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Best luxury properties in Accor (Banyan Tree, Raffles, Fairmont, Orient-Express etc))

Best luxury properties in Accor (Banyan Tree, Raffles, Fairmont, Orient-Express etc))

Old Jul 31, 19, 3:20 pm
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Best luxury properties in Accor (Banyan Tree, Raffles, Fairmont, Orient-Express etc))

Hi all,

I'm wondering what experienced luxury travelers from the Accor universe might consider to be the best luxury properties in the Accor portfolio. As one coming from Marriott/SPG, with some experience with Hyatt, we don't hear as often about the best in Accor. That being said, we had a wonderful experience last fall at the Fairmont Grand del Mar outside San Diego--and at its amazing 1* restaurant, Addison.

Please do share with my sincerest thanks.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 2:47 am
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Not yet try Banyan Tree and Sofitel Legend so cant comment about these.

However, judging from your post from Marriott forum, I can say that Raffles and Fairmont maybe the most suitable brands for you in Accor universe.

Those 2 are quite similar with Marriott's St Regises and Ritz Carltons

Tried Fairmont Sg and Jakarta and I'm very pleased with the stay. My cousins stays at Fairmont Sf last year (I was in StR Sf) and they also very pleased with the service.

Will be in Raffles Sg next month (change of scenery from StR Sg ) very excited to try!

Orient Express ... not yet open ... but they took over Bangkok Edition ...

Sofitel So range is more like W hotels.
Only tries so singapore, although its good but it doesnt have luxury feels.

And for their resort property, I tried Sofitel Nusa Dua before and a bit disappointed with the stay.
Really no match with Str Nusa Dua (not fair comparison though as StR is way more pricier) or even Ritz Carlton Nusa Dua


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Old Aug 1, 19, 4:40 am
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i have experience with pulman /sofitel
its depending which sofitel or pulman
overal sofitel a bit more luxury then pulman
next month experience with fairmont
greetings
kees
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Old Aug 1, 19, 9:05 am
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Some travelers (shameless plug for myself) have posted some Banyan Tree and Sofitel Legend reviews on this forum. Personally, I have stayed at the Sofitel Legend in Xi'an and Banyan Tree properties in Shanghai and Tianjin. I was very impressed with all of them! I'm pretty sure I posted reviews here on the forum for my stays - feel free to check them out!
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Old Aug 1, 19, 9:24 am
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We’ve also stayed at the Sofitel Legend Xi’an. While a very nice hotel, I don’t consider that to be to the same luxury standard as some of the other examples. It actually reminded me of the Sofitel Heathrow.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 1:34 pm
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Interesting about Sofitel Legends. I always thought that they would be comparable to Marriott's Luxury Collections

Accor M Gallery would be comparable to Marriott Tribute Portfolio i believe.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 1:48 pm
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Sofitel So Mauritius was pretty amazing in terms of luxury and superb service. I was also impressed by Amarterra Villas in Bali, which is a bit less luxurious but still easily beats Sofitels in terms of luxury, including the nearby Sofitel Nusa Dua and even my favorite Sofitel Moorea and Sofitel Private Island. I have not visited any properties belonging to newly acquired brands though.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 3:48 pm
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For major city properties, I've always liked my stays Raffles Le Royal Monceau in Paris (although for visits since the Accor purchase of FRHI, I've purposely gone to some independent properties in the same area instead), and for Fairmonts, the Savoy in London and The Plaza in NYC (only stayed once briefly, but I'm returning to this fall for longer). In addition to being great hotels with fabulous service, it's really tough to beat the locations of them.

For smaller city properties, Fairmont Le Montreux Palace in Montreux, Switzerland and Le Chateau Frontenac in Quebec City are beautiful historic properties, nicely finished and again, ideally located in their respective cities.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 4:45 pm
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Having stayed at >50% of Fairmont properties, I'll add the following:

United States:

top properties:

Fairmont Grand Del Mar San Diego
The Plaza New York

a notch lower:
Fairmont Kea Lani, Maui
Fairmont Scottsdale
Fairmont Orchid Hawaii

...plus properties that may not be the #1 property in the city, but have some spectacular suites (e.g. Fairmont San Francisco)

Europe:

All Fairmont hotels in Europe are 5*, except for the Fairmont Barcelona, which I'd describe as solid 4*+ (and hardly within the top 5 hotels in BCN).

The top properties arguably are:

The Savoy London
Fairmont Vier Jahreszeiten Hamburg
Montreux Palace, Switzerland
Grand Hotel Kyiv

Asia:

Generally very goood, but with so many excellent 5* choices in most places, I'd be hard-pressed to say that Fairmont is the absolutely best hotel in any city, though all properties are 4.5*-5*. If you appreciate historic properties, the Fairmont Peace Hotel Shanghai is a great choice.

Canada:

This is the trickiest one to evaluate. Broadly speaking, Fairmont properties fall into the following categories:

- grand dame city center hotels - perfect location, a lot of heritage, some *very* nice suites, but generally not true 5* luxury hotels; nonetheless Fairmont is among the top 1-2 choices in all cities except Toronto and maybe Montreal
- resorts (Quebec and Rocky Mountains) - perfect location, a lot of heritage, some *very* nice suites, but generally not true 5* luxury hotels, but all are among the top 1-2 choices at the various destinations
- "new" / modern city center properties - 4*-5*; the Fairmont Pacific Rim Vancouver probably is the best modern Fairmont hotel

With the historic properties, it very much depends on which room/suite category you book and whether you're staying on the Gold floor (where available).

E.g. at Chateau Lake Louise, the entry-level Fairmont rooms are rather mediocre, tiny shoeboxes. I've literally stayed in nicer rooms at many Hoiday Inns, not to mention the hotel is a zoo during peak season. But staying in a one-bedroom lakeview suite (or higher) on the Gold floor (with dedicated concierge staff etc.) comes very close to a true 5* luxury experience.
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Old Aug 1, 19, 4:52 pm
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Thanks so much @Jasper2009 for that very thorough and thoughtful summary! That is exactly what I was looking for. You da bomb.

It seems we lucked out with our tremendous experience at the Fairmont Grand del Mar--we really only went because of 1* Addison. But we really were impressed with the property, the staff, the service, the F&B, all of it. It's a bit more traditional in decor than I might prefer, but it's clearly 5* all the way with a great sense of Spanish mission place.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 5:21 pm
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Stayed at Sofitel legend Xian: It is a luxury hotel for sure. Stayed In their prestige suite (upgraded from luxury room) facilities like swimming pools and changing room was not the best layout. However this is more of the fact that this is a historic building and so they are limited by that. Service was great. Being December and minus 7 degrees outside it was a little cold on the first floor. Probably the best hotel in Xian.

Sofitel Legend Amsterdam like wise is a luxury hotel and also rates very highly in Amsterdam. Again a historic building for 500yrs.

Nusa dua Sofitel was nice but for me was a lower 5 star rating. Biggest dissapointment was the Buffet dinner which just seemed ordinary. Lounge was good but not great. Overal was happy though.
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Old Aug 2, 19, 5:36 pm
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St James in London is nice .... and very French

The Sofitel in Sopot is also good ( especially the breakfast - We will probably return again just for the service from "David" he made our good stay exceptional )

Had some very nice stays in McGallarys - Naples - Budapest - ( and some very bad - but that one in London not there now ) - Sofitel Budapest is one to avoid until refurbishment.
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Old Aug 3, 19, 8:41 pm
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Agree with hotel_user about St James in London. Also thought the Sofitel Legend in Amsterdam was outstanding.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 11:55 am
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I am not nearly as much a Fairmont expert as @Jasper2009, but here is my modest contribution.

If you highly value service, you should always book a Gold room where they have them. Staff in the Gold lounge will take great care of you generally speaking. On some trips, I do not care about a lounge, on other trips I want a lounge but I don't need something special and I am happy to get it for free (= Marriott, Sheraton lounge), but on other trips I want a lounge, a very good one, and I am willing to pay for it. That's where RC and Fairmont lounges fill a niche in the market and have some use for me.

Outside of North American, all Fairmonts have been very good to a different extent except Barcelona which is not a top hotel in that city and does not even have a lounge, plus Singapore where the lounge could be mistaken for a Marriott. Apart from those two, I have very good words for a few:
- Chengdu: one of my best stays ever and one of best lounges ever, yes there are lots of other fantastic hotels in that city and without having seen the competition I can say that you cannot go wrong
- Amman: top notch hotel and great lounge. As much as I love W Amman which is actually better value for the money than Fairmont if you are Marriott Ambassador Elite, but if money is no object then Fairmont is the best hotel in the city. Or was. St.Regis has opened and I have not been there to compare so maybe Fairmont is still #1 , or maybe overtaken by St.Regis but I suspect not yet if StR is in the growing phase.
- Istanbul: very good, but lots of 5* hotels get rave reviews too in Istanbul so we have many great options.
- Montreux: unlike the previous 3 Montreux does not have a lounge, but best hotel in the city nonetheless and great service.

In Canada it varies quite a bit. Banff, Jasper, Montebello, and Charlevoix are the best hotels in their town by a large margin, but probably not quite 5* on a consistent basis. That said, they can deliver good service as some of them are able to host important political events (Montebello) or even a G7 meeting (Charlevoix). So it's not like they don't know how to provide great service. Fairmont Mont Tremblant is a laggard in my experience however. Montreal I suspect is not on par with RC although I do not have first hand experience of both to compare.

In Bermuda the two Fairmonts are possibly the best two hotels on the island (a notch above Rosewood), but it's Bermuda so not 5* service. If and when RC + St.Regis open in Bermuda, I suspect they will be able to overtake the Fairmonts as top options. But for now, Fairmonts in Bermuda provide very good service and good lounges, but not Middle East or Asian style.
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Old Aug 9, 19, 12:57 pm
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Originally Posted by escape4 View Post

In Canada it varies quite a bit. Banff, Jasper, Montebello, and Charlevoix are the best hotels in their town by a large margin, but probably not quite 5* on a consistent basis. That said, they can deliver good service as some of them are able to host important political events (Montebello) or even a G7 meeting (Charlevoix). So it's not like they don't know how to provide great service. Fairmont Mont Tremblant is a laggard in my experience however. Montreal I suspect is not on par with RC although I do not have first hand experience of both to compare.
Well, I agree they're absolutely the best options in their respective areas, but honestly, the Chateau Montebello is a dump. It's not even 4-star, forget close to 5. What it is, is very unique. You will not find another hotel like it. It's a massive all log construction building, and from the outside, it's looks pretty cool. The lobby with the giant stone fireplace is also pretty cool. It's in a nice setting, but nothing really special. But beyond that, the place needs a major renovation in a very, very big way. It was originally built as a private fishing lodge, and I think they've done a good job keeping guests aware of that! I know it's supposed to be a bit rustic, but it's far too rustic. There are other Fairmont properties where the décor hasn't been updated. But there's a big difference between older historic castle charm and older fishing lodge charm. There's a reason Montebello is one of the cheapest properties in the chain. You can get entry level rooms in Montebello during high season for below $300/night, while Banff starts closer to $1,000.

I've personally never had bad service at Tremblant in about 100 nights there, and is my 3rd most frequented hotel (behind Lake Louise and Banff), however, I've never booked anything other than Fairmont Gold. The service there is stellar, because there are only 18 Gold rooms and 2 Gold suites, so the service feels very personal. But, in all my stays, I've never booked off the Gold floor, so have no experience with a regular room. The Gold rooms are OK, but could use a décor update, which I believe is in the plans. They redid the Gold lounge a year ago.

I have stayed at both the RC and the Fairmont in Montreal. Historically, I would have given the edge to the RC. However, they closed the Fairmont for a year to do an extensive renovation, and they didn't miss much, and did a great job. However, the style of the renovation may not be for everyone. It's very much a 1970s vibe throughout. They picked a style, and just went all out with it! You might find opinions polarized as a result.

Banff is a hotel where I have booked Gold, but never would again. The Gold rooms are just fine. The Gold lounge is beautifully designed and built. But, it's just too bloody big. Service is still OK, because they staff it well, but it doesn't feel personal due to the size. Fairmont Gold now spans both the 4th and 5th floors, and I think there are over 100 rooms with Gold Lounge access. The whole point of Fairmont Gold is an exclusive hotel within a hotel, with a small number of guests for the best service and a tranquil atmosphere. It's not meant to be like an airline lounge, particularly at a non-city resort property. Banff doesn't have that with the current size of the lounge, so I don't consider it worth the premium. Also, Banff has some awesome restaurants, so I find I never made much use of the evening appetizers and snacks, because I would rather be in one of those restaurants.

I've never made it out to Charlevoix, but have always wanted to. It's also one of the better priced Fairmont's, probably due to it's lack of proximity to any airports.
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