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All reviews the club lounge japanese restaurant wanda shopping mall business trip ice festival home away from home the dragon special thanks club staff the general manager enjoyable stay nice room compared to other hotels english level fitness center rooms are large internet connection
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Reviewed February 1, 2010

From the airport, you get there in 45 minutes (13 Euros). Sofitel Wanda is located just near Wanda shopping mall and in front of a golf. Still, it takes 30 minute taxi drive to go to pedestrian streets (touristic area), near the Songhua river. The Shangri-La hotel is definitely better located but also more expensive.

The hotel is in an overall good condition and to our opinion it can be rated as a good 'Chinese 5 star hotel' which means a 3-4 star hotel according to Werstern standards. Yes, there is still a gap of quality...

The front desk and lobby are nice. The receptionist(s) speak an approximative English and quickly needs support from their supervisors (1 French or 1 Chinese) to answer specific questions. They are not familiar with A-Club membership and you have to ensure your A-Club number is proprely registered to be credited later. As the A-Club system is not running well, we were not surprised (we both have an A-Club card and already faced many problems to get our points in Asia Pacific).

The room was nice. Not wonderful, but nice. Actually, the ceiling in the bathroom was already cracked, a plug was not proprely fixed in the bedroom, there was no pen available on the desk, two small drawers with no buttons in the bathroom, etc. Let's say it's simply hard to get quality in China !

The bathroom was well equipped, deep bathroom, large shower, good range of amenities. Hot water at anytime. Shower gel and shampoo, good.

TV was of a good quality, as well as bed, bed sheets, blankets, pillows.... The heating system was good as you could manage it easily through air conditioning system. Thus, no problem with minus 22 outside at night and minus 17 at day time...

Housekeeping was not carried out in the evening... Very weird. Therefore, you don't get any more 'complimentary purified water' which is clearly a "cheap attitude" for a Sofitel.

For dinner, we went to the Japanese restaurant of the hotel. Very good and reasonable price. The formula at 23 Euros is really interesting.

As far as the breakfast is concerned, good. But neither very good or excellent. Nothing to compare with the breakfast you can enjoy in Sofitel Hiland Shanghai, for instance. In Sofitel Harbin the bread is very good, the pastries are good. Other food is average.

The service was the weak point almost everywhere. On the whole, this is not at a 5 star standard.

We paid around 150 Euros for 1 night with 2 breakfasts. We think this is too expensive for what we got. A better rate would have been around 100-110 Euros.

As far as Harbin is concerned, this city is worth visiting, at least during Ice Festival. The Ice world is amazing (to be visited at night). We paid 20 Euros each for the visit, but all the Chineses nationals queuing before us paid 9 Euros after they they showed their ID card... Strange ! At day time, Sun Island is great: we recommend to go there walking on the frozen river, then back with the cable (5 Euros). This gives an interresting view on the city. Sun Island costs you 15 Euros. But when you show the red and yellow star covered ID card this is only 7.5 Euros... Otherwise, Russians restaurant have only the name, not the food and it's a kind of swindle. Be also very careful with taxi drivers who clearly tries to cheat you as soon as they can: this is the first time so far in China we faced such a problem...

Date of stay: January 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled as a couple
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2  Thank JFG_Voyageur
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 23, 2010

We spent 2 nights as a family, visiting the Harbin Ice & Snow Festival. We've been living in china for 3 years, and I'm a regular to a number of Sofitels (and Shangri Las) in China. I'm not showing off, just trying to explain that (I hope) I have a balanced view in what-'s coming next.

i) Location: Hotel is FAAAAAR from where the winter festivities take place. Not extremely far, but a good 30 min.

ii) Check-in was a PAINFUL event. We arrived at reception at 1am. Receptionist (only one, normal at that time of the day) was more interested in continuing her phone conversation than in taking care of us. I'm not a fluent Chinese speaker, but I could find out that her talk was not related to business.

On checking in, I asked her if the additional rollaway bed we had asked for was in the room. She said that yes. You guess it...... it was not. On going back to reception (1.15 am), she could not understand or make a decision why the bed was missing. I asked her to call the On-Duty manager, who promptly showed up. He understood, and promised to take care of the situation.

The best of 30 minutes went, and nobody was rolling the bed in. Down to reception (1.45 am), a surprise face from the receptionist and prmises that, this time, it would be taken care of.

Indeed, after an additional 10 - 15' (2am now, and my kids menacing to bring the whole bulding down with their complaints about lack of sleep), the bed came and was set up by a maid, who also brought additional towels.

No additional amenities were brought, which means we had to share a smallish bottle of shower gel, but frankly, I didn't care to ask for more, but no extra ones were provided the following night either.

We went to Shangri La Hotel for our two lunches and one dinner (Lobby Buffet and ice Palace Restaurant) and the service of level was exactly what we have come to expect from Shangri La in Asia and China : SPOTLESS.

I'd say the room was not cheap. I understand it's peak season, but on footing 1,800 RMB per night for a junior suite, you expect way more than the Sofitel Reception Team was able to deliver that particular night.

The rooms, without being old, were definitely showing signs of age, and little maintenance: The table next to the sofa in the sitting room part of the room had several noticeable cigarette burns piercing through the fake leather upholstery, and it made for a poor impression when you arrived in the room.

Bottom line: If in town for the Ice Festival, give a try to Shangri La, and you will not regret it.

Date of stay: January 2010
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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2  Thank AntonioShanghai
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 5, 2010

I stayed here over New Year with my parents and brother. We did a fair bit of travelling in China for a few weeks and the club rooms I booked here for us were a real treat. The hotel is stunning, one of the nicest I've stayed in. (I live in China and have travelled extensively here for leisure and business and you never know quite what to expect from a hotel!!).

The rooms were lovely and a decent size with great bathrooms. The service and cleanliness were an extremely high standard and staff were helpful and efficient with more than an adequate level of English.

The club for us was definitely worth it. We had a good breakfast with both western and Chinese choices. After a freezing cold day out in Harbin, to come back to a nice, relaxing atmoshere and tea, coffee, a nice glass of wine / beer and some good food was great.

It was New Year and we did have a bit of hassle getting a taxi into town and back from the main attractions- the number of taxis in Harbin with "dodgy meters" seemed extremely high! A shuttle bus to town or to the main attractions would have been a huge added plus for the hotel.

All in- a great hotel and a lovely stay!!!

Date of stay: December 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled with family
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1  Thank citytoots
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 3, 2009

I have been twice to the Sofitel in Harbin, and both times I regretted it.

First, let's get the good stuff out of the way: yes, the premises and rooms are very nice. BUT...

The first time I was there, my room was so hot that even when stripping down to my underwear it was unbearable. I tried to switch off the heating - no luck. I tried to open the window (-25 C outside!) and my room door (to generate a cool draft) - it was still scorching. I called room service and the repair man came twice, but was unable to lower the temperature. I ended up sleeping in my underwear on top of the bed and spent a horrid night. To top it all, there was a lovely smell of sewers emanating from my bathroom...

The second time, nearly a year after the first visit, the temperature had been lowered. A little. But it was still a poor experience and the smell of sewers remained.

I have spoken to a few colleagues, and they have all experienced this problem.

Oh, and food is below average.

I usually like Sofitels, but I cannot recommend this one.

Date of stay: February 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled on business
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Thank Frederic B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 8, 2009

This is probably the best hotel in Harbin (along with Shangri-la). I dont know about the past, but in present days, this is a five star hotel with all that it takes. Me and my friend were welcomed at the reception by an english speaking receptionist who was born in Harbin and spoke fluent English. She took care of us and showed us two rooms (one for 950 a night and the other 1300 per night including entrance to the Club) and a swimming pool. I decided to take the Club room with breakfast included and it was well worth it. The staff of the hotel was very kind and helpful and treated me... well yeah, why not say it. Like royalty. I didnt experience any problem with the services at all. There are separate elevators going to the Club room floors (1,2,3, 19-22). The rooms are really nice. With big TV (HBO and other channels), french beds (the softest bed I have ever slept in). Swimming pool and sauna are free of charge, but you have to pay for the SPA (Im not sure how much, I think 700 RMB but not sure really). Quality of the food? I only had breakfast in the hotel, but there was french croissants, bagette and for me, spending a long time in Harbin, this was a real treat. There was also chinese food and sushi. There are other restaurants and clubs (one with live music). The interior of the hotel is really nice. As for the Club... I think its worth it as you can check out at 4 o clock and you can enjoy free drinks in the Club (beer, sprite, coke...), snacks and there is also a private reception for you on the 19 floor. All in all, five star gem.

Date of stay: October 2009
  • Trip type: Traveled solo
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1  Thank Lantis_Esquin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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