|by Sean O'Neill||Hotels, Innovations||97|
Budget Travel has always tried to celebrate the companies that make travelers' lives easier, more enjoyable, and just plain better. Travel isn't exactly easy these days, and when a company dares to pull off a wonderful innovation, it deserves a hand.
On May 27th, the Novotel Auckland Airport opened in New Zealand with some qualities we wish airport hotels around the world would emulate. Rates start at $149, which isn't cheap, but sometimes it takes a higher-end brand to have the guts to try new things.
Here's are the five perks that most caught our attention:
Bathrooms are built to make the whole room feel larger. Every bathroom has a clear partition, but it becomes opaque at the touch of a button.
You can read comfortably in bed. Each headboard is contoured in a way for you to rest your back against it while sitting up in bed. In a nice touch, it's printed with images of the toi toi grasses native to New Zealand.
Rooms are quiet, but their windows are still large. Even though the hotel is only 160 feet away from the airport, its guests will hear no airplane noise "even from an Airbus A380 taking off," promises the company. But while some hotels achieve soundproofing by either having tiny windows, this Novotel kept its windows large—but double glazed.
Check-in is being speeded up. Soon, guests will be able to skip the front desk and go straight to their assigned room using a code sent to their phone to unlock the door.
Its design reflects the local style. Rather than use a cookie-cutter look that could be located anywhere, the stylish lobby has "a living wall" of native plants and the restaurant has artwork by the country's Maori people.
This Novotel also has all the advantages you would otherwise expect of an airport hotel: Its connected to the terminal, its restaurant is open all day, and its lobby has electronic monitors posting arrival and departures information.
Do you have any thoughts on airport hotels to share? Feel free to post a comment.
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