I HAVE three hours to kill and there are three half naked men lazing by the pool in the airport hotel in which I find myself. Even my severely stunted journalistic mathematical prowess would suggest that would allow for one hour with each man. But as tempting as a flying fling all sounds, I have other fish to fry, as I am staying, albeit briefly, in the World’s Best Airport Hotel and the Best Airport Hotel in Asia. Yes, I am at the newly crowned Crowne Plaza at Changi Airport. So superior is the service here that if I didn’t know any better, I’d suspect they strategically placed those boys by the pool, just for my viewing pleasure.
I am due to catch a Scoot Biz flight out of Singapore to Coolangatta later that evening, but there’s actually an eight-hour gap between arriving into Changi on my flight from Vietnam, and departing to Australia. Sure, I could sit and people watch at the airport, but given the opportunity to take a dip, have a nap, and grab a shower before flying home, I snatch it with both hands. So popular is this hotel, that local Singaporeans are actually now using it for Staycations, travelling as far as Changi Airport without actually having to get on a plane.
I allow myself only three hours to peer out at the boys from my bedroom window on the 7th floor, as I have also been given Club Access and there are free drinks and snacks from 5.30pm to 7pm. Mention free drinks to any Aussie anywhere in the world and they light up brighter than the Eiffel Tower. In the meantime, I undertake an inspection of this hotel to see what all the fuss is about.
The thing I really like is that the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport is still within the airport precinct which means you can easily walk along the link bridge and into T3 where it’s situated. Then it’s straight into the lobby lounge which faces a rainforest garden and which also serves tapas at night. The popular Singapore brand and Chinese restaurant Imperial Treasure sits to your left. Check-in is swift – they understand the concept you are either flying or have just flown and are tired – and a contemporary Peranakan batik design adorns the walls. In fact, design is a big deal here, with tropical plants and textiles cornerstones of the story. There’s plump couches which, upon further inspection, are made to resemble tropical fruit such as papaya, kiwi and mangosteen. Don’t forget to look up, as the lobby actually boasts two water ceilings, like swimming pools, to allow for natural lighting and to save on electricity.
There’s also a ballroom, business centre, Azur restaurant which cleverly only serves small portions to ensure the freshest quality, and Bar 75, which is a retro-inspired bar which harks back to the 1970s. Heck, there’s even a day spa, with deliciously-named treatments such as Traveller’s Relief, Fly High, Bon Voyage, and Jet Lag Remedy. The rooms themselves are smart and stylish, and unlike some other airport hotels, you don’t feel like an escaped criminal on the lamb, peering furtively out of curtains and watching planes land and depart. Oh, and you can’t hear a thing, such is the standard of glazing on the windows. There’s 320 hotel rooms at the moment, and a new wing which is being built means that will grow to 563 starting next year. Which is just as well, given the accolades it has just attracted. And let’s not forget that outdoor pool, with its eye candy and tropical plants.
The 2015 World’s Best Airport Hotel Award is based on nominations by 1.56 million airport hotel guests worldwide, spanning 65 nationalities. It evaluates 12 key performance indicators of the guest experience, including, but not limited to, hotel service and staff standards, cleanliness and comfort of rooms, and accessibility between terminal and hotel. In short, it’s a big deal. In the event you should find yourself in an airport in the world and are looking for the Top 10 airport hotels in which to stay, they are:
1. Crowne Plaza Changi Airport
2. Regal Airport Hotel Hong Kong
3. Hilton Munich Airport
4. Pullman Guangzhou Airport
5. Sofitel London Heathrow
6. Fairmont Vancouver Airport
7. Hilton Frankfurt Airport
8. Novotel Citygate Hong Kong
9. Langham Place Beijing
10. Movenpick Hotel Bahrain
And, if you’re supremely lucky like me, there might even be three men just waiting for you, by the pool.
The Global Goddess stayed as a guest of the Crowne Plaza Changi Airport, which is part of the InterContinental Hotels Group – http://www.ihg.com and Scoot Airlines – http://www.flyscoot.com