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This Is the Best Airport in the World

In case you didn’t know, the best airport in the world is not a subjective matter

By Vogue UK | September 4, 2021 | Category

Picture: Interior Passenger Terminal of Hamad International Airport in Doha, Photography by Tim Griffith
Picture: Interior Passenger Terminal of Hamad International Airport in Doha, Photography by Tim Griffith

In case you didn’t know, the best airport in the world is not a subjective matter. In fact, it’s an objective one—every year, Skytrack, an airline consulting group, fastidiously surveys and quizzes travelers around the globe about more than 500 plane ports of entry. They ask about efficiency: How long did it take to get your bags? How easy was it to get a taxi—or take public transportation? How long were the lines at immigration? They determine functionality: Did the airport have good WiFi? Were the departure screens easy to read? Were the boarding calls clear and easy to understand? They inquire about amenities: Were there good restaurants and bars? Quality stores to shop at? What about the lounges? Then they ask about, well, a bunch more—including plenty of questions about social distancing protocols and cleanliness in this pandemic age.

And now, they’ve officially crowned a winner for 2021: Hamad International Airport in Doha, Qatar.

Picture: Arrival and departures area of Hamad International Airport in Doha, Photography by Tim Griffith

It’s quite the stylish gateway to the skies. For starters, it features a state-of-the-art wellness center with a swimming pool, hydrotherapy tub, gym, squash courts, and a spa that offers anti jet-lag massages as well as facials. Travelers who just want to take a nap before their connection (likely a popular choice, as Hamad is a massive travel hub for European and American travelers looking to reach the Middle East, Asia, and Africa) can rent a private, air-conditioned sleep pod or cabin.

Then there’s the art: walking to your gate you might spy “Lamp Bear” by Urs Fischer, or “Small Lie” by Kaws. (Installations by Maurizio Cattelan, Damian Hirst, and Jenny Holzer are all upcoming.) The architecture, designed by global firm HOK, is meant to represent ocean waves and sand dunes, key landscape traits of Doha itself.

Picture: Seating area and Oryx of Hamad International Airport in Doha, Photography by Tim Griffith

As for food? Sure, you’ve got your airport classics of Burger King and Starbucks. But you’ve also got a Harrod’s Tea Room, an outpost of beloved Barcelona eatery Farggi, as well as a seafood and caviar restaurant.

And if your flight is delayed, get ready to shop. Gucci, Bottega Veneta, Kenzo, Hermes, and Tiffany’s are just a few of the luxury stores located within its terminals.

Picture: Playground & Sculpture by Tom Otterness at the Hamad International Airport in Doha, Photography by Tim Griffith

Following Hamad in the rankings is Haneda International Airport in Tokyo. In third is Singapore Changi, which took home the top prize last year.

As the coronavirus pandemic continues, travel is still sadly in flux. But when you're finally ready to return to the skies, now you know which landing pad is officially most stylish.

Picture: The Emiri Terminal and Fountain at Hamad International Airport in Doha, Photography by Tim Griffith

Written by Elise Taylor.

This article originally appeared on Vogue UK.