Calling itself Hotel Novotel Newcastle Airport, this hotel markets itself as a great place to stop off by Newcastle International airport. Whether you're passing through en route to somewhere else, or looking for a good base to explore the area, it is comfortable and good value. They're right on the A1, making it a very easy place to stop off at.
The rooms are perfectly comfortable. The mattress was really comfortable, firm but with just enough give to be comfortable. The sofa bed was open and made up, which confused us as we had only booked for two people. Sneaking a peak into other rooms as they were being cleaned revealed that this was the case across the hotel though. We may have lacked somewhere to sit down (there was only one chair) but at least we had good space to sort out our stuff.
The bathroom was plentifully supplied with fresh white towels, and a range of toiletries. The bath was a good size, and the shower over it unexpectedly powerful. Each room has an individual thermostat to help control the temperature, and as a general rule the hotel was quite hot. Tea and coffee facilities were okay, but the kettle was a mini one which didn't switch off when the water boiled, and supplies weren't replenished during the day so we did run out of milk. A couple of cupboards provide limited storage space. In our room the wardrobe was an open rack behind the door.
The hotel does try to be a useful base for travellers. There is a flight departure board in reception, but it's not easy to spot, hidden at the end of the front desk. Reception is manned 24 hours a day, which is extremely helpful if you find yourself arriving and leaving at awkward times. There's no ringing a bell to awaken a night porter, just a friendly member of desk staff.
There's a leisure complex available to guests 6am - 10pm, with a gym, pool and sauna. The pool is quite small, but it's a good temperature, and provides a great place to unwind a little. The sauna is on a timer, working for 30 minutes at a time. If you don't want to get into a cold sauna and wait for it to warm up, then you could pop out of the pool 10 minutes before you want to use it. There are plenty of fresh towels for guests to use. If you go later in the evening there might not be any left, so it's worth taking a backup then. A good number of loungers surround the pool, offering somewhere to relax and read a book.
The hotel restaurant serves fairly standard meals, at standard inflated hotel prices. Breakfast is £13.95 if booked separately, for example, so you may want to think about taking your own food. Next door is a Toby Carvery, where you can get a full meal and a drink for under £10, if the hotel fare doesn't appeal. We also discovered that the local Chinese takeaway would deliver, again a full meal for well under £10.
Confusingly, the hotel right by the Novotel sign is not in fact the Novotel. There used to be access to the Novotel this way, but the barrier is now an exit route only. To get to the Novotel you need to continue down the side road, take the second exit off the roundabout, and the hotel will be on your right.
They also have meeting rooms you can book for specific events, and will run other special menus and events there throughout the year.
Parking is £5 a day for guests, payable on departure. There are separate room rates you can book to include parking for e.g. a trip away, so that you can leave your car at the hotel while you are on holiday, and be shuttled directly from the hotel to the airport. Standard rooms start at about £38.50 (without breakfast).