Unless you have the dubious pleasure of living right next door to an airport one of the biggest downsides of going on holiday is catching a flight at an ungodly hour of the day. While driving half asleep at 4.00 am, with a nagging doubt you have forgot something may be some holidaymaker's idea of fun - for most it sounds like a bad way to start your holiday. However, help is at hand in the form of Airport Hotels, where you can spend a relaxed evening - and even afford an extra hour or two in bed before leaving.
Airport hotels may not enjoy the best of reputations. In many peoples mind they are ranked alongside train station pubs - filled with chain smoking business men in cheap suits. However, while there is certainly a convincing argument to avoid train station pubs (you have to pay to get in the toilet for starters), airport hotels are a long way from their cheap and not-so-cheerful roots. These days the savvy traveller can pick up a great value deal at some excellent hotel accommodation situated close to their airport of departure.
One hotel that certainly fits this bill is the 4-star Arora International Hotel near Gatwick (www.gatwickairport.com). Situated a mere 8 minutes from the airport, the hotel boasts a health club, with state of the art facilities including a gym, jacuzzi, steam room and solarium. The quality of service and dining is also high with two bars, a deli and brassiere restaurant for those wishing to sample the culinary delights of this award winning hotel. For those using the hotel before they catch a flight there is every convenience with an Avis car rental desk within the hotel and an adjoining train station going directly to Gatwick.
Another big advantage of staying at airport hotels is many let you use their car park facilities - at often very reasonable rates. The Cottons Hotel and Spa situated near Manchester International Airport offers some excellent deals on up to 15 days parking for guests of their hotel. The hotel itself is also 4-star and comes equipped with pool, colour therapy sauna, steam room, gym, tennis courts and spa. While you may also be confused over what a colour therapy sauna is, you have to agree it sounds enticing and certainly beats crawling through Manchester traffic to catch an early morning flight.
If you really want to banish your negative image of airport hotels once and for all then you needn't look much further than the completely re-vitalised Sheraton Skyline near Heathrow (www.heathrowairport.com). Visually stunning the Al Dente Ristorante is the ultimate experience of fine dining cuisine where Marco Di Tullio's menus combine tradition, creativity and flavours based on perfect cooking techniques and obsessive research of the best market and imported products available in the UK. In the past airport hotels may have meant chicken in a basket - at the Skyline this type of dish is very much confined to memory.
As the world of airport hotels is such a competitive area there are always great deals to be had for those looking for accommodation pre or post flight. Websites such as airport hotel specialists http://www.superbreak.com or http://www.hotelnet.co.uk have an excellent selection of deals and are worth looking at before planning a stay near an airport.
Overall, airport hotels have changed significantly over the past ten years and are no longer the realm of the odourly challenged. However, it is still recommended that the world of train station pubs is avoided unless on the look out for recreational drugs - or at the very least have a 50p coin to get into the toilet.