I planned a three-night stay in Novosibirsk in order to break up our journey along the Trans-Siberian Railway a bit, have a look around to see what life was like in the heart of Siberia, and also to have access to a television for watching the World Cup semifinals 😉
My choices for where to stay were pretty limited, and I naturally ended up choosing the only viable option that could be booked on points – the Marriott Novosibirsk, at the time bookable for 10,000 points a night. I felt I got good value for my points, since the cash rates were around $150 a night, which is pretty expensive for hotel that was relatively speaking “in the middle of nowhere”.
Upon arriving at Novosibirsk Railway Station under cover of darkness at 1:31am, we called an Uber to our hotel. I was glad to discover that Uber was extremely cheap and easy to use in this part of the world, with the 10-minute drive over to the Marriott costing us just under $3.
The hotel is located right in the heart of Novosibirsk, opposite Lenin Square in the city centre.
It was very late when we arrived, so I took some pictures the following day. The exterior of the building is quite beautiful, featuring floor-to-ceiling glass windows and ornate designs carved into the stone.
The entrance and driveway are positioned underneath a large awning.
Walking into the lobby, you’ll see the front desk immediately ahead, whereas a few seating areas are located to your left and right. It was interesting to see a portrait of J.W. Marriott himself (the founder of the brand) hanging against one of the walls.
There was no one else in the lobby area when we arrived our 2am, and our check-in was processed swiftly. The staff member flipped through our passports in search of our Russian visas, and was pretty shocked when we handed her our World Cup Fan IDs instead. I imagine not many visitors who were in Russia for the World Cup would’ve made it all the way here to Novosibirsk.
I was delighted to hear that we’d been upgraded to a junior suite for our three-night stay. I was a Marriott Gold Elite member at the time, so that was certainly above and beyond my expectations; again, though, I don’t feel as though the competition for suite upgrades at this location would be particularly high.
Unfortunately we were also informed that the hotel restaurant was closed for renovations for the duration of our stay, meaning that breakfast and dinner would be served in one of the conference rooms instead, and complimentary beverages could be enjoyed in the rooftop bar and lounge.
This hotel certainly extends more privileges to elite members than it needs to. Most hotels in the Marriott portfolio will offer their mid-level elite members (Gold Elite in the old program, Platinum Elite in the new program) either lounge access or breakfast in the restaurant.
If there’s lounge access, there will usually be evening hors d’oeuvres and complimentary drinks as well; however, if the hotel has no lounge, usually it’s just breakfast and no more offerings throughout the day. The Marriott Novosibirsk, on the other hand, gives you dinner and complimentary drinks even though it doesn’t have a lounge, which was certainly a great perk.
We took the elevators up to the 9th floor, where we had been assigned Room 934, the corner suite at the end of the hallway. This hotel certainly feels very new, and almost has that new hotel “smell” to it.
Whereas full suites typically have separate living rooms and bedrooms, junior suites usually take the form of a larger room with a separate sitting area. Ours was very spacious indeed, and we liked it as soon as we stepped inside. Of course, the fact that we could finally sleep on a proper king bed, after spending 41 hours on the train, certainly helped!
As you enter, you pass through a small foyer before arriving at the sitting area. The couch, coffee table, and television make this a very comfortable arrangement.
The rest of the room opens up behind the couch. The king bed is set against a dark wooden backboard, which houses light fixtures on either side. I thought that was a lovely design. Another great thing about the way the room was set up was that you could watch TV from either the bed or the couch – that’s what I call functionality!
In the far corner of the room is a dining table with two chairs, where our welcome amenity of macarons, chocolates, and brownie bites had been set up.
Then in the opposite corner, adjacent to the bedside table, is a very comfortable armchair with an ottoman attached.
An office desk and a small pantry area are located along the wall closer to the entrance. The pantry area had a sink, presumably for ease of collecting water for the kettle, which is something you don’t often see.
I’ve written in the past about how much I value the complimentary coffee and tea kits that hotel rooms provide, and I was overjoyed to see that the Marriott Novosibirsk truly goes above and beyond in this regard. There were mugs, glasses, and takeaway cups, a coffee maker with several pods, and a kettle for tea. Amazing!
The office desk was a good place for getting work done, as well for performing crisis management when my Aeroplan account had gotten hacked during these few days.
Over to the bathroom, which was bright, spacious, and very well-appointed. There were double sinks with a full-width mirror, which is something Jessica and I always appreciate.
Then there was a separate bathtub and shower. Let me just say that jumping into the shower after a 41-hour train ride was one of the most satisfying feelings in recent memory.
In the opposite corner was a toilet and a bidet. The other thing I loved about the bathroom was the heated floors – there’s just something so luxurious about that.
Lastly, the room had excellent views overlooking the grandiose Novosibirsk Opera and Ballet Theatre and the nearby Lenin Square.
Over the course of our stay, we took our meals several times in the hotel’s second-floor conference rooms, given that the main restaurant was closed for renovations.
However, I do want to apologize since I never managed to get any photos of the breakfast.
On our first morning, we had arrived just as breakfast hours were ending, so we frantically grabbed a few bites before they cleaned everything up. On our second morning, we unfortunately overslept (a result of that pesky 4-hour time difference from Moscow) and missed breakfast as a result. And on our third morning, we had to leave and catch our early-morning train by 4:30am, so there was again no breakfast to be enjoyed.
We did eat dinner at the hotel on both nights, though, and it was quite appetizing. Dinner is served buffet-style, and each portion is rather small, but you could grab as many portions as you wanted.
The main dishes rotate every night, but there’s usually a good mix of meat, seafood, vegetarian, and carb options. On this night, we enjoyed chicken cutlets, fish fillets, sweet potatoes, and fried rice.
Then you have a wide selection of side dishes as well – typically some light canapés, a salad bowl, a few seafood cocktails, and a cheese plate.
Dessert did not disappoint either. There were several fancy cakes and parfaits, as well as a variety of fresh fruit, to choose from.
To top it off, you could take advantage of complimentary wine and beer, as well as tea, coffee, juice, and soft drinks.
I was very impressed by how well the hotel treats its elite members. You won’t find many Marriott hotels around the world serving up a full complimentary dinner spread – drinks included – if they didn’t have a club lounge.
On our second night at the hotel, we headed up to the rooftop bar and lounge to watch France vs Belgium over a plate of chicken wings and some drinks. There was a bit of confusion as to which drinks were complimentary – I was under the impression that any non-alcoholic beverages would be included, but it turns out that it was really only water, soft drinks, tea, and coffee. I therefore ended up having to pay for the fancy mocktails we had ordered.
And on the last night, since we had an early-morning train onwards to Irkutsk, our plan was to pull an all-nighter – we’d stay up late at night to watch Croatia vs England (which would take place at the ungodly hour of 1am here in Novosibirsk) and then head straight to the train station. After all, we could always catch up on sleep aboard the 31-hour train ride that awaited us.
I had some time to kill before the match began, so I headed down to the hotel gym for a quick workout. The facilities were decent given the small size of the fitness centre, and it was also cool to check out the hotel’s indoor swimming pool.
After an enthralling match which saw Croatia emerge victorious in extra-time, we packed up our bags, said goodbye to our very comfortable junior suite, and called an Uber to bring us back to the train station. The hotel looks beautiful by night as well, its art-deco stonework lit up in a symphony of spotlights.
I had a pretty awesome stay at the Marriott Novosibirsk. The junior suite was well-appointed and gave us lots of room to move around in, which is something we greatly appreciated in-between being cooped up in a train carriage for long periods. I was also taken aback by the generous elite recognition that the hotel provided us, and while there were a few issues on the service side (mostly caused by the language barrier, since not all of the hotel staff are proficient in English), I still left the hotel with very good impressions.
At only 12,500 points per night in the new Marriott loyalty program, this hotel provides excellent value for your points, and should be a no-brainer if you ever find yourself in Novosibirsk. In the next post, I’ll talk more about what there is to do in Russia’s third-largest city, a place which – like its flagship Marriott hotel – left us pleasantly surprised in many ways.