Sofitel Kunming

Old Apr 24, 16, 3:33 pm
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Sofitel Kunming

Sofitel Kunming

Map| 1 Review | 100% Recommended

Sofitel Kunming

777 South Huan Cheng Road Xishan District Kunming, Yunnan CN 650034

Sofitel Kunming (12 Photos)

Sofitel Kunming

Welcome to this little review of the newly opened Sofitel Kunming in sunny Yunnan province in China.

Prologue

In January 2016, it just so happened that Mr. zehbra got a Mrs. zehbra. This calls for a honeymoon! The first part of our honeymoon lead us to a far flung corner in Southern China called Xishuangbanna. Luckily enough, Kunming, enroute to Xishuangbanna, just saw the opening of its first Sofitel, the Sofitel Kunming. Promising decadent French luxury, I convinced my wife to make a stop there so I could check out this new property. Hence I went forward and booked a Superior room (we are, alas, travelling on a budget).

While clearly more aimed at business customers rather than a honeymooning couple, it still promised to be a very adequate hotel for a few days in Kunming. And it gave me a chance to provide FT with a proper review of the place (oh the burdens I take on for this forum :D).

I emailed the hotel a few weeks in advance to warn them of the important couple that was about the bless their hotel with their presence. Only to get an automated "email could not be delivered" message back. Oh well, it's a very new, barely open property, so it shall be forgiven. I contacted Amy (AccorConcierge) on the forum here who got back to me with the GM's email; thanks for that!

My email to the GM, asking if they could maybe decorate the room a bit with rose petals and the like was answered very quickly. Not only did they agree on decorating the room, but they also offered free airport pick-up and drop-off, and inquired about any other favorites of my wife (fruit, flowers, chocolates etc.) to surprise her with. From then on it was clear: this stay was going to be special.

 

Arrival

Upon arrival at Kunming airport, we were greeted by one of the hotel's drivers, Mr. Wu. Mr. Wu immediately made us feel at home, guiding us to the Audi limousine with a smile and with grace. Apart from a few English sentences, he only spoke Chinese though so I had to let my wife do the talking. She later remarked how respectful he talked to her during the whole drive, and that this was highly unusual in China. Great first impression!

Once we approached downtown, he pointed to a high building and informed us that this was the hotel. Then he made a call, informing the hotel that we would be arriving in 10 minutes... What have they planned for us?!

Check In

When entering the hotel, you are greeted by an impressively oversized lobby

lobby

The hotel clearly expected us, and we were whisked towards the elevator and up into the lounge in no time. 

In the lounge, several check-in agents and their managers already waited for us. They sat us down, offered us some drinks and took our passports. While they were busy registering us, the GM came by to welcome us and wish us a nice stay. Lovely touch. He also explained to us that this was still in soft-opening, so minor glitches could still happen - no problems! 

Now, when I informed them about the honeymoon, and knowing this was a new property, I sort of had it in the back of my mind that this might indeed be a good chance to get a double upgrade into a suite. Still, I didn't entertain the thought too much, since this is clearly not what we paid for, and not what we should expect.

None the less, they informed us that our suite would be ready, with a nice view over the city. My inner hotel enthusiast rejoiced, but I still didn't quite expect what came next..

 

Room

When we entered our room, we first saw that (sorry for the dark pictures, it was late at night..):

entering the suite

Ok, rose petals, fruit basket, sofa... I like what I'm seeing so far...

rest of the living room

... more roses and an intriguing box in the back there...

and on to the bedroom

... more roses petals on the bed, and last but certainly not least....

candles and stunning view in the bathroom

... candles, rose petals and an amazing view from the bathroom. The bathroom was obviously fully stocked with all the usual amenities and l'Occitane branded showergels. 

We were speechless. I felt almost a bit embarrassed at how much effort they have put into this room from one little mail asking about a few rose petals on the bed.

Once the initial shock and excitement were over, I had more time to explore this huge suite, consisting of a living room, a connecting room with closets and lots of space, and then the bedroom, attached to which is this stunning bathroom.

While the fruit basket was sort of expected (but stocked with grapes and an extra mango as I indicated those are my wifes favorites), there was also an intriguing box in the corner, which I have never seen in any other sofitel:

the box

The box contained some nice butter-cookies (top left), walnuts, pistachios, some dried grapes (if memory serves me right.) and some crunchy bread type of thing. Very nice touch!

All in all a stunning room, and, as this is a very new hotel, obviously in sparkling condition

Dining

As a platinum member of LeClub Accorhotels, we got complimentary lounge access and a choice of breakfast in the lounge or in "Kwee Zeen", the main restaurant on 49th floor. We decided to try the restaurant on the first day and stuck with it, since the quality and variety of food was just so overwhelming. 

breakfast

Of course, the "standard" breakfast choices of coffee, juices, croissants, bread, sausages, smoked/cured fish and made to order eggs were available. But they also had a noodle bar where a chef would prepare to-order noodles. 

Choices also included slightly more unorthodox breakfast options such as pizza and steak (don't believe me? I have picture evidence!). I took one for the team and tried a little steak one morning and was very much surprised by how tender and lovely it was. Not sure though if they plan to keep these items as breakfast options, or if it was more of a training exercise for the new kitchen staff...

Also very nice was a small secluded room with some cheese and charcuterie:

We did not try the restaurant for lunch or dinner. Considering the high quality of breakfast, it might have been well worth it though.

Lounge

The hotel has a lounge on the 48th floor, offering breakfast, tea time and happy hour, as well as all-day soft-drinks and coffee/tea. The lounge is very spaceous and, IMO, rather elegantly decorated:

lounge

The lounge offers nice views over the city and is an excellent spot to relax for a bit, have a drink or a small snack. The food offerings where not too big at the buffet:

But considering we were the only one's there, perfectly adequate. They also went around with some hot food from time to time (shrimp on as tick and stuff like that), which was rather nice.

The drinks selection was more or less as expected. The lounge features a large wine-storage which looks impressive, I am not sure however if you could request any wine from in there; or if you have to settle with whatever is on the stand:

lounge drink selection

The lounge also offers two iMacs (one in Chinese, one in English) - rather nice and stylish, definitely fits in with the general design of the lounge.

 

Location

The hotel is situated in the CBD of Kunming, if you can call it that. Kunming is a rather small city by Chinese standards, and tourist attractions in the city are easily reachable by taxi. Finding the way back, either by taxi or on foot is easy because the building just sticks out so much:

outside

Service

Service, as described above, was excellent. People truly cared and made our stay a very very nice one.

There were one or two hickups in service, probably due to not-yet proper communications between different staff teams. As this is still in soft opening, I won't go further into it, since the issues were not major at any rate.

Overall

All in all, we were blown away. For sure there was some extra attention paid to us because we were on honeymoon. But even without that, it was an outstanding stay. In terms of room quality, food quality and service, no other Sofitel in China that I've stayed at comes even close to this one. 

Not open yet during our time there was the swimming pool, as well as the rooftop garden. The latter I was particularly sad about, since rooftop gardens on a 52-ish floor high building aren't exactly the standard in Sofitels ;) If anyone was there after the opening, please do provide pictures!

This is an excellent property and I do hope many people find their way to Kunming to stay at this lovely hotel. I for sure will try to be back there at some point to see how this develops; and how the experience as a "normal" guest is.

Sofitel Kunming

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zehbra is offline  
Old Apr 24, 16, 5:44 pm
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Wonderful, long review Zehbra! Thank you! I was about to say "where did zehbra disappear to?". Now we know and I would like to say "congratulations"!
This Hotel is on my bucket list for my next Kunming trip!
gilbertaue is offline  
Old Apr 24, 16, 6:28 pm
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What a fun report! I'm glad that the hotel did so much to make you feel special on your honeymoon.

I enjoyed your pictures, especially the one of the front desk. It is very dramatic.

Congratulations on your marriage and here's to many happy years ahead.
SanDiego1K is offline  
Old Apr 25, 16, 1:19 am
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Thanks for a great review zehbra ^ And congratulations to you and Mrs zehbra
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Old Apr 25, 16, 4:38 am
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Wonderful review Zehbra !
And congratulations to you
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Old Apr 26, 16, 9:18 pm
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Great review. Congrats to both you and your wife
ContinentalVoyager7 is offline  
Old Apr 27, 16, 2:51 pm
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Superb review zehbra. Congrats to you and your wife, wishing you many beautiful years ahead incl. lots of travels together. Cheers & Safe Travels. ^
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Old Apr 28, 16, 12:05 am
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Thanks for the wonderful review of Sofitel Kunming, zehbra.

Congratulations on your new journey together!
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