Singapore’s Changi has been called one of the world’s best airports for the past seven years. In April, it upped its game with the new nature-themed entertainment and retail complex, Jewel. At the end of September, China’s flagship, Daxing International Airport, opened in Beijing. It boasts the world’s largest free-standing terminal and is expected to become the world’s busiest. It will welcome some 5 million passengers next year, a small fraction of the yearly 100 million expected by 2040. So with Daxing’s loud ambition, could Changi face a new challenger to its crowning status? Here, we compare the two Asian hubs from various aspects. 5 airlines with the best new business-class offerings Architecture A look inside Qatar Airways’ US$75 million Gulfstream G700 Changi’s Terminal 3 features a unique, multi-skylight roof designed by Skidmore, Owings & Merrill. Thirteen years after opening, Skytrax still ranks it as the world’s second best airport terminal. It has, of course, been eclipsed by Jewel, with its toroidal glass and steel dome designed by Moshe Safdie, who also did the city’s iconic Marina Bay Sands. Envisioned as a marketplace and urban park, at night the glowing lights interweaving the nine thousand glass panels of its facade can be seen from all around. Daxing’s new terminal has been nicknamed “the starfish” because of its radial layout, which minimises walking distances to departure gates. The late Zaha Hadid, who designed it, described it as a phoenix. Hong Kong-based studio Lead 8 planned the interiors. With a floor space of a million square metres, it’s nearly twice as big as Chek Lap Kok’s Terminal 1. It’s also the world’s first airport to be designed with double-deck arrival and double-deck departure platforms. Inside Singapore Changi Airport’s new marhaba lounge Retail and dining View this post on Instagram Dreaming of sumptuous Latin American food? Soon, you’ll be able to savour authentic Latin American fare right here at #JewelChangiAirport! #DineatJewel A post shared by Jewel Changi Airport (@jewelchangiairport) on Jan 10, 2019 at 10:28pm PST 5 things we know about Beijing’s new Daxing International Airport Changi’s Jewel has more than 300 retail and dining outlets on 10 floors. Anchor tenants include the largest Nike store in Southeast Asia, the first Apple Store inside an airport complex and an 11-screen IMAX cinema. Its food court Five Spice features 19 unique stalls. Thirty-three of its eateries are open 24 hours. In March, Skytrax named Changi the world’s fourth best airport for shopping and the third best for dining. That was before the opening of Jewel. With 52,000 square metres available for retail and dining, Daxing will eventually include more than 300 shops and restaurants, up from a little over 100 open now. Starbucks, for example, now has four shops open in the terminal out of 10 planned. China Duty Free Group opened its first stores on October 27 for the arrival of the first international flights. Given that well over half of traffic through Daxing will be domestic, however, the emphasis will be on duty-paid shopping. Blockbuster luxury brands including Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Hermes and Cartier have invested heavily. For dining, Daxing says it will have a policy of “same price and same quality as the city”; a welcome change for Chinese airports. How comfy are Qantas’ seats on the New York to Sydney flight? Attractions Can Daxing International Airport help China overtake the US in aviation? Foremost among Changi’s attractions is the Rain Vortex, the world’s largest and tallest indoor waterfall. It runs on rainwater, which is pumped up to fall through the centre of the building’s roof at the rate of 10,000 gallons per minute. At night its circular walls become a 360-degree stage for a sound and light show. One of Asia’s largest indoor gardens, the Shiseido Forest Valley, spans 10 storeys (five above ground and five below) around the Rain Vortex. At the topmost level of Jewel, a 14,000-square-metre Canopy Park features a hedge maze, a mirror maze, bouncing net walks and slides for children. There is also a 50-metre-long suspension bridge, offering panoramic views of the Rain Vortex. The biggest attraction of Daxing is undoubtedly the building itself. A spectacular Hadid masterpiece, visitors have been flocking to take photographs of its sinuous curves, parabolic folds and ovoid overhead windows. In contrast to Hadid’s modern style, each of the terminal’s five vast corridors features a classical Chinese garden, with ponds, bridges and pavilions. Lastly, China’s prestigious Central Academy of Fine Arts has designed art spaces throughout the structure. Other facilities View this post on Instagram Simple, refreshing, rewarding. Join @IHGRewardsClub today to start earning points on stays around the world. : Crowne Plaza #Changi Airport #AnIHGHotel #IHGRC A post shared by Crowne Plaza® Hotels & Resorts (@crowneplaza) on Oct 25, 2018 at 10:29am PDT Within the Changi complex lies IHG Group’s 320-room Crowne Plaza, a modern lovely accommodation that changes your perception of an airport hotel. It has also been named the best airport hotel worldwide. Changi Jewel houses a capsule hotel operated by the international brand YOTEL. Each of its “cabins” can be booked by the hour, with a minimum of four hours. An “integrated multi-modal transport lounge” provides ticketing, check-in and drop off of luggage up to 24 hours ahead of regular check-in times. View this post on Instagram Need a place to sleep before you fly out of Beijing? We are happy to announce the opening of Aerotel #Beijing, our China’s flagship in-terminal airport hotel spreads across nearly 10,000 sqm with a total of 215 well-appointed rooms! We are located at the new Zaha Hadid-designed airport, and are literally 5 minutes’ walk from the nearest check-in counters! Use the link in bio to explore Aerotel Beijing! . . . #aerotel #myaerotel #myaerotelbeijing #travelgram #travelling #igtravel #TravelLife #airport #airportlife #transithotel #airporthotel #transit #hotel A post shared by Aerotel Airport Transit Hotel (@myaerotel) on Oct 4, 2019 at 3:54am PDT Daxing’s Aerotel in-terminal hotel can also be booked by the hour, with a minimum of three hours. On the technology side, Wi-fi throughout the terminal is superfast 5G. Facial recognition is used for security scans, boarding and automated check-in at 400 self-service points. Want more stories like this? Sign up here . Follow STYLE on Facebook , Instagram , YouTube and Twitter .