I've always like Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport, where even the security personnel are friendly. But I discovered an aspect of it today that raises it to another level in my subjective rankings of airports.
I cab-pooled to the airport early this morning with a colleague, who had an earlier flight, only to find that my own flight was delayed by three hours, which left me a full five hours to kill. After grabbing a bite to eat (at a half-decent airport restaurant), I discovered that Mercure has a hotel smack dab in the middle of the airport terminal. So, I went in and took a look. Not more than 50 feet from where thousands of people are noisily making their ways from one place to another, Mercure has a set of small, but clean, comfortable, and most importantly quiet, single and double rooms with full baths, a desk to work at, free internet, and TV/entertainment systems. So, I took a room for three hours (at a price of $125), relaxed, actually napped a bit while listening to violin concertos by Brahms and Berg, and had a quick shower after awakening to freshen up before walking the half kilometer or so to my gate.
Obviously, I could have saved money had I simply checked my flight on my cell phone before leaving the hotel in central Amsterdam for the airport. I could have let my colleague take a taxi alone, and come to the airport myself later. But finding myself at the airport with so much time to kill, having a nice clean, private, and comfortable space to myself for a few hours was a positive luxury, and more than worth the money, especially considering alternative opportunities, which included wandering aimlessly among the Duty Free shops, buying a day-pass to an airline lounge (for about half the price of the hotel room), or sitting in the terminal surrounded by thousands of people and all the noise.
Schiphol is tops.