The Novotel Siam Square was one of the first hotels I stayed at in Bangkok, the City of Angels, and it has one of the best possible locations in the city, just steps from the BTS SkyTrain interchange station at Siam Square. I have stayed at a number of Novotel hotels, part of the Accor group recently and was eager to find out how it had changed over the years – and it was mostly for the better!
Location: This is still one of the best locations for a visitor to Bangkok: You are less than 5 minutes from BTS Siam, which gives you access to the two SkyTrain lines and most places you want to go as a visitor, avoiding the horrendous Bangkok traffic. You can get to both airports in 1h by public transport or about the same by taxi. You can also walk to a number of malls, from the market-style MBK to the hip Siam Center and the very upscale Paragon mall. With that, you also have access to countless restaurants and food courts of all budgets, movies, spas and fitness centers.
Service/Rewards: I received a warm welcome at the front desk and, as an Accor LeClub Platinum member, was immediately escorted to the Premier check-in office on the same level. I was able to relax in a chair while the check-in was processed. I prefer this over the Lounge check in at other hotels that requires you to go up to the lounge to check in then back to your room, making it more time consuming than a regular check in. I was upgraded to a Premier room, which is on a higher level and, while the same size as a standard room, has been renovated to the latest Novotel decor, making it a valuable upgrade. I was also offered a late check-out without having to ask for it and access to the Premier Lounge with its happy hour and free breakfast. I also could choose to have breakfast at the main restaurant. The Premier office staff also assisted with printing boarding passes. The lounge staff was just as friendly and attentive, making my stay a very pleasant one. It’s a noticeable difference to lounges in the US, where the focus seems to be on providing “free stuff”, while here the focus is on providing a more luxurious experience (while still providing “free stuff”). Housekeeping did a good job throughout my stay, cleaning the room quickly and thoroughly. They were responsive to my requests to clean the room when I was leaving the room for the day and I found it ready on my return each time.
Room: I very much like the new Novotel room decor. The mix of light wood, beige/brown colors with some bright touches and open bathrooms with glass separation makes for a very pleasant ambiance. My room had a very comfortable king-size bed, with a high headboard with indirect lighting and high-end sheets and comforter. The desk/wall unit is also of light wood with a wall mounted TV, a small work desk and a shelf that holds all the advertisements – a great move, I hate it when all the ads clutter up every available surface! There is a nice sofa by the window with a clever side table – stylish AND functional, I like it! There is plenty of storage in the closet, a luggage bench, as well as a laptop-size safe and coffee/tea facilities. The elephant made of towels and the welcome amenity of fruit and chocolates were a nice touch. I also like the new, standard Novotel fair-trade bathroom amenities. My favorite feature is the glass wall to the bathroom that adds an open and light feel to it. Even better, for more privacy, it has a switch in the bathroom to turn the glass frosted. It gives you the best of both worlds – light and privacy – at the touch of a button, very slick! The bathroom has a separate toilet cubicle with a frosted glass door on the right, a wide sink-in-countertop in the middle, with a big mirror with surround lighting and the glass-enclosed shower on the right. It’s held in beige/brown tones – contemporary without being loud! The room was recently renovated and everything was in new condition, very clean and fully functioning. I don’t mind an older hotel (building) when it looks like this on the inside! The free WiFi internet in the room and common areas is very fast at an average speed of 15.8Mbps, although it varied quite a bit from 3.0 to 34.5Mbps. It is reliable and fast enough throughout to work or stream video.
Restaurant/Amenities: The Novotel has a good-size pool surrounded by loungers and greenery, making it pleasant enough to relax after a day of sightseeing or shopping. Despite the large size of the hotel, the pool are wasn’t very busy during my stay, with available loungers when I checked. There is a large gym with plenty of cardio and weight equipment for a full workout, in case you want to stick with your fitness routine. The hotel has its own spa. While the rates for treatments are much higher than at independent spas around town, they do offer hotel guests a 30% discount, making it more competitive! The Novotel offers LeClub Platinum members a choice of having breakfast at the lounge or the main restaurant. The main restaurant is very large – and very busy. It offers a huge selection of food, as you’ll typically find at upscale hotels in Asia. There are plenty of fresh fruit, pastries, juices, coffee/tea and hot dishes for various Asian and Western tastes and a make-to-order egg station! The quality of all the dishes I tried was very good, making for a good, filling breakfast to start your day. The restaurant is very, very busy during breakfast, making the ambiance feel a lot less upscale than the food and service are! For that reason, I preferred the much quieter lounge for breakfast. You have a small buffet for fruit, yogurt, pastries and cold cuts and can order hot dishes from a menu. That give you as nice a breakfast as in the main restaurant in a much nicer setting. I have seen this combination of buffet & make-to-order breakfast at a few Accor lounges in Asia now and I think it’s the best possible way to deliver a luxurious breakfast at a lounge! The lounge also serves coffee/tea and nibbles during the day and a happy hour with small snacks, beer and wine in the evening. While not as generous as at the Novotel Manila, it’s a good quality offering and nice selection. It’s also enough for a light meal, if you want to skip dinner!
Bottomline: At a price of only $64/night during my stay, the Novotel Siam Square is a bargain. You get a modern room, friendly service and full-service amenities in one of the best locations in Bangkok. It’s hard to find reasons to stay at an American chain hotel for twice the price in comparison. The lounge made the stay significantly more luxurious with the very attentive service and nice ambiance. The fact that the Premier rooms are renovated (and standard rooms are not) and you get breakfast and happy hour included, make those rooms great value, too, and I’d be happy to pay for them over the regular rooms! With this latest experience, the Novotel Siam Square moves to the top of the list for places to consider in Bangkok and I’d recommend you check it out yourself!