WHAT'S IT LIKE? The gleaming lobby was enormous and had high ceilings, which intimidated me. But I was immediately put at ease by the staff who met me when I emerged from the hotel limo. Interiors are a mix of Europe and China, with gold and neo-classical details dominating.
WHERE IS IT? Along the Funan River and its picturesque walkway. The main commercial district can be reached on foot if one chooses that method.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 262 guestrooms, including 61 elegant Executive Rooms (pictured), one of which I stayed in.
ROOM FACILITIES: Sofitel’s branded MyBed, enveloped by a spotless duvet and crowned with equally pristine and plump pillows, made me wish it was time for shut-eye. Broadband internet access (complimentary for all room categories) was instant once the efficient – and laconic – employee of the IT department fiddled with my Mac’s settings. Someone had thoughtfully placed some fashion magazines on the vanity table, except they were in Chinese, which I do not speak or read. The hairdryer in the black suede pouch beside them was small but powerful. I found the design of the bathroom in this particular room a bit irregular as the washbasin and WC were located away from the bathing area. This needed some re-orienting, which I found disconcerting but that was a small matter.
RESTAURANTS: A buffet spread is laid out during breakfast, lunch and dinner at La Brasserie on the second floor; nearby is Fuji Japanese Restaurant. One floor up is The Palace that serves Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine with the latter featuring some unusual ways with turtle and snail. For more exclusivity, there are 13 showy private rooms to choose from.
BARS: Rendezvous Lounge and Cigar Bar are both located in the lobby and ideal for small meetings or just to unwind.
BUSINESS FACILITIES: The ballroom takes up to 300 people for cocktails and there are several meeting venues as well.
LEISURE FACILITIES: Heated indoor pool with skylight and fitness centre with Pre-Cor range of machines. A Jacuzzi, sauna and massage service are available.
VERDICT: English skills may not be the staff’s strong point but service is. The concierge team, however, were fantastic at providing all sorts of maps detailing different aspects of Chengdu, from museums to restaurants.
PRICE: Internet Smart Rate for a late October three-night stay in an Executive Queen Bed is CNY1,990 (US$263) nightly, with breakfast included.
CONTACT: 15 Binjiang Middle Road, Chengdu, Sichuan 610016, tel 86 28 6666 9999, www.sofitel.com
Margie T Logarta