On my trip to Europe last month I found myself twice at more pricey on-site airport hotels than properties with a similar star level a few miles away. Why? I’ll explain.
Airport hotels always tend to be more expensive than off-site properties. Naturally, convenience is worth something but at first glance the price difference often appear stark.
For example, my family spent a night in Munich before a midday flight to Mykonos. MUC has a very nice Hilton property on the airport grounds, just a two minute walk from the terminal. But it was 200EUR/night. Not astronomical, but believe me–I’m not so financially wealthy that I no longer notice the difference between 100EUR and 200EUR.
With a baby, though, the thought of a shuttle trip back and forth seemed tedious. Plus, I had status at Hilton which meant a room upgrade and complimentary breakfast. Still, I took a look at Priceline and found the following deal–
A four star hotel for $83. That was about $130 less than the Hilton. At least that is how it appeared.
Hidden Fees Add Up
I went all the way to check-out and notice that with taxes/fees the room jumped to $97. Not bad, as that was still half the price of the Hilton.
But before purchasing the room, I became a bit more curious about what I might be getting. Knowing that it would be a four start hotel in the airport area, I found that there were only two possibilities: the NH or Movenpick.
Clearly my hotel would be the NH based upon the crossed out original price on the Express Deals page.
Both properties looked good, but I noticed fine print about a fee for the airport shuttle on the Movenpick webpage. Turns out the shuttle costs 9EUR per person/ride. That works out to an additional 36EUR (54EUR if they charged separately for the baby) tacked on to the room fee. Plus the time spent going back and forth.
How about the NH? Their shuttle is 5EUR per person. That means another 20-30EUR.
Now the delta between the Hilton and NH/Movenpick properties had dropped even further. Factoring in the free breakfast and convenience, I made the choice to spend the extra ~50-60EUR and stay at the airport.
I did almost the same thing the following week in Greece, opting to stay at the Sofitel Athens during my quick overnight there.
Sometimes it simply makes sense to spend the extra money to stay in a more convenient place. I’m working on a story on world’s best airport hotels and the more I think about it, the more I think it makes sense even for budget-conscious families.
As it turns out, I received a free suite upgrade at the Hilton…we made the right choice.