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All reviews the club lounge japanese restaurant wanda shopping mall business trip home away from home the dragon ice festival club staff the general manager special thanks enjoyable stay nice room compared to other hotels english level fitness center concierge desk rooms are large
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Reviewed February 16, 2008

I have stayed at Sofitel Harbin when they opened, and returned in January. I definitely can see the improvement. The rooms are clean and comfortable. The staff may not speak English (which is localy problem) but they are very willing to find the way to help. Reception will need
some training as check-in time quite long.

Breakfast: variety of food up to satisfactory, service improved a lot. I have spoke to the Food & Beverage Director and found out they went through a profound training course with the staff as a result of customer feedback. They take on board every comments and made the necessary steps to improve customer satisfaction.

My overall stay was above avarage compare to the Chinese hospitality culture which does not exist, and this is not the hotel fault. When we tavel we should take into consideration the mentality and culture of the country as the standards may vary in different countries.

Date of stay: January 2008
3  Thank mazsola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed February 9, 2008

The room was very nice, clean sheets and duvet cover every day, bathroom looked lovely but impossible to shower without causing a flood due to the design of the tub and taps.
The restaurants were OK, we ate Japanese one night, very good, buffet the next....and a la carte the next....they have big time service problems. Most staff speak no English...this is not necessarily Sofitel's fault, very few people in Harbin speak any english, including at the luxury shopping store next door...Vans...(where they won't take an international credit card!) To be fair to the staff they were pleasant and seemed to want to help but need training and English big time!!!!!
We unfortunately saw housekeeping at work...glasses and mugs were washed in water in the bathroom sink and put back in place! Yuuuk! There was no trolley with clean glasses etc. on so this is obviously common practice, I will bring this to the managers' attention before we leave BUT again this comes down to TRAINING!
Having stayed at many hotels on many continents this was a disappointment by Sofitel standards and should be rated at max a 4 star until they sort themselves out. On another note we felt Harbin only needed one day to see the snow sculptures, Russian stuff and ice buildings, not enough for 2 days.

Date of stay: February 2008
2  Thank TianjinRosie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 20, 2008

The other reviewers are correct in saying that the service in this hotel is quite bad. It seems they rushed their opening in time to be open for Harbin's Ice Festival, and in so doing failed to properly train their staff... and it showed!

We spent two nights. The rooms are well appointed, beautifully decorated, and as mentioned by another reviewer have great large LCD TVs. The beds are comfortable, and the linens etc. nice quality. We stayed in the Club floor suites, so enjoyed access to soft drinks and snack in the afternnoons which are self serve.

The breakfast service is lousy: the waitress seating us actually huffed and rolled her eyes when we stood firm on wanting to be seated in the non-smoking section. Both mornings we cleared the dirty dishes from our table ourselves, and on the second morning, I also retrieved our silver from behind the hostess counter (having learned the morning before where the forks and spoons were located.)

Unfortunatley, nice touches like individual coffee presses and made-to-order omlets are a little less impressive when they are out of all ingredients but eggs, and the coffee is served sans milk and sugar.

We voiced these concerns with the Guest Relations specialist, along with the unannounced closing of the pool due to heater problems. When we requested a discount we were given a 10% break, but had to go through the whole process again to actually get it applied to our bill when we checked out.

The Sofitel Wanda Harbin is a stunningly beautiful hotel with really poor service!

Date of stay: January 2008
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
    • Value
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    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
3  Thank AmericanExpatswKids
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 19, 2008

The accommodation at this hotel is first class. However, the service is way below that required of a 5star international hotel, and way below that of the Shangri-La where I have stayed on a number of occasions.

Breakfast service was non-existent - we were initially sat at a dirty table (none of the tables had been cleaned), tea and coffee took at least 15 minutes to arrive, there was no orange juice available and no milk. The selection of food was not great either, the bread had clearly been out all morning and was hard and crispy.

We booked a massage in a private room for 9pm. We got there at 9pm to be told that the couple in there before were staying longer so could we come back at 10pm? We duly did, though gave up at 10 past when the room was still not ready.

So there are some real basic things wrong with the service being offered at this Sofitel (supposedly a premium brand, charging premium prices) The situation is not helped by an absence of management, and for an international hotel a very low/non-existant standard of English amongst the staff.

I will be going back to the Shangri-La next time! And i suggest the Sofitel go back to basics and do some staff training.

And another thing, the whole hotel is way too hot!!! Save on the emmissions and cool the place (including the rooms down a bit)

Date of stay: January 2008
4  Thank Ali_in_China
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 31, 2007

The hotel, previously called Singapore Hotel was recently refurbished, and hence, the new, clean room condition. The big TV is a plus point. There was no air-conditioning in the room (heater only) and the small window made the rooms hot and stuffy (even when outside temperature went down to -15 degrees C at night). Unlike other hotels, laundry bags are chargeable at RMB 25 (USD 3.42) – there were no indication of the price, no price list or note that the bag is chargeable until we checked out, when the cashier asked for all laundry bags to be returned or charged. We had already packed our things in the bags and were rushing to the airport! To minimise the hassles of taking out the bags from the bus, opening them out, taking out the things etc, we paid for those used. As this is not a common, industry practice (unlike the mini bar, where it’s common knowledge that the items are chargeable), all hotel guests should be informed that laundry bags are chargeable at check-in or a note/indication of the price should be placed near the laundry bag. All 22 of us, from age of 20 to 70 (part of the tour group) has had varied travel experiences but has yet to encounter a hotel where laundry bags are chargeable until now!

That aside, one of the rooms was booked for 3 people; they requested for an additional towel and a bottle of water. This simple request was also declined rudely by the hotel staff with no reason given. Our tour guide had to step in and explained that the room was actually booked and paid for 3 people – so all amenities need to be enough for 3! Also, some rooms were not cleaned up and amenities not replaced throughout our 3-night stay (the “do not disturb” signs were not put up). Funnily, another room which had called for the room not to be cleaned was actually cleaned up despite a call made to the guest service centre and with the “do not disturb” sign put outside the door.

Breakfast –There was very limited choice of food compared to other 5-star international standard hotels (the breakfast menu does not seem to rotate. Sushi was good). Some waffle-making chef does not come to work until 9am although the café opens for breakfast from 6 or 6.30am onwards, so no waffles when we turn up before 9am. Serviettes actually ran out during breakfast on the third day of our stay, when one service staff mentioned that there were too many guests the day before and offered us napkin instead. The staff could have walked to the restaurant next door and get some serviettes or even call the housekeeping for a box of tissue! Talk about running the extra mile?

One concierge staff, Peter Sha, who was always smiling, friendly and approachable, should be commended. He very kindly offered us advice in telling us where to go for supper (we had a few fluent mandarin speakers).

Located next to the Wanda Shopping Centre and in the town area, Sofitel is not as convenient for tourists compared to the Shangri-La Hotel, which is located just across the river for all the snow and ice-related sights and saves a lot of traveling time.

If you are looking for a nice room, this is the hotel for you – if you are looking for a nice room with excellent service, please stay elsewhere. We would rather stay in Shangri-La, where service is consistent. Do note that throughout our 3-night stay, we have only encountered a front desk staff that could speak a little English. Time for some training in customer service.

    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
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    • Service
4  Thank bzbubble
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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