What is the difference between airport hotels and transit hotels?

For years, I always got the idea that airport hotels are hotels that are located within the airport vicinity (for easy accessibility to/from airport), while transit hotels are hotels are located within the airside zone of the airport, meaning you can walk off the airplane to that hotel until your next departure without the need of passing passport control.

Now I start to have doubts that what I always understood about this is wrong, should I correct my information or not? in other words, can I safely assume that any transit hotel is a hotel located airside by default?

  • 5
    Your definitions sound right to me. Why are you having doubts? Any counter-examples? Mar 15, 2015 at 11:33
  • @jpatokal while researching this questions I started to have doubts, the hotel page gave me that impression somehow.. Mar 15, 2015 at 11:43
  • @jpatokal The total ignoring to mention anything about the visa in that page gave me the idea that the word "transit hotel" is taken for granted and no need to further explain that, or it means totally the opposite, hence the confusion. Mar 15, 2015 at 11:46

1 Answer 1


Traditionally transit hotel referred to accommodation airside and airport hotel referred to accommodation outside the terminal but usually on airport property.

As is often the case, with time usage changes and hotel marketers abuse terms they feel will be in their favor.

So now you frequently see the term "airport hotel" applied to properties within a few miles of the airport (sometimes even further if they provide airport shuttles). And some on airport property hotels present themselves as "transit hotels" since their guests are often transiting, not staying in the country (but obviously 'entering' the country since they cleared immigration to reach the hotel).

If you talk with experienced travelers, your terms will be understood as you expect them too. If you talk with casual travelers or new travelers, their understanding maybe different.

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