Loitering in airport transit limbo, feeling jetlagged and exhausted? Try these five ways to freshen up at international airports.
While nobody wants to linger in an airport, there are inevitably times when we have a few hours to wait for a connecting flight. Many choose to walk like zombies through shopping corridors, or slump in uncomfortable lounge seats. Yet, increasingly, top international airports are providing innovative options to make transit time pass more quickly and allow you to refresh yourself.
HIT THE SPA
Many airports now have full-service spas, including the XpressSpa (xpresspa.com) at New York's JFK where you can get full-body massages and 90-minute moisturising facials, or the unusual fish spa in Singapore (changiairport.com), where tiny nibbling fish will rejuvenate your feet. Luxury spa Tosa (tosa-spa.com) has two branches at Abu Dhabi airport that will revive you with a foot or back treatment.
In Munich airport, you can snooze in Terminal 2's Napcabs (napcabs.com), or just lie back and listen to music until it's time to fly. Dubai's Terminal 1 has soundproof Snooze Cubes (snoozecube.com) that also have a bed, TV, music and movies. And London Heathrow's No1 Traveller Lounge (no1traveller.com) has pod-style resting cabins in a designated ''snug area'', as well as bedrooms for hire by the hour with a three-hour minimum.
Several airports have adjacent golf courses next door, such as Incheon/Seoul's SKY72 Golf Club (sky72.com), which has 72 holes and a 300-player driving range, the world's largest. Melbourne Airport Golf Club (melbourneairportgolfclub.com.au) is right beside the runway; the 16th hole is below incoming jets. The par-70, 6000-metre, 18-hole course has water features, 37 bunkers and elevated greens.
Perhaps your idea of relaxation tends more towards culture. If so, a free aviation museum at San Francisco's international terminal (flysfo.com) presents the history of flight. It's one of numerous eclectic airport museums. Tokyo Narita (narita-airport.jp) features the Nippon Origami Museum, which exhibits 400 extraordinary origami creations. Amsterdam (schiphol.nl) has a small outpost of its famous Rijksmuseum that displays Dutch Masters and changing exhibits.
DO A TRANSIT TOUR
You don't need to stay in the airport at all. Among transit tours, you can hook up with a local for a city-sights tour in Frankfurt (toursbylocals.com), explore the Great Wall outside Beijing (beijing-airport-transportation.com) or take a walk in the countryside beyond Tokyo Narita (narita-transit-program.jp), especially worth it in summer when 8000 hydrangeas bloom in the grounds of Nichihon-ji Temple. In Taipei (taiwan.net.tw) you can take a tour to Zushih Temple, with its intricately carved stone, bronze reliefs and renowned artworks depicting birds. It beats staring at departure boards and duty-free shops, and will lighten your spirit before your onward journey.