This New Hotel Package Gets You VIP Treatment at LAX
As a native Angeleno whose parents still live in the area, I rarely have the opportunity to stay in Los Angeles hotels. But flying through the relative purgatory that is Los Angeles International Airport? That is a headache I’m treated to twice per trip. I normally plead with whomever is playing chauffeur to get me there three full hours before my flight leaves because the drop-off queue can get backed up all the way to the freeway off-ramp and — not exaggerating here — I’ve seen security lines that snake down the indoor stairs, out the terminal, and halfway to the next one. After all, TSA Pre-Check only helps so much during peak holiday times.
So when I heard about the new Suite to Suite package at the Fairmont Miramar Hotel & Bungalows — a tony, five-acre property in Santa Monica that overlooks the Pacific Ocean — I couldn’t wait to experience it for myself. In short, the recently launched offer pairs overnight accommodations in one of the intimate namesake bungalows with round-trip airport transfers, daily breakfast, and other perks — the most important of which is use of the (normally members-only) LAX Private Suite for your airport arrival or departure. Opened in May 2017, the luxury airport terminal caters to VIPs who get to relax in their own tricked-out suites before getting escorted through a dedicated (read: empty) security area and ushered into a BMW 7-Series sedan, which takes them across the tarmac, straight to their plane.
In late December, my husband and I arrived at the Fairmont around 9 p.m. the night before flying back to New York and were greeted by the staff, who whisked our bags away and kindly informed us that we were already all checked in. After passing through the elegant lobby, still beautifully decorated for the holidays, we were shown to Bunaglow 19, a crispy decorated suite that had a plush king bed and Le Labo toiletries. With the added sweet surprise of hot chocolate and fresh-baked cookies, it was an ideal setup for unwinding after four days packed with family festivities.
The next morning, about two hours before our flights, a driver met us beneath the Fairmont’s iconic fig tree to head to LAX in a Cadillac SUV. When we rolled up to the Private Terminal, we passed through a heavy security gate (clients regularly include heads of state and celebrities) before pulling inside the complex. While one staff member swooped in to take care of our bags, another escorted us to our suite, gave us an update on our flights, and talked through what to expect until our departure.
Inside the sleek lounge space, the living area had ample seating (two armchairs flanking a cocktail table, plus a window bench that doubled as storage and a pullout bed), a flat-screen TV, and an en-suite bathroom, plus a snack pantry and wet bar stocked with just about any food or drink you could want, including surprise slices of chocolate cake as an early birthday celebration. After a thorough inspection, I picked out baby carrots and a mini pack of dark-chocolate Milanos to nosh on (because: balance) and fashioned myself a Bloody Maria with Casamigos tequila and a chili-salt rim. My aviation-loving husband, who opted for a cold Modelo and his cake, settled into the window bench to watch aircraft landing and taking off from the main terminal across the way.
The serene, amenity-laden lounge experience had already put me in a zen mood, but then came what might’ve been my favorite part: a security checkpoint with zero lines. When it was time to catch our flights, our coordinator walked us from the room to the Private Suite’s own miniature TSA area, where there was just us and a few security agents. The usual procedures were complete in less than five minutes, and we hopped in one of the company’s BMW 7 Series sedans for a short drive around the airfield to the plane, where another Private Suite staffer was waiting at the jet bridge and stepped in when I needed to confirm whether or not my seat upgrade had cleared.
From start to finish, I’ve never had such a seamless hotel-to-airport experience, and I’ve certainly never breezed through security more quickly. Granted, it’s not cheap; the Suite-to-Suite package starts at $2,099 on the first night (with additional nights offered at a discounted rate). But when you consider the Private Suite alone typically costs $4,500 in annual membership fees, plus $2,700 for each domestic flight (or $3,000 for international flight), it’s well worth the price tag, especially for kicking off a honeymoon or another a trip of a lifetime.