Arriving in an airport for a long layover is never a lot of fun! However there are some hidden perks when you do, in 2 places: One is the Bahrain International Airport and the other is the Addis Ababa Airport!
Read on to find out the tips and tricks we use to qualify for these free in-transit hotels.
Bahrain Airport Hotel
Bahrain Airport Hotel is located opposite departure gate 15 in the new Bahrain International Airport. The hotel has 83 different options for accommodations. There are a few large family rooms, 42 standard rooms, 17 compact rooms and 24 sleeping pods.
How to Get a Free Stay in Bahrain Airport Hotel
There are actually 2 ways to get free access to the Bahrain Airport Hotel. The first is through the Priority Pass Card. The second is if you are connecting in business on Gulf Air and have a connection longer than 7 hours and less than 24.
1. Priority Pass Card Access
The first way to get a free in airport hotel stay in Bahrain is through the Priority Pass Card. This card gives one person entry into a sleep pod for 3 hours. If there are 2 of you, then you will need 2 cards. Luckily, Rob and I have more than 1 Platinum American Express Card which provides a Priority Pass Card and ultimately a sleeping pod each.
Each Sleep Pod is equipped with bedding including pillow, bed sheet and blanket, in room/pod safe, USB socket, 3 pin power socket, headphones with disposable covers, reading lights, dimming light switch, TV with selected free local and international channels, separate lockers for personal belongings and a water bottle.
We spent a heavenly 3 hours in our pods and woke up refreshed to continue our trip.
GULF SPA – Free Massage or Hair Cut and Blow Dry
Perhaps you don’t have the time for a free 3 hour stay in the hotel. How about a 30 minute free massage? Every Priority Pass Card holder can get one and one for a guest at the Gulf Spa.
Don’t feel like a massage…ok… how about a free hair cut, wash and a blow dry for you and a friend? That is also available.
Keep in mind that these benefits cannot be combined. Meaning, you can get one sleep pod access in the hotel or the massage for 2 or the haircut for 2.
Location: Opposite Departure Gate 15
Hours: 10:00 – 21:00 daily
2. Layover in Business on Gulf Air
The other way to get access to the Bahrain Airport Hotel for free is if you are connecting on Gulf Air through Bahrain in Business. And if your connecting flight is more than 7 hours and less than 24 hours from your arrival into Bahrain International Airport. Here are the rest of the rules and regulations for the free hotel access in the Bahrain Airport Hotel.
I know you are thinking, but who has the money to fly business?! Well, there are many ways to fly on miles and sometimes pay less than even an economy ticket in business. So it is good to know all the perks that we get not only in the air, but also in the airport.
Skylight Hotel – Addis Ababa Airport
Skylight Hotel is an in-transit hotel inside the airport of Addis Ababa. It was built in 2020 and has 97 different rooms.
Where is the Skylight In-Transit Hotel?
Skylight Hotel is located inside the departure hall of Terminal 2 of the Addis Ababa Bole International Airport. However, the signs are quite confusing and take you to many dead ends. So here is the easiest way to find it:
To find the hotel look for Gate A9, with the gate to your left, make a right turn away from gate A9 and walk straight until you see the escalator going down towards the left. Take that and walk straight, making a right hand turn at the dead end. Then walk another 10 meters or so and make a left. You will be walking through a corridor with hotel room doors…strange, right?
In about 20 meters or so, you will see the check-in desk on your right.
How to get a Free Stay in the Skylight In-Transit Hotel
If you are travelling on Ethiopian Airlines internationally and your layover in Addis Ababa is over 8 hours but under 24 hours, you are eligible to receive a free night at a nearby hotel including the Skylight In-Transit Hotel.
Some additional rules are:
- There must not be an earlier available flight to your destination. Meaning that you can’t “force” the free night stay.
- You must have a passport from a country that qualifies for a Visa on Arrival. To check if you do click here.
If you are travelling in Business Class, then you will receive a voucher for the Skylight In-Transit Hotel and 2 meals in the restaurant of the hotel (e.g. dinner and breakfast) when you check in to your first flight.
PRO TIP: Not all airport check in clerks know these rules – so if they don’t give you the free hotel paperwork then ask for it.
A long layover can be very uncomfortable and is usually something that we try to avoid. However, traveling the Horn of Africa we had to stop at the Addis Ababa airport 6 times. And each one of those stops gave us a layover of over 8 hours! Argh, right?!
Well, we loved it, as each one of our stops in this airport equaled a free night stay in the Skylight In-Transit Hotel and 2 great meals at the hotel’s restaurant.
And, the Bahrain International Hotel with it’s free 3 hour hotel pod stay or 30 minute massage or haircut was also a nice find!
We love finding free stuff while we travel the world. Have you found any interesting gems? We would love to hear from you.