Airport hotels have traditionally been a lodging of last resort, your only choice after a flight cancellation. But times have changed. These days, plenty of the USA’s biggest airports have modern, clean, welcoming hotels. Their convenience not only makes flying easier, but they can be a lot of fun for the kiddos. (Imagine planes landing and taking off overhead while you’re swimming in the pool!) Here are our Midwest TravelingMom’s flying tips on why you might want to stay at an airport hotel.

Relaxing at Hyatt Orlando Airport hotel pool the night before an early flight is one of many reasons to stay at an airport hotel

Kids get a kick out of Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport’s rooftop pool with a view of the air traffic control tower. photo credit: Andrea Guthmann, Midwest TravelingMom

My family recently spent a night in the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport. It was our first time staying at a hotel directly inside an airport and it turned out to be a surprisingly good time for everyone! It had me reevaluating my stereotypes about the dreaded airport hotel. Sure, there are plenty of roadside budget motels near airports that I’d prefer never to see again. However, a new model of airport hotel has taken flight. These hotels are modern, often luxurious, and provide a welcome night’s sleep. Here’s why you might want to try them.

1. Early Morning Flight/Late Night Arrival

An airport hotel can ease the pain of a late night arrival or early morning departure. It can also help you make the most of your precious vacation time.

Optimism TravelingMom, Cathy Bennett Kopf, made the most of a weekend trip by overnighting at the Detroit Airport’s Westin. “We rolled from our late Friday night flight into bed, got an early jump on touring Saturday and Sunday, and took the first flight out on Monday morning to get back to work. It was the perfect strategy for juicing every hour out of a weekend getaway.”

Westin Detroit Airport Hotel has its own TSA line, a good one of many reasons to stay at an airport hotel.

The Westin Detroit Airport has its own security access line. photo credit: Westin Detroit Airport

Located directly inside the World Gateway Terminal, the modern Westin Detroit Metropolitan Airport has an indoor pool, spa and gym. Since it’s located right in the terminal, it’s an incredibly easy commute to/from your gate. No stressing out about whether you’ll miss a flight because of TSA security lines! And here’s a first class perk… the Westin comes with its own security access line into McNamara terminal.

Teaching TravelingMom, Kristin Maxwell, really likes the Loews Chicago O’Hare. Although it’s a five minute cab ride from the airport, she was sold on the various other amenities. “Not only was I warmly greeted by the front desk staff, I was enthralled by the beautiful lobby space with its modern, artistic design and art work decorating the hallways of the hotel. The rooms were spacious, clean, and well appointed. There was no sound from overhead planes and the hotel’s Rosemont location provides families with many entertainment options.”

Some airport hotels, like Loews Chicago O'Hare, are modern and upscale, so there's a reason to stay at an airport hotel.

Not all airport hotels are lodging of last resort. photo credit: Loews Chicago O’Hare

2. Cruising

Cruises normally allow passengers to embark as early as noon and want you on the ship by mid-afternoon. Taking your chances flying in that morning can make for a nail-biting travel adventure. Why not relax and fly in the night before? Your cruise will feel like smooth sailing instead of stressful.

The Hampton Inn Fort Lauderdale Arport Hotel is a good choice when cruising out of Fort Lauderdale or Miami and another one of many reasons to stay at an airport hotel.

The Hampton Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport is a good choice when cruising out of Fort Lauderdale or Miami. photo courtesy: Hampton Inn

The Hampton Inn Fort Lauderdale Airport North Cruise Port is only a few minutes from the cruise terminal and provides a free shuttle to/from Fort Lauderdale Airport.

Make good use of a Disney cruise disembarkation day in Port Canaveral by spending the day at the Kennedy Space Center. After touring the indoor museums and taking a bus tour of the launch pad, drive the hour  to Orlando. Check in to the Hyatt Orlando Airport, then fly out the next day. No worrying about being late for a flight when you can see the TSA lines from the hotel lobby! And the kids love seeing the planes landing and departing from the balcony.


Flying tip- enjoy the day at Kennedy Space Center after a Disney cruise, then stay at an airport hotel.

A visit to Kennedy Space Center is a great way to end a Disney cruise out of Port Canaveral. photo credit: Andrea Guthmann, Midwest TravelingMom

The Hyatt Orlando Airport also has an outdoor pool with a view of the air traffic control tower. It’s not my idea of the most serene setting, but younger kids get a real kick out of it!

3. Three Day Ski Weekend

We enjoy heading to the mountains, but really only want to ski for two days. So a weekend ski getaway is all we need. Denver has the most, and least expensive, flight options. The slopes are all within an hour or two of the Denver’s Airport. We normally fly in on a Thursday or Friday night, and hit the slopes the next morning. Finding my way through snow-covered mountain roads in the dark is not my idea of a vacation.

Opened in 2015, the Westin Denver International Airport is an ideal way to start off your ski trip. Hit the ski slopes early by flying into Denver the night before, get a good night’s rest, then rent a car and head to the ski slopes in the morning.

4. Multi-Family Trip

These days with families scattered across the country, vacations are often a way to reconnect with loved ones. We were meeting up with another family in Orlando, then heading out from there for a Florida vacation. The adults we were meeting in Orlando didn’t want to do Disney. But needless to say, Disney World was at the top of my daughter’s Florida bucket list. So, we took a 6 a.m. flight out of Chicago, landed in Orlando at 9 a.m., dropped off our luggage at the Hyatt Orlando Airport, then hopped in a cab for the 40 minute ride to Disney.

Flyings tip- Hyatt Orlando Airport hotel is great for multiple families meeting up in Orlando.

The Hyatt Orlando Airport hotel is located inside the terminal. photo credit: Andrea Guthmann

We got back to the hotel at 10 p.m., my daughter was ready to crash, and I stayed up to have a beer with my brother and sister-in-law. Everybody’s happy! Our two bedroom suite at the Hyatt Orlando Airport had a spacious living area, where we could relax and watch tv while my daughter slept.

Flying tip- staying at an airport hotel, like Hyatt Orlando Airport, can be a convenient way to meet up with extended family.

Our two bedroom suite at the Hyatt Orlando Airport served as a perfect meeting spot for a trip with extended family. photo credit: Andrea Guthmann

 5. Parking Perks – A Great Reason to Stay at an Airport Hotel

Some airport hotels let you park for free, another good reason to stay. Not only is that super-convenient, it’s easy on the wallet. The Calgary Airport Marriott is an in-terminal hotel that lets you park your car for up to 8 nights for free with an overnight stay. Check others for their parking policy.

Have you stayed at an airport hotel before? Thumbs up or thumbs down?