Sofitel Heathrow joins new breed of airport hotel

Hotel News - 31/03/2008

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For a long time, travellers have dreaded delays and stopovers almost exclusively because they mean a night in an airport hotel. But airport hotels are slowly taking note and changing their tune to suit the more luxurious tastes of today’s business travellers who are looking for leisure and good service.

While once airport hotels could get away with impersonal style and overpriced accommodation, but today they have to compete with a new generation of lay flat seats and first class cabins, as well as super luxury airport lounges.

This summer, everyone in the industry will be watching the Sofitel Heathrow open its doors. The hotel is promising to lavish travellers with new ideas and innovative service, but will it be able to deliver, or, like the new terminal, will it disappoint?

According to Roeland Vos, who is the president of Starwood properties for the European, African and Middle Eastern region, airport hotels and their image, is changing today.

“They are no longer just a stop with a bed. The numbers of five-star brands around the world at airports means that they are much more comfortable and spacious,” he says.

“There is a lot of focus on technology, design, lounges and entertainment. Fitness options have become much more important than in the past. They are also better built – triple glazing cuts out most external noise – and look better.”

He added: “An airport hotel plays a very important social role at an airport.”

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