R emember the days when the thought of an airport layover brought shudders and a sense of dread? Today’s airports are breaking out of that mold — and breaking all the old rules — to offer bespoke services to modern travelers. From luxury lounges, modern spas and art museums, to wine bars, gourmet restaurants and markets filled with fresh produce, airports around the world are revolutionizing the travel experience. Discover a new place each month for your next luxe layover. Vancouver International Airport, Canada: YVR Vancouver International Airport sits on Sea Island, an island on the Fraser River in Richmond, British Columbia. Situated about 30 minutes from downtown Vancouver, the airport started with a single runway and a wood shack in 1931. During World War II, the airport housed the Royal Canadian Air Force and became a manufacturing site for Boeing. The airport further expanded in 1968 with a new $32 million terminal, which served 1.9 million passengers that year. During the 1980’s, international travel blossomed in and out of YVR, with service by Air China, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, Lufthansa and KLM Royal Dutch Airlines. The next major expansion was in 1996b with a new $250 million, 16-gate in ternational terminal and new control tower. The airport received great attention on 9/11 when 34 US-based aircraft, carrying more than 8500 passengers, were diverted to Vancouver. Today, 53 airlines serve YVR to 109 non-stop destinations in Canada, the US and around the world. Last year, YVR served approximately 18 million passengers, making it Canada’s second busiest airport. The Airport Layout Vancouver International Airport has been voted best airport in North America for six years and it’s immediately obvious when you arrive, whether you land at Vancouver’s international terminal or enter landside, why that is the case. When arriving from the U.S. or another international location, you find yourself in a well-marked, modern terminal. Enroute to the customs queue, you walk past beautiful artwork that gives you an immediate sense of being in the Pacific Northwest. You will pass through a post and beam longhouse, go past a sandy beach with sounds of birds and water and past a traditional Pacific Northwest canoe. The overhead wooden sculpture is representative of Canada’s First Nation artwork. When arriving at YVR, you clear border service and immigration, gather your baggage (free carts are available), give your declaration card to Canada Border Services and proceed through the international reception lounge to the exit and public greeting area. You can find tourism information, money exchange and several shops inside the international reception lounge. Fairmont Vancouver Airport. Photo courtesy Fairmont Hotels 44 When departing YVR, there are different check-in terminals: Domestic, International and USA terminals. If you are going to the U.S., you will clear customs at YVR before boarding your flight. If you have U.S. Global Entry, you can enter security, fill out the questions on the Global Entry kiosks, and then proceed to security in a matter of moments. If you do not have Global Entry, you will need to fill out the paper USA Declaration Card and proceed to the US Customs and Border Protection line before heading to security.