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Old Jan 14, 19, 2:26 am
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Maelstrom
 
Join Date: Oct 2016
Location: ADL
Programs: LeClub AccorHotels / Accor Plus (Platinum), Qantas Frequent Flyer, Virgin Velocity
Posts: 413
Sofitel Harbin: a review

Location The hotel is located adjacent to a Wanda shopping mall, which has a cinema, shops and restaurants. However, for access to Central Street and Harbin Railway Station, it is about a 20 minute taxi ride. Taxis in Harbin are pretty cheap. Check In As we were arriving at Harbin airport, and I did not want to deal with standing in a taxi queue in sub-zero temperatures, I organised an airport transfer with the hotel. At first, the concierge wanted to charge CNY 500 one-way for the one-hour trip, which I said was too expensive and said we would take the airport shuttle bus instead. The concierge replied, offering a special CNY 300 price, which we accepted. The driver was waiting for us in the arrivals hall and we were whisked away to the hotel.Upon arrival at the hotel at about 5pm, there were no guests checking in at the front desk, so we checked in there, instead of going to the lounge. During the check in, the director of rooms introduced herself to us. It was a little difficult trying to do the check in process and have a conversation at the same time, but we managed. The DOR had to remind the front desk agent to give us our drink vouchers. The DOR accompanied us to the elevators, informing us that we could take our platinum-inclusive breakfast in either restaurant or club lounge and bid us good evening (this is relevant later). The bellboy who assisted us with our luggage also helped us with some suggestions for our stay, which was very helpful. Room We received an ‘upgrade’ from a Luxury Room to a Luxury Room with Club Access, which are on higher floors. The room was a standard-sized one and had no view to speak of (straight toward the opposite building). We were not provided with a welcome letter outlining lounge and room benefits. Our welcome gift was already in the room: The bed was the ever-comfortable Sofitel MyBed. There were no easily accessible bedside power points, which is always frustrating. One side of the bed required moving the bedside table to access the available power point; the other side did not have an available one. The TV is hidden in a cubby, with no way to access input ports (annoying). The desk has two available power points located within a cubby in the desk. The sleep menu is extensive with eight varieties of pillows and three baths, including milk and wine baths. Only two bottles of water are initially provided, but more are provided during turn down service. Soft drink and juice from the minibar is free of charge for Club rooms. The slippers provided are too small for feet larger than Mens US size 9 – a common and frustrating occurrence when staying in China. The bathroom has one of those stupid windows between the bath and bedroom, which a manually operated blind for privacy. Of course, this means that when one person uses the bathroom in the middle of the night, the other person gets bathed in light from the window. The bathroom itself is a bit small and the shower can definitely only fit one person, and even that is a squeeze. There is also a lack of storage space (no drawers). The ceiling-mounted rain shower was pretty bad and sprayed water in all directions, so I only used the wall-mounted one. Amenities are Lanvin (disappointing when in a Club room). There is a clothesline provided that goes above the bath. The bathroom is actually really hot in winter with the central heating turned on, so any clothes that are hung up in the evening are dry by morning. The towels were incredibly soft; presumably the hotel had recently received a new batch of towels. Yet another Sofitel in China that only provides Lanvin amenities in their Club rooms Service Welcome drinks can be redeemed at the lobby bar. There was no list provided to us; the bartender said we could have soft drink, juice, tea, coffee or beer. We opted for a juice and Coca-cola takeaway to the room.As mentioned, the Director of Rooms informed us on arrival that we could take our breakfast in either the restaurant or club lounge. When we went to the restaurant, we were informed that this was incorrect and we could only have breakfast in the club lounge. Annoying, but given it was early in the morning, it was unlikely the DOR was in the office, so we just went back upstairs to eat breakfast.Service in the lounge is easily the worst I have encountered in a hotel lounge, to date. The service itself was not bad, but very little effort was made. For example, in our two breakfasts at the lounge, we were never shown to a table, offered tea and coffee or shown the a-la-carte menu for ordering eggs and other items. Staff members in the Lounge generallspeak a high level of English. Dining The lounge is located on the 19th floor and is quite large, taking up almost the entire floor.The breakfast was not bad, having six hot options. The French toast was good. The ‘benedict egg,’ which the menu states comes with bacon and hollandaise sauce instead came with salmon and lettuce. Bizarre. Apparently this is 'eggs benedict served with bacon and hollondaise sauce.' There is a Le Goutier afternoon tea, but we did not attend as it was not mentioned on arrival and we did not receive a welcome letter.Happy hour is from 6-8pm and has a large selection of spirits and liqueurs, a sparkling (French but not champagne), two whites and three reds. The hot foods were not bad, but it was difficult to motivate myself to eat enough of it to fill up for dinner. The room service club sandwich was well priced (CNY 82) and very tasty, though it did take almost forty minutes to a. I forgot to take a photo of it. SoFit The SoFit facilities are located on level 3 and it is a little difficult to find them at first. The gym is very well equipped and bottled water is provided at every station. Check Out A 4pm late checkout was given without hesitation, which was fantastic, especially given it is Ice Festival time, so I assume the hotel is somewhat busy.Check out in the Club Lounge was a strange experience. The two managers there appeared to not know how to process check outs and called a few different people, asking for someone to come upstairs to help, but they were all busy, so I was asked to go downstairs to check out. Just as I was about to go downstairs, one of the Club attendants appeared and offered to do my check out.Following check out, we were permitted to stay and do some work in the Club Lounge before we left the hotel at 5:30pm. Overall Overall, the Sofitel Harbin is a comfortable stay, though located a little far from the main downtown area. We used points to mostly prepay for the stay and the points posted were correct for the remaining value, minus taxes (apparently this is a rare occurrence, from what I read on this forum). Hopefully attentive service in the lounge is better for other guests than it was for us. While it is a comfortable stay, I do recommend staying here and I would return to the hotel, there was nothing memorable that would make me overly eager to return, while there are, unfortunately, small negative things that are memorable.
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