I spent $483 on hotel day rooms to combat long connections and jet lag before a big conference. Take a peek inside JFK’s wacky 1960s-inspired hotel — and a hidden oasis within Heathrow’s terminals

Entrance to TWA Hotel, a short walk from JFK’s Terminal 5.

I had a 32-hour flight from the UK to the Bahamas to reach a major conference, Crypto Bahamas.
To combat jet lag and long connections, I spent $483 on day rooms to rest from traveling.
Take a peek at JFK’s 1960s-inspired hotel and London Heathrow’s hidden oasis.

I had a 32-hour trip from the UK to the Bahamas for a major crypto conference.Crypto Bahamas sign at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

I attended the Crypto Bahamas conference hosted by global thought-leadership forum SALT and the crypto exchange FTX, which was founded by 30-year-old crypto billionaire Sam Bankman-Fried.

To reach the conference, I needed to take three different flights: Glasgow to London, London to New York, and New York to the Bahamas. It meant I would be spending a lot of time in the airport.

With a desire to optimize my time at the conference, I looked into how I could best leverage my time in the airport to combat jet lag. I came across the concept of “day rooms,” which are rooms in airport hotels you can rent for the day or by the hour.

I spent around $483 on three day rooms during the trip, which started on April 25 and finished on May 1. 



Traveling internationally is a completely different experience now compared with before the pandemic.Long queues at security at Heathrow Airport Terminal 3 around 6 p.m. on a Monday.

Part of the reason I ended up with such long wait times at airports is that traveling has changed a lot since the pandemic. Airports and airlines are short-staffed resulting in cancellations and delays. Checks on health visas and vaccination documents is making the check-in process longer, and there’s the new challenge of getting a COVID-19 test before the flight.

I booked a COVID-19 test at Glasgow airport at 8 a.m. ahead of my 10:40 a.m. flight for £55 ($68). The process was smooth with no lines and only a 15-minute wait for my rapid antigen results. However, at busy travel hubs like Heathrow, the lines were much longer.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, a significant number of UK flights had been canceled or significantly delayed due to staff shortages. I tried to book flights that would provide enough buffer time to get an alternative in case of a cancellation or delay. 

With an 8-hour wait from arriving in London Heathrow until my flight to JFK, I headed to Terminal 3’s Aerotel.Aerotel entrance at London Heathrow Terminal 3.

I landed at London Heathrow from Glasgow around 12:00 p.m., which meant an eight-hour wait until my flight to New York at 8:00 p.m.

I collected my bags from my British Airways flight at Terminal 5 and leveraged the Heathrow Express’ free terminal service to go to Terminal 3, which is where the airport hotel is and where my next flight would depart from.

I booked a $68 solo plus room for around 6 hours in London Heathrow’s Aerotel.A solo plus room at London Heathrow’s Aerotel.

The hotel provided amenities, such as bottled water and tea and coffee-making facilities.Tea and coffee facilities in the room.

A bathroom with a walk-in shower to freshen up in.Aerotel’s solo plus room’s bathroom.

The hotel was within walking distance of a number of cafes in the departures and arrivals area of the terminal.The hotel faces out into the arrivals section of Terminal 3 close to cafes and the Heathrow Express.

Within the arrivals area, the terminal had a Boots, a Caffe Nero, and a Marks & Spencers. I could also walk to the departures area, before security, and pick up food from Costa or Pret a Manager.

The only frustrating part of using a day room was there was no desk with a chair to eat or work at.The storage area of the room with no table or chair to work at.

I’d seen reviews online that complained of the rooms not containing chairs or desks. The hotel rebutted those comments online, but I can confirm that the tables provided were not suitable for working or eating at.

I had to come up with an inventive way to eat lunch.Creating a makeshift table at the end of the bed to eat lunch.

I made a makeshift area to eat with a small table positioned at the end of the bed. It was OK for a quick bite, but not ideal for a full meal!

I spent around 6 hours in the room working on the bed and freshening up before my next flight.Bed in Aerotel rooms.

I checked out of Heathrow’s Aerotel around 5:30 p.m. to grab dinner ahead of my 8:00 p.m. flight to JFK. Getting food at Heathrow is no easy task right now.Dinner at Spuntino at Heathrow Terminal 3.

Another challenge with travelling right now is that demand is still high post-pandemic. Queues to get through security at Heathrow were long and slow.

Most restaurants in the departures lounge were packed around 6:30 p.m. I decided to eat at a restaurant called Spuntino and I was informed that a number of dishes were unavailable when I asked for a table. The restaurant was clearly short-staffed and by the time I finished my meal the flight was boarding.

I paid $115 in total to upgrade my seats to economy delight for the journey to and from London and New York.Economy delight seats on Virgin Atlantic flight.

As part of my mission to fight jet lag I wanted select a seat on the plane where the chances of being sat next to someone would be slim.

During online check-in, the Economy Delight cabin, which is essentially economy seats with a tiny bit more leg room, looked fairly empty. I decided to upgrade in the hopes I wouldn’t have anyone sat next to me. I was in luck, on both flights I had an empty seat next to me.

The upgrade on the way to New York cost £35 ($43) and on the way back it cost £55 ($71).

I arrived in JFK around 10:00 p.m. and reached my second day room by 11:30 p.m.Entrance to TWA Hotel, a short walk from JFK’s Terminal 5.

I arrived into New York’s JFK Terminal 4 around 10:00pm. After passing through customs and collecting my bags, I used JFK’s AirTrain to travel to Terminal 5 to reach my second day (night) room at the TWA hotel.

TWA hotel utilizes the head house of the TWA flight center, which closed in 2001. It’s less than a two-minute walk from the AirTrain station and is the only hotel that’s on JFK’s grounds.

The hotel is a throwback to the 1960s and a must-visit location for any aviation nerd.

The hotel is designed to replicate many of TWA Flight Center’s original features. It also features bars, a food hall, an infinity pool overlooking the runway, and a roller rink.The bar area in the TWA Hotel.

I paid $323 for a deluxe king room. It was huge.A deluxe king room at TWA hotel.

There was far too much to explore in the TWA Hotel making it a worthwhile stopping point for anyone with a long connection.Food hall at TWA hotel where several stalls are open 24/7.

By the time, I arrived at the hotel it was 11:30 p.m., I just wanted to get some sleep.

There was plenty to explore, however, for guests who arrive early from museum exhibits to the fitness center and pool. The hotel also contains a restaurant, several bars, and a food hall with some stalls open 24 hours, which is ideal for anyone with a late-night or overnight connection.

TWA hotel does offer day rates. Despite only spending around 6 hours in the hotel I had to pay an overnight rate.Departures and arrivals board at TWA Hotel.

I used the AirTrain to head to Terminal 2 where I got breakfast before the final leg of my journey to the Bahamas.A tablet to use for ordering at food at Due Amici in Terminal 2 departures.

When I arrived I didn’t immediately feel like I conquered the jet lag but after a night’s sleep I found a good routine for the rest of the week.Sunset at Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

I even managed to attend a party with my colleague the day I arrived in the Bahamas.Insider reporters Vicky Huang on the left and Kari McMahon on the right.

On the way back, I had a last-minute need for a day room at Heathrow. I used alternative sites to find a better and cheaper deal.Aerotel solo plus room at Heathrow.

Around a week before the journey, British Airways canceled my return flight from London to Glasgow. When I rebooked the flights, I was stuck with another six-hour wait at the airport. I decided to book another day room, so I could get work done and freshen up. When I looked up the prices on Aerotel’s website, the cost of a room was £199 ($246). Knowing that I’d paid £55 ($68) before, I tried to find an alternative rate and used dayuse.co.uk to get a room for £75 ($92).

The second day room at Aerotel still didn’t have a desk or chair.No desk or chair in second Aerotel room.

I found having a strategy for combatting jet lag is one of the best approaches.Pepperoni pizza at the Pizza Lab at the Grand Hyatt Baha Mar.

I still felt a bit groggy on the first day I arrived in the Bahamas, but by having a plan and using my time in the airports and day rooms to focus on sticking to a regular eating routine and catching up on sleep, it helped get me into a good routine ahead of the conference.

But don’t expect to always be on the go and working.The view from the room’s balcony.

I expected that by using day rooms and having so much time in airports that I would be able to get lots of work done. At times I needed to switch off and relax while travelling and at the conference.

Read the original article on Business Insider

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