Sofitel to open brand’s largest Middle Eastern property

Accorhotels has announced it will be opening its largest Middle Eastern property in Dubai.

Expected to open in late 2019, Sofitel Dubai Wafi will have 501 rooms, including 86 suites, ranging in size from 55 sqm to 625 sqm, in addition to 97 studios and one-, two- and three-bedroom serviced apartments. The group has said that it will be within easy reach of Wafi Shopping Mall, Business Bay and downtown Dubai.

A number of dining options will be on offer, including an all-day dining restaurant, an Asian restaurant, a gastro pub, a pool bar and a bar and lounge on the 43rd and 44th floors.

The hotel’s spa will have have a gym, outdoor pools with private cabanas and a kids club, while for corporate groups 10 meeting rooms in addition to a 1,115sqm ballroom will be available.

Accorhotels’ COO of luxury brands in the Middle East, Sami Nasser said:

“We are delighted to work with MKM Commercial Holdings, one of our long-standing partners, to develop this impressive project that will undoubtedly become a future flagship for Sofitel in the region. The development of this property is aligned with our strategy to operate one of our leading luxury brands across strategic locations in the Middle East.”

“Sofitel Dubai Wafi signifies our ongoing commitment to expanding AccorHotels’ presence in the luxury segment through our landmark design and quality driven concepts. Sofitel operates luxury hotels and resorts across key destinations in the Middle East including the Sofitel Beirut Le Gabriel, Sofitel Jeddah Corniche, Sofitel Cairo Nile El Gezirah and the Sofitel Bahrain Zallaq Thalassa Sea & Spa. Through the development of the region’s largest Sofitel, we look to strengthen AccorHotels’ luxury offerings and cement our position as a leading luxury hotel operator,” he added.

Sofitel opens new Shanghai Hongqiao hotel

Le Bar Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao

Sofitel has opened its 21st property in Greater China and its third in Shanghai with the new Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao in the heart of the city’s Hongqiao central business district.

The Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao is approximately five minutes from Hongqiao train station and in close proximity to the National Exhibition and Convention Centre (NECC) and a short distance from Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport – one of two airports that service the city along with Pudong International Airport.

Speaking about the new property, Michel Molliet, COO of Accorhotels Greater China, said: “As the city’s third Sofitel brand hotel, [Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao] epitomises Shanghai’s elegance with its classic Parisian architecture. The opening of Sofitel Shanghai Hongqiao reflects and reinforces the steady growth of our luxury brand in Greater China, and it strengthens our competitiveness in this cosmopolitan city that has long been known as ‘the Paris of the East’.”

In line with its Parisian architecture, the 354-room property features suites as well as guestrooms with French-style furnishings. Meanwhile five F&B outlets are available, including international restaurant Kwee Zeen, Cantonese restaurant Le Chinois, Japanese restaurant Takara, along with a Spanish tapas and wine bar, Ocho, and Le Bar.

Additional facilities include a 25-metre indoor infinity pool with an outdoor terrace along with a So Fit gym, seven meeting spaces covering 2,000 sqm and a grand ballroom.

Ten new and upcoming Kuala Lumpur hotels

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia city skyline.

Hotel Cosmo Kuala Lumpur

Opening its doors on December 1, 2016, the Hotel Cosmo Kuala Lumpur is one of the latest midscale additions to Kuala Lumpur’s hotel scene. Its 347 rooms range from family-style and studio suites to regular guestrooms, and its location near the Masjid Jamek Interchange Station – two stops from KL Sentral – make it convenient for business travellers entering the city via the KLIA Express. The Leboh Ampang-district hotel is also located close to a number of the city’s banking institutions and Central Market.

Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur

Along with The Majestic Hotel Kuala Lumpur, YTL Hotels’ Hotel Stripes Kuala Lumpur is among the first properties in Southeast Asia to join the Autograph Collection – a group of more than 110 independent hotels worldwide. Opened in February 2017, the Hotel Stripes is situated in the business hub on Jalan Kamunting, an area replete with 1940s shop houses and once known as the Asian Heritage Row, and features 184 bespoke guestrooms and suites.

Mercure Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade

The Mercure brand debuted in Kuala Lumpur earlier this month with the opening of the Mercure Kuala Lumpur Shaw Parade hotel. Located in the city’s Bukit Bintang district, the 213-room property features a number of distinctly local touches – a common theme among Mercure hotels – including Peranakan motifs in its all-day Chorak Restaurant. The hotel also has a lobby lounge, rooftop pool bar and adjacent fitness centre, and three meeting and events spaces.

Element Kuala Lumpur

The Element Hotels brand will be making its Southeast Asia debut when the Element Kuala Lumpur opens on April 9, 2017 in the 275-metre Ilham Baru Tower. Nearly half of the guestrooms in the property will be suites (120 out of a total 252 rooms), with small kitchenettes being a key feature of many of the eco-themed hotel’s accommodations. A variety of recreational services and amenities are also planned to be available in this green vein, including bicycle rental and electric vehicle charging stations.


Four Seasons Kuala Lumpur

Four Seasons’ new 209-room property in the Malaysian capital is scheduled for an early 2018 opening and will make up part of a 65-storey mixed-use tower that will offer a total of 242 Four Seasons-branded residences and 27 serviced apartments. A five-floor 27,900-sqm luxury shopping complex known as the Four Seasons Place Kuala Lumpur will also occupy the tower.

CitizenM Kuala Lumpur

Set to open in the second quarter of 2018, Artyzen Hospitality Group’s third CitizenM hotel in Asia will be its smallest in the region with 198 rooms – upcoming properties in Taipei and Shanghai will have 267 and 303 rooms, respectively. Announced last week, the Bukit Bintang district CitizenM Kuala Lumpur has been confirmed to feature a 24-hour CanteenM eatery, though other facilities have yet to be announced.

So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Hotel and Residences, and Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara

Accorhotels’ new So Sofitel offering in the Malaysian capital actually comprises two properties – the So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Hotel and the So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Residences. Both are scheduled to open their doors in 2020 and, like many of the city’s new hotels, are situated a short distance from the Petronas Twin Towers and the Kuala Lumpur Convention Centre. The hotel will offer 207 guestrooms while the serviced residences will include 590 units. Each features a spa, fitness centre and event spaces, among other facilities, while guests at the residences will be able to make use of the rooftop sky garden foyer for barbecues.

In addition to these properties, Accorhotels is also set to open its Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara on June 1, 2017, located about one hour from Kuala Lumpur International Airport. Larger than the So Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Hotel, the Sofitel Kuala Lumpur Damansara will include some 312 rooms.

Crowne Plaza Kuala Lumpur City Centre

Intercontinental Hotel Group’s (IHG) Crowne Plaza Kuala Lumpur City Centre is currently scheduled for a 2021 opening with a specific focus on business travellers. This is evident in the hotel’s central business district location on Jalan Yap Kwan Seng road, walking distance from the Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Petronas Twin Towers, and its business centre and seven meeting spaces. A total of 338 rooms, an all-day dining restaurant, numerous specialty restaurants and a Sky Bar round will be available, along with leisure facilities such as an outdoor swimming pool and fitness centre.

Radisson Red Kuala Lumpur City Center

Announced back in October 2016, the Radisson Red Kuala Lumpur City Centre will stand about 800 metres from the Petronas Twin Towers when it opens in 2022, marking the brand’s debut in Malaysia. While the upscale lifestyle hotel brand focuses particularly on design, art and fashion, its business facilities are also a key component and the Radisson Red Kuala Lumpur will offer 166 rooms across 27 floors along with meetings and events spaces with views of the twin towers. A rooftop swimming pool and gym will also be included.

Priority Pass adds Sofitel Heathrow lounge access

Sofitel London heathrow

Priority Pass has added the Sofitel London Heathrow’s Club Millesime as its latest lounge partner.

Members can now access the lounge when travelling to or from Heathrow airport, between the hours of 0700 and 2130 daily.

Amenities include internet access, continental breakfast, complimentary snacks, wines and canapes, and shower facilities. Paid-for spa treatments are also available.

According to the Priority Pass website members should register at the hotel’s guest relations desk to obtain an access card, before heading to the lounge which is located on the ground floor.

The group recently reached the 900-lounge landmark, having added over 170 lounges in the 12 months to April.

Singapore’s second Sofitel opens for business

The second Sofitel-branded property in Singapore has opened its doors.

Situated in the popular leisure destination of Sentosa, Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa is located just 3km from the Harbour Front MRT – accessible via the free shuttle service, and a 30-minute drive from Changi Airport.

The resort offers 211 guestrooms, plus four villas – all of which come with fittings such as large work desks, internet connectivity, and ensuite bathrooms with separate shower and bathtub. Amenities available exclusive to the villas include garden terraces and private pools.

Sofitel Singapore Sentosa Resort & Spa offers three dining options, including Kwee Zeen, the all-day dining joint featuring an open kitchen concept; The Garden, opened during lunch and focused on healthy eating; and Lebar, which serves afternoon tea comprising of Asian savouries, French patisseries, chocolates and grand cru tea.

Sofitel’s So Spa is available at the resort, and is the largest of its kind in the world. It features a total of 20 treatment rooms, a Jacuzzi section, and a dedicated females-only area. A key highlight is the mud pool, where guests can soak themselves with New Zealand volcanic mud, renowned for its high mineral content.

Meeting facilities available onsite include two ballrooms, 15 meeting rooms, outdoor verandas and a bridal suite. All event spaces are pillar-less which allows more natural light to flood through.

For more information, visit and

Clement Huang

Sofitel Legend People’s Grand Hotel Xian opens

Sofitel, the luxury hotel arm of French hospitality group Accor, has opened a new property in an iconic structure in Xian, an industrial boomtown that is also famous as China’s ancient capital for 13 dynasties, including Han and Tang which have defined modern Chinese culture. For a story about the city, click here.

The newly opened Sofitel Legend People’s Grand Hotel Xian has become the brand’s 19th property in Greater China and a member of the exclusive Legend Collection that includes such historic landmarks as Hotel Metropole Hanoi (story here) and Sofitel Legend the Grand Amsterdam (review here).

The building first opened in 1953 as the State Guesthouse, at a site where an imperial palace once stood. Hong Qing, chief architect of the Northwest Institute of Architectural Design, surrounded the property with an extensive garden and used a number of French touches in its design, including fleur-de-lis (stylized lily) as a recurring motif. Accor commissioned Joe Cheng, chairman and chief executive of Hong Kong-based Cheng Chung Designs, to refurbish the property and the project took 28 months. Ceiling mouldings as well as the Art Deco-style front entrance and lobby have been preserved.

“As the first Legend hotel in Accor China’s portfolio and only the fifth in the group’s world map, we feel this beautiful property strikes the perfect note of French elegance in the heart of this timeless city, with its long history as a cultural crossroads at the start of the Silk Road,” said Paul Richardson, Accor Greater China chief operating officer.

The hotel is characterised by lofty ceilings and spacious interiors, and it features 71 rooms and suites restored to convey a sense of time and place. Aligned with Sofitel’s signature style, the hotel offers amenities such as Hermès toiletries and French-designed floral arrangements. Personalised butler service is extended to guests from the moment of arrival, and other facilities include an extensive garden setting, private health club, swimming pool and spa, an authentic Italian restaurant, an exclusive top-floor Louis XIII Bar (pictured below) and a private museum. Sheltered links to the neighbouring Convention Centre and Grand Theatre make this new property ideal for meetings and events.


The People’s Grand Hotel Xian is part of Renmin Square, a hotel complex with 40,000 sqm in area and managed by Accor. It is located within the old city walls, and is within walking distances to notable attractions such as the Forest of Steles and the Muslim quarter where spice trade once flourished. Today locals and visitors frequent this area for ethnic cuisine and souvenirs.

Famous political figures that have visited this property include the country’s former Premiers Zhou Enlai and Zhu Rongji, and Marshal Chen Yi. The guestbook has also been signed by heads of state including former French President François Mitterrand, royalty from Europe and Asia, and one of the most famous Secretaries of State in US history Henry Kissinger.


Reggie Ho





Imperial Suite




Asia’s first Sofitel So to open in 2011

The second Sofitel So – and the first in Asia – is ahead of schedule and will now open in Bangkok later in the year. Originally slated to open in 2012, the Bangkok property follows on from an opening of a Sofitel So in Mauritius and precedes Mumbai.

A feature of the So properties is the localising of each property, which is done by working with architects and designers well known in that destination. In the case of the Bangkok property, this meant a collaboration of five Thai designers and celebrated architect Verawat Ongvasith. According to Sofitel, “The essence of Bangkok has been interpreted into design through the eyes of these design authorities as the hotel name suggests So Bangkok”.

The aesthetics of the 30-storey, 238-room property has been influenced by the five elements – water, earth, wood, metal, and fire. The first four elements inspire the design of guestrooms spread respectively over different floors, while fire is the theme of the public areas and restaurants.

On the technology front, each room will be equipped with fully integrated Apple Mac mini and free wifi will be available throughout the hotel. For MICE groups there will be a range of meeting and ballroom options.

Vicki Williams

Sofitel opens first “Legend” in Europe

Sofitel’s Amsterdam property – The Grand – has officially launched as a “Sofitel Legend”, the five-star hotel chain’s top tier for properties with “rarity and exclusivity”.

Sited in the centre of Amsterdam, the former convent and home of the Dutch Admiralty was selected to be the first European Sofitel Legend because of its long history (though it has been a hotel only a few decades).

The move to create Sofitel Legend properties is part of Accor’s continued repositioning of its top tier Sofitel brand, a move which has seen the number of Sofitels drop in recent years as they have either been rebranded as Pullmans or M Gallery properties, or have left the Accor group altogether. The first Sofitel Legend was the Metropole in Hanoi.

The Sofitel Grand has had tens of millions spent on it in the last three years, and now has a two-floor spa including swimming pool, new public areas and meeting rooms, and most notably a new restaurant – Bridges.

The property, which has been a Sofitel for several years, has undergone an extensive renovation in recent years under French interior architect Sybille de Margerie (also responsible for the Hôtel de Crillon in Paris and Hôtel Cheval Blanc in Courchevel). The hotel’s restaurant has taken its design inspiration from an existing mural in situ by Dutch COBRA artist Karel Appel.

The 177-room hotel has 52 suites including some apartments with direct access to the canalside, and a courtyard garden around which the rooms are gathered, giving a choice of external views or courtyard views (definitely quieter in the summer months, given Amsterdam’s reputation for partying). A full review of the property will appear in the September issue of Business Traveller.

Other hotels lined up to join The Grand as Sofitel Legends include the Old Cataract in Aswan (Egypt), Palais Jamaï in Fez (Morocco), Santa Clara in Cartagena (Colombia), the Winter Palace in Luxor (Egypt) and The Cecil in Alexandria (Egypt).

For more information visit

Report by Tom Otley