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Reviewed February 9, 2011

  • Stayed: February 2011, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Sofitel-Harbin, Manager at Sofitel Harbin, responded to this reviewResponded February 11, 2011

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed February 8, 2011

Unlike the one-time contributors who have nothing but praise for this hotel, I would rate it as a decidedly average experience and echo many of the observations that reviewer BB_in_Beijing wrote. I stayed here three times in the last year, and each time I've arrived I've thought to myself, 'wow, this looks really swish' - only to then be stood waiting for 20 minutes or more trying to get checked in. Sometimes rooms have not been made up, other times the front desk are simply inefficient. Last time I visited, they couldn't work their photocopiers. Check-out is faster - only five minutes last time - but still not efficient.

On the more positive side, the rooms are well-appointed and generally quite comfortably furnished and equipped. The addition of a humidifier in the room is a nice touch, though perhaps not everyone would know what to do with it. However, there do seem to be problems in controlling the heat in the rooms. On two visits, my rooms were so hot that I had to wedge the windows open (the wind kept blowing them shut) - not ideal in winter when it's below freezing outside. By the way, do be careful in winter walking over to the shopping mall - they don't bother gritting the roadway (even under the entrance canopy). In addition, the rooms here can suffer from a lingering cigarette smell around the headboard/pillows even though you may be on a 'non-smoking floor'. There has never been a turn-down service offered, though someone has come in to close the curtains every time, and I've never received a fruit-plate or newspaper or confectionary or any such 'complimentary comforters' that appear part and parcel of my stays in other Sofitels.

The pool and sauna area are very nicely done and the latter is quite big by hotel standards. I've only used the 'Elements' restaurant for breakfast but wasn't impressed by the choice and quite shocked that some of the hot food was put out and left to go cold. There really is nothing quite so disappointing as having waited for your toast to come off the roller, buttered it and dolloped on a generous portion of baked beans only to bite into them and find them stone cold. Whilst the staff might bring you a basket of cold pastries and cold croissants to your table, don't expect much attention other than the bizarrely over-zealous plate-clearing. English spoken? Not much. The trial by ordeal of trying to get an espresso is the most exasperating way to start any day - look out for the European supervisors, I think they are there to translate.

All in all, it's a nice hotel that suffers from really poor service and because of that I wouldn't recommend it. Of the hotels I've stayed in in China, this is the only one that I've written to to complain about the service - and it took me a few messages before they responded. In the end, I had to use Chinese to get any attention. On each visit, they have failed to acknowledge my personal A Club membership and during the Ice Festival they unilaterally suspended their corporate agreement with my company - obviously the 500+ business bookings a year don't count for much compared to the one-off tourist stays at full rack-rate. Perhaps the tourists get good service but I don't feel I have. The Shangri-la was better, in my opinion, but I have not been there for a couple of years.

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled on business
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Thank Qupnicely
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 6, 2011

  • Stayed: January 2011, traveled as a couple
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This review is the subjective opinion of an individual traveler and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Sofitel-Harbin, Front Office Manager at Sofitel Harbin, responded to this reviewResponded February 11, 2011

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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC nor of its partners.
Reviewed December 28, 2010

Our family (2 adults/2 kids (6&12Yrs) stayed for 4 nights at the Sofitel, recommended by friend, as we had a true wonderful stay. Great hospitality from the airport arrival, throughout our stay, all the way till airport departure! Our arrival flight had 4 hours delay due to snow, and drivers waited for us till we arrived with a smile, despite the cold! We arrived a bit early for the ice festival, but the hotel concierge assisted us with a long list of things to do without obligations or being pushy. Management very visible and approachable, and smooth flow of services just showed that management was well on top of the operations. We used the Executive Lounge, and also here, service was warm and efficient, good for us on leisure, as would be for business guests. Food & drinks at Elements restaurant were great, tasty and well-portioned, very reasonably priced, and staff was friendly. We found that English level of speaking and understanding was good accross the hotel, and had no diffulties at any time. Room decor and facilities were up to excellent 5 star standards, and cleaning was also done very well, including turn-down service in early evening. Of course, the hotel was nice and warm after a cold day out! Really, we cannot find any fault and just were so happy with the hotel. Location is a bit away from the walkinmg street/river, but a taxiride isnt expensive and not a big deal. Anyway, right next to the hotel is the 'VAN Mall' (Wanda Plaza) with a large supermarket, plenty of restaurants and shops. Also, the Dragon viewing Tower is on walking distance. The hotel staff recommended us to try a true local seafood Hot Pot restaurant on walking distance which was a fun experienece for all of us on our last night. Overall, we were able to enjoy Harbin a lot, having fun with the cold weather (bring ski jacket, hat, ski gloves and thick boots and yoiu'll be fine too!), and were glad we stayed at this hotel where we immediately felt safe and comfortable, among well-trained staff to handle any questioins/problems a foreigner usually has when visiting a strange city in China ! Well done Sofitel!

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank RVMacau
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2010

Check in 2 Club Floor rooms. Excellent reception and VIP treatment all the way by Customer Services Manager, Pierre. The meeting facilities were fantastic Club facilities were more than ample. Great value and most enjoyable stay!

Stayed: April 2010, traveled on business
Thank Allan P
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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