No joke. When I recently stopped over at Amsterdam Airport Schiphol on the way to France, I was disappointed to only spend an hour there. Happily, I got a good three hours to scamper around on the return trip, and now I want to share the love. Here are nine reasons why this Dutch playground is our new favorite airport for a layover:
1. Two Euros (about $2.75) will get you five minutes of massage chair heaven – complete with serene spa music – in futuristic-looking pods scattered throughout the airport. Now that's a fantastic way to spend loose change at the end of your trip.
2. The "Airport Park" on the second floor of the Lounge 1 area is completely fake – but it somehow totally works. Everywhere you look, it's an explosion of outdoorsy art decals and green decor. At the far end, a "grassy" lawn is home to padded pool chairs so you can recline under the faux trees. There's a soundtrack of chirping of birds, and even a woodsy scent perfuming the air. Yep, our brains got tricked into a state of bliss here. (If you get bored with lounging, you can also check out a few interactive science exhibits, or charge your device by pedaling on a stationary bike.)
3. It's a haven for foodie souvenir shoppers. Next time, we'll be bringing an extra tote just to stock up on stroopwafels, wheels of cheese, chocolate sold by the block, paprika-flavored Pringles, and giant Kinder everything.
4. Push carts, available both before and after passport control, are free to use. Perhaps we'll make that extra tote a midsize duffel instead...
5. There's a separate line for passport control for imminently departing flights, in case you're faced with a tight connection. Every airport should start doing this.
6. For international flights, each gate has its own security checkpoint. No more hour-long lines. (We're looking at you, JFK.)
7. Free wifi is readily available. You'll have to click or tap a couple of times to access it, but at least you don't have camp outside of airline lounges in hopes of finding networks that aren't password-protected.
8. The sangria at Mediterranean Sandwich Bar is cheaper than bottled water. (There's also a seafood-and-wine bar called Bubbles, the Mediterranean-themed Cafe Comunal with hipster stylings, and a juice bar if you need to detox, just to name a few.)
9. The main terminal's Yotel starts at €46 ($63) for four hours, making it perfect for a shower and a quick nap. Rooms are compact, but we can never complain about a rain shower. Complimentary coffee, tea, and hot chocolate don't hurt either. Overnight stays start at €86 ($118).