Brandnew Novotel with teething problems – Novotel Sukhumvit 20

The Novotel Sukhumvit Soi 20 is the latest Accor hotel to open in Bangkok. It is one of the more upscale properties in the city and one of the Novotels offering an executive lounge. It’s also in one of the best neighborhoods to stay as a visitor, so I was eager to try it out  – it’s a beautiful property with some teething problems, read my review for all the details!

Location: The Novotel S20 is located on Sukhumvit Soit 20, a nice neighborhood with plenty of restaurants. It is a 10-15 minute walk to either BTS Asoke/MRT Sukhumvit – the most strategic train interchange to go anywhere in Bangkok or the BTS Phrom Phong station. That is not as convenient as the Novotel Siam Square or Park Plaza Sukhumvit, but still a good location. You can also walk to the Terminal 21 mall or the Emporium Malls to shop or to the Benjasin Park to escape the busy city or for a run around the lake!

Service/Rewards: On arrival, I was escorted to the Executive Lounge as an Accor LeClub Platinum member for check in. It’s a mixed blessing – you get personal attention and privacy, but I had to wait for the single staff member to finish with another guest and then go down to my room, taking more time than just finishing it at the front desk.
Staff was professional, but not as friendly as at other hotels in Bangkok. My Platinum membership was recognized and I was able to check in early, but the offered “upgrade” was from a standard room to a deluxe room – which is essentially the same room with a bathrobe and slippers. Despite not being on the Executive floor, I received access to the Executive Lounge as part of the Platinum benefits.
A welcome amenity consisting of small, local bananas and a small Perrier water were delivered to my room. It came with a story of the local bananas, making it one of the more more memorable amenities, even though not impressive in content!
BKK Novotel S20 WelcomeAmenityThe lounge staff was more attentive and friendly during the rest of my stay, especially during the happy hour. They also assisted with printing, copies and questions about the hotel – all of which makes the executive lounge a great benefit! Housekeeping did a good job throughout my stay, cleaning the room quickly and thoroughly., restocking supplies as appropriate.

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. BKK Novotel S20 bed2
There is a small glass desk and chair, instead of the typical wooden wall unit, as well as a wall mounted TV. The nice nice sofa by the window lacked a side table, but is quite stylish! You’ll have plenty of storage with a laptop size (but shallow) safe, a mini-fridge and coffee/tea facilities.

BKK Novotel S20 bed3While the room is larger on paper, that space is wasted in the hallway with no benefit over a standard room. My room was behind the service elevator and the a/c duct seemed to transmit the noise into the room. With constant noise from very early morning to late at night, I did not sleep well and would not accept one of these rooms again. While I realize that every hotel has “bad” rooms, why on Earth anybody would declare these rooms as “deluxe” is beyond me! I recommend to avoid rooms ending in xxx1, 9, 10, 17 at all cost! You can see the room plan for their location!
BKK Novotel S20 floorplanThe bathroom also follows the new Novotel design with a glass wall to the bathroom, but it cuts some cost corners with a motorized blind instead of the switch to turn the glass frosted in an instant.
BKK Novotel S20 bed bathI did like the attention to detail with the rain-shower head set into the ceiling, providing more room for tall people as well as for the hair dryer, provided in a drawer with built-in power outlet – why don’t more hotels do that? It sometimes takes me more time to find the hairdryer in some bedroom drawer and then an outlet near a mirror!

BKK Novotel S20 bath cThe 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!
BKK Novotel S20 toilet cThe free WiFi internet in the room and common areas is reliable and fast at an average speed of 5.8Mbps – fast enough to work or stream video, but only about ⅓ of the speed at the Novotel Siam.

Restaurant/Amenities: The Novotel has a very nice infinity pool surrounded by loungers, some of them in the water to cool you down while you relax.
BKK Novotel S20 poolThere 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.
BKK Novotel S20 gym cFor families, there is a small kids club – although it didn’t seem to have any attendants during my visit. 
BKK Novotel S20 kids clubThe Executive Lounge is beautifully designed, with a buffet along the interior wall and mixed bistro style and lounge style seating along the wall. You’ll also find two work spaces, one with an iMac. Unfortunately, the lounge is not fully operational: It offers coffee/tea and nibbles during the day and a happy hour with snacks and drinks in the evening, but no breakfast (different from what is stated on the web site!).
BKK Novotel S20 loungeBecause the hotel wasn’t busy during my stay, breakfast at the main restaurant was much more peaceful than at other hotels in Bangkok. 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! BKK Novotel S20 restaurant cStaff still seemed to be learning and there was a long wait for eggs. But they sure did use the time to make the best omelette I’ve had at a hotel in a while! The quality of all the dishes I tried was very good, making for a good, filling breakfast to start your day. I also enjoyed the very stylish plates and cups – an unexpected touch in this price range!
BKK Novotel S20 breakfast cThere is also a Hippopotamus restaurant on the ground floor – it’s a French steak house chain that I have gone to in Paris, but didn’t try out here in Bangkok.

Bottomline: At a price of only $70/night during my stay, the Novotel Sukhumvit is a good deal with new, stylish rooms and attentive service. The Novotel also offers some nice design touches and attention to detail. Yet, it also seem to take some shortcuts, like the lack of lounge breakfast, small work desks and bathroom blinds. The biggest problem for me was the noise in the Deluxe rooms and the sleepless nights it caused – reason enough for me to not stay in one of those rooms again. I’d call those issues teething issues and hopefully the Novotel S20 is able to improve upon them.
For the time being, the Novotel Siam Square has a better location, better Executive lounge and rooms, making it a better deal overall that I’d be happy to pay extra for. If you don’t have status or don’t care about lounges, the Park Plaza Sukhumvit is a good alternative in a better location for less!

If you want a modern room at a bargain price, don’t have status and don’t mind the walk, the Novotel S20 is a good deal and I’d recommend to consider it – just avoid the Deluxe Rooms and enjoy a quiet standard room instead!

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