Linda Thompson checks into a quiet address next right door to the international terminal.

Check-in experience:

Run-of-the-mill but pleasant reception and lobby, apart from the spectacular "living wall' of ferns. What a relief from all that airport concrete and glass. Perky staff at awful hours ease checking in.

Room: My premier room was gorgeous, in black and white with a nice toetoe pattern on the curtains. A disconcerting amount of glass and mirrors though. No-one wants to see that much of themselves after a long flight and I kept walking into glass walls. Crisp white sheets and a deliciously big squishy bed make for a lovely sleep. The suite included a separate lounge, two TVs, plush bath robes, proper coffee machine with coffee pods, mineral water and free internet (for 24 hours). There are family rooms, and some safe play areas and kids' menu.

Price: $289-$549. There's a fixed price of $189 on day rooms (6am-6pm).

Advertisement

Who owns it: It's an Accor Hotel, which owns Novotels and Sofitels all over the place.

What's so good about this place: It's right next door to the international terminal, which makes it perfect for that early-morning departure, or in my case, midnight arrival. They serve breakfast, lunch and dinner at any old time to meet your bizarre flight times, and there's 24-hour room service. And it's quiet. Novotel is an oasis of peace in the 24-hour mayhem of a busy airport. There's full-length soundproof windows for natural light, and blackout curtains to get some sleep when the rest of the world is up and about.

And the bad: It's at the airport so you'll have to travel to explore Auckland city, and pay for parking. And all those mirrors ...

Claim to fame: The live greenery is restful to look at in a place surrounded by concrete and jet fuel. It also has several conference rooms, "event spaces" and boardrooms. The hotel boasts some fine environmental elements too — taps with flow regulators, eco-friendly cleaning stuff, they recover rainwater for green areas and toilets, recycle batteries sorted at the hotel, they recycle paper, cardboard, glass and food waste for compost or energy, and use sustainable paper and eco-bulbs.

The bathroom: Toiletries by Fair Trade — a nice touch. Big plush towels make you feel well cared for. Funky square basins and a gorgeous bath I didn't have time to soak in.

Noise: None. Not any. Just silence. How do they do it?

Would I return: In a heartbeat. Probably because it means I would be jetting off or arriving home from somewhere again ...

CHECKLIST
Novotel Auckland Airport is on Ray Emery Drive, Auckland Airport, Auckland. Phone: (09) 257 7200.