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Goodbye, golden age of aviation. Hello cacophonous airports, endless security lines and random bag checks. The cruel realities of modern times have made air travel a grueling ordeal. But fear not, jet setters: These top luxury airport hotels around the world are designed to soothe the savage traveler.

Photography by Max Touhey

TWA Hotel

Spend some time in the stylish, sassy and deliciously retro TWA Hotel (2019) at New York City’s JFK Airport, and you’ll understand why this groovy destination is the place to see and be seen. Want to see (or show) a little more? Head up to the pool bar and quaff a runway martini whilst watching said runways and soaking up some sun. And no need to wait for summer to enjoy a dip; the pool is heated, the bar is hot and both are open year-round. Afterward, have a bite in the food hall or at the glam Paris Café before perusing the TWA’s curated exhibits or working off your indulgences in the Peloton-equipped fitness center. When it’s time to sleep, the inn offers 512 guest rooms tricked out with sound-canceling windows and blackout shades.

Photography provided by Accor Hotels

Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun Airport Hotel

If you stay in the executive wing of China’s Pullman Guangzhou Baiyun (2009), you’re in the lap of luxury from the moment you touch down, thanks to a chauffeured car waiting for you on the tarmac. Once you’ve landed in one of the hotel’s 578 plush rooms, you can relax with a cocktail, stretch your legs with a few laps in the outdoor pool, or beat jet lag at its own game with a leisurely sauna. A bit peckish from racking up all those frequent-flier miles? Immerse yourself in a Cantonese-inspired, gourmet dream at Tian Yuan or stop by the Societe Lounge & Bar for a nightcap. Convenience, however, is the Pullman’s biggest indulgence. The airport’s terminal 1 is a mere 15-second walk from this sleekly modern stay, and every room provides flight information to let you know before you go.

Photography by Fabrice Rambert

Sofitel London Heathrow Hotel

For English hospitality served with a dash of je ne sais quoi, look no further than the Sofitel London Heathrow (2008). Among its 605 luxe accommodations are magnifique suites spacious enough to dissolve any flight-induced claustrophobia as well as well-appointed guest rooms where you can dream from beneath a duvet of down. If you can manage to pull yourself away from such splendid slumber, celebrate the victory with a little pop-fizz-clink at the Champagne bar, get pampered at the salon and spa, or sweat it out in the gym. And when you’re ready for some sustenance, rest assured chef Mark Lawton won’t disappoint. Roasted breast of pigeon with foie gras and blood orange, anyone? The best part: The Sofitel has direct access to Heathrow’s terminal 5 and is just 20 minutes from central London via express train.

Photography provided by IHG

Crowne Plaza Changi Airport Hotel

Leave it to the seven-time world’s best airport to have one of the world’s comeliest airport hotels. The Crowne Plaza Changi (2008) is a verdant oasis that belies its proximity to Singapore’s busiest hub. In the Club Lounge, catch up on emails in a spacious work area, breakfast privately in the morning, or sip a Singapore Sling come evening. Thanks to the inn’s Sleep Advantage program, 40 winks are all but guaranteed in the 563 chicly designed rooms. For even more tranquility, opt to stay in a Quiet Zone, where outside noise and distractions are strictly verboten. When you’re ready, take a dip in the lushly landscaped pool, get your workout on in the fitness center, or stop by the retro-styled Bar ’75 to enjoy handcrafted cocktails and a fabulous collection of pop art.

Photography provided by IHG

InterContinental Johannesburg O.R. Tambo Airport Hotel

Experience the InterContinental Johannesburg (2000), and you may never want out of Africa. A mere 250 feet from the airport’s arrivals hall and minutes from the Gautrain station connecting travelers to the center of Joburg and Pretoria, the inn is perfectly positioned for both pre- and post-bush stays. Its 110 guest rooms, 26 executive rooms and two opulent presidential suites got a makeover during a major renovation in 2015. You can recharge at the in-house salon and spa, relax at the indoor pool, take a jaunt to East Rand for some retail therapy, or savor a leisurely meal at Quills. The eatery offers local dishes 24 hours a day, so regardless of what time zone you’re flying in from, you’ll never hear your stomach roaring (we can’t vouch for the lions, though). 

Read this article as it appears in the magazine.

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