I only rarely stay at the airport hotels in Bangkok, as I prefer to stay in the city even if it is only for a short layover. If you have more than 20 hours in Bangkok, you are much better off staying in the city center, because even a few hours would allow you to sample some delicious Thai food, get a massage and do some shopping. If you land at night, the taxi ride to the central areas in Bangkok does not take long, and if you arrive during daytime, you can take the airport train and be in central Bangkok in less than an hour.
If you opt for an airport hotel, be aware that except for some capsule hotels that I will tell you about later, Novotel is the only hotel at the airport area. The other airport hotels are located in the small villages close to the airport, so they require a 10-minute taxi ride, and while they are often very cheap, there is not much to do out there.
At the airport, there are two massage shops on landside (before you check in and go through the passport control), so if you just have a few hours to kill, why not go and get a massage? One of the massage shops is located in the basement of the airport at the same level as the airport train. This is the cheapest place, and there is often a queue, but they are open 24 hours, and after midnight they are usually less busy. The second massage place is on the 3rd floor and it is more expensive, but I think it is also open 24 hours a day, so use this place as your plan B.
At the airport train level there are also two capsule-style hotels: Avagard and Boxtel. I haven’t stayed at any of them because I think they are too expensive considering what you get. At Avagard Capsule Hotel you pay around 800THB for 7 hours in a capsule during daytime (between 10am-5pm). If you want to stay overnight, the price is around 1900 THB (6pm – 9am the following day). The rooms at Boxtel are more like tiny hotel rooms and they are more expensive than Avagard. None of the places have private bathrooms.
There is also a hotel on airside (that is, after passport control and check-in) in the departure hall, but it is only for transit passengers who do not have to go through the passport control after landing in Bangkok. You have to show your boarding pass and your passport to stay there.
Novotel Bangkok Suvarnabhumi Airport
I stayed at the Novotel right after they opened back in 2000-and-something, and it was awesome! I had been backpacking for almost a month in Thailand, so the soft, clean bed and the beautiful surroundings almost felt surreal. Novotel is not inside the terminal building but a short drive away and there is a free shuttle bus between the hotel and the terminal. It has been many years since I stayed there, so I do not know what the hotel is like today, but based on my experience back then, I would dare to say that it is one of the best airport hotels I have ever stayed at.
I booked Sweety Resort for a short layover, thinking it would be a great way to save some time and money. I landed around midnight, at during the taxi ride, which was longer than I had expected (around 15 minutes), all I could think about was that I would soon be in bed. However, when I arrived at the hotel, they couldn’t find my reservation, so it took forever before I got my key. I then went to the room only to find another person sleeping in the bed. Then I got another room, but the a/c did not work, so it was 2am before I finally got a room with a functioning a/c and without other guests:)
My room had wallpaper picturing a forest and some neon pink lighting that I never managed to switch off. The bathroom was huge and outside the window was a lush green area that looked like a mini rainforest. The hotel staff was very nice, and they really did their best to make up for the bad start. The room was clean and spacious, and so quiet, I fell asleep immediately. Even though the first impression wasn’t very impressive, I would not hesitate staying at Sweety Resort again. It is good value for money, and a clean and quiet place to stay.
Sweety Resort, 888/888 Moo 14, Soi Mu Ban Ananda Beach, Bang Phli District, Samut Prakan 10540, Thailand
Airport tip for the hungry people:
If you are hungry and on a budget, make sure you visit the secret food court, which is actually not so secret, but so well hidden that you will not find it if you are not looking for it. Here you eat much cheaper than in the other restaurants at the airport. Most of the diners at the food court are airport staff but everyone is welcome.