Up the ante at the airport

Up the ante at the airport

If your budget doesn’t run to business class, you can still start your honeymoon in style. Here’s how to up the ante at the airport without breaking the bank

Arrive in a chauffeur driven car, add on a lounge, indulge in a soothing, speedy spa treatment. From eateries with Michelin star credentials to rooftop pools for a refreshing dip, the world's airports offer a variety of ways to upgrade your experience, if not your seat. And it's more affordable than you might think.

Food to fly for

Don't settle for a pre-packed sandwich or wait for dismal dining in mid-air; whet your appetites with food to fly for. The following airport restaurants all have Michelin star credentials:

1. Plane Food - Terminal 5, London Heathrow

Whether you've got hours to spare or you need to eat and run, Gordon Ramsay's Plane Food restaurant (after security in Terminal 5) is just plain good. There's a Plane Fast menu (three courses in 35 minutes for £19.95) or you can grab a 'picnic' box (3 courses in a special carry-on bag - £12.95) if you don't have time to sit down.

2. Top Air - Terminal 1, Stuttgart Airport

Top Air has held a Michelin star rating for the past 20 years. Chef Claudio Urru heads up this glamorous oasis in the heart of Stuttgart Airport. And it's not just the food that is to fly for - the views over the Swabian Albs are incredible too.

3. Altitude - Geneva International Airport

Not one, not two, but three Michelin starred chefs (Gilles Dupont, Thomas Byrne, Fabien Legon) are responsible for creating a delicious dining experience to put you on cloud nine. The menu mixes Swiss and Mediterranean food - try the Kamchatka crab ravioli or duck foie gras with quince and pepper chutney followed, of course, by Swiss cheeses.

4. Hung's Delicacies - Terminal 2, Hong Kong International Airport

The airport branch of the renowned Hong Kong bistro has received a Michelin Star Award in two consecutive years. To get a taste of real Chinese food, try the homemade Cantonese broth, Chinese Marinated Goose Slices, Duck Tongues in Chinese Liqour, and 'Chua Lam's Mixed Noodle'.

5. La Moraga - Malaga Airport, Spain

Jet set for a foodie fiesta. La Moraga is the modern gastrobar of Michelin Star chef Dani García (born in Marbella) serving traditional Andalusian and Spanish dishes. Try the cherry gazpacho, pringá (meat) croquettes, or the oxtail burger.

Departures decadence

Every journey has a beginning - and if you treat your honeymoon as starting from the moment you triple check the fridge is empty and lock the front door, leaving home is the perfect place to add a bit of glamour to the honeymoon proceedings. And can take the stress out of negotiating airport carparks. Bonus.

Doorstep to departure gate

The three best options if you're planning to drive to the airport are:

1. A chauffeur driven Mercedes - No1Traveller have a fleet of silver Mercs to take you from doorstep to departure gate in luxury.

2. Meet and greet airport parking - a no-hassle valet service if you'd rather drive your own wheels, but don't want to deal with parking. Drive to your terminal to meet your driver who will park your car and have it ready on arrival when you get back home.

3. Stay overnight at an airport hotel with parking - you'll find plenty of packages that work out a bargain, and the hotels themselves aren't all charmless boxes. If the words 'airport hotel' do make you cringe though, try luxe properties at a handy distances.

Lounge lovers

You don't have to be flying first class to get into a luxurious lounge. And, again, airport lounges cost less than you imagine for a place to get the relaxation going. Usually a lounge experience will include complimentary drinks, food and entertainment. Plus, comfy seats away from the hustle of the terminal.

Holiday Extras can book you into lounges in airports all over the country (prices from £12). Or if you want something extra special and are flying from Heathrow or Gatwick, No1Traveller have two Wedding Packages (Gold and Platinum) available from £60, which includes champagne and/or spa treatments.

Reach Arrivals in style

Whether you've got a long layover, a couple of extra hours in the airport, or just enough time for a quick fix of 'us-time' there are plenty of airport options.

You could head for the spa. It's not just girly indulgence - most spas offer a range of manly treatments, including hot towel shaves and facials designed for male skin. No1 Traveller (of the aforementioned cars and lounges) has their flagship spa in Heathrow's Terminal 3 after security. There are express treatments available if you need a pamper pit-stop or a speedy spruce up - and a treatment each comes as part of the Platinum Wedding package. Be Relax Spas are located all over the Europe and the States, including Terminal 5 at Heathrow.

The airports of the USA are geared to help you look and feel your best pre- and post honeymoon. XpresSpa have outlets all over the USA where you can get his n' hers treatments - from a proper hot shave to a shampoo and set or matching mani-pedi's. San Francisco airport even has a yoga room in Terminal 2 (complimentary for ticketed passengers) for some pre-flight stretches.

Perennial award winning airport Changi in Singapore has a spa-side pool for a refreshing dip, nature gardens to wander around, a cinema and offers free foot massages.

Other airports offer gyms, showers, bedrooms where you can retreat for a couple of hours, or you could get cultural at in-airport museums and libraries (try Amsterdam's Schiphol or Taiwan Taoyuan). If you've got a long layover, look into getting out and about. At Zurich airport, you can hire bikes and Nordic poles to get active while you explore. 

To have, in the hold

Lastly, feel like you're in first class with a luxe-touch in your travel accessories.

Matching Scottish cashmere travel pillows? Yes please! The JetRest First Class couples pack will help soothe you into shut-eye, even if you're knees are up near your chins. 

Plus, don't forget that Unique Honeymoons readers get discount at travel outfitters Rohan and Nomad.

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