My favorite airport hotel in the world is the Intercontinental O’Hare. It’s crazy nice, from the time you’re picked up in a new black party bus instead of the standard beat up van.. to the lobby with an art gallery… beautiful bathrooms… a view of planes lining up to land… plus decent restaurants attached to the property like a Capital Grill.
I much like the SkyCity Marriott in Hong Kong as well, on the water with a great staff and great rooms, top notch bath amenities and free internet, right by the airport.
Now, the best and most important thing most of the time is convenience and proximity, so it’s hard to beat the Sheratons in Frankfurt and Paris (though I don’t especially like either property as a hotel), the Sheraton Toronto airport, the Kempinski Munich, the Crown Plaza in Singapore. If the Novotel Suvarnabhumi in Bangkok had ever been connected to the terminal by tunnel as originally planned and promoted it would be just as up there, it’s close but still requires a shuttle like the SkyCity Marriott.
But in the category of hotels not attached to an airport, and especially filed under “oasis in a wasteland,” is the Renaissance Newark.
I admit I was skeptical when I heard that the Freddie Awards would be held there this year. Last year we were at Citi Field, that’s where the Mets play. We were going from a baseball stadium to a hotel ballroom, near Newark airport no less. (A pretty cool venue is back on the docket for next year.)
I’ve never actually been to an especially nice airport hotel in the New York area. The Sheraton LaGuardia is serviceable and also near great Asian food. But how often do you need an overnight near LaGuardia? JFK is another matter entirely, until a few years ago every option was downright frightening. Back in 2007 I stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn, it was clean. A few months back I was at the newer Sheraton, the room had a bed (about the best I can say for it). The old Holiday Inn has been refurbished and branded a Hilton, I’ll be checking that out in the future, I’m hoping that it’s at least an improvement.
The Renaissance Newark is unquestionably the best hotel at any of the 3 New York area airports.
Walking into the lobby I was struck by how much I didn’t realize I was at Newark airport.
I checked in around 11:30am. I was told that they had blocked me into a club room that wasn’t ready yet, but if I wanted my room right away I could have a room on a lower floor. That was fine by me, I’d still have club access.
The room was clean, comfortable, functional.
The bathroom was small but immaculate.
The club lounge was nicely appointed, comfortable. There was a refrigerator with soft drinks available all day, and an honor bar in the evening for cocktails. Evening canapés were fruit, cheese, and a couple of hot items. Breakfast was fruit, breads, and a couple of hot items. The coffee was perfectly drinkable.
The view from the lounge is of airport operations.
I’d happily return to the Renaissance Newark for an airport overnight, and can’t really imagine I’d pick any other hotel there.