Sofitel - A Philadelphia Hotel Review

Sofitel - A Philadelphia Hotel Review
The Sofitel chain of hotels has European roots with the majority of properties in the chain existing primarily overseas. The chain boasts numerous locations all over Europe, Africa, Australia and Asia. With only 10 properties in North America, I had the rare opportunity to stay in a Sofitel located in Center City, Philadelphia. This hotel is spot on for any business travel to the Philadelphia or South Jersey area.

The Sofitel-Philadelphia has 306 rooms and is located at 120 S. 17th Street in the heart of Center City. Its location is walking distance to most major office buildings downtown. Although this particular Sofitel is located in the cradle of American liberty, it fits right in with its international flair. Upon entry, it just “feels” European.

There are four general categories of rooms at the Sofitel-Philadelphia. The main differences are in size, and internet access. A Superior Room is approximately 350 sq. ft. with a flat screen TV, a separate glass enclosed shower, Roger and Gallet bath products, and personal kits (with cotton swaps, etc.). There is a nightly turn down service that includes a bottle of water; very important to the business traveler who might not want to dip into the mini-bar for that expensive yet much needed hydration. The Luxury Room has the same features, but is 50 sq. ft larger with a desk/sitting area. Internet acces is available for purchase in Luxury and Superior Rooms.

This property also offers two different suites. The Sofitel Suite is 500 sq. ft. It has the same amenities as the Luxury and Superior Rooms, but additionally offers complimentary internet access, a living room space, bathrobes and slippers. The Prestige Suite includes all the amenities of the Sofitel Suite, but also includes a sofa bed in the living room. At the time I stayed at the Sofitel-Philadelphia, the price difference between a Luxury Room and a Sofitel Suite was only about $40-$50.

Overall, I found that this hotel is likely one of the best deals in Philadelphia. The nightly rate was approximately $245.00 for a Sofitel Suite. When booking online, the website offers different rates based on your flexibility. If your business travel plans can change at a moment’s notice, opt for the Flex+ nightly rate, which will allow the most flexibility with changes and cancellations. The Flex (not Flex+) nightly rate allows for less opportunity to change or cancel, but is a cheaper option. When your plans are firm and you know there will be no changes, there are significantly discounted rates available with no changes or cancelations permitted. Also, although I cannot personally recommend the services for hosting meetings at the hotel (because I did not use them), a basic review of the accommodations online indicate there is a wide variety of options for holding meetings or conferences.

Chez Colette is the hotel’s onsite restaurant. There is also a very nice bar called Le Bourse with bar-type and lounge seating encouraging of winding down with co-workers. On the first morning of my stay, I had breakfast at Chez Colette as a matter of convenience. Yet I was so happy with my meal,I came back for dinner. The service and food were delicious enough that I would consider eating there again even if not staying in the hotel. For dessert, don’t miss the cream puffs. Honestly, anything that good should be illegal.

But since cream puffs aren’t illegal, fortunately the quality of the fitness center at the hotel seems to be in direct proportion to the quality of the restaurant. I would imagine that many of you, like me, do your best to stay fit on the road, but alas… cream puffs! The fitness center at the Sofitel was impressive for a downtown hotel in a big city. Equipped with ample space and various machines including elliptical machines, treadmills, stationary bikes, and Nautilus-type weight stations, it also had a wide range of free weights (for the more traditional workout) and inflatable exercise/balance balls and medicine balls (for concentrating on the core workout).

The loyalty program associated with the Sofitel properties is called A|Club. The program includes these properties: Pullman, MGallery, Novotel, Mercure and Suitehotels. This program might not be valuable to strictly U.S. business travelers, as there are not that many domestic properties as say a Hilton or Hyatt chain at which one could earn points. However, international travelers can accumulate points at the numerous and different properties. Although, if there is a way to accumulate free cream puffs instead of points, I’d opt for that.

Photo Credit - Julia Reed Zaic, 2007

For your convenience, rooms at the Sofitel Philadelphia can be booked here:

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