Ghastly wall-to-wall carpeting. Archaic shower-tub combinations draped with flyaway plastic curtains. And predictably unimaginative continental breakfasts of withered pastries and artificially flavored "fruit beverages" served in pebbled plastic tumblers.
It's no surprise that being faced with passing the night in yet another forgettable airport hotel is the scourge of business travelers. And who could blame them? Underwhelming compared to their stylish downtown cousins, airport hotels had become the sclerotic bête noire of the industry.
But now, as posh trappings and upgraded amenities become standard fare across the board, the lowly, downtrodden and oft-maligned airport hotel, too, is getting a much-needed facelift. In fact, according to projections by Bjorn Hanson, a head analyst who recently retired from the hospitality division of PricewaterhouseCoopers, airport hotels rank second behind luxury hotels in the estimated $5.5 billion that the industry spent on capital investment on existing properties in the U.S. in 2007.
Those figures are welcome news to jaded business travelers like Scott Norvell, whose many stays at subpar run-of-the-mill airport hotels encapsulates the sentiments of many a hardened road warrior. "I gave up on airport hotels after my last experience in Abu Dhabi," says the Fox News London Bureau Chief.