With their hard plastic chairs, plastic food and service to match, airports are about as inviting as a root canal. Sure, elite members-only lounges are a wonderful perk if you have access. But thankfully, more and more airports, especially in Europe, are offering in-house options where even the economy-flier can relax, work and freshen up in civilized surroundings. Here are a few airport rest-stops worth checking out next time you’re passing through.
As the five-star Kampinski Hotel Airport Müchen, designed by Helmut Jahn, passengers are welcome to use the indoor pool, sauna, steam bath, whirlpool and gym for 22 euros. Thus refreshed, head to Airbräu, the world’s first airport brewery with an outdoor beer garden, for a cold one brewed right on the premises.
At Helsinki’s award-winning airport, known for its Finnish cutting-edge design and first-class telecommunications capabilities, Finavia offers free unrestricted wireless Internet connection, but for a private microenvironment where you can watch a film or work online in peace and techy comfort, check out the “artpod” chairs at eService Bar near gate 20.
Tired travelers will find everything they need to relax in one of Yotel’s next-generation cabins with ensuite bathrooms, free internet access and “techno wall” entertainment systems. Choose from premium (with full size double bed) or standard (with a large single) – ideal for early morning flights, long scheduled transfers or unexpected delays. Book online, by phone or by walking in. Located in Terminal 4.
KEFLAVIK INTERNATIONAL AIRPORT
Revive your flight-weary limbs with a blissful hand, arm and leg treatment at a branch of Iceland’s famous Blue Lagoon geothermal pools. The Blue Lagoon Spa at Reykjavik’s airport offers the same treatments and products based on seawater.
ROISSY-CHARLES DE GAULLE AND ORLY SUD AND OUEST
Be Relax is the dernier cri in airport spas, offering a full range of chair and table massages, manicures and products to prolong the benefits in-flight. Make an appointment or just call in – try a quick-fix treatment if you’re in a hurry or book a full 60 minutes for the ultimate in ‘me-time’ moments.
In addition to showers 24/7 at the Hotel Mercure, Back and Life chair and aqua massages, you can relax your eyes on the old Dutch Masters paintings at the Rijksmuseum annex, entry-fee free. Relax in one of the ultra-comfortable ‘snooze’ chairs strategically placed around the airport or chance your remaining euros at the Holland Casino, with scads of slot machines and five Roulette and Blackjack tables. www.schiphol.com