Start your holiday early
Airport hotels play an unglamorous but vital role in getting you to your morning flight without the stress of an early alarm call. But there is life beyond the big chains; these hotels prove you can find charm within striking distance of check-in.
THE OLD HOUSE INN GATWICK
Three miles from the departures lounge, this atmospheric rural pub with rooms serves top-notch food; it’ll also provide a breakfast hamper if you have an early flight (from £90; theoldhouseinn.co.uk).
HAMPTON MANOR BIRMINGHAM
Have a Michelin-starred dinner, then turn in for the night amid William Morris-inspired décor in a country estate two miles from the terminal (from £190; hamptonmanor.com).
DIDSBURY HOUSE MANCHESTER
Plush fabrics and clawfoot bathtubs are among the highlights of the 27 rooms in this Victorian villa close to the airport-handy station of East Didsbury (from £157; eclectichotels.co.uk).
DAKOTA HOTEL EDINBURGH
This darkly elegant and strikingly contemporar y place (its bar is pictured above) has rooms that sport the odd world map or chrome model airplane, plus a complimentar y shuttle taking 10–15 minutes to reach the airport (from £99; dakotahotels.co.uk).