Let’s face it. Given the choice, most travellers would not stay in an airport hotel, opting instead for a base in the heart of the city. If the location wasn’t reason enough, then add to that the noise of aircraft landing and taking off and the delicate aroma of aviation fuel. Hmm.
However, if you have to catch an early morning flight, staying in an airport hotel can be a winner. Not only do you not have to set your alarm for ridiculously early o’clock, you potentially avoid a taxi fare to get you to the airport and you arrive at the there less stressed. You can’t beat a short walk from your hotel room to the departure gate when your flight is scheduled for 6 am.
If you pick an upmarket airport hotel you will have all the facilities you need – restaurants, bars, spa, shops – under one roof. And, due to their transitory nature, airport hotels are great places for people watching and for chatting with other travellers.
We are off to a great start. The Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is practically on the terminal’s doorstep. In less than ten minutes, an underground walkway – on the same level as the Airport Rail Link station – will bring you to the hotel’s reception desk.
Alternatively, the hotel provides a free shuttle bus to the airport, which you can pick up from gate 4 at Arrivals level.
Check-in was quick and efficient, albeit impersonal. The hotel lobby was impressive, as high as a cathedral and all gleaming marble, encircled by the property’s bars and restaurants.
Like so many other hotels, sadly the room was nowhere near as spectacular as the public area. My Superior King Room was functional but tired looking.
There was generous surface space, including a large desk, and good lighting throughout. Two bottles of mineral water and complimentary tea and coffee were provided.
The king-sized bed was comfortable with decent linen and big pillows.
The large bathroom housed a bath and separate shower cubicle. Chinese Fairtrade toiletries were provided although, weirdly, no hair conditioner. The towels should have long gone to towel heaven.
Food and drink
The Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport has eight restaurants and bars, with different opening times and accommodating most tastes. Room service is also available.
I took advantage of the Happy Hour at the Splash Pool Bar with a final cocktail before heading home. In the evening, I dined at Kinsen, the hotel’s Japanese restaurant. The food and service were perfectly fine but unremarkable.
As I grabbed a bite to eat in the Qatar Business Lounge before boarding my return flight, I did not have breakfast at the Novotel.
The grounds of the hotel are impressive. Its swimming pool is large and features a swim-up bar. You don’t often see one of those at airport hotels!
There I spent my last afternoon in Thailand, relaxing with a Margarita, whilst being serenaded by a fellow guest softly strumming his ukulele. Not too shabby.
Other hotel facilities
The Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport also has a spa and a gym. However, I did not check out either of these.
Should you stay at the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport?
Let’s look at the cost first. My room-only rate was 6,464 THB (£160), making one of the most expensive properties I stayed in during my two weeks in Thailand.
It was only marginally less expensive than the wonderful Shangri-La Hotel on Bangkok’s riverfront with its impeccable levels of customer service. And it was more expensive than the Santhiya Koh Yao Yai Resort, a five-star eco-resort on ones of Thailand’s lesser-known islands.
Regrettably, neither the room nor the customer service standards equalled either of these hotels. Whilst the hotel lobby has a wow factor, the room was past its sell-by date. Hotel staff were polite but disinterested.
The relaxing area around the swimming pool was a very welcome bonus and there was a broad choice of dining options. Despite the hotel’s proximity to the airport, aircraft noise was not troublesome.
But, of course, what you are paying for is the hotel’s proximity to the airport. If I had another red-eye flight, I wouldn’t hesitate to stay at this Novotel. The alternative would be a taxi from downtown Bangkok and with the city’s legendary traffic congestion I would not be prepared to take a chance on that.
In conclusion, although the accommodation and customer service do not reflect the price tag, the Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is a decent airport hotel and is within easy walking distance of the terminal.
Finally, if you are thinking of staying here I recommend booking ahead. As I was checking in, the reception staff had to turn away a Russian party as the hotel was fully booked.