on April 15, 2009
We made the reservation for the Sofitel Sydney per telephone, got a flat rate that included full American breakfast. Before making the reservation we checked some reviews of the Sofitel. Some of them where mentioning the construction site near the hotel (at Bligh Street). When we checked in, we requested a room as far away as possible from the construction site. Guess what we got? A room with frontrowseats to view the construction site activities. Since we where staying there during the weekend, I was hoping it wouldn’t cause too much problems. Boy was I wrong. When we got back in our room (2 am) they were setting up a scaffold! At that time we were simply too tired to complain. Next day we got up around 8 a.m., just in time to see the start of a new workingday at the construction site. This time the big noisy machines were included in the festivities. Lucky for us we had a full day planned outside of the hotel. Since the site is just a hole in the ground (March 2009), constructionactivity/noise can be expected for the rest of the year. Keep this in minde before making resrvations.As for the hotel itself, the lobby is beautiful decorated. The first thing that caught my attention however was not what I saw, but what I smelled. The lobby was filled with a scent that reminded me of one of the fragrance I use (Hugh Parsons 99, Regent Street). Our room had a small queen size bed with a small working desk including high speed Internet access (27,50 AUD per day) and an in-room safe. The bed was not very comfortable. The mattresses felt worn-out and the bed and duvet smelled a little musty. Not something I expect from a Accor hotel (which are usually known for their comfortable beds). The room had a small flat screen LCD TV, mini-bar, tea and coffee making facilities, closet and a safe. The in-room safe was large enough to accommodate a laptop, photo gear and other valuables.Bureau met internet access AU$24.95. The bathroom had all the necessary amenities but was extremely small. First I couldn’t find it because I thought the swing doors gave access to a closet. Wrong thinking, it was the bathroom (yeehaw). One of the best things about the bathroom was the shower. It was excellent with lots of room. This is what every hotel should do if there is not enough room for a shower and bathtub. Funny detail was the option to select different kind of lights in the room. You could choose between night light, reading light, floor light etc. Nice detail that makes it possible to select the light you need (functional or cosy). The staff was very professional, helpful an attentive. We really felt that we were a guest of the Sofitel.Breakfast (full American) was included in the rate and I have to say that this was excellent. The variety of the breakfast was very good. They had a wide variety of pastries, breads, juices, cold meats, cheeses and cereals. Besides that they had all sorts of fresh fruits, tasty desserts etc., etc. The hot part of the breakfast was cooked to order. This breakfast was the best I had in quite a while.The location of the hotel was perfect for our short stay in Sydney. The Rock, Opera House, Harbour Bridge, Darling Harbour, Circular Quay, Botanic Gardens, CBD shopping and a wide variety of restaurants and bars. Everything within walking distance but far enough away from the noise and hustle. The hotel has a valetparking option (33 AUD per night) altough the valet is not so valet. You can’t leave your car in front of the hotel. You have to bring it to the parking garage (back-side of the hotel) where one of the parking attendants will park it for you. Same thing if you need your car. You have to go to the parkinggarage to handover the claimticket while somebody else is getting your car. It more like a combination of self- and valetparking. You can use both the escalator and the elvator to go to the parkinggararge.Checking out was fast and easy and they were even interested in our experiences. I paid the bill with my credit card, I had to pay 1,5% extra for this. This is the second time I am charged for using a credit card (firts time at the Novotel Canberra). A new trend or is this e new policy at Accor hotels? Pros & cons of the hotel.Pros: Excellent breakfast, central location (everything within walking distance) and very professional staff.Cons: Noise from the construction site, small rooms and the 1,5% surcharge for using my creditcard.Would recommend it, but make sure you have a room as far away from the construction site as possible.
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