A New Zealand hotel has been named one of the best airport hotels in the world in spite of being closed to the public for two years.
The Novotel Auckland Airport was awarded the title of third best airport accommodation in the Pacific at the 2022 SkyTrax Awards in Paris. However, the Novotel has been used as a Managed Isolation and Quarantine (MIQ) facility since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic.
In March, following the dissolution of quarantine requirements, the Novotel was one of eight facilities kept in the network "to be used to support groups and to support communities during the current Omicron response" with a contract up until June 30.
It has since been released from the partnership and is transitioning back to hotel management.
The Novotel Auckland Airport is currently being refitted for use by the general public. The hotel's booking website gives its re-opening date as July 1 2022.
The SkyTrax awards, which are in their 23rd year, compiles its winner from an anonymous customer satisfaction survey. This year's survey was conducted from September 21 to May 2022 and had feedback from more than 100 different nationalities on more than 500 airports, according to the awards body.
The awards body says its survey process is free of sponsorship and no "reward of any type is made to survey respondents, with all submissions on a voluntary basis."
Skytrax has been asked for further details on the judging criteria for the Airport hotel awards.
Although the hotel was only available to travellers with MIQ bookings and assigned at random, the public reviews were generally favourable.
"If you have to do an MIQ stay this is the hotel you want," wrote one isolating traveller, in November last year.
"You will feel like you are in a prison yard and there is no shade from the sun. Neither of these things can be helped. […] All in all if you have to do an MIQ consider yourself lucky if you are placed here!"
Others praised the hotel staff and army reservists for making their 14 days bearable.
New Zealand's final MIQ facilities were officially closed this week, with the last three hotels returned to their private sector owners on Monday after 2 years, 2 months and 17 days.
Head of MIQ Andy Milne announced the historic moment on Tuesday.
"The closure of these facilitates brings to an end an operation that spanned the country," he said thanking the "more than 4,000 dedicated workers putting themselves on the line to protect their country."