It was over Labor Day weekend and it was also my partner's birthday so we thought we'd do something out of the ordinary. We live in Brooklyn so we thought we'd spend a weekend in Manhattan so we could go see shows, sightsee, go out to eat and just enjoy the city, a stay-cation. We had stayed in the Sofitel in Montreal before so we trusted the brand but the hotel and interactions we not what I would expect.
Were met at the door by a greeter who walked us to the check in area. This was not the doorman - the doormen were always friendly with great communication skills. The greeter converses with you as you walk with them to check in. The experience turned from pleasant to awkward as the greeter made a seemingly judgmental/classist (?) comment about Brooklyn. We live here so we know there is snobbery towards those who live outside of Manhattan but a hotel greeter should keep these opinions to themselves. I would prepare a greeter with scripts for conversing with different types of patrons. For stay-cationers, I would suggest some attractions that many NYC locals never do in everyday life - for instance take a sky trolley over to Roosevelt Island and walk along the waterfront or have drinks and dinner at a waterside cafe.
After check in we went to our room on the tenth floor. Ours was the first room turning left outside the elevator. This made for lots of noise late at night and interrupted sleep. Inside the room the window looked out onto a space enclosed on all sides by brick walls and exhaust vents, scaffolding. We had a sense of humor at the time because one vent was newer metal it reflected some of the sky which is how we knew it was sunny. Kidding aside it was a dark space even on bright days. Directly outside the room door was a large window that opened up onto numerous fire escapes and building walls. Dreary. I'd replace the hallway window with some modern light installation/art just to cheer myself up.
Like I keep saying, we have a good sense of humor and we tried to keep ourselves active and exploring the city and not complain but such room features dampened some of the fun. After a day of exploring we would want to keep up on the local news but all of the local channels were on antenna (?) while others were digital quality. Having a couple martinis before watching the news helped immensely and we could hear if not see what they were saying. The bed, despite a pillowtop was tough to sleep on. A guest staying at my apartment once noted that my mattress was firm, I like firm mattresses. I don't like hard mattresses which is what I had. The bed had no flatsheet and only a duvet. I have seen this in hotels in Copenhagen but it is a warm summer night and I would rather roll back the duvet and sleep under a thin sheet. As a result, in our sleep we would toss the cover back and forth until the other would overheat and wake up to shift the duvet. Like a slapstick comedy. You get the point, I had a sense of humor about it and chose not to complain to staff.
Ammmmmmmmmazing bathroom. Large and bright with separate shower and tub. If you like bathrooms this is your hotel. I want my DMV photo to look like the face I see in their lightbox bathroom mirror. The rainwater showerhead returned me to life several times that rather humid weekend.
Interactions with desk staff were .... I don't quite have a word. And I like the Sofitel staff speak English and French. The African/Haitian gentleman who checked us in was friendly with a gregarious manner and voice. When I checked out the rather formal strawberry blonde/red haired formal woman seemed annoyed and distracted by desk work when I waited for her to call me over. When I asked if a restaurant was one street over or two she became annoyed and sent me to the concierge. When I approached the concierge he spoke with an economy of words, he wasn't unfriendly or friendly he was ... unmoved. In full disclosure I did not offer the concierge a tip as I know that sometimes yields a more engaging response but I wasn't getting him to track down theatre tickets or book a car.
Like the super friendly doormen, the cleaning ladies were nice ninjas. I joke that they are ninjas because no sooner would you leave the room then it would be clean. They seemingly dropped out of the air vents or in our case they climbed down the fire escapes. But the cleaners and the doormen have a lot of heart and need to be commended. I'd love to see these individuals, after a little training, as greeters and concierges. They are kind and welcoming people.