5 Best Transit Hotels
We’re as guilty as anyone of romanticizing the golden age of travel — you know, back when calming in-flight nerves meant a smoke and some free champagne, rather than half an Ambien and a bout of ankle-yoga to keep the deep-vein thrombosis from setting in.
Or so the story goes, anyway.
The fact is, there’s still plenty of glamour in travel if you know where to look.
It’s even true of that most maligned of hotel genres, the airport hotel. And as for the grand old railway hotels, after painstaking restorations, some of them have truly never looked better.
1. Transit Hotels – St. Pancras Renaissance Hotel
London — After nearly a century of neglect and a spare-no-expense, decade-long restoration, the grand Gothic hotel at St. Pancras station has returned — evoking a sort of Merchant-Ivory vision of old European rail travel, but with all the fittings of a state-of-the-art luxury hotel. Book well and you’ll have a butler escorting you to or from your train carriage, fast-tracking you through the queues.
2. Transit Hotels – citizenM Amsterdam Airport
Amsterdam — Striking a sort of paradoxical balance between the utilitarian and the utopian, citizenM will have you wondering why all the world’s airport hotels can’t be as well-designed as this one. The theme is “affordable luxury,” with plasma screens, king-size beds, rain showers and futuristic glass-walled bathroom pods, plus a stylish 24-hour canteen that puts the usual airport bar to shame.
3. Transit Hotels – The Tokyo Station Hotel
Tokyo — Back after a six-year reconstruction, this low-rise, European-style, 1915-vintage train station hotel stands in dramatic contrast to Tokyo’s famously futuristic skyline. Inside, the rooms take on the style of a grand modern business hotel, and though the atmosphere within is serene, the station’s ever-buzzing hive of underground restaurants and shops is just outside the doors.
4. Transit Hotels – Custom Hotel
Los Angeles — It may look an airport hotel from the outside, but then again it’s the rare airport hotel that has a cabana-ringed pool, a genuinely stylish lobby bar and a DJ lounge. Still, travel remains the theme: the walls are hung with cool mid-century airline ads, and the spa is home to a pair of those big black leather massage chairs which (until now) seemed to exist only in airport lounges.
5. Transit Hotels – Hôtel La Ferme
Baie St-Paul, Québec — When you create an eco-resort from scratch in middle-of-nowhere Québec, it helps to give people a way to get there. Hôtel La Ferme’s solution: build a train station right into the hotel. Suddenly this summertime lakeside idyll and winter ski destination becomes a quick and carless trip from Québec City, and an easy, scenic ride from the slopes.