Best Airport Restaurants and Other Time Killers
With airports from New York to Sydney getting upgrades, T+L picks our favorite restaurants, bars, lounges, shops, and spas.
Bonfire, Logan International Airport
Todd English continues to expand his empire with the third outpost of his South American–inspired steak house, Bonfire, at Terminal B. Grilled chicharrones (crispy pork in chimichurri sauce) and skirt steak topped with chipotle aioli and avocado crema are standouts. bonfiresteakhouse.com.
Plane Restaurant, Heathrow Airport
Gordon Ramsay’s first airport restaurant opens this month in Terminal 5. In addition to a Michelin star–worthy menu (braised pork cheeks with honey and cloves and brioche French toast with treacle-cured bacon in the mornings), travelers can opt for special “picnics”-to-go. baa.com.
Max, Arlanda Airport
A cross between In-N-Out Burger and McDonald’s, Max is a family-run Swedish fast-food chain that dates back to 1968. Now it has brought its brand of trans-fat-free, made-to-order Swedish burgers and crispy fries to the capital’s airport (Terminal 4). For those trying to stay fit while on the road, there’s the Delifresh menu, including a chicken burger served with fresh fruit salad. max.se.
Nørrebro Bryghus, Copenhagen Airport
Denmark has experienced an artisanal beer resurgence in the last few years with the opening of 25 new microbreweries. Ushering in a new era is the Nørrebro Bryghus, whose owner Anders Kissmeyer recently opened a branch between terminals 2 and 3 (before security). Always on tap: four different Danish seasonal, handcrafted beers served at its stainless-steel bar. cph.dk.
Vino Volo, JFK
This contemporary wine bar recently launched a fifth airport location at American Airlines’ Terminal 8. The dimly lit, cream- and brown-tinged venue stocks bottles from around the world, including little-known vintages from the Hudson River Valley. vinovolo.com.
Post Bar, Changi Airport
Taking design cues from its namesake older sibling in the Fullerton Hotel, the just-opened Post Bar in Terminal 3 mixes traditional and modern design elements (retro Artichoke lamps; an illuminated honey-onyx bar). The best part?It’s open 24 hours a day. fullertonhotel.com.
Swiss Lounges, Geneva International Airport
When it came to designing new lounges for Geneva Airport, Swiss Air stuck to what it knows best—being Swiss. More than 10 tons of limestone from the Jura Mountains were used in the construction, the menu consists of national dishes such as älplermakkaroni (Alpine-style macaroni-and-cheese), and the chocolate leather chairs and sofas were produced by Vitra (though designed by Londoner Jasper Morrison). swiss.com.
San Francisco–based Gensler Architects (currently at work on JFK’s new JetBlue terminal) have created a 15,000-square-foot eco-lounge that evokes a contemporary California-cool vibe, with sea grass–resin panels, chiseled limestone walls, B&B Italia chairs, and walnut-wood partitions. First- and business-class passengers can freshen up in one of nine shower suites. lawa.org/lax.
Lufthansa, Munich Airport International
Passengers at the new Lufthansa first-class lounge in Munich can expect red-carpet treatment: in-lounge security and separate passport control (no long lines), and a chauffeured Mercedes-Benz S-Class or Porsche Cayenne to take travelers directly to their aircraft. The two-story, 9,000-square-foot lounge also includes a white-marble and oak bathroom with three showers, a Jacuzzi, and Dr. Hauschka products. lufthansa.com.
Qantas, Sydney Airport
Australia’s premier interior and furniture designer, Marc Newson, has put his futuristic feng shui touch on the carrier’s new first-class lounge. A brilliant wall of 8,400 plants offsets a striking all-white entrance. Once inside, you’ll find a 48-seat Neil Perry restaurant. sydneyairport.com.au.
Harrods, Heathrow International Airport
Among the 30-plus new shops at Terminal 5 will be an 11,000-square-foot Harrods. The outpost of this shopping institution plans to stock high-end labels such as Anya Hindmarch, Pucci, and Luella when it opens in March. baa.com.
Fifth Avenue, Narita International Airport
Don’t expect traditional sake sets at Fifth Avenue, the latest duty-free mall to open at Japan’s international airport. Instead, spend your leftover yen at one of eight designer boutiques: Bulgari, Burberry, Cartier, Coach, Gucci, Hermès, Salvatore Ferragamo, and Tiffany & Co. narita-airport.jp/en.
The U.S.-based spa has made its first foray into Europe, bringing signature massage loungers and manicure stations to Level 2 of Schiphol. Indulge in a quick manicure or pedicure, or try an olive-oil and -leaf mask. There’s also a full range of waxing and UV nail enhancements, and gentleman’s facials. xpresspa.com.
OM Spa, Hong Kong International Airport
A long layover in Hong Kong is now a blessing in disguise, thanks to the opening of the OM Spa at the Regal Airport Hotel. The contemporary space is equipped with mosaic steam rooms and outdoor massage beds. Choose from more than 30 treatments, including seed scrubs and jasmine milk baths, and take a dip in the hotel’s 70-foot-long indoor and outdoor pools. regalhotel.com.
Elemis Travel Spa, Heathrow International Airport
British Airways passengers at Terminal 5 need just 15 minutes to be fully reinvigorated. London-based Elemis has partnered with British Airways at their new lounges (or, as BA calls them, “galleries”). The four signature treatments (including a scalp, hand, and foot massage, and a facial) start with a lime-infused compress and take place in a state-of-the-art heated massage chair. elemis.com.
Now that just about every major airport has its own exhibition space, in-transit passengers can check out everything from Dutch masters like Rembrandt and Vermeer (Amsterdam Schiphol) and photographs of the Fab Four in Rishikesh, India, by Paul Saltzman (Liverpool) to a Frank Stella painting (Seattle-Tacoma)—all while waiting for their next flight.
Miami International Airport
Sculptor Michele Oka Doner’s terrazzo walkway, with embedded bronze objects inspired by South Florida plants and creatures, at Concourse A has remained a favorite since it was installed in 1995.
Rijksmuseum Amsterdam Schiphol
This spring, watch for watercolors by Hague School artists such as Jan Hendrik Weissenbruch, Hendrick Willem Mesdag, and Jacob Maris.
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
The airport’s third runway, slated to open in November, will feature 2 1/2-inch-thick relief work by Denver-based artist Carolyn Braaksma along its embankment walls.
Incorporating video installations, doll-like sculptures, and performance art, the “Shifting Identities” exhibition opening this June will be the first show curated by the city’s prominent Kunsthaus gallery to be displayed here.—Tanvi Chheda