Where: Changi Airport, Singapore
What it costs: US$74 a night, double room only (price in October 2013)
Click here to book a room
Singapore’s Changi Airport clicks like the precision Breitlings in the chicest “du-fry” outlets. On a transit through Changi it took us less than 20 minutes to pass through immigration, collect our bags and check in again for another flight. Even here though, customs and immigration procedures are never fun and with 51 million passengers coming through here every year there’s something to be said for by-passing the rigmarole.
We deliberately messed up our flights so that we could spend 29 hours covering magazine assignments on the world’s best airport. We checked into the Ambassador Transit Hotel at T1 (there’s one at each of the three terminals) and it was an unusual privilege to simply veer away from the baggage signs and check in to a comfortable en-suite double room with big plate glass windows offering front-row view straight onto the runway. Sound insulation has been refined to a science here so there is virtually no noise from the planes and blackout curtains keep the runway spotlight glare out of the room. There’s a rooftop swimming pool and a gym just next to the hotel, there are 5 themed gardens and enough free activities (cinema, gaming area, exhibitions etc etc) to last through several 29-hour assignments.
It is often not possible to check bags through to your end destination if you make a 24 hour stopover but have faith: you simply collect your bags at lost-and-found the next day and check in again. This is Changi. What can go wrong?
PROS: Views onto the runway and comfortable armchair and desk for working but…
CONS: In tech-savvy Changi why on earth would it be that WIFI doesn’t work in the Transit Hotel rooms?
TIP: For eating check out the “Universal Dining” food court at T2 (a sleek Skytrain links all the terminals) and for the best coffee follow the airport workers to Wang Cafe (T3) or Kopitiam (T1). For a sample meal of Singapore specialities (Hainan chicken rice, prawn laksa, noodles) Prima Taste at T3 comes recommended by airport staff although we weren’t overly impressed by the undercooked chicken.