I’ve had a ton of one night layovers in Bangkok, and in the past have always gone into the city for them. While the city can take a while to get to with traffic, it’s usually worth it given how reasonably priced luxury hotels are in Bangkok, and how much there is to do in Bangkok when jetlagged (aka at 3AM). In the past I’ve reviewed hotels like the Le Meridien, InterContinental, and St. Regis.
This time around I only had a layover of 11 hours, though, and decided it was time to visit the Novotel Bangkok Airport, which I’ve always wanted to try.
I landed from Tokyo Narita at 10:40PM and by 11PM was landside. The Novotel actually has a desk in the airport, and I asked the guy working it what the fastest way to get to the hotel would be. He said “follow me,” and I assumed he’d walk me outside and point me into the right direction, but instead he put me in the airport shuttle and closed the door. I was a bit frustrated he didn’t even give me the option of whether to take the shuttle or walk, given that it’s literally a five minute walk from the terminal. I could see the entrance from the bus I was sitting in!
I sat in the shuttle for about 10 minutes at which point I was driven to the hotel. The shuttle took a ridiculously circuitous route, and even though the hotel is only a few hundred meters from the terminal, we must have driven a few kilometers to get there due to the road design around the airport.
Upon arrival at the hotel I headed to check-in. The hotel features a fairly nice atrium that kind of reminds me of the Hilton London Heathrow T4, and it was nicely lit up at night.
Unfortunately there was a substantial check-in queue and there were only two associates working (despite six associates being behind the desk), so I had to wait for over 20 minutes. Interestingly the sign in the queue said it was the “Priority Desk,” though best I could tell everyone was using it, which sucks.
I had booked a rate of about $150USD, which was on the high side. I’m an idiot for waiting too long, because when I first looked at rates they had advance purchase rates of about $100USD per night, though I missed out on those.
I’m used to friendly service in Thailand, though the associate working the desk was rude at worst and indifferent at best.
She didn’t say a word to me for several minutes, and then asked if it was okay if I got a room with two queen beds instead of a king bed. It’s ironic because as I discussed in this post, I just saw an advertisement on the Thai Airways flight emphasizing how at Accor you can know exactly what to expect in terms of the type of room you get.
I expressed my preference for a king bed, and after making a couple of phone calls she said “fine, I have a room with a king bed for you.” Gee, thanks.
My room was on the 5th floor at the end of the hallway, room 2545. It’s worth noting that while the hotel is only a few years old, the hallways are starting to show their age, as they have a ton of scratch marks. Nothing horrible, but not something you’d really expect from a Novotel either.
5th floor hallway
The room requires you place the key in the slot in order to activate the electricity, so the air conditioning hadn’t been on. It must have been a 100 degrees in the room.
The room was fairly basic with a king size bed, a desk with a chair, and another chair in the corner by the window.
Desk and TV
Side table and chair
The TV in the room was playing a rather eclectic mix which could be best described as contemporary porn music (contemporary jazz meets porn music).
The bathroom was probably the nicest part of the room, and featured a soaking tub, walk-in shower, toilet, and a sink. The toiletries were Novotel branded, and to the hotel’s credit they did have a good selection of non-standard toiletries, like toothpaste, shaving cream, etc.
I was also impressed that there were six bottles of complimentary water in the room, which sure is useful after being dehydrated after a longhaul flight.
I wanted to use Wi-Fi during my stay, and not only do they charge for it (roughly $10USD for 12 hours), but you have to call the operator and have them generate a code for you, rather than just being able to accept the charges directly on your computer. That’s not so horrible, other than the fact that I had to call three times before the operator picked up.
The highlight of the room had to be the in room directory, which contained this gem:
Of course that’s the extension!
I spent most of my layover working on my laptop and eventually got about 90 minutes of sleep, before getting up at 6AM.
The room faced away from the airport terminal, so just had views of the roadways leading up to the airport and the runway to the far left.
View from room
I obviously didn’t have a chance to use the hotel’s other facilities, but the hotel did have a nice pool and fitness center.
The pool was outdoors and a beautiful area for an airport hotel.
Pathway to pool
The gym was huge and boasted modern equipment.
Lastly, there’s a spa on the same level as the pool and gym, and based on looking at the menu, it was ~$60USD for an hour long Thai massage.
I checked out of the hotel at roughly 7:30AM, and again there was quite a queue at check-out. The associate that assisted me didn’t say a word to me yet again and then presented me with a folio. I pointed out that the room rate he was charging me was wrong, and without saying anything he took the sheet back and after a minute said “oh, that’s the wrong rate,” and corrected it. Seriously, are you friggin’ kidding me? Not even a “sorry?”
I decided to walk back to the airport, which is connected to the hotel via a super convenient (and borderline creepy) underground, air conditioned walkway, and it took only five minutes to walk to the terminal.
Pathway to terminal
Escalator to tunnel
On the whole the Novotel is extremely convenient for a quick overnight, physically rather nice for an airport hotel, and has the most indifferent service I’ve ever experienced from customer facing employees in Thailand. I suppose for a quick overnight they’re kind of like the Internal Revenue Service. I don’t want to use their services, but I don’t have much choice… or maybe there are other hotels near the airport I should consider instead?