Rethinking the Airport Hotel
- Nov. 18 2014 00:00
All roads lead to Sheremetyevo Airport and a hub of hotels.
If you are like most travelers, probably the only time you stayed at an airport hotel was when a flight was delayed or cancelled — and the hotel was the sad end of a miserable day. First you and several thousand other stranded souls milled about the airport, hoping for good news. Then, when it was certain that the typhoon/blizzard/volcanic ash cloud was there to stay, you spent another several hours fighting the airline's refusal to pay for a hotel. By the time you gave up and got to the only hotel near the airport with an available room, it was after midnight. Room service stopped delivering five minutes before you called. The lobby bar was closed. You sat on a lumpy bed, eating stale pretzels from the mini-bar washed down with beer, and tried to channel surf over the sound of an energetically amorous couple in the next room. It was not a happy experience.
Flash forward to Moscow, 2014. Forget everything you thought you knew about airport hotels. A hub of hotels near and in Moscow's Sheremyetevo Airport is providing a completely different level of service, convenience and comfort. First of all, they are located near businesses in the north of the city and an easy 30-minute trip on the Air Express to central Moscow. They all provide a variety of meeting rooms so you can fly in, meet with partners, and fly out in a day or two. And they de-stress departures from traffic-jammed, blizzard-prone, eternally under-construction Moscow: Start your vacation early by checking in the night before you fly out.
The newest of the batch is the sleek and futuristic Radisson Blu, which is directly connected to the terminals and has almost 400 rooms with every amenity, a plethora of meeting rooms, plus a fitness center, sauna and hammam for relaxation. Coolest convenience: three-hour laundry service. For more information, see www.radissonblu.com/hotel-sheremetyevo-moscow.
Nearby is the oldest of the group — Novotel, built 1992 as Accor's first Accor hotel in Russia, but recently completely renovated and updated. The terminals can be reached on foot over a pedestrian crosswalk or by free hotel shuttle. There are plenty of meeting rooms, if you can bear to leave the pool, sauna, hammam, fitness club and billiard room. Coolest convenience: children are free and have special play areas. For more information, see www.novotel.com/gb/hotel-1349-novotel-moscow-sheremetyevo-airport.
The Park Inn by Radisson is also a very short walk to terminals D, E, and F, although most travelers prefer the free hotel shuttle. If offers cheerful rooms, a large choice of meeting venues, free Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service at a cost that's easy on the wallet. Coolest convenience: a day rate to refresh and regroup between flights. For more information, see www.parkinn.com/airporthotel-moscow.
A bit further away is the Sheraton Moscow Sheremetyevo, a striking red, white and blue building in a park-like setting. It's a quick five to 15 minutes to the airport terminals by free shuttle. Here you can choose between traditional meeting rooms or an outdoor tent for your event. A pool, hammam, sauna, Jacuzzi, fitness center and healthy menu help travelers keep up with their fitness goals. Coolest convenience: absolutely soundproof rooms. For more information, see www.sheratonmoscowairport.com.
If you need a place to crash for a couple of hours, try the V Express Capsule Hotel. It has two pods of capsules in the airport buildings — one on the fifth floor of the Air Express terminal and the other in the transit zone of Terminal E — where you can sleep, shower, watch TV and surf the Internet from four to 24 hours in clean, simple rooms with or without windows. Coolest convenience: it's steps away. For more information, see www.eng.v-exp.ru.
With options like these, you might look forward to a good blizzard.