Monday, December 10, 2012

Could This be the World's Coolest Airport Hotel?

By Dan Pimentel,
Airplanista Blog Editor

We #avgeeks are always - ALWAYS – looking for aviation-related good times...the kind of fun you can only find situated on or around most any airport. We will all enjoy an afternoon watching J3 Cubs glide onto a tiny grass strip in Pennsylvania, and we'll cherish the thought of clinging to the fence at Maho Beach in St. Maarten as giant airliners part our hair on really, really low short finals.

And when we in this aviation family search for hotels, it is never a bad thing to be near the airport, especially if the balcony overlooks any runway inhabited by heavies. While some guests complain about the noise of those jets, others look forward to that sound. You can always tell the pilots in the hotel...they're the people leaning on the railing of their 10th floor room with a smile on their face as another SAS 747 bound for somewhere departs with throttles to the firewall.

But if you really want to get the closest possible look at a "four-seven" as it touches down just outside your hotel, possibly the best place to do it is at the coolest airport lodging found on this planet, or maybe any other:
The Jumbo Stay Hostel at Stockholm Arlanda Airport in Sweden is easily the most awesome aviation-themed lodging Airplanista has found to date. It was built from a timed-out 1976 Boeing 747-212B jumbo jet that originally flew for Singapore Airlines and later for Pan Am. It was last operated by Transjet before being converted to offer 25 rooms, most with three beds in each. All together, the hostel offers 72 beds, with the most luxurious found at the upper deck. All rooms have a flat screen TVs where you can, among other things, see the times of departure for all flights. Yes, that DOES make planespotting much easier. Remember, this is a Hostel, so with most rooms, expect a "shared" shower and toilet in the corridor, except for the Cockpit Suite upstairs which has its own shower. The single or double suites have panorama views of the airport, two adjustable beds and sleep up to two adults. The comfortable "Private 1-2-3" rooms sleep up to three adults, with various other twin and dorm rooms making up the two decks of the Jumbo Stay.
Can you say airplane heaven?

Yes, it's true, when someone moved a surplus four-seven to Stockholm Arlanda Airport and made it into a hostel, it created a "must-see" lodging destination any aviator just HAS to visit. But while the people in the back will be sharing the "facilities," up front in the luscious Cockpit Suite is where the fun really can be found:
In the Cockpit Suite, the aircraft’s flight deck has been converted into a deluxe suite with some of the original interior preserved. No, you won't be able to call up ground and ask for a clearance to JFK, but you can stay up late each night sitting on the end of your bed playing with the switches, knobs, throttles and gizmos, or any other parts they have "saved as curiosities" from the original cockpit. With the proper amount of imagination, it will be easy to visualize being high above Iceland on a trans-Atlantic route pushing westbound towards KSFO. And if they've actually thought to wire up an aviation radio to the hostel's in-room sound system, you could sit there drinking a cold bottle of Abro Julbock Swedish beer, and lose yourself in planespotting bliss. From the suite’s panoramic "original equipment" windows, you have a magnificent view of the air traffic at Arlanda. This very unique lodging option is an intimate destination SURE to become the "tunnel av k√§rlek" (it's Swedish, Google it) for any #avgeek couple.
A quick scan of the reviews on Tripadvisor tells me that if you ever find yourself on an RON in Stockholm, don't EVEN think of staying anywhere else but the Jumbo Stay:
"If you're into aircraft or looking for a novel experience, then the Jumbo Stay is fun to try," said Leigh1982. "My room was in the hull where the wheels retract into the body of the aircraft after take off."
And even a local had to go see what staying in the Jumbo Stay was like. "We live in Stockholm," Shaarila says, "so we went there just for the experience. And it was worth it! Along with being a very cool bedroom, the cockpit suite has access to the whole upper-deck (which used to be first-class lounge) where you can relax and watch TV. The suite also had access to a private terrace where you could enjoy the sun and do some planespotting."
It's a done deal...this place is going on my aviation bucket list.

And I had so much fun writing this post, I've decided to make this "airplanes as residences or businesses" an occasional theme here on Airplanista. So if you know of any other homes, hotels, restaurants etc. that have been converted from airliners, please email me links here with contact info if you can.