Anyone with extensive experience of worldwide travel will have experienced, or know someone who has experienced, the airport hotel. There is a lot of what one might call folklore attached to this phenomenon, but for those who are unfamiliar with the concept, an airport hotel is, as the name suggests, a hotel attached to an airport where travelers can stay either in advance of their flight taking off, or after they have landed, with the intention of an onward journey by road or by air the following day. While all of this sounds delightful, the reputation of the airport hotel has been dealt something of a blow by the poor overall quality of many such hotels, combined with a tendency to overprice the stay, safe in the knowledge that people have little other option.
Stories abound about airport hotels – that they are likely to have poor standards of cleanliness, that the level of service is sub-par, that the food is awful and that the expense of a stay in an airport hotel adds an excessive amount to the cost of one’s travel. While there has in recent years been a move towards attenuating at least the first three, there has still been a tendency to overcharge the captive audience that any airport hotel will see as its potential customer base. If they want to find a bed for the night, then the theory goes that they will pay the extra cost and just accept it. Cynical, but true. You either choose to stay within the airport building, waiting overnight and spending time (and often money) that could be better used elsewhere. It also does not help with jet lag.
So the concept of a good airport hotel is a fairly alien one to many frequent flyers. Those who decide to accept the extra cost – usually not very happy with the situation – accept it because they see it as the lesser of two evils. They rarely see it as something that they would be particularly happy to take in any other circumstances. This is set to change, however. Not least because the frequency and convenience of shuttle buses between airports and city centers means that usually a customer can get to their hotel – one which is either better, cheaper or both – that same night. Another reason, though, is the recognition of the need to treat customers better or risk losing business.
The Millennium Airport Hotel in Dubai is one example that it is to be hoped the other airport hotels begin to follow. The price for a night’s stay is comparable with many in the city center, and a good deal cheaper than some, and the level of service is really very impressive. Not just for an airport hotel, but genuinely impressive on all fronts. The undoubted surprise at finding a good airport hotel is compounded by the genuine recognition of the traveler’s importance both to the airport and the city. By getting your Dubai experience off to a great start, or ending it on a positive note, the Millennium Airport Hotel in Dubai has managed to strike an important blow for standards in travel.