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"Good morning Madame, good morning Sir, welcome to the Sofitel", are the words you hear as you reach this premium luxury hotel. You are overwhelmed by the smiles and the positive attitude, while each and everyone of the staff smiles and says again and again, “Welcome among us”. A fresh approach that makes you happy and guarantees a nice stay for the days to come.
The Sofitel Arc de Triomphe is a perfect choice for tourists. Located a few meters from the Champs Élysées, it's nestled in the very heart of the capital.
Facing the entrance is the reception where waiting is not part of the game. A receptionist takes care of the check-in before you are shown to your room. She came from behind the counter to hand us the keys while the bellboy offered to take the bags to the room. Our room was located up on the fourth floor.
Let's start with the lobby. Next to the reception is a corner where designer furniture is featured, while a bar and seating area takes over the left wing. Up front, behind the reception, is a private area for dinners and special gatherings. A long corridor with a black feel and reflective walls takes you to the restaurant and breakfast area. "Do not leave without trying the breakfast at least once," I was told.
Now for the room. The first impression is great. A large room with a view on the street below is fitted with a small table used as a working desk (with one solitary electrical plug behind the curtains) a bed, a mini bar area and a large closet filled with amenities. A mirror occupies the main wall. A large Samsung flat screen, white walls and a lamp hanging from the ceiling finish it off. The bathroom is also large and relaxing with a shower, a sink, large mirrors and a toilet.
The closet is filled with a shoe mitt, bag and brush as well as a safe. The bathroom has all the amenities you need and the fittings are fully loaded, an espresso machine is waiting to serve you. For a five star, I was expecting some nuts and bites, an ironing machine and maybe a toothbrush.
The best: I loved the Hermes shampoo bottles and the digital entertainment system on the TV, as well as the Bose music system.
As I spent the first night there, some details made me change my mind about my first impression of perfection... You expect more from a five star and the price paid:
- The shower is not strong enough, half the water ducts are closed from lime scale.
- Cleanliness is not as good as it should be, little imperfections should not be permitted at Sofitel.
- The bed is too small for two people and had a lump in its middle. You keep thinking you're going to fall out all night long.
- The room has a bizarre smell of paint, or newly installed wood… A strong, unpleasant smell that accompanied us for four long nights
- At night, a blue light coming from the closet looks at you strangely… so prepare to sleep facing the window to avoid it... and unfortunately you can't turn it off.
- The room is big, but lacks a real working desk; my computer slept next to my bed. A large part of the space is not even usable around the bathroom and room entrance.
- Rooms were prepared for sleeping at 8pm; that should be done earlier, in my opinion.
- Don’t bother looking at the little magnifying mirror if you’re taller than 1.5 meters. It’s installed to make you look at your chest, not your face.
Every morning, a corner next to the reception welcomes you with a bowl of oranges, cereal bars, lemonade, towels and some bottles of water. And the positive energy and welcoming don't seem to have an end. A lovely spirit follows you around.
Breakfast in here is extraordinary; read about it in another detailed review which is well deserved. The choices, the service and food quality are all exceptional. If I plan to come back here it is simply for the breakfast.
Good to know: Car parking is priced at €38/night, a bit expensive to say the least. If a car rental is for €38 a day, parking costs as much.
The pluses: The staff’s professionalism is second to none and the ambiance around the hotel is very enjoyable.
The minus: Internet is free for the first three nights. You will be charged for it afterwards.
Four days passed, four days of relaxation... Now, sitting in the lobby, I'm enjoying calm, soothing music and remembering all the good and bad. Yes, I will surely come back for the professionalism, the free Internet, the freshness, breakfast and location.