The Westin has 519 rooms including 35 suites, all thoroughly soundproofed. The same structure accommodates the airport’s new Transit Center, which will be the terminus for the light rail line that starts carrying passengers next spring. The trains will run every 15 minutes on a 35-minute ride linking the airport with Union Station in downtown Denver. The hotel has a fitness studio, indoor pool and multiple dining venues. Rates start around $229.
In New York, the Port Authority and Governor Andrew Cuomo have just given approval to a lease deal on the old TWA Flight Center at JFK Airport that will permit the construction of a 505-room hotel on the site with 40,000 square feet of meeting space and at least half a dozen restaurants. It will be built by a partnership of JetBlue Airways and MCR Development, and the original Eero Saarinen-designed TWA terminal building — with sweeping curves and huge windows — will serve as the lobby. To be called the TWA Flight Center Hotel and due to open in 2018, it will be the only hotel on the grounds of JFK. It’s connected to JetBlue’s Terminal 5, and it will boast a 10,000 square foot observation deck for planespotters.
Officials in San Francisco are about to close the bidding for construction of a four-star hotel on the grounds of San Francisco International that will be owned by the airport but operated by a private company yet to be selected. Also aiming at a 2018 completion date, the hotel will have 350 rooms, a restaurant, wine and sushi bar, casual cafe, rooftop cocktail lounge, health club, pool and spa. Located near the entrance to the airport, it will be linked to an AirTrain station for easy access to the terminals. The building site — at South McDonnell Road, Interstate 101 and the off-ramp from the interstate to the airport — was previously occupied by a Hilton that was demolished 20 years ago prior to construction of SFO’s new international terminal.
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