Laid-back layovers

Laid-back layovers

Nick shares the fine art of enjoying airport layovers at his favourite airport hotels in Bangkok and Hong Kong.

I spend a lot of time trying to convince my girlfriend, Maya, that I work hard on business trips. She’s convinced that they’re just excuses for me to stay in amazing hotels and eat at first-class restaurants, all on my expense account. In fact, the only part of my time away that she’s not jealous of is the lengthy airport layovers. I think she even feels a bit sorry for me when I talk about them. Naturally, it’s possible that I exaggerate the jet lag, the lonely nights spent all by myself in strange hotel rooms and the early-morning wake-up calls...

Of course, the truth is a little bit different. When you travel as much as I do, you get to know the best layover hotels in every city. On my recent visit to our offices in the USA and Southeast Asia, I took my layover game to the next level. 

Jet Lag Cures in Bangkok

My favourite Bangkok hotel is the Sofitel in Sukhumvit, but when the plane touched down at Suvarnabhumi Airport, the last thing I felt like was a long drive into the city center. And besides, Maya would never forgive me if I went to the Sofitel without her – it’s become our go-to spot for romantic getaways. Instead, the obvious choice for an overnight layover was Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport.

pool I’d stayed there before and with thoughts of the unbelievably comfortable bed running through my head, I decided to walk to the hotel rather than wait for the airport shuttle. I’d arranged flights 12 hours apart, giving me just enough time to meet an old colleague who was travelling through at the same time. I had a few hours to kill before he landed, so I booked myself in for the spa’s signature jet lag therapy treatment. 

I emerged feeling like a new man, with all the kinks from the flight worked out and my energy restored. A good thing as it turned out, because Andrew and I ended up staying up until after midnight at Touchdown Sports Bar, swapping stories, watching football and coming up with new business ideas. We may have had a few more draft beers than was strictly necessary, but my Accor Plus drinks discount meant that the more we drank, the more I saved – at least, that’s what I told Maya when she called the next day! 

Retail Therapy in Hong Kong

pool If the Novotel at Suvarnabhumi Airport is the winning choice in Bangkok, then Novotel Citygate is the best layover spot in Hong Kong and regularly has great Accor Plus offers. The shuttle ride from the airport to the hotel took just five minutes, which was good because my muscles felt tight and sore after the long flight from the USA. I’d landed late and my connection home wasn’t until 11 am the next morning; so with my body still very much on East Coast time, I headed to the 24-hour gym in an effort to tire myself out. The workout had the desired effect but I knew I’d need some serious willpower to wake up on time. 

Bleary-eyed, I shut off the alarm and headed straight for the  outdoor pool – a dunk in the cold water always helps with jet lag. I snapped a ‘hard-life’ selfie for Maya when I realized that with the beautiful mountain and sea views in the background, it looked more like a tropical vacation spot than an urban airport hotel. Then I remembered that there was no way I’d continue getting layover-related sympathy if I sent it. I wisely put my phone away and simply enjoyed the moment. There’d be no explaining away my new tan, though, so I opted for distraction tactics instead. 

The hotel is connected to Citygate Outlets and I had just enough time for a whirlwind spree before my flight. I figured a new Kate Spade bag would help make up for me being away so much. But, when I told her about the designer deals on offer, Maya immediately told me she wants to come with me next time I visit Hong Kong. To be honest, I’d love it if she did. As much as I enjoyed my dinner last night I couldn’t help thinking that the tapas and fine wine would be even better shared.