Years ago, when traveling on vacation to France, we often spent a night at a Novotel. The main reason was that children were free, which was unusual in Europe. The rooms were motel-basic and the breakfast buffet rudimentary, but adequate. The price was reasonable. Most had a small pool, which was welcome after a long drive with children. But, this was not luxury. One night spent in a Novotel in Marseille might be the low point of our hotel experiences.
Because our flight home from Bangkok leaves at 9:00, I did not want to spend the short night in the city and risk notorious morning traffic to the airport. I discovered that a Novotel was located at the airport terminal. The location suited our needs, but I recalled earlier stays at this chain. Deciding that a bed and a shower were all we needed and that convenience trumped comfort, I booked a room. Given the choice, I selected a deluxe room, which was cheaper than a basic room at a Frankfurt Airport hotel.
The first shock came upon entering the hotel lobby, an five story atrium affair with modern architecture and plenty of marble. (Perhaps Thailand, like Dubai, has passed an ordnance requiring marble in hotels!) At reception, I was informed that my room included private check-in at the business center, where we were offered seats and personal service. Adjacent was a lounge with daily food and breakfast from 3 a.m.
The next surprise came upon entering the room, which was large and well-appointed, with orchids, fruit, and pastries. The bathroom and walk-in closet were about as large as rooms we used to occupy in France. I looked at logos to ensure that I was in a Novotel.
The hotel offered five restaurants with different cuisines. The food was rather good. From the window of our room, we could see the tropical garden, large pool, and restaurant.
Often, it is easier to create an image than to change an image, but Novotel has managed to erase memories of a low-budget point of refuge.
Prior to writing novels, the author enjoyed a multifaceted career: from decorated combat aviator to advertising professional to global communications director of a major consumer brand. He has traveled the world and met sports, film and television stars, political leaders, and royalty. He graduated from Middlebury College, is married, lives in Germany, and has two grown children.