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Is Hotel Plane Spotting a thing? I flew TK to IST to try out.

Is Hotel Plane Spotting a thing? I flew TK to IST to try out.

Old Jul 10, 19, 11:46 pm
  #1  
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Join Date: Nov 2018
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Is Hotel Plane Spotting a thing? I flew TK to IST to try out.

Hello everyone,

What is your favourite hotel for plane spotting? All suggestions welcome, as this is somehow turning into my new interest. To debunk why I am asking, keep on reading. In this trip report I will write about a rather spontaneous trip to Istanbul and about 2 plane spotting locations I visited.

Note: The locations are for Ataturk Airport, not the new one. However, Ataturk still handles cargo traffic so might be still relevant. You are also welcome to check my video report.




In December of 2018 I decided to fly down to Istanbul for a plane spotting weekend. I am not a pro spotter, I prefer editing airline trip reports, but as I was scrolling through Instagram, I saw some pretty nice shots of Istanbul Ataturk take offs. As I found out they were taken from a mall terrace called Fly Inn Shopping Mall. I though as the airport would close soon anyway, it would be a good reason to check it out one last time, before this part of history is gone.

Due to work, I only had the 2 days of the weekend free. Luckily Turkish Airlines had a sweet deal for a Saturday morning departure from CPH and a Sunday evening arrival back for 134EUR. I though it was a good deal as I booked them just 2 weeks before departure. My initial plan was to stay at a random, cheap hotel for the 1 night and use the day for spotting outdoors. However, as I started to research more and more about the airport and the surroundings, I stumbled upon Radisson Blu Conference and Airport Hotel, which apparently had some good views at the runways. I checked them and it seemed to be the case, so I booked just a standard room that I guessed might be situated on the side facing the airport. There was no possibility to choose one with the view at the airport so I wrote my preference in the notes. The room cost 80 EUR for the night.

FLIGHT DETAILS
Turkish Airlines
December 1st 2018
CPH - IST, TK1788
06.55 - 12.10
A321 Reg. TC-JSJ

This was a standard early morning flight. The Airbus A321 was delivered to TK in 2013. The cabin looked just fine, seat good, middle seat empty that’s the best. The IFE however looked extremely dated. I mean dated by design and also by its wear and tear. Not mentioning that it barely functioned. I tried movies, but that seemed to be too much for it to handle. I did not mind really, as long as the map works, I am satisfied. The breakfast was ok, hope I do not seem to fussy, but even though everyone usually raves about TK catering, it seems slightly above average to me. Except the warm bread part, that stands out. On the other hand I think it’s such a nice gesture of them to hand out small packages to kids. I believe it must be some sort of colouring book that they receive. I would love to have one of those



Flying towards Istanbul from Copenhagen


We landed at around noon and I was ready for my short, but sweet Istanbul aviation weekend getaway. It was the 3rd time for me being at this airport, the 2 previous being transfers. I did a Berlin-Mumbai with Turkish 2 years ago and I clearly remember my first impression was that this airport has definitely reached its capacity. My second impression was that although it’s an international airport, TK’s domination is overwhelming. All the other airlines simply get lost on this crowded field that is full of big Turkish birds with red tails. This time I had exactly the same impression.


The next day I walked exactly this seashore under the aircraft. It is a great place for spotting.


While waiting for the hotel shuttle, there was a funny moment when a man, who I assume was a taxi driver, approached me and said there would be no shuttle bus today, I should take his taxi. I declined his offer and a minute later the shuttle bus arrived of course
The hotel was really nice, modern and stylish and the employees were efficient and customer oriented. The view from the room was perfect, I was on a higher floor, and had the runways 35L and 35R just in front of me. As if served with the room I was really enjoying just sitting on the bed, relaxing with a glass of whiskey, listening to music and watching airplanes take off. Perfect weekend. I stayed in that position until the next day, when I convinced myself that after check out, I would somehow get to the other side of the runway, by the seashore, where people plane spot as well. As I searched online, I discovered that there was another hotel at that area, the Crowne Plaza Istanbul Florya, which has a rooftop bar that is great for spotting.


Radisson Blu Conference and Airport Hotel




Radisson Blu Conference and Airport Hotel




Radisson Blu Conference and Airport Hotel


After check out I took the shuttle back to the airport and I took another shuttle from the airport to the Crown Plaza Hotel. When we arrived there, I did not straight away walked into the hotel rooftop bar, but I rather went down for a walk. It is a nice area by the seashore and as it was Sunday there were many families out too. If you do not want to spend money on drinks in a rooftop bar, the walkway by the shore is also perfect for spotting. Me however, I like to have a drink in my hand while I plane spot

After a long walk, I went to the terrace bar at the Crowne Plaza Hotel and spent a couple of hours filming the arrivals to 05 runway before I would head to the airport for my evening flight. The colours of the sky at sunset were beautiful and I got some real cheesy, sunsety footage. Nature is the biggest kitsch artist, because the lights were really stunning.


Crowne Plaza rooftop bar




Crowne Plaza Hotel rooftop bar




Crowne Plaza rooftop bar




Crowne Plaza rooftop bar


Again as I said I am not a pro spotter I just wanted a nice weekend getaway where I can enjoy some airplanes too. Luckily I found the perfect combo for that. I actually did manage to get some decent footage and am also happy with the video I created. You are welcome to check it out, I am sharing more details there about the two locations.




I can highly recommend Radisson Blu Conference and Airport Hotel not only for the runway views, but also for their friendly and professional attitude. As well as the other location, the rooftop bar at the Crowne Plaza was a great spot to watch some traffic. And yes, there still is traffic because Ataturk airport still handles cargo flights. My flight home felt long and uneventful. It was a 10 year old a321 and this time the IFE did not even bother to turn on, so I gave up and enjoyed just the sensation of flying.

I wonder if anyone has any info which hotel would be a good choice for plane spotting at the New Istanbul Airport. If so, leave a comment.

Do you have any suggestions which airport hotel with a great runway/tarmac view did you like or could recommend? I have looked into it, so I know the big ones. There is actually a lot of info about it if you do your research. What I am interested in is maybe smaller, lesser known jams. Do you guys have suggestions, fun personal stories, recommendations for interesting spots?

If you made it this far, thanks for reading and may the force be with you,
Dominik

Last edited by DominikBlasko; Jul 11, 19 at 12:01 am
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Old Jul 11, 19, 12:16 am
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My favorite airport hotel is probably the Fairmont YVR. The Grand Hyatt DFW is also great, but the plane-spotting at DFW is pretty boring (mostly AA). There is, however, a plane-spotting "guide"/booklet in the room, which I have taken as a souvenir. Some of the rooms at the Westin SFO have great views of planes taking off—I imagine the new Grand Hyatt SFO (once it opens) will be great for plane-spotting.

I can't recall any memorable airport hotels that I've been to in Europe or Asia.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 8:49 am
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Thanks for sharing, I love learning about people’s unique hobbies.

I’ll keep this in mind if I ever visit one of these hotels!
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Old Jul 11, 19, 11:27 pm
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Originally Posted by gonebabygone View Post
Thanks for sharing, I love learning about people’s unique hobbies.

I’ll keep this in mind if I ever visit one of these hotels!
Haha, a unique hobby indeed. glad you liked it.
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Old Jul 11, 19, 11:54 pm
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Originally Posted by flyingeph12 View Post
My favorite airport hotel is probably the Fairmont YVR. The Grand Hyatt DFW is also great, but the plane-spotting at DFW is pretty boring (mostly AA). There is, however, a plane-spotting "guide"/booklet in the room, which I have taken as a souvenir. Some of the rooms at the Westin SFO have great views of planes taking off—I imagine the new Grand Hyatt SFO (once it opens) will be great for plane-spotting.

I can't recall any memorable airport hotels that I've been to in Europe or Asia.
Hey, thanks for the info, The Fairmont really does look spectacular and GH DFW as well, love the idea of a booklet. Istanbul Ataturk was also dominated mostly by Turkish Airlines, but I did not mind as I was very happy just enjoying the very dense traffic. There's also some new construction going on in Copenhagen, which is where I live. By the airport they are building a new Scandic hotel, which according to where it's positioned will probably have better view for departing and arriving traffic as does the only big hotel at the airport now which is the Clarion.
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Old Jul 13, 19, 11:30 am
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Hi!

If you're interested in LHR The Renaissance Hotel on Bath Road does Enthusiast Packages and the Thistle Hotel near Terminal 5 has a spectators balcony/restaurant overlooking RWY 09L/27R. They also offer runway facing rooms, but the one I got was after the take off point for most a/c!

Den
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Old Jul 14, 19, 1:31 am
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Originally Posted by dpherraghty View Post
Hi!

If you're interested in LHR The Renaissance Hotel on Bath Road does Enthusiast Packages and the Thistle Hotel near Terminal 5 has a spectators balcony/restaurant overlooking RWY 09L/27R. They also offer runway facing rooms, but the one I got was after the take off point for most a/c!

Den
Thanks a lot, had no idea about enthusiast packages, that's really useful info. Will look into it.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 3:57 am
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Originally Posted by dpherraghty View Post
Hi!

If you're interested in LHR The Renaissance Hotel on Bath Road does Enthusiast Packages and the Thistle Hotel near Terminal 5 has a spectators balcony/restaurant overlooking RWY 09L/27R. They also offer runway facing rooms, but the one I got was after the take off point for most a/c!

Den
Have stayed in this hotel in a runway room. Our room overlooked the point where planes turned on to the runway and held for a short moment before starting their take-off roll.

The planes are so close you could see the pilots' faces!

We stayed there about 15 years ago when the runway rooms were like £5 more than a 'standard' room. I think the difference is a bit more these days.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 10:31 am
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I guess airport hotels will ask in the future if you are a Flyertalker. If you say no a room to the runway will be 100 and to the silent courtyard 120. If you say yes runway room is 120 and courtyard 100.
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Old Jul 14, 19, 11:14 am
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Unusual yet interesting TR! Thanks for sharing.

Two other options that instantly jump to my mind:
- TWA Hotel at JFK
- Aerotel transit hotel at terminal 1 of SIN

Both have swimming pools with tarmac views and accessible without actually staying at the hotel. I believe in the case of the TWA hotel you need a poolside restaurant reservation and at Changi airport the swimming pool is accessible for all if you just pay the entrance fee (including non alcoholic cocktail and towel).
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Old Jul 17, 19, 5:25 am
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Originally Posted by offerendum View Post
I guess airport hotels will ask in the future if you are a Flyertalker. If you say no a room to the runway will be 100 and to the silent courtyard 120. If you say yes runway room is 120 and courtyard 100.
Haha, I like this strategy. Sounds like a win win.
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Old Jul 22, 19, 2:15 pm
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The Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel also has something like an enthusiast package, which includes a runway-facing balcony room and a welcome package with folding binoculars, tickets to the Delta museum (just a block away), and some other things. The wife and I splurged on a weekend trip there (from DTW) over Thanksgiving break a few years ago to catch a ride on a Delta 747-400 before they were retired. So, there are a few of us crazies here and there.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 12:05 am
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Originally Posted by strickerj View Post
The Renaissance Concourse Atlanta Airport Hotel also has something like an enthusiast package, which includes a runway-facing balcony room and a welcome package with folding binoculars, tickets to the Delta museum (just a block away), and some other things. The wife and I splurged on a weekend trip there (from DTW) over Thanksgiving break a few years ago to catch a ride on a Delta 747-400 before they were retired. So, there are a few of us crazies here and there.
Hi, Thanks for the info. I did look this up and found it. Now it is certainly the only hotel I would consider if I am in that region.
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Old Jul 23, 19, 12:35 am
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The SFO Marriott would be my choice for this sort of activity. Of course if the winds are blowing in the right direction, any of the hotels on Waikiki beach are fairly enjoyable places to watch planes coming into HNL.
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