It was early evening by the time TG324 landed at BKK. As I mentioned, this would be another sub-24 hour stop in Thailand. I had (what I thought) was a 7:30am flight out of Bangkok to Jakarta. The Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport is the only hotel that is “attached” to the BKK terminal. I say “attached” in quotes, because there is allegedly a tunnel that connects the terminal to the airport, but for the life of me, I couldn’t find it.
On the arrivals level, there is a kiosk with the hotel name, and an employee who will guide you to the pick-up point for the shuttle. I walked back outside into the sweltering humidity of Bangkok and found the shuttle driver who seemed uninterested in helping me with my bags. Once I got in to the shuttle, I thought we’d be leaving. Instead, the driver remained outside, smoking cigarettes with the van turned off (and thus the aircon off) for probably 15 or 20 minutes until enough other people showed up and the van was jammed to capacity.
After the senselessly long and looping ride around the airport complex to get to the hotel, it was time to check-in. I waited about 15 minutes to get to the desk, before getting my room key.
At this point, I was already not in a super mood. With all the hassle waiting for the shuttle and getting to the hotel, it would’ve been easier to just get a room in the city.
When I got to my room, I was not pleased. I had specifically requested a king bed and instead they had given me a room with two twin beds. Also, even though the room was clean, it smelled like someone had very recently done unspeakable things to the bathroom. I called the desk.
“I specifically requested a room with a king bed when I made my reservation”
“No. It say you want two bed”
“I am traveling alone, why would I request two beds? Would it be more comfortable for me to sleep in a small bed and look at a second bed or to sleep in a big bed?”
“It say you want two beds”
“Let my colleague call you back ok?”
Just when I had resigned myself to sleeping in a twin bed in this latrine of a room, the phone rang, and they said they would send someone to show me to my new room.
It’s an airport hotel, so of course the rooms suck, but at least this one had a king bed and no offensive odors.
After a search around the labyrinthian hallways of this tacky hotel, I managed to locate the gym (near the pool). It was fairly large and well stocked, no knocks on them there. Once back in my room, I realized I was bored. Yes I had to be up early for my flight to Jakarta, but it wasn’t late and there was nothing to watch on TV.
I got dressed and went into town. I had a few beers around Sukhumvit and realized Bangkok on Sunday night can also be rather boring. I decided the night could go two ways. I could go out for real and likely miss my flight, or call it an early night and go home. I found discretion to be the better part of valor, and I hopped a cab back to the airport.
I slept soundly for a few hours and then woke up at 5am to pack and get ready. The jerk shuttle driver again made me wait around while he smoked cigarettes and hoped more people would show up. It was sticky even in the pre-dawn blackness in BKK and I badly wanted to smack the driver in the face.
Once a few stragglers showed up, we were off. I asked him to drop me at door #1, since that’s where I needed to check-in, but this jerk said he only made one stop, and that was door #5. Bastard. I grabbed my bags, hopped out and mentally told the driver to f*ck himself. See you in a few weeks Thailand.
Pros: None. It’s “attached” to the airport, but it takes as long to get there as it would take to get into town. The common spaces are tacky, the rooms are expensive and not particularly nice.
Cons: Lousy common spaces, mediocre rooms, inconvenient to get to from the airport…even though it’s attached to the airport, jerk shuttle drivers who need to have their teeth knocked out, questionably competent staff, way overpriced.
Verdict: Listen, I know all airport hotels are crap. The Sheraton Frankfurt Airport’s sheets were so lousy they gave me a rash. Although it’s tops for airport hotels i’ve tried, the rooms at the Kempinski Munich Airport look into the in-building courtyard. I get it, you don’t stay at an airport hotel for comfort, but for convenience. The Novotel Suvarnabhumi fails at everything. It’s not comfortable, it’s not convenient, it’s not a pleasant experience. With so many options (almost all of them better and cheaper) just a short and inexpensive taxi ride away, I will never stay at this property again. It’s worth the 15-30 minutes of sleep that i’ll have to sacrifice to come to BKK from the city.