Aside from the people-watching, waiting around in an airport is tiring and lame (unless you're this girl). Thank goodness for Asian Airports who are at the forefront of entertaining travelers AND setting the bar higher for airports worldwide. Next time you're travelling internationally (or stuck in an airport due to icelandic volcanic ash), make the most of your layover by checking out these airport attractions:
Changi Airport Singapore Winner of the 2010 Skytrax World's Best Airport Award, Changi knows how to entertain its guests. Get lost in the 300 retail and dining options at Shopping City--the self-proclaimed 'world's best' duty-free shopping. Once you're tired from purchasing perfumes and Fendi bags, relax at the airport's Balinese-themed, roof-top swimming pool. For approx $10USD get access to the pool, jacuzzi and shower facilities, plus a towel and a complimentary non-alcoholic drink from the bar. Yes please. Finally check out the 47 butterfly species fluttering about in the airport's Butterfly Garden.
Hong Kong Airport Golf aficionados might want to fandangle a stop at Hong Kong's international airport just to say they played nine holes enroute to Bangkok (although somewhere to currently avoid with the onset of political conflict). Located in Terminal 2, SkyCity Nine Eagles Golf Course is Hong Kong's first nine-hole golf course created to United States Golf Association standards. Don't miss: Island Green, the course's signature hole sitting on an island in the middle of an artificial lake. When you're tired from hitting the green and want to relax, Terminal 2 is the place to be with a 4-D movie theatre featuring the largest 4-D screen in Asia, 7 multi-sensory special effects and 360 seats.
Vancouver International Airport Relaxation is where Vancouver's Airport sets itself apart. Between the nature sounds played in the background, the water features, the impressive fish tanks throughout, these calming cues take the edge off travel. Taking relaxation to the next level is where Absolute Spa comes in. With outlets throughout the domestic and US terminals (as well as in the Airport hotel: Fairmont YVR), Absolute Spa & Salon specializes in chair massage, jet lag treatments, manicures, pedicures and hair services. Finally, for a pick-me-up, head to the Fairmont YVR to use the hotel's health club, sauna and showers for $15.
Heathrow Airport Along with a Yotel, spa services and lounges, Heathrow's piece de resistance is its significant Harrod's presence in terminal 1, 3 & 4, including an 11,000sf space in Terminal 5. And here's some additional trivia, apparently T5 is the largest free-standing building in the UK. Harrod's Heathrow retail spaces are devoted to fashion and accessories for the distinguished traveller, as well as those who want to pick up some last-min, classier-than-normal souvenirs. Telephone booth tin with shortbread cookies anyone?
Palm Springs Airport I know, this selection seems weird. Palm springs airport is undoubtedly small and uneventful, but these features add to its charm. The airport's beauty mark is its outdoor waiting area with benches, grassy patches, palm trees and flowers overlooking a tall mountain. So many airports spend money on serenity areas with water features, misting stations, butterfly sanctuaries and nature noises but this comes naturally to Palm Springs.