To be honest, I have been quite put off by the Sofitel brand in recent months. As a Club Accor platinum, many hotels (Los Angeles, Budapest, London, etc) seem to avoid granting the upgrade listed as a formal perk or make it sound like a huge favour, and hotels themselves have been hit and miss. Well, all of the above should come to Melbourne to see how a mixture of excellent 'hard product' and excellent service can really offer the corporate promise of "French style luxury" with an edge, a sense of detail, professionalism, and warmth.
Let's start with the basics. The Sofitel Melbourne is a genuine 'urban' hotel in one of the most pleasant and liveable cities of the Southern hemisphere. It is not cheap, but it is located in a high rise building (all rooms are located between levels 35 and 50 and all have outside and beautiful views!) toward the Southeastern corner (i.e posh end) of the central business district. This means that the hotel is 2-3 minutes walk from three possible stations for the free historic circle line of the tramway (which usefully goes all around the CBD) as well as free tourist shuttle stops.There are tramways stops going to various locations in greater Melbourne including St Kilda on the hotel's doorstep and two of the major regional train stations (Flinders St and Parliament St) within 5-10 minutes walk.
We booked two rooms of different categories (long story), both of which were upgraded thanks to our two Platinum cards (bayview to a beautiful corner room and club corner to an even more beautiful junior suite) and check in handled very pleasantly and efficiently by Hana who ensured that she gave us rooms that fitted with our profile preferences (high floors, away from lifts, etc) and gave us choices when she thought that perhaps sacrificing one of our 'usual' preferences would be in our interest. She did an outstanding job. It is also worth noting that ALL rooms, including the most 'basic' city view rooms on low floors actually are large and have great views, but of course, things get better and better (and prices dearer and dearer) when you "climb the ladder" towards bayview rooms, corner rooms, higher floors, and larger rooms such as junior suites and suites.
The rooms are modern, clean, and in excellent state, with a certain form of understated luxury. We are well travelled in all levels of hotels including the 'corporate' luxury hotels (Intercontinental, W, Westin, Sofitel, etc) and the high end luxury ones (Peninsula, Four Seasons, Shangri La, Langham, Ritz Carlton, etc), and I would say that this Sofitel has every reason to feel very proud of what it has to offer and the level of detail and care it boasts. This include such details as sleek grey marble bathrooms, the original and excellent Lanvin toiletries, the natural loofah in the bathroom amenities, or the fact that at turndown, where most hotels feel that giving you a chocolate is already a fine treat, the Sofitel Melbourne goes the extra length and offers you, instead, a delightful spray of pillow mist which you can use to ensure a lovely smell and relaxing start of your night (one thing that all Sofitels have in common is that their 'MyBed' is truly excellent!). Club rooms also have 'improved' amenities such as nespresso coffee machines (regular rooms have more basic but complimentary tea and coffee making facilities).
As mentioned, we booked a room with Club access, and here again, I found the club to be one of the best we have tried in Australia (even compared to other very good executive clubs such as those of the Shangri La Sydney or the Langham in Melbourne). Every service included products of genuinely high quality. Breakfast included a choice of four made-to-order dishes (my only suggestion for improvement would be that they rotate daily to avoid repeitition) - eggs benedict, a chorizo omelette, blueberry pancakes or a fruity porridge in addition to a smart buffet that included excellent 'viennoiseries' (French breakfast pastries), cured meats, cheese, high quality yoghurts, breads, fresh fruit, scrambled eggs with various meats and vegetables, smoked salmon, fruit juice shorts, etc. Then there is a light lunch (salad, cured meats, cheese, dips, breads), then a bit later a nice (but again never changing) French afternoon tea (almond pastries, croissants, bread, jams and spreads, chocolate, small desserts, etc) and then an excellent drinks and canapes (this time, changing regularly. During our stay, hot offers have included lamb fillet chops, deep fried calamari, Thai pork meatballs, chicken tandoori fillets, etc), cold offerings have included fresh oysters, seafood salad and more, and every night there were also various nibbles, sushi, small salads, dips, cured meats, and more. The drinks on offer during the cocktail hours are of a noticeably higher quality than what you get in most Australian executive clubs. Vodkas included Grey Goose and Tasmanian 666, gins included Hendricks and a boutique Australian one, there were micro-brewery local beers and local cider, quality Australian whisky and Laphroaig, good wines, sparkling wine, etc. The bar is self service. Throughout the day, offerings also include high quality Emma and Tom juices, luxury loose teas and herbal teas, soft drinks and waters, and a choice of self-service nespresso or barrista coffee.
In fact, one of the things that made the lounge special was how nice everyone was. Coffees and teas would be pro-actively offered, the staff recognised you immediately and effortlessly seemed to acquaint themselves with your favourite coffee or tea. They would volunteer any advice on your stay and often go the extra mile, offering to bring you some chocolates or put together a drink, etc. We found them both highly professional and genuinely hospitable.
Finally, we ate at restaurant 35 and invited colleagues for a drink at the Sofi's lounge, and both experience was certainly fine. While, in my view, the restaurant was 'really good' rather than outstanding, it could certainly be a dinner destination in its own right for locals and visitors (indeed, it obviously was) and a clear notch above the 'corporate' hotel restaurant too often found in hotels this size.
In short, We had an excellent stay at the Sofitel Melbourne and would very happily return. Many people consider that the 'benchmark' for Melbourne luxury hotels is the Langham on Southbank. The Langham is very good indeed, but to be honest, I have enjoyed the Sofitel even a little bit more, especially as the incredible views from the high rise give a sense of the city (particularly at night) which feels truly special.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Sofitel Melbourne On Collins is at the Paris end of Collins Street, in the heart of the city's premier shopping, dining and theatre district, just minutes from the famous Melbourne Cricket Ground. This award-winning hotel has 363 luxurious rooms that begin from level 36 offering breathtaking views from floor-to-ceiling windows. Each room is complemented by modern furnishings, mood lighting, LED\LCD or Plasma televisions and iPod|MP3 connection. Marble bathrooms offer automated low level lighting and French amenities.Enjoy modern dining in No35, high tea occasions in Sofi's Lounge or stylish cocktails in the Atrium Bar On 35.For meetings and events, Sofitel Melbourne On Collins is one of the city’s most comprehensive integrated hotel conference venues offering 12 individual meetings venues with comprehensive audio-visual services. ... more less
- Reservation Options:
- TripAdvisor is proud to partner with Expedia, Booking.com, Odigeo, Agoda, Ctrip TA, ACCOR, Hotels.com, HotelsClick, Cancelon, Ebookers, Evoline ltd, 5viajes2012 S.L. and HotelQuickly so you can book your Sofitel Melbourne on Collins reservations with confidence. We help millions of travellers each month to find the perfect hotel for both holiday and business trips, always with the best discounts and special offers.
- Also Known As:
- Sofitel Melbourne On Collins Hotel Melbourne
- Accor Melbourne On Collins
- Melbourne Sofitel