Runway rooms

Recommissioned ... the striking facade of the Airways Hotel in Port Moresby.
Recommissioned ... the striking facade of the Airways Hotel in Port Moresby. 

If you enjoy watching planes in action, plan a stopover at these hotels, writes Katrina Lobley.

As we open the door to our room, a gobsmacking view stops us in our tracks. The Grand Hyatt DFW's picture windows are filled with planes taking off and landing on the western runways of the world's fourth-busiest airport, the Dallas-Fort Worth International, Texas. My companion throws himself into a chair at the window and declares, "That's it - I'm not moving."

This hotel is a gift for enthusiasts of airport action, especially those who like to watch from the comfort of bed. With no curfew and a site that covers about 7000 hectares, jet-lagged guests who just can't sleep can watch the runway all night. The hotel is built beside International Terminal D but the rooms are soundproof. We're impressed but decide to ask an expert for his pick of the best plane-spotting hotels.

English enthusiast, airport blogger and author Matt Falcus (airportspotting.com) nominates the Renaissance Concourse at Atlanta - the world's busiest airport - as "probably the best spotting hotel in the USA".

"Rooms facing the airport have views across all six runways and all airport concourses," he says. "Every single aircraft movement can be seen from these rooms and, if the weather's good, you can relax on the balcony." The hotel's Concorde Bar also has runway views.

Falcus also nominates another Renaissance - at London's Heathrow. The hotel sits just outside the airport's northern boundary and has views of the northern runway.

Another Falcus favourite is Dubai's Sheraton Deira Hotel: "Its rooftop pool and bar area lies directly underneath the approach path to Dubai's runways; aircraft pass just feet above your head."

There's also the Crowne Plaza at Singapore's Changi Airport, where key rooms have views of aircraft on the runways, including A380 super-jumbos. Then there's the Caribbean's Sonesta Maho Beach Resort.

"If you stay at the Sonesta, you'll not only be able to wander out to experience the thrill of jet blast on the beach, you'll also be able to sit on your balcony and watch huge aircraft pass by you as they terrorise unsuspecting sunbathers," Falcus says.

The Novotel Nice Arenas Aeroport, opposite Nice's Cote d'Azur, has stunning views across the runways to the Mediterranean Sea. The Novotel at Auckland Airport, next to Manukau Harbour, also combines runway and water views.

In December, the Hilton Frankfurt Airport opened, its northern side running parallel to a new fourth runway. Guests can watch planes land and take off from just 150 metres away.

Papua New Guinea's five-star Airways Hotel is nestled in a mountainside overlooking the runways of Port Moresby's Jacksons International Airport. An ex-military Douglas C-47 projects from the hotel's facade and houses a business centre, while the check-in desk is fashioned from one of the plane's wings.

Katrina Lobley stayed courtesy of Grand Hyatt DFW.

FAST FACTS

Staying there

  • Grand Hyatt DFW has rooms from $US169 ($160). Ask for an even-numbered room on floors four to eight; see granddfw.hyatt.com.
  • Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel has rooms from $US149. Ask for a room facing the airport; see marriott.com.
  • The Sheraton Deira Hotel, Dubai, has rooms from 607 dirham ($156); see starwoodhotels.com.
  • Novotel Nice Arenas Aeroport has rooms from $164 a night. Ask for a room from floor three upwards; see novotel.com.
  • Novotel Auckland Airport has rooms from $NZ199 ($153). Ask for a room from floors nine to 11; see novotelaucklandairport.co.nz.
  • The Hilton Frankfurt Airport's presidential suite, from €1699 ($1975), has the best of both worlds: it overlooks the new runway and the main airport complex. Standard rooms from €159; see hilton.com.
  • The Airways Hotel, Jacksons International Airport, Port Moresby, has rooms from 750 kina ($333). Dakota junior suites have the best airport views; see www.airways.com.pg.
  • The Renaissance London Hotel Heathrow encourages plane spotting by offering rates guaranteeing the best rooms; see marriott.com.au.

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