Opened barely a few months ago earlier in the year, Sofitel So Auckland is the "new kid on the bloc". Just a street behind the Viaduct Harbour foreshore where the ferry terminal is, the neighbourhood is noticeably quieter than the Hilton. Which is the good thing. On the down side, the rooms in this newbie don't have the expansive vantage of the rooms in the Hilton.
Taking over the structure previously run by the Westin group, the building originally housed the New Zealand Reserve Bank. Which probably explains why the hotel is so "inward-looking", and not many of its rooms have sea views. Most overlook the internal water feature, which is meh, or have city views, which is so blah.
By virtue of it being the newest hotel in Auckland, the Sofitel So is currently the prettiest. And also by default, the most luxurious.
The French aesthetic is evident immediately when you walk through the lobby. Swathed in shades of taupe, rich jewel tones and dark wood, the hotel is opulent yet tasteful and elegant.
There's no available parking at the hotel (that I could see anyway), or adjacent to the hotel that's cost-effective, and the space at the drop-off porch is limited, but at least there's the valet option (NZ$45 per day).
Many of the rooms in the hotel face each other, which is as dull a view as it gets. Also, I'd advise drawing the shades if you're the type to traipse around the room in your birthday suit.
The small but functional business centre, just off the main lift lobby access to the rooms, which was very useful when I needed to get urgent work done. The con? There's no privacy at all.
We stayed in the Luxury King Room (rates start at NZ$280), stylishly furnished in restful tones.
The bed was comfortable, and we slept well. The tv was properly large, had complimentary cable, and set up so we could move it to somewhat face the bed, or the couch.
The bed is right next to the bathroom.
Lanvin toiletries, which exclusively supply to the Sofitel chain, and these ones were orange scented.
I liked that the bathroom at the Sofitel is well fitted out, and definitely more luxurious than the Hilton's almost depressing one. For one, the tub was deep and could easily fit the Hubs and I.
The water pressure of the hand shower was ridiculously low, I would have taken a year to wash out the shampoo in my hair. I'm all for the save-water movement, but that was just ludicrous. Use the rainshower instead, the water pressure was much more efficient.
The modest seating area, which was next to the wardrobe and mini bar. Dilmah teas and nespresso capsules were complimentary, as with tea and coffee making facilities, and the standard honour bar snacks and drinks.
Hotel Sofitel Auckland Viaduct Harbour
21 Viaduct Harbour Ave
Tel: +64 9 909 9000