Best Hotels Near John Wayne Airport

Here’s What Ya Need Ta Know, Pilgrim!

You’ve found this page because you are perhaps looking for details on John Wayne Airport hotels? You’ve come to the right place; the toughest airport in the West! Scroll down a bit to find our map with the best lodging choices around The Duke.

Rumor has it that President Reagan was not only a good friend of John Wayne, but was one of his biggest fans. So much so that he placed a bust of The Duke in the bathroom of his post-White House office in West Los Angeles, just to keep an eye on things. Nowadays a bronze, larger-than-life Mr.Wayne keeps an eye on things going on at the Orange County Airport

I’d like to think that this page will set you up to find just the right hotel accommodations near John Wayne Airport. It’s actually pretty simple, once you know a few important details and are given access to the secret websites.

First, let’s clarify that you really do want a hotel that is specifically very close to the airport. Because there are hundreds of choices in Orange County if you have a car.

So I’m guessing that you may be a business traveler and your destination is right in the airport business district. You have no intention of straying out of the immediate area, so staying close enough to take a hotel courtesy makes your life easier.

(Map goes here)

Or perhaps you’re coming for a nice relaxing visit to one of the numerous resort-quality hotels for some sun and pool time, leisurely walks and dining, etc. Why rent when you plan to enjoy the resort amenities? Of course there are many other possible reasons that you’d want to stay right around John Wayne.

We mention these two likely candidates to clarify our objective. You want to be able to easily and quickly get from the airport to your hotel. Later we’ll pass on some insight to make it clear and easy for you to make that short trip. First, let’s talk about hotel choices.

There are two dozen or so decent-to-great hotels within a very short shuttle-distance of the airport (and dozens more beyond that). They range in pricing from in the $80 range to over $200 for a basic room. If you don’t have a rental car or local friends doing the driving, you want a hotel with a courtesy shuttle; that will save money and make your life easier.

Three Categories of John Wayne Airport Hotels

There are three categories of John Wayne Airport hotels, rated by their location. First is the group of 10 or so hotels that you could literally walk to if necessary (it’s not). Let’s call these Group X.

Group X

There’s considerable variation in the quality and amenities related to each of these, but they share the advantage of being in the shadow of the airport property. Some of these would involve a pretty good hike across a freeway overpass, but the driving time in a shuttle bus is like 1-4 minutes once you leave the airport. Most of these are more expensive joints; I’ll point out the less expensive Group X alternatives below.

Group Y

The second category, which we’ll creatively call Group Y, is another group with widely divergent features. These are all located within say 4-7 minutes of the airport by shuttle, but their distinction is that they are within walking distance the South Coast Plaza regional mall and the O.C. Performing Arts Center. Now, South Coast Plaza is not your run-of-the-mill ordinary mall, but is literally world-renown for its high-end retailers and fancy schmancy surroundings.

So if you stay in one of the Group Y John Wayne Airport Hotels, you’ve got a handy place to grab dinner, and shopping options to buy souvenirs for the kids back home (you know, just pick up a few knickknacks from Tiffany and Company or Chanel). There are a lot of businesses located around the periphery of the center, so it might be convenient for your business obligations as well.

Group Z

Finally, Group Z is just another mile or two further from John Wayne Airport; hotels in this category are mostly mid-level brands like La Quinta and Holiday Inn. They are say 5-8 minutes from the airport and are conveniently located near the Dyer Road offramp of the Costa Mesa Freeway (S.R. 55).

There are a couple of restaurants nearby, but nothing like what you’ll find within walking distance of Group X and Y hotels. These will tend to be cheaper, with some rates below $80 per night (weekend and weekday rates can vary quite a bit as you can imagine).

John Wayne Airport as seen from MacArthur Blvd
John Wayne Airport as seen from MacArthur Blvd

Finding Your Hotel

Our hotel map above loosely illustrates the three groupings of John Wayne Airport hotels–although it does not show them with our intriguing and unnecessary X, Y and Z category labels. If pricing is most important, look to the extended stay choices. That would be your best bet for saving some money and still settling down very near the Duke.

If you are coming for a nice long weekend to enjoy the O.C. sun, a resort pool, dining, etc., then check out the amenities of the nicer resort hotels. These will be in categories X and Y. It doesn’t matter which category; actually, you might want to consider staying near South Coast Plaza for fun.

If your business interests are located right around the airport, Group X is your bet. One major advantage to this group of John Wayne Airport hotels is that the city of Irvine runs a major shuttle service on weekdays. For a buck you can catch the Irvine Shuttle (i-Shuttle) between your hotel and your meeting destination, with buses on a schedule from 7 to 30 minutes from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm.

This bus system will take you from the airport (Route A; you may download route maps and schedule from the website) and continues on to the nearby Tustin Metrolink train station (where you could travel on to downtown Los Angeles, down to San Diego County and a plethora of other places) with a few stops along the way.

Shuttle Routes B and C do not go into the airport but run loops through the business district and/or up to the Metrolink station (many people who work around the airport take Metrolink to the Tustin station, then the i-Shuttle to work).

You really can fly in, take a hotel shuttle to one of the John Wayne Airport hotels, take the i-Shuttle around during the day, and a courtesy shuttle back to the airport without ever touching a rental car. You do need exact change for the bus.

(By the way, the airport maintains a list of hotels of nearby lodging facilities; you can find that list of Airport hotels here.)

John Wayne Airport

If you scroll back to our big map above you’ll see that Group X is loosely that group of hotels between the S.R. 73 freeway and the I-405 freeway on the east side of the airport. This map leaves out the Hyatt Regency hotel on Jamboree Road immediately north of the 405 freeway. (I don’t know why, but you will find it on the second website we give you below.)

One other good John Wayne Airport hotel that is strangely not shown in the map but should be is the Travelodge on Bristol; this may be one of your least-expensive options in Group X. The extended stay hotels may also have lower rates than the major full-service hotels like the Hyatt Regency or Atrium.

In the map you’ll see that South Coast Plaza lies a mile or two to the west of the airport, among that cluster of Group Y hotels along the I-405 freeway and west of S.R. 55. Up to the north, along the 55 freeway are the Group Z facilities. Actually there are no-doubt other hotels within the confines of the map but these are most of them.

And for the sake of completeness, you can refer to the John Wayne Airport Hotels page on their website. This site does not have a cool map, but it does list a bunch of hotels with courtesy shuttles to and from the airport; some of the hotels are not that close though. But realize that most of these places do have a shuttle, and you will simply want to check that out with the hotel before you book a reservation.

Our map and these websites give further links to each hotel so you can investigate amenities, photos, restaurants, etc. As noted above, don’t forget the Hyatt Regency on Jamboree Road at Main Street; move along the 405 freeway one offramp south of MacArthur and there is Jamboree (named for a long-ago Boy Scouts Jamboree held in the area).

Getting To and From John Wayne Airport

Entrance to John Wayne Airport

Finally, let’s touch on getting to the John Wayne Airport hotels from the airport. After you clear the secure area by the gates, you’ll want to make your way to the lower level (baggage claim level) and out to the cleverly named Ground Transportation Center (GTC). It’s out across the driveway from the big statue of The Duke.

There are islands for taxis (You can imagine that all of these John Wayne Airport hotels can be reached pretty easily by taxi.), car rental courtesy shuttles, satellite parking lot shuttles and hotel courtesy shuttles. Hotel courtesy shuttles—that’s you!

Before going outside, you may want to check in at the Interactive Visitors’ Center near the exit. It might be necessary to make a call to the hotel to summon the shuttle. They make it pretty easy!

And keep your eyes peeled for the statue of The Duke; he’s always there watchin’ for trouble.