By Will Pollock, @TravelDeals Contributor
Do you have a penchant for plane watching while away on R&R? Use our “Best of” series guide below as a taking-off point – and give us your suggestions for Part II of our series.
The roar and thrust of a Boeing 777 is instantly thrilling, sending a tingle down the spine of those who spot the hulking giant whisking 300+ passengers through the air. For some travelers, though, a brief encounter with any of aviation’s marvels is simply not enough. And activity can be the perfect complement to your vacation plans, which is why some mechanical-bird watchers seek out strategically placed hotels and resorts to catch a glimpse of aircraft while awaiting room service in bed.
With so many airline travelers needing access to convenient, relaxing and culture-convenient accommodations, airport hotels are as abundant as the air planes fly through – and close to just about anything you’d want. Which, of course, is great news for enthusiasts who want to watch the planes soar but take in the city spots as well.
We’ve gathered together the following round-up of hotels, but we also want to hear from you: Have you stayed at these locations and what were your experiences? What are some of your favorite plane-spotting vacation hotels, and why?
Grand Hyatt, DFW
With approximately 80 rooms having a close view of the runway, the best plane spotting, according to the hotel, will be on floors 4-8 on the west or runway side of the hotel. The location bills itself as a five-star destination that is perfectly situated at DFW’s Terminal D for travelers seeking to experience all the DFW Metroplex has to offer.
Sheraton Suites, SAN @ Symphony Hall
Symphonic sounds and plane watching? Sign us up! Flyers landing in San Diego are always treated to a breathless approach into the city, barely missing buildings on landing, which means lots of great plane viewing around town. Sheraton Suites San Diego at Symphony Hall is a good option to take advantage of that low approach – particularly with north-facing rooms – and gets high marks for its value and access to great events at the Symphony. Related: watch a promo video for the hotel on YouTube.
Hyatt Harborside, BOS
We’re told plane spotters should request and reserve their rooms on the 9th floor on the airport side of the hotel – which is so close you can almost reach out and touch it. In fact, it even factors in to air-traffic flow, says our tipster Patrick Smith: Situated afoot runway 32 (construction of which had been opposed by residents for decades), the Hyatt’s placement meant that the runway could only be utilized in one direction. The 9th floor is apparently the best vantage point.
Lansdowne Resort, IAD
Although removed a bit from the Dulles International airport locale, this location has the best of both worlds: resort environs and clear views of aircraft. More than 100 of the resort’s 296 rooms have clear plane views; seven deluxe suites and the Presidential Suite offer the best sights off the balconies. The hotel is so close to Dulles that they must receive official approval from the FAA for any fireworks displays or special-event spotlights. Lansdowne sets up chairs, tables and warmers (on chilly nights) on its terrace so folks can watch the airplane show.
MGM Grand, LAS
Sin City is not just for gambling junkies – aircraft addicts can catch a good glimpse of planes while staying at this spot, and be treated to some of the finest entertainment shows. Not only do you get MGM’s world-class accommodations, you can request an airport-side room on a high floor for spectacular viewing. MGM’s exclusive, non-gaming Signature rooms reportedly have some of the city’s best views of the airport. Some posters also report seeing lots of helicopter activity, too, if that’s also your thing. Mandalay Bay, Luxor and Hampton Inn & Suites are also said to have fantastic airport views – no matter where you stay, your city hotel of choice will have some sort of airport-facing rooms.
“Quite possibly the best spotting hotel in the USA,” says PlaneSpottingUSA. Another traveler suggested “plane spotting by the pool,” which made a lot of sense to us. Set to hip-hop music, someone created an ode to this location with a snazzy, takeoff-and-landing YouTube treatment by AirplaneNewsToday. The airline-watcher blog ThirtyThousand also credits this hotel as one of the best for viewing, and has some stunning photographs here, as does TripAdvisor. Atlanta’s rapid-transit system, MARTA, is integrated with and connected to the airport, so you’re only a few stops away from the Georgia Aquarium, Centennial Olympic Park and World of Coke.
Bio for Will Pollock
Will Pollock is a freelance multimedia culture and travel journalist based in Atlanta. Will owns Stone Four Media, a diversified marketing-communications company, and is founder and director of ARTvision Atlanta, an annual artists’ collaborative fundraiser. He’s published two books—Pizza for Good & Leaving Triscuit—and has “Grill Them with Kindness” coming Summer 2018. Will blogs about politics, pop-culture and other nonsense at CrankyYank.com, and you can follow him on Twitter @bywillpollock. As a 20-year Atlanta resident, he’s nearing the million-miler milestone with Delta. Have a story tip? E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.