Home Airport Spotting Guide Which are the best spotting hotels for photographing aircraft?

Which are the best spotting hotels for photographing aircraft?

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Choosing a sporting hotel at or near an airport depends on what your needs are, as well as what is available.

In many cases you will only have enough of a view of aircraft to then be able to identify them through flight tracking websites.

Others will allow you to read off aircraft registrations but not take photographs.

But there are some spotting hotels that are perfect for aircraft photography – as good as any airport observation deck or official spotting location.


If you’re looking for some inspiration about which hotels you can choose to enjoy a relaxing break combined with some great aircraft photography from the comfort of your room window or balcony, try one of these:


Buenos Aires Aeroparque, Argentina

Hotel Aeroparque Inn and Suites

Av Rafael Obligado Costanera, 1425 CABA | +54 11 4803 6002 | www.hotelaeroparque.com
Aircraft approaching Aeroparque’s runway from the south pass right by this hotel and rooms on the third floor facing north (odd numbers) have great views of the action. You can also walk from the hotel to the perimeter of the airport, where spotters often congregate to watch aircraft.


Sydney, Australia

Rydges Sydney Airport Hotel

8 Arrival Ct, Sydney Airport, NSW 2020 | +61 2 9313 2500 | www.rydges.com
A good replacement for the closed International Terminal observation deck. Located just behind the terminal, the Rydges has seized the opportunity presented by 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!


Toronto Pearson, Canada

Sheraton Gateway Hotel in Toronto Airport

Terminal 3, Toronto Airport, On L5P 1C4 | +1 905 672 7000 | www.marriott.com
A good hotel connected to the terminals with excellent views across the ramp and some of the runways. Terminal 1 is not visible, however most aircraft will taxi into view. Ask for a high level (floors 6, 7 or 8) odd-numbered room facing the airport.


Larnaca, Cyprus

Flamingo Beach Hotel

Distant views of Larnaca Airport from the Flamingo Beach Hotel rooftop.

152 Piale Pasha Avenue, Larnaca | +357 24 828208 | flamingohotelcyprus.com
A popular resort hotel on Mackenzie Beach, to the north east of Larnaca Airport. This beach is great for spotting and photographing arrivals, and rooms in the hotel looking towards the approach are perfect (301 and 401 reportedly the best). The hotel also has a rooftop area which is good for watching and photographing aircraft (70-200mm lens needed).

[Review – Flamingo Beach Hotel, Larnaca]


Corfu, Greece

Royal Boutique Hotel

Palaiopolis 110, 49100 Kanoni | +30 2661 035342 | www.hotelroyal.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 Royal Boutique has good views of the action from an elevated position if you get a lagoon-facing room. Watch the aircraft from your balcony, with views down to the parking apron.


Jakarta Soekarno Hatta

Jakarta Airport HotelTerminal 2E, Soekarno-Hatta International Airport, Jakarta 19110 | +62 21 559 0008 | www.jakartaairporthotel.com
This hotel is situated upstairs in Terminal 2 and all rooms look out over the gates and northern runway. I remember arriving here very jetlagged, late at night, but was drawn to the view from the windows!

The corridor leading to the rooms has windows looking towards the domestic side of the airport and maintenance areas. Perfectly nice place to stay, but can be expensive and is often fully booked.


Manilla, Philippines

Holiday Inn Express Hotel
Newport Boulevard, Pasay 1309 Metro Manila | +63 2 908 8600 | www.ihg.com
Formerly the Remington Hotel. 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.


Singapore Changi

Crowne Plaza

75 Airport Boulevard #01-01, Singapore 819664 | +65 6823 5300 | www.crowneplaza.com
The best hotel for spotting at Singapore Changi, but can be expensive. Views from the even numbered rooms are excellent if you get one on floors 7, 8 or 9 facing the airport (ask for a runway view – there is a SGD$75 charge for this); rooms 902-913 are best. You will have views of some Terminal 3 gates and runway 02L/20R. Corridors can also be used for views of the central terminal area. Photography is possible with a 300mm lens.


Sint Maarten Princess Juliana International

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.


Stockholm Arlanda, Sweden

Radisson Blu Airport Terminal 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. Photography can be good in airport-view rooms. The hotel can be expensive.


Bangkok Suvarnabhumi, Thailand

Siam Mandarina Hotel
99 Moo 6 Kingkaew Road, Rachathewa, Bangkok 10540 | +66 2 738 8191 | siammandarinahotel.com-bangkok.com
A basic but pleasant hotel situated alongside the airport perimeter to the west. Formerly known as the Grand Come Inn. Top floor rooms overlook runway 19R/01L, with 541 reported as having great views. Choose an ‘Airport View’ room when booking. Most movements can be seen and tied up with flight trackers. Photography is possible if you have a long lens and can cope with the heat haze.


Dubai International, UAE

Hilton Garden Inn Dubai Al Muraqabat

Hilton Garden Inn Dubai

Abu Baker Al Siddique Rd – Dubai | +971 4 609 7000 | www.hilton.com
Located in the Deira district a mile or so from Terminal 1. It is in a similar place to the old Sheraton Deira, with similar views of aircraft on approach to the 12L/R runways, but slightly more to the side which makes photography easier (with a 300mm lens). There is a rooftop pool area, and rooms facing north will have a similar view. Aim for rooms 501-503, 601-603 or 701-703. Keep cameras and binoculars away from the edge of the pool area.



London Gatwick, UK

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.


London Heathrow, UK

Renaissance London Heathrow

Heathrow Renaissance Spotting hotel

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. Request a room overlooking the airport (you sometimes have to pay more). All movements on the northern runway can be read off and photographed easily, but lower floors have lamp posts and the fence in the way. Movements around the terminals are easy to spot. Those using flight tracking websites can continue to spot throughout the night. 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.


San Francisco International, CA, USA

Grand Hyatt at SFO
55 South McDonnell Road, San Francisco, CA 94128 | +1 650 452 1234 | www.hyatt.com
A fantastic new hotel at the entrance to the terminal area at SFO, just off Hwy 101. Many of its modern, stylish and comfortable soundproofed rooms overlook the terminal parking gates and aircraft taxying by. You can get some good photographs. Distant views of runway movements are also possible.


Atlanta-Hartsfield Jackson, GA, USA

Renaissance Concourse Hotel Atlanta Airport

1 Hartsfield Center Parkway, Atlanta, GA 30354 | +1 404 209 9999 | www.marriott.com
Many rooms at this 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 telescope, but are hard to read off; everything else is seen 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.


Chicago O’Hare, IL, USA

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 charges a premium for a guaranteed airport view room.


New York JFK, NY, USA

TWA Hotel

Spotting planes at JFK from the TWA Hotel observation deck and pool.

One Idlewild Drive JFK International Airport, NY 11430 | +1 212 806 9000 | www.twahotel.com
A recent addition to the hotels at JFK, and the only one in the central terminal area. This hotel makes use of the former TWA Terminal which had lain unused for many years. Two large block were built which is where the rooms are located, many of which have views over the gates at terminals 4 and 5, plus runways 13L/31R and 04L/22R. The hotel also has a rooftop pool area which has excellent views (when weather permits!) and is good for photography. Outside the hotel is a preserved Lockheed Constellation airliner which is used as a cocktail lounge.

[Guide to Spotting at the TWA Hotel, JFK]


Dallas Ft Worth, TX, USA

Hyatt Regency DFW Airport
2334 N International Pkwy, Dallas, TX 75261 | +1 972 453 1234 | www.hyatt.com
On the opposite side of the central terminal area to the Grand Hyatt. This hotel also has excellent views and spotting/photography opportunities from its rooms, but only of the eastern side of the airport.


Which airport hotels have you used for getting great aircraft photos? Leave a comment below!


Airport Spotting Hotels

Airprot Spotting Hotels is our guide to the best hotels at or near airports all over the world. It explains the views you’ll get and what you’ll be able to see, and even recommends good rooms where possible. Never miss any action again with this useful guide for plane spotters!

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Ross Fearn June 21, 2023 - 1:15 pm

Stayed at TWA hotel in May, during the summer ( June to November) a reservation is needed for the pool/observation deck and this is a 1 hour 45 minute slot. Photography was great and also good from the room but the windows are heavily tinted. Fabulous hotel though

Charles Longley June 21, 2023 - 11:38 pm

You forgot the Hilton Garden Inn at Paine Field. (Boeings biggest plant) It is right next to the approach end of the runway.

Barry Walter October 20, 2023 - 12:22 pm

Hotel Aeroparque Inn and Suites now permanently closed


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