For a Sofitel, this one ranks middle-down. The huge, ornate, high-ceiling lobby speaks class, but once you walk up to check-in that quickly fades. I've stayed here twice, and the most recent time they didn't have a room with a king-size bed, as reserved, available. The proper thing to do, especially since I'm A-Club Platinum, would be to upgrade me, but they offered me an ashtray in a nonsmoking room. I refused it, and asked to see the duty manager. The clerk played ignorant and continued tapping keys on her computer. After about 20 minutes, voila, a room was available. Check-out was just slightly quicker. But a colleague of mine had a heck of a time explaining that her breakfast should've been included according to our company contract, but they said no and made her pay.
The rooms themselves were typical Sofitel, comfortable bed, robe, etc. If you get a room facing the back, you're probably looking into a densely-placed apartment complex.
Location, at the Wanda Plaza about one hour away from the airport. There are Wanda shopping complexes in many cities in China, and this one is a bit more downmarket than some others. There's a pretty big supermarket in the basement of the complex. The department store, Van's, is nothing special. Other than the mall there isn't much. The hotel is set back a bit from the main street so it's fairly quiet.
The best thing about this Sofitel is probably the selection of bars and restaurants. Glam Lounge in the lobby has comfortable seating, low lighting at night, and of course overpriced drinks made by novice bartenders. Above Glam there is a music lounge and cigar bar. Much better service here though the staff disappears for periods of time. There was a trio playing Chinese pop my last stay here, and I guess somehow they found out I was an English-speaking customer and began to churn out some English songs. Appreciate the effort.
Breakfast at the restaurant on the second floor was average for a luxury hotel. Good selection, mediocre service. The Japanese restaurant on the ground floor is excellent, though my server had a wacked sense of humor. After my meal I go the check, and she told me that because I was a guest I was entitled to a discount, but the dishes I ordered (sushi platter, tempura, beer) were not included in the eligible items. Yes, I was told this after I had finished my meal. Since I hadn't known there were any discounts to begin with, I shrugged it off and chuckled.
In Harbin there are only two international five-star hotels, this one and the Shangri-La. If you like your hotel bars, choose the Sofitel, otherwise pick Shangri-La.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Ideally located in the heart of the city’s business district, Sofitel Harbin brings the latest trends in hotel design to Harbin and sets a new standard in combining classic French hospitality with Chinese culture. Providing easy access to Taiping airport, the convention and exhibition centre, the hotel is your gateway to the region. Featuring 321 rooms of pure indulgence and Club Sofitel executive floors, 3 inspired restaurants, state of the art conference facilities, spa, fitness centre and indoor heated pool, the hotel has everything you need and more. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Sofitel Wanda Harbin Hotel Harbin
- Accor Wanda Harbin
- Harbin Sofitel