If you are transiting through Bangkok to Europe or North America with a long layover, or heading say to Bhutan, or certain cities in India that have a typical 3am Bangkok departure, or are returning from one of Thailand’s lovely islands and connecting internationally, the best option is to stay at Bangkok’s Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, a property unlike any other airport hotel.
On arrival to Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport, I went directly to Gate 4 where my name was checked and was immediately shown to a waiting van for the three-minute drive to the hotel. The last time I stayed at this hotel, pre-COVID, I walked over using the speedy underground walkway; it took about the same amount of time.
Guests are greeted by a light-filled, high-ceiling, expansive, beautifully decorated lobby. A wide array of restaurants and bars means options abound. There are 612 rooms spread among five floors, and even though this hotel can boast of having an average 80- to 90-percent occupancy all year long, because of the amount of real estate the hotel occupies, it doesn’t feel at all crowded.
A wonderful aspect of this hotel unlike any other airport hotel I’ve encountered is that guests are afforded an actual 24-hour stay from one’s check-in time. No mandatory 11am check-out and storing one’s bags when staying at Suvarnabhumi. This means that if you arrive to the hotel at midnight with a long layover, say you’re flying out again at 11pm, no problem, you get to keep your room and spend the entire day doing something enjoyable. And there is plenty to choose from at the hotel and close by.
If you book an Executive Level room as we did, there is a separate and speedy check-in at the Executive Lounge. Here too you can have a quick breakfast if you are short on time and can also enjoy happy hour with light bites and have your favorite cocktail made by an award-winning mixologist.
There are 128 large Executive Level rooms possessing 350 square feet. Ours contained an excellent king-size bed with high count cotton sheets, working desk, comfortable club chair seating and waist-level safe. The bar area had an Illy Espresso machine, hot pot, and stocked refrigerator. If traveling with children or you need an even larger space, there are 23 junior suites containing over 500 square feet and seven Executive Suites with 650 square feet.
The ample beige and mocha granite bathroom had a separate stall shower, large soaking bathtub, and contained environmentally friendly, large size amenities.
It doesn’t matter what time you arrive to the hotel or when you are hungry because there is 24-hour dining at The Square serving international fare. If breakfast floats your boat, Novotel’s breakfast buffet – which will literally knock your socks off – opens up at 3am.
If you want to catch a game, Touchdown Sports Bar has both a pool table and foosball table. It also has nine 60-inch flat screen televisions to make one enormous viewing wall, so you’ll catch the winning touchdown from wherever you’re seated. No small wonder they have viewing parties every month, in addition of course to a serious annual Superbowl party.
Still wanting more Thai food after nearly three weeks in country, we had dinner at Sala Thai, enjoying papaya salad with fried pork and pad Thai with shrimp. There’s also Golden Village for Chinese fare and Kinsen for modern Japanese cuisine. If you have a craving for a café au lait and croissant, Le Gourmet will fit the bill.
The Novotel has a beautiful and tranquil pool area and outdoor bar that’s as nice as any destination resort hotel. One can easily and blissfully pass an entire day here poolside. There is also a large, state-of-the-art Fitness Center open 24/7 with LifeFitness and Cybex equipment and free weights.
The hotel's Vous Spa is a heavenly oasis open from 10am to 10pm. With flickering candles and gleaming teak floors, the décor is calming from the outset. We booked a VIP suite and in a two-person Jacuzzi, enjoyed a delightful milk and honey bath experience complete with rose petals and orchids. This was followed by a 90-minute side-by-side massage.
If you have some time to explore, guests can connect directly from the hotel to the airport rail link and in 25 minutes you’ll arrive to Phaya Thai station for additional restaurants and shopping. Or guests can connect at this station to the BTS Skytrain to Sukhumvit for serious shopping therapy.
If you need a last-minute gift but would rather stay at the hotel and enjoy the pool, gym, and spa, there’s an arcade near the entrance with Thai souvenirs, silk goods, and a fine jewelry store, Akara, with a nice selection of Thai rubies set in 18 karat gold.
The Lesson Learned
When you stay at Bangkok's Novotel Suvarnabhumi Airport Hotel, it may be the first time in your life you’ll be really sad that your onward flight isn’t hopelessly delayed, or better yet, cancelled altogether, thus allowing you to enjoy this gem of a hotel for a bit longer. Happy travels!
Julie L. Kessler is a journalist, attorney, and the author of the award-winning memoir: “Fifty-Fifty, The Clarity of Hindsight.” Her work has appeared in several major publications around the world, including The LA Times, The SF Examiner, The Asia Times, The Jerusalem Post, and The Honolulu Star-Advertiser, among many others. She can be reached at Julie@VagabondLawyer.com.
Written by Julie L. Kessler
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