Review: Sofitel St. James, London

Old Nov 3, 10, 2:16 am
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Review: Sofitel St. James, London

This was my first stay at the London Sofitel St. James, one of the flagship properties of the chain. Upon arrival first impressions were good, lovely stately building and impressive stylish lobby. Luggage was immediately collected by the bell boy (though it took 30 minutes to arrive in my room) and check in was swift. Unfortunately no upgrade was offered for A-Club Platinum members (“We are full” and that was that). The room (228) was, how can I best describe it, bijoux. I have to say it was odd that in New York, a city which is known for small rooms, the Sofitel there has larger and better rooms than the Sofitel St James, and this was not the smallest room you can book. However the room had all the amenities. The bed was comfortable though the duvet was a bit flimsy. The view was of a brick wall and not what I would expect to be offered considering that I spend over 60 nights a year at Sofitel hotels.

The bathroom was equally small and only had a bathtub and no separate shower. Toiletries were Hermes.

Service was a bit mixed, no Platinum welcome gift arrived throughout the stay and there was no free water waiting in the room through the turn down service was offering water (late enough at 9 pm) but nothing else, no chocolates or sweets. Poor by Sofitel standards. Room service was ok though food was lukewarm when it arrived.

There was no price list in the room for the mini bar and £6 for a water was excessive.

The bar is lovely and has a good cocktail lists. Service was a bit helpless but acceptable.

The hotel is offering “free internet” but be warned that this is at dial up speeds, you would not be able to work with this. They want £15/day for high-speed internet. A new trick to get money out of customers and one I did not appreciate at all.

Overall the hotel is nice and comfortable but what was on offer did not justify the high prices or was on a par with other Sofitel hotels which is a shame as I had high hopes for the Sofitel St James. When I mentioned at check out that they did nothing for their top tier customers all I got was shrug of the shoulders.

Would I return? I guess yes but only to see if they can do better. One more experience of lack of exceptional service and it is off the list of my Sofitel favourites. I know the brand can do much better.
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Old Nov 3, 10, 3:33 am
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Too bad you didn't get an upgrade. This is one of my favorite Sofitels and had one of the best beds I have ever slept in.
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Old Nov 3, 10, 5:23 am
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I have stayed at this property many times and my experiences have been different on several fronts.

First, if you request a room with separate shower, as long as you have booked something higher than the lowest category, they will make an effort, usually successful, to provide you with one.

They have very consistently provided bottled water and usually chocolates or dried fruit, with something additional each night of the stay, as an amenity.

They will waive the 15 pound fee for internet access for A-Club Platinum members. The internet access is very fast and quite usable, unlike the vast majority of hotels in London.

Finally, I cannot remember the last time I did not get at least a one category upgrade (sometimes two). That may have to do with the frequency with which I stay at the hotel, though.

I agree that some of the rooms are small and the views can be pretty bad, but overall, this is my favorite hotel in London.
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Old Nov 3, 10, 5:53 am
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Thanks MikeBOS, I have to say the whole experience was one of total lack of recognition of the Platinum status and your description is what I would have expected. As I said I am not writing the hotel off as I actually like it but they really need to get their act together. I should not have to ask for a room with a separate shower or to waive the high speed internet charges, they should offer this outright. No excuse either for not delivering the welcome gift.

Anyway next time I'll remind them!
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Old Nov 3, 10, 11:18 pm
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Originally Posted by starflyergold View Post
Unfortunately no upgrade was offered for A-Club Platinum members (“We are full” and that was that).

Service was a bit mixed, no Platinum welcome gift arrived throughout the stay and there was no free water waiting in the room through the turn down service was offering water (late enough at 9 pm) but nothing else, no chocolates or sweets. Poor by Sofitel standards. Room service was ok though food was lukewarm when it arrived.
Did you book the room on internet like expedia? Than you will not get any benefit from aclub.
I stayed many times there and always got upgrade and welcome drink. It's really one of my favorite hotels
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Old Nov 4, 10, 12:48 am
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Originally Posted by jhempy View Post
Did you book the room on internet like expedia? Than you will not get any benefit from aclub.
I book all my Accor hotel stays on the A-Club website.
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Old Nov 4, 10, 11:22 am
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Consistency on giving Platinum benefits would seem to be lacking here by the sound of it.....I hate when you get the "shrug of the shoulders" type of response. It conveys the feeling that they don't really give a hoot.

I get the impression the A/Club seems to be run along the same lines as the Goldpointsplus programme. The hotel staff don't seem to know when it comes to their respective loyalty programme benefits.
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Old Nov 4, 10, 11:58 am
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Contrast this to today's check in at the MGallery Am Konzerthaus in Vienna:

"Welcome Mr Starflyergold"
"First time with us?, we hope not the last time"
"We have upgraded you"
Welcome gift with personal greeting waiting in the room

That's how it's done! And I did not have to ask for any of it.

Full review to follow after the stay
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Old Nov 4, 10, 12:41 pm
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Originally Posted by starflyergold View Post
Contrast this to today's check in at the MGallery Am Konzerthaus in Vienna:

"Welcome Mr Starflyergold"
"First time with us?, we hope not the last time"
"We have upgraded you"
Welcome gift with personal greeting waiting in the room

That's how it's done! And I did not have to ask for any of it.

Full review to follow after the stay
Indeed. ^
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Old Nov 5, 10, 2:34 pm
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Originally Posted by HIDDY View Post
Consistency on giving Platinum benefits would seem to be lacking here by the sound of it.....I hate when you get the "shrug of the shoulders" type of response. It conveys the feeling that they don't really give a hoot.

I get the impression the A/Club seems to be run along the same lines as the Goldpointsplus programme. The hotel staff don't seem to know when it comes to their respective loyalty programme benefits.
For what it's worth, I find the A-Club benefits to be much more consistently implemented than Starwood, where I am also Platinum. With A-Club I almost always get upgraded without having to ask; SPG's upgrades are almost random, ranging from no upgrade to suite upgrades with only a loose correlation to availability of upgraded rooms. So if A-Club seems inconsistent to you, all I can say is that there are programs out there that are even worse.
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Old Nov 10, 10, 8:57 pm
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Originally Posted by MikeBOS View Post
For what it's worth, I find the A-Club benefits to be much more consistently implemented than Starwood, where I am also Platinum.
I have not the same experience with Sofitels: very poor Platinum recognition. And definitely not the same league as the incomparable InterContinental Royal Ambassador programme (guaranteed upgrade to club rooms/suites).

Sofitel Saint James is a typical Sofitel: central location, elegant and attentive service, rather small rooms with classic design, very comfortable bed, great breakfast, poor additional features (no pool, no club lounge, no free internet)
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Old Nov 11, 10, 6:01 pm
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Originally Posted by nicolas75 View Post
I have not the same experience with Sofitels: very poor Platinum recognition. And definitely not the same league as the incomparable InterContinental Royal Ambassador programme (guaranteed upgrade to club rooms/suites).
I think you are comparing apples to oranges when comparing A-Club Platinum to IC RA. Getting RA is much, much more difficult than A-Club Platinum -- you need many more nights and much more spend. So it makes sense that the benefits would be better.

All I can say is that if you don't like Platinum recognition with A-Club, stay away from SPG because it's worse.
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Old Nov 12, 10, 12:41 am
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Originally Posted by MikeBOS View Post
I think you are comparing apples to oranges when comparing A-Club Platinum to IC RA. Getting RA is much, much more difficult than A-Club Platinum -- you need many more nights and much more spend. So it makes sense that the benefits would be better.

All I can say is that if you don't like Platinum recognition with A-Club, stay away from SPG because it's worse.
I agree to your point about Sofitel Plat versus IC RA. But Starwood Plat here in Europe gives 100% recognition. I know it can be hit and miss in the US, but not here.

I've stayed at hundreds of Starwood hotels so I think I know them well enough. I haven't stayed at that many Sofitel's and MGalleries, but the ones that I have stayed at have all given me good Plat recognition. Even if I had to remind them about it at the front desk.
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Old Dec 4, 10, 1:22 am
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Originally Posted by MikeBOS View Post
I think you are comparing apples to oranges when comparing A-Club Platinum to IC RA. Getting RA is much, much more difficult than A-Club Platinum -- you need many more nights and much more spend. So it makes sense that the benefits would be better.

All I can say is that if you don't like Platinum recognition with A-Club, stay away from SPG because it's worse.
You must have been in the wrong hotels at the wrong time - Spg have upgraded me on my last 10 stays including stays on points,suites in Venice, Madrid,Casablanca, New York, Sydney, Dubai, Bangkok, Los Angeles.
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Old Dec 6, 10, 7:54 pm
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Originally Posted by barry willis View Post
You must have been in the wrong hotels at the wrong time - Spg have upgraded me on my last 10 stays including stays on points,suites in Venice, Madrid,Casablanca, New York, Sydney, Dubai, Bangkok, Los Angeles.
Check the Starwood forum here. You will see that the consensus is that SPG is poor at consistent Platinum upgrades everywhere except Europe and Asia. I am guessing you got lucky in NY and LA.
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