The Complete Guide to Airport Spotting Hotels

This is our most comprehensive guide to spotting hotels for aviation enthusiasts. You can read it below, or get a free downloadable copy to print and refer to later by adding your email address below and we’ll send you a copy.

Spotting-Hotels-Guide

Introduction

Aircraft spotting used to be about rolling up to an airport, finding the official viewing area, and spending some time logging and photographing whatever turned up.

Now, with most official viewing areas long banished in the name of security and commercial development, spotters are resigned to finding alternative places to watch aircraft.

One of the more interesting developments has been in finding hotels where spotters can enjoy their hobby in the comfort and safety of their own room, and continue doing so into the night thanks to in-room Wi-Fi and flight tracking websites.

The purpose of this guide is to give you a comprehensive overview of what to look for with spotting hotels and how to get the best views. It also lists the 10 best spotting hotels, and a full list of 60 hotels that you need to visit on your travels.

 

Free PDF

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What Makes a Good Spotting Hotel?

Defining the what makes a good spotting hotel depends on your own motivations as a spotter.

People generally tend to fall into categories of either photographers or aircraft loggers (although usually people are both).

citizenm-amsterdam

The best spotting hotels are naturally the ones closest to the action. They will have rooms with a view of an airport, its runways, or the approach/departure path to or from the airport.

Any hotel more than a mile away will probably not be worth it unless you’re happy for a remote view and having to rely on flight tracking websites or SBS units to find out the identity of aircraft seen.

For photographers, a good spotting hotel is one that is close enough to bring aircraft in range for unobstructed pictures to be taken, ideally within a 300mm range. It would also have clean windows without a large gap between panes of glass.

Like any hotel, a good spotting hotel will be comfortable, have free Wi-Fi, and good options for food and drink. It should not be too expensive, however this is sometimes not an option when it comes to airport hotels.

 

How to Ensure You Get the Best Rooms

There’s nothing more frustrating than being in a spotting hotel but unable to secure a room with a view. It’s almost as bad to have a room which requires straining your neck and squinting to grab a fleeting glance of aircraft as they pass the other side of the hotel.

The perfect room has a grandstand view where you can relax on a chair, bed or balcony and watch aircraft pass you without any obstruction. It’s not always that simple, so how can you ensure you get a good room?

Renaissance Heathrow Spotting Hotel

It’s important to communicate your wishes when booking the room. There is often a space to leave requests when booking rooms online, which is a perfect opportunity to state: “I would like a room with a view of the airport/runway on a high floor, please.” You can also request a particular room number here if you know a good one.

This is another important factor. Unless you know differently, spotting hotels have the best views from the highest rooms. This takes you above the annoying distractions of trees, street lights and other buildings and gives you the best chance of seeing aircraft.

Another good tip is to call the hotel on the morning of arrival to politely ask whether you could request a room with a view of the airport. In most cases staff will helpfully try to secure this for you, and will often see your request on the booking system.

Finally, upon arrival you have another chance to request a room with a view. This is easier, as you can discuss the best options. However, by this stage you run the risk of all the best rooms being assigned to other guests – especially if you check-in late in the day.

 

Other Factors to Think About

When choosing which spotting hotel to book you need to also think about your other needs.

If this is simply an overnight stop before or after flying, or whilst passing through the city, it’s not so important. You may want to make sure there is a free shuttle to the airport, or long-stay parking.

However, if this hotel is going to be the base for your spotting trip you should check its proximity to other spotting locations and attractions, and whether it has public transport links.

If food in the hotel is expensive you should also check out whether there are any supermarkets or fast food chains in the local area as a place to stock up on supplies or eat cheaply.

Finally, price is another factor. Often you can’t afford higher prices if you want the best views. But if you’re staying at an airport for a longer period, you might find this too expensive and want to shop around a little. Trading off price versus views is something to think about.

 

Room-With-a-View-Banner

 

The Top 10 Spotting Hotels

There are undoubtedly some places which have become synonymous with the term ‘spotting hotel’. These are the stars which spotters naturally flock to, and are in many cases better than any other spotting locations at an airport.

The best seem to be at the busiest airports around the world, as these offer quantity of aircraft as well as quality of the views. Some are also well known for facilities and climate, which add to the enjoyment.

Rydges Hotel View

Here are our Top 10 Best Spotting Hotels in the World

  1. Concourse Renaissance Hotel
    Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson
  2. Renaissance Hotel
    London Heathrow
  3. Grand Excelsior Hotel Deira
    Dubai International
  4. Embassy Suites
    Los Angeles International
  5. Rydges Hotel
    Sydney
  6. Sheraton Gateway
    Toronto Pearson
  7. Langham Place Hotel
    Beijing Capital
  8. Marriott Skycity
    Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok
  9. Crowne Plaza
    Singapore Changi
  10. Radisson Blu
    Istanbul Ataturk

 

The World’s 60 Best Spotting Hotels

Now, for the ultimate guide to spotting hotels we bring you details and links to what we consider are the 60 best spotting hotels in the world for aviation enthusiasts and spotters.

Use this guide as a reference when planning your next spotting trip, or even somewhere to stay whilst passing through a city. Please also consider upgrading to our complete Airport Spotting Hotels book, with over 270 great hotels listed and full details.

 

Africa

Johannesburg O R Tambo

Protea O R Tambo
Gladiator St, Kempton Park, 1619 | +27 11 977 2600 | www.proteahotels.com
The hotel of choice for spotters at Johannesburg. It is located opposite the passenger terminal and high rooms facing the airport look out over part of the parking apron and aircraft which day stop. You can also see runway 21R in the distance. Photography is possible of some movements with a long lens.

 

Europe

Amsterdam Schiphol

CitizenM Amsterdam Schiphol

CitizenM Amsterdam Schiphol

CitizenM Hotel
Jan plezierweg 2, 1118 BB Amsterdam Schiphol | +31 20 811 7080 | www.citizenm.com
A modern, affordable hotel which is part of a popular chain. All rooms have double beds, and are very compact. Rooms on the 4th and 5th floor should be fine, and look out over the low-cost H pier, plus the runways and taxiways beyond.

[Read our Review of the CitizenM at Amsterdam Schiphol, with Pictures]

 

Athens

Sofitel Athens Airport
Athens Airport, Attiki Odos, Spata-Artemida 190 04 | +30 21 0354 4000 | www.sofitel.com
This eight-storey hotel is located right outside the airport terminal. Ask for a high room on floors 4-8 facing the airport and you won’t miss many movements, which can be read off with binoculars. One side looks towards runway 03R/21L and the other 03L/21R

 

Birmingham

Travelodge Birmingham Airport
Terminal Road, Birmingham B26 3QW | +44 871 984 6483 | www.travelodge.co.uk
Located on the old terminal side of the airport, rooms facing the airport on the top two floors have great views across the runway and to the passenger terminal. You can’t see the executive and cargo ramp, but will see all movements.

 

Copenhagen

Hilton Airport Hotel
Ellehammersvej 20, Copenhagen 2770 | +45 32 501 501 | www.hilton.com
The Hilton is linked to the terminal via a covered walkway. Most rooms ending in 31-35 from the 10th floor up offer views, with photography possible.

 

Corfu

Corfu Holiday Palace Hotel
Corfu, 491 00 | +30 2661 036540 | corfuholidaypalace.gr
The best place to watch the action at Corfu is around the end of runway 35, where aircraft approach or depart over the sea. The Corfu Holiday Palace is a hotel with an elevated view over this end of the runway.

 

Dusseldorf

Sheraton Airport Hotel
Terminal-Ring 4, 40474 Düsseldorf | +49 21 14 1730 | www.sheraton.com
The most convenient hotel at Düsseldorf Airport, and connected to the terminal via a walkway. Rooms on higher floors with numbers ending in 10 will give views of the domestic ramp and distant taxiway.

 

Frankfurt Main

Hilton Garden Inn
Am Flughafen, The Square – East, 60549 Frankfurt | +49 69 45 00 25 00 | www.hilton.com
Situated near the terminals, above the railway station, this hotel also has TV screens in the lobbies with aircraft registrations (including the freighters) and some rooms with views of movements. There is an upgrade cost to book one of the quoted ‘airport view’ rooms.

 

Helsinki Vantaa

Hilton Helsinki Airport
Lentäjänkuja 1, 01530 Vantaa | +358 9 73220 | www.hilton.com
The hotel is located directly behind the airport’s main terminal complex and is a couple of floors higher than the terminal buildings. There are only outward facing rooms on two sides of the hotel, facing northeast and southwest (the rest face an inner courtyard). For spotting purposes, you will need rooms facing southwest. The top two floors are best, with rooms on the southwest side overlooking final approach to runways 04L/R and many of the terminal stands.

 

Istanbul Ataturk

RadissonBlu Istanbul Airport

Radisson Blu Airport Hotel
E-5 Karayolu (Yanyol) No. 20 – Sefakoy Kavsagi – K. Cekmece – 34295 Istanbul | +90 212 411 3838 | www.radissonblu.com
A perfect place to stay if you can get a room overlooking the airport. You’ll be able to see all movements on the 18L/36R runway, and many around the terminal area, plus the GA area.

 

Liege

Park Inn by Radisson Liege Airport
Rue de l’Aéroport 14, 4460 Grâce-Hollogne | +32 4 241 00 00 | www.parkinn.com
With Liege coming alive at night, it is ideal to have this hotel from where you can keep an eye on the action. Situated next to the passenger terminal, it has rooms overlooking the runway, taxiways and parking ramp. Distant views of the cargo lineup can be had. Ask for a top floor room.

 

London Gatwick

The view from the BLOC Hotel at London Gatwick airport.

The view from the BLOC Hotel at London Gatwick airport.

BLOC Hotel
South Terminal Gatwick Airport, RH6 0NP | +44 20 3051 0101 | www.blochotels.com
Situated atop the South Terminal in the former administration building, the BLOC Hotel is a great place to spot if you have a room facing the airport. It has similar views to the old viewing terrace. Depending on the room you will usually have a view of both terminals and part of the runway.

[Read our Review of the BLOC Hotel at Gatwick]

 

London Heathrow

Heathrow Renaissance Spotting hotel

Heathrow Renaissance Spotting hotel

Renaissance London Heathrow
140 Bath Road, Hounslow TW6 2AQ | +44 20 88 97 63 63 | www.marriott.com
This is one of the best spotting hotels in the world, if you request a room overlooking the airport. All movements on the northern runway can be read off and photographed easily. Movements around the terminals are easy to spot. Although this hotel is not the cheapest at Heathrow, the quality of spotting makes up for it and it offers special spotter packages through its website.

[Read our Review, with Pictures, of the Renaissance Heathrow]

 

Manchester

Radisson Blu Spotting

Radisson Blu Manchester Airport
Chicago Avenue, Manchester M90 3RA | +44 161 490 5000 | www.radissonblu.co.uk
The best hotel for spotting at Manchester. Located behind Terminal 2, rooms on high floors overlook the aprons and the runways in the distance. The restaurant also offers the same view. Some good opportunities for photographs with a long lens.

[Review of the Manchester Airport Radisson Blu Hotel]

 

Moscow Sheremetyevo

Radisson Altitude Restaurant (7)

Radisson Blu Moscow Sheremetyevo
Mezhdunarodnoye Shosse 1a, Sheremetyevo Airport, Khimki, Moskva, 141400 | +7 495 280 34 20 | www.radissonblu.com
A new hotel at Sheremetyevo which has stunning views over parts of the aircraft parking ramps and runways beyond. The hotel is also linked directly to the terminals. Rooms on the 7th-10th floors facing the airport have good views of the action. The Altitude restaurant on the 11th floor also has great views.

[A look at the new Radisson Blu Moscow Sheremetyevo spotting hotel]

 

Nice Cote d’Azur

Hotel Premiere Classe
385 Prom. des Anglais, 06200 Nice | +33 892 70 72 29 | www.premiereclasse.com
High floor rooms facing the airport look down over the biz jet parking apron and the runways 22L/R thresholds, so you can see most movements easily. Palm trees on the road and wire mesh fence get in the way of photographs.

 

Oslo Gardermoen

Oslo Spotting Hotel

Comfort Hotel RunWay
Hans Gaarders veg 27, Gardermoen 2060 | +47 63 94 88 88 | www.comfortinn.com
Situated next to the perimeter fence overlooking Runway 01L/19R. Rooms facing the runway allow you to read off all movements, but tress can get in the way of photographs and views across to the terminal.

[Review of the Oslo Comfort Hotel RunWay Hotel]

 

Palma de Mallorca

Hotel Marina Luz
Calle Maestro Ekitai Ahn 40, 07610 Cala Estancia, Mallorca | +34 971 49 24 00 | http://www.marinaluzhotel.com/en/

Probably the most popular hotel at Palma with spotters, located in Ca’n Pastilla. Its rooms have great views of aircraft on one of the runways, and is a short distance from the airport. Ask for a top-floor room facing the Bay of Palma for the best views. This is an adult-only hotel.

 

Paris Charles de Gaulle

Ibis Hotel
Roissy Aéroport Cedex
Roissypôle, Roissy 95701 | +33 1 49 19 19 19 | www.ibishotel.com
North facing rooms have views over Terminal 3 and northern runways, and south facing have views over Terminal 2. The hotel is also located next to the Mound spotting location.

[Complete Guide to Spotting at Paris Charles de Gaulle Airport]

 

Rome Fiumicino

Hilton Hotel Rome Airport
Via Arturo Ferrarin, 2, 00054 Fiumicino | +39 06 65258 | www.hilton.com
Set amongst the car parks behind the terminal complex, and with good views over some of the aprons and the maintenance area. Distant views of movements on some of the runways can be had, but all is too far away for easy recognition or photography. The best rooms are even-numbered in the 004-012 range on the top floors.

 

Stockholm Arlanda

Radisson Blu Sky City Hotel
Stockholm Arlanda Airport, SE-190 45 | +46 8 506 740 00 | www.radissonblu.com
Located above the terminals and linked into the Sky City area. Rooms higher up and at each end of the building offer great views over the movements – particularly of Runway 01L/19R.

 

Vienna

NH Vienna Airport Hotel
Einfahrtsstrasse 3, Wien Flughafen 1300 | +43 1 7015 10 | www.nh-hotels.com
The best hotel at Vienna Airport for views of movements. Odd-numbered rooms on the third floor will give views over the apron. Some other higher rooms have views over the 11/29 runway. A short walk from the terminal.

 

United States & Canada

Atlanta Hartsfield Jackson

Atlanta Airport

Renaissance Concourse Hotel Atlanta Airport
1 Hartsfield Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30354 | +1 404 209 9999 | www.marriott.com
Many rooms at this fairly luxurious hotel overlook the entire airport, and many have private balconies, which give spotters the chance to spend all day and night watching the action. Aircraft on the furthest runways can be seen with good pole; everything else with a good pair of binoculars. Photography is possible on the closer runways too. The hotel offers spotter packages on request. It is cheaper at weekends. Rooms on higher floors are better, with 819, 933, 1016, 1022, 1024 and 1025 singled out as excellent.

 

Boston Logan

View of the Terminal A cul-de-sac

View of the Terminal A cul-de-sac

Hilton Boston Logan
One Hotel Drive, Boston, MA 02128 | +1 617 568 6700 | www.hilton.com
The closest hotel to the terminal, and connected via a bridge. High rooms look out over most aircraft movements if you request an airport-facing room.

[A Review of the Boston Logan Hilton]

 

Chicago O’Hare

Hilton Chicago O’Hare
O’Hare International Airport, Chicago, Illinois 60666 | +1 773 686 8000 | www.hilton.com
Perfectly situated within Terminal 2 at the heart of O’Hare, this Hilton has rooms overlooking the American Airlines gates and southern runways. Ask for an even-numbered, high-floor room. Good photographs are possible of aircraft around the terminal. Unfortunately, the hotel is quite expensive and has started charging a premium for a guaranteed airport view room.

 

Dallas Ft. Worth

Grand Hyatt DFW
2337 South International Pkwy, DFW Airport, TX 75261-9045 | +1 972 973 1234 | granddfw.hyatt.com
This is the best hotel for spotting at DFW, and is located right within the airport complex above Terminal D. If requested, you should be able to obtain a higher room facing the runways. Unfortunately, you’ll only be able to see either the east side or west side of the airport, and not both. There is also a rooftop pool with views.

 

Houston George Bush Intercontinental

Marriott Houston IAH
18700 John F. Kennedy Blvd, Houston, TX 77032 | +1 281 443 2310 | www.marriott.com
This centrally-located hotel can be expensive, but has some great views. Ask for a high-floor room facing the airport and you shouldn’t be disappointed. However, you will only be able to see one side of the action. The windows at the eastern end of the corridors look out towards the cargo apron.

 

Los Angeles International

Embassy Suites LAX South
1440 E Imperial Ave, El Segundo, CA 90245 | +1 310-640-3600 | www.hilton.com
This hotel is set back to the north east of the airport, but its height means that rooms on the top floors facing south look out onto the final approach from the east, or departures from the west. It is too distant to see aircraft on the ground, but with a flight tracker you should get most movements.

(Note: Make sure you book the correct Embassy Suites at LAX as there are two!)

 

Miami International

Hilton Miami Airport
5101 Blue Lagoon Drive, Miami, FL 33126 | +1 305 262 1000 | www.hilton.com
A good hotel for views over the southern half of the airport, particularly when runways 27 or 30 are in use. Ask for a high room facing the airport. Executive double rooms with balconies offer the best views and a great chance for relaxation!

 

Newark Liberty International

Marriott Hotel Newark Airport
1 Hotel Road, Newark, NJ 07114 | +1 973 623 0006 | www.marriott.com
This hotel is situated in the middle of the terminal complex and has views across the airport from certain rooms, including views of all runways. Rooms reported as excellent are 832, 932, 1032 and 1050. Weekend rates are quite affordable.

 

New York LaGuardia

Courtyard New York LaGuardia
9010 Ditmars Blvd, East Elmhurst, NY 11369 | +1 718 446 4800 | www.courtyardlaguardia.com
Located close to the terminals and runway 04, this hotel has high rooms looking over the airport from where most movements can easily be logged. Aim for any room between 617 and 628.

 

Orlando International

Hyatt Regency
9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd, Orlando, FL 32827 | +1 407 825 1234 | www.orlandoairport.hyatt.com
By far the best hotel at Orlando Airport, and situated within the terminal complex. If you ask for a room facing the runways, you will see most movements. The hotel’s car park and pool area also have views of movements.

 

Philadelphia

Marriott Philadelphia Airport
One Arrivals Road, Philadelphia, PA 19153 | +1 215 492 9000 | www.marriott.com
Asking for a high room facing the airport should give you a great position looking over aircraft movements at the terminals, and on the runways in the distance. The hotel is linked to Terminal B by a walkway.

 

San Francisco International

Marriott San Francisco Waterfront
1800 Old Bayshore, Burlingame, CA 94010 | +1 650 692 9100 | www.marriott.com
The best-known hotel for spotting at SFO, with higher rooms facing the airport offer views over runways 1L/R and 28L/R.

 

Toronto Pearson

Toronto View from Sheraton room 846

Sheraton Gateway
Terminal 3, Toronto Airport, On L5P 1C4 | +1 905 672 7000 | www.starwoodhotels.com
A good hotel connected to the terminals with views across the ramp and some of the runways. In-room view of nearby aircraft parking gates are excellent, however Terminal 1 is not visible, however most aircraft will taxi into view. Ask for a high-level room facing the airport.

[Spotting from the Sheraton Gateway Hotel, Toronto]

 

Vancouver

Fairmont Vancouver Airport
3111 Grant McConachie Way, Richmond, BC V7B 0A6 | +1 604 207 5200 | www.fairmont.com
Located in the northern side of the terminal. Ask for a higher room facing the airport and you’ll have views of some of the parking gates and movements. Some rooms even have telescopes!

 

Asia

Bangkok Suvarnabhumi

Grand Inn Come Hotel
99 Moo 6 Kingkaew Road, Rachathewa, Bangkok 10540 | +66 2 738 8191 | www.grandinncome-hotel.com
A basic but pleasant hotel situated alongside the airport perimeter to the west, which is popular with spotters visiting Bangkok. Top floor rooms overlook runway 19R/01L, with 541 reported as having great views. Most movements can be seen and tied up with SBS or flight tracker websites. Photography is possible if you have a long lens and can cope with the heat haze.

 

Beijing Capital

Photo: Paul Moiser

Photo: Paul Moiser

Langham Place Hotel
1 Er Jing Road, Terminal 3, Capital International Airport, Beijing 100621 | +86 10 6457 5555 | beijingairport.langhamplacehotels.com
The best spotting hotel at Beijing Capital is the Langham Place. It is situated close to Terminal 3 and has rooms facing the runways, city skyline, or the lake. Rooms facing the runway look over the approach to runway 01, whilst those facing the lake will have views of aircraft approaching runway 36R, with 36L in the distance. The hotel is a 10-15 minute walk from the popular nearby spotting location.

 

Delhi

Radisson Blu Plaza Delhi
Near Mahipalpur Extension, Nh 8, New Delhi, 110037 | +91 11 2677 9191 | www.radissonblue.com
Situated at the eastern side of the airport near the main motorway linking it to the city. This is a large and very comfortable and western hotel. Depending on your room you should be able to see aircraft arriving on runways 27, 28 and 29, and some departures.

 

Hong Kong Chek Lap Kok

Marriott Skycity Hotel
1 SkyCity Road East, Hong Kong International Airport, Lantau Hong Kong | +852 3969 1888 | www.marriott.com
Rooms in this hotel offer fantastic views, and it’s only a short walk from the terminal and the Skydeck viewing area. Even numbered rooms high up offer views of short finals to runway 07R, and some views of the cargo ramp.

 

Jakarta

FM7 spotting hotel

FM7 Resort Hotel
Jl. Raya Perancis No. 67, Benda, Kec. Tgr, Banten 15125 | +62 21 559 11777 | www.fm7hotel.com
The FM7 Resort Hotel is situated close to the end of Runway 25R, and one of the main benefits is the proximity of aircraft approaching this runway, which can be photographed quite easily. Although the hotel is only two stories high, rooms on the top floor can be found that have good views and are not too obstructed by the surrounding trees. Some rooms also have views across to runway 25L, but SBS is necessary to identify them as they disappear behind the buildings. A rooftop Montezuma’s Bar area also has views – this is open from 5am-1am, with an additional roof area open at the manager’s discretion.

[Jakarta’s FM7 Spotting Hotel Guide]

 

Kuala Lumpur International

Sama Sama Hotel
Jalan CTA 4 B, 64000 KLIA – Sepang, Selangor Darul Ehsan | +603 8787 3333 | www.samasamahotels.com
Located alongside KLIA 1, making it close enough to walk to the viewing area. Rooms on the top floors and facing the airport allow most movements to be seen, although they can be a little distant for photography or reading off.

 

Manila

View from the Remington Hotel in Manila

Remington Hotel
Newport Boulevard, Pasay 1309 Metro Manila | +63 2 908 8600 | www.rwmanila.com
This hotel is excellent if you get a good room overlooking the airport. Generally rooms on the fifth floor upwards in the range xx009-xx0017 and xx0068-xx0073 will be perfect. Photography is possible from the rooms of aircraft on the nearby taxiway and runway. It is also next to the Air Force Museum.

[Spotting Trip Report: Manila, Philippines]

 

Mumbai

Orchid Hotel
Adjacent to Domestic, 70-C, Nehru Rd, Vile Parle East, Mumbai, 400099 | +91 22 2616 4040
A well-known hotel for spotters at Mumbai. It is found near Terminal 1 and the runway 14 threshold. Its roof terrace has a pool and good views over this part of the airport. Security, however, is now very tight and anyone using cameras or binoculars are usually spoken to immediately. Rooms on the top floor can have great views, with 702-707 reportedly good.

 

Phuket

Centara Gran West Sands Resort
Soi Mai Khao 4, Mai Khao, Thalang District, Phuket 83110 | +66 76 372 000 | www.centarahotelsresorts.com
A family resort hotel located close to Phuket Airport with great amenities and nearby beach. Some rooms have balconies and views of the airport apron and runway approach. Jonathan Payne, the Executive Assistant Manager, is keen to accommodate the needs of spotters. Call ahead to make a request for a room with the best views.

 

Seoul Incheon

Hotel Ora
345, Gonghangseo-ro, Jung-gu, 22384 Incheon | +82 32 752-8080
A new hotel on the south side of Incheon Airport. Rooms are large and modern and overlook the airport, albeit at a slight distance. You won’t miss any movements, and can photograph from the balcony with a long lens.

 

Shanghai Pudong

Dazhong Merrylin ‘Ease’ Hotel Pudong Airport
6001 Yingbin Avenue, Pudong New Area, Shanghai 201202 | +86 21 3879 9999 | www.dazhongairporthotel.com
This hotel is reasonably priced and has a direct link to the terminal and train station. Rooms on higher floors facing south have views over the taxiways and runways. An SBS is useful for night movements. Rooms 8801, 8802 and 8806 are reportedly good.

 

Singapore Changi

Photo: Paul Moiser

Photo: Paul Moiser

Crowne Plaza
75 Airport Boulevard #01-01, Singapore 819664 | +65 6823 5354 | www.crowneplaza.com
The best hotel for spotting at Singapore Changi, but expensive. Views from the even numbered rooms are excellent if you get one on floors 7, 8 or 9 facing the airport. You will have views of some Terminal 3 gates and the main runway. Corridors can also be used for views of the central terminal area.

 

Taipei Taoyuan

Hotel Novotel Taipei Taoyuan
1-1 Terminal South Road, Taoyuan County, Dayuan Township, 337 Taipei | +886 3398 0888 | www.novotel.com
The closest hotel to the airport, and situated between the two runways alongside the roads which lead to the terminals. Even numbered rooms on floors 7, 8 and 9 face either towards runway 05 or 06 thresholds, and as such you can get views of many (but not all) movements depending on the direction in use.

 

Tokyo Haneda

Haneda Excel Hotel Tokyo
3-4-2 Hanedakuko Ota, 144-0041 Tokyo | +81 3 5756 6000 | www.tokyuhotelsjapan.com/en/
Linked to Terminal 2, this hotel offers some of the best views at the airport if you get the right room. Ask for a higher floor room facing the airport. It is quite expensive to stay at this hotel, but the location is superb. The observation decks at the terminals are only a short walk away.

 

Tokyo Narita

Marroad International Hotel
763-1 Komaino, Narita-shi, Chiba 286-0121 | +81 476 30 2222 | www.marroad.jp/narita/
Situated close to the threshold of runway 16R. If you ask for a room facing the airport, you will have views of this runway, the cargo apron and part of Terminal 1. Photographs are possible and most movements can be logged.

 

Middle East

Abu Dhabi

Premier Inn AUH

Premier Inn Abu Dhabi Airport
Opposite Terminal 3, Abu Dhabi Airport 95219 | +971 2 818 6666 | www.premierinn.com
The rooftop pool area of this hotel, which is linked to the passenger terminal, has excellent views over the aircraft movements. Photography is banned, so if you use this hotel discretion is mandatory and the hotel staff may ask you to stop spotting.

 

Dubai International

 

Grand Excelsior Hotel Deira
Al Muteena St, Dubai, United Arab Emirates | +971 4 268 8888 | www.sheratondeiradubai.com

For most spotters visiting Dubai, this is the only place to consider for watching aircraft. Formerly known as the Sheraton Deira, the Grand Excelsior is a very comfortable (albeit quite pricey) hotel, but its rooftop pool area sits underneath the approach/departure path to Dubai’s runways and aircraft pass fairly low overhead throughout the day and night. Aircraft approaching are within reach of a decent camera lens.

 

Caribbean

Sint Maarten

By Terrazzo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/terrazzo/22811965389) [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

By Terrazzo (https://www.flickr.com/photos/terrazzo/22811965389) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Sonesta Maho Beach Hotel
1 Rhine Drive, Sint Maarten | +1 721 545 3100 | www.sonesta.com/mahobeach
The natural choice for spotters. Situated alongside the beach, if you take a room facing the airport the aircraft will be at the same level (or lower) as your balcony, making it a great position for photography.

[Watch aircraft live on the Maho Beach Cam]

 

South & Central America

Mexico City

Camino Real Hotel
Peñón de los Baño, Venustiano Carranza, Mexico City | +52 55 2482 2400 | www.caminoreal.com
The best spotting hotel at Mexico City. Rooms on the 7th and 8th floors facing the airport are ideal, with movements on taxiways and runways visible, as well as some of the distant maintenance ramps.

 

Rio de Janeiro Santos Dumont

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Prodigy Hotel
Av. Almirante Silvio de Noronha, 365 – Rio de Janeiro, RJ, 20021-010 | +55 21 3478 4100 | www.prodigysantosdumont.com.br
The newest hotel at Santos Dumont, and with the best views. The Prodigy is linked to the new terminal via a walkway from departures level. Rooms 3081-7 offer good views, and the hotel has a rooftop pool and restaurant which also have great views of aircraft at the airport.

[Rio de Janeiro Prodigy Hotel Review]

 

Sao Paulo Congonhas

Ibis Hotel Congonhas
R. Baronesa de Bela Vista, 801 – Vila Congonhas, Sao Paulo 04612-002 | +55 11 5097 3737 | www.ibis.com
A good value spotting hotel at Congonhas Airport. It is situated next to the terminal, and rooms on higher floors have a great view of all movements. A lounge on the top floor can see arrivals into Guarulhos on a good day.

 

Sao Paulo Guarulhos

Hotel Matiz Guarulhos

Hotel Matiz Guarulhos

Hotel Matiz
R. Pedro de Tolêdo, 1000 – Jardim Santa Lidia, Guarulhos | +55 11 3411 7000 | www.matizhotelguarulhos.com
The Hotel Matiz is great for spotting, as it has a terrace which is perfect for landing shots. However, sometimes this is closed, or requires to you pay for day access if you’re not a guest. This hotel is the best option for spotting and has great views of arrivals. Aircraft can be read off from rooms facing the airport.

 

Australasia & Pacific

Melbourne

Park Royal Airport Hotel
Arrival Drive, Melbourne Airport, Melbourne, VIC 3045 | +61 3 8347 2000 | www.parkroyalhotels.com
You can walk directly into this hotel from the terminals via a covered walkway. Rooms have excellent views over the airport. Ask for those in the ranges 800-825 and 900-925. You can also get views from the ends of the corridors.

 

Sydney

Rydges Hotel Room Views

Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel
8 Arrival Ct, Sydney Airport, NSW 2020 | +61 2 9313 2500 | www.rydges.com
Located just behind the terminal, the Rydges has seized the opportunity of attracting spotters by providing day access to its panoramic terrace for a fee. You can see and photograph movements around the terminals and runway 16R/34L. Higher rooms facing the same direction have a similar view, and the hotel offers spotters packages which include the best views, food and drink allowance, information sheet, free Wi-Fi and a pair of binoculars!

 

 

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Summary

In this guide we’ve covered the basics for finding the right spotting hotel on your trips, how to get the best room, and we’ve looked at 60 of the world’s best spotting hotels.

Did you enjoy this post? I’d love to hear your thoughts and suggestions of other great spotting hotels by leaving a comment below.

Remember, you can get a free downloadable PDF of this guide by entering your email address below.

 

 

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18 Responses

  1. Charles says:

    The PDF download email never arrived also not in spam folder either.

  2. Matt Falcus says:

    A slight problem with the automated email. It should arrive very soon. Thanks for your patience!

  3. Lee calkins says:

    LA International should be changed to Ontario International Airport.

  4. Dory says:

    This is such a fantastic list, thank you!
    Wondering if you (or any of your readers) have ever stayed at the Radisson Blu Hotel, Zurich Airport, which is connected to the ZRH terminal? They have a “Plane Spotting – Business Class Airfield” special rate which includes ‘business class room with airfield view’, ‘access to plane spotting terrace’, and other perks (breakfast buffet, fitness center access, etc.). It sounds fantastic, but is quite pricey so I hesitate to try it out before hearing a few opinions and seeing a few photos 🙂

  5. Matt Falcus says:

    Hi Dory, I’ve heard about it and seen pictures, but have not tried it. It is quite expensive!
    Matt

  6. Rob Aldridge says:

    Great Guide. Thank You.

  7. Pat says:

    Have read through this list and find there seems to be an error for Paris CDG. Surely north facing rooms overlook terminal 3 and northern runways with terminal 1 to the left. South facing rooms for terminal 2 and south facing runways.

  8. Matt Falcus says:

    Yes you’re right. My mistake. I’ve amended the information.
    Matt

  9. Karel Nemec says:

    Thanks for your guide…

  10. Matt Falcus says:

    You’re welcome Karel. Enjoy!

  11. Peter Johnson says:

    Thank you for your guide !

  12. Matt Falcus says:

    You’re welcome Peter. Glad you like it!

  13. David Greenhalgh says:

    Your entry on the website for Los Angeles international Airport recommends the Embassy Suites LAX South but the address and location relate to Embassy Suites Ontario and Ontario Airport. Perhaps something has been corrupted in the editing.

  14. Matt Falcus says:

    Thanks David! Address has been updated.

  15. Peter Schneider says:

    Hello, I have to say your pick for Hong Kong is absolutely not correct. The Airport Regal Hotel overlooks the threshold and part of the terminal and offers excellent view. They offer special rates for airport views. The Marriott is too far away. I have stayed at the Airport Regal Hotel and will be again at the end of May. Note that the hotel is connected to the terminal.

  16. Peter Schneider says:

    WRT my comments about the Airport Regal Hotel, here is a video from YouTube taken from one of the room 7066:
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne1E4D7g2KQ

  17. Matt Falcus says:

    Thanks for the tips Peter! Please send us a report of the Regal Hotel when you come back from your trip!

  18. James says:

    Just what us spotters need brill thanks

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