Introduction to The Long Way back to Australia
Bangalore to Mumbai (Jet Airways Business Class Class 737-800)
JW Marriott Sahar (Mumbai)
Mumbai to Abu Dhabi (Jet Airways First Class 777-300ER)
Abu Dhabi to London (Etihad First Class A380)
Tour of Etihad's The Residence
The Frankfurt Hotel (Frankfurt)
Park Inn by Radisson (Luxembourg 1)
Sofitel Luxembourg Europe (Luxembourg 2)
The Westin Grand (Frankfurt)
Lufthansa First Class Terminal (Frankfurt)
Frankfurt to Seoul (Lufthansa First Class A380)
The Ritz-Carlton (Seoul)
Tokyo to Sydney (Japan Airlines First Class 777-300ER)
Sofitel Luxembourg Europe
Luxembourg City, Luxembourg
Having checked out of the Park Inn, I decided to get a taxi from the hotel since I had my suitcase with me now, and also I couldn't figure out the best way to get to the Sofitel hotel since it was in the business district - a little bit away from the city center. Luxembourg City is a little unique in that they actually have two Sofitel hotels - the Sofitel Luxembourg Europe where I was staying, and located right in the business district, and the Sofitel Luxembourg Le Grand Ducal, the newer property located closer to the city center. It's also worth noting that there are only 5 or 6 hotels with a 5 star rating in Luxembourg City.
Despite it being early April, in non peak hotel times, both hotels were still having high prices per night - so I took the safer option with the slightly less expensive Sofitel Luxembourg Europe, which still ended up being $180 AUD per night (not including breakfast) - not an overly expensive night for a 5 star hotel, but possibly an expensive night if the experience wasn't great. I had contacted Accor's PR team to see if I could get an upgrade prior to arrival, and while that wasn't the case at check-in, the manager did upgrade me when asked - case in point being because I found out that the hotel was incredibly empty - so that was nice either way. April is neither peak travel time, nor was it active on a Saturday/Sunday due to offices being closed.
As with most experiences though in Europe, the female staff were very warm and friendly, while the male staff felt very stuck up. There's a fine line between professional and cold though.
The reception itself was a mix of new age furniture, and a super traditional reception check-in desk, so I wasn't quite sure which style of room I'd be getting at this point. The interesting thing about the hotel was the shape, where the building was in an oval/rugby/football ball shape, with all the rooms on the outside, and an open view in the middle extending to the lobby, which made for some great photos.
The ground floor contained some nice high end restaurants and bars which I didn't directly partake in, but if I'm with company I may give it a try next time. Anyways, they decided to give me a room halfway through the oval which was odd considering I would say the hotel was perhaps 10% full.
Either way, I was given a Superior King Room - which comes in at a very comfortable 37 square meters in size. The room itself - well it looked quite.. dated, but not in a terrible way - just dated. Take a look at the room pics for yourself!
I think it was the carpet and old style veneer furniture that really made the room look dated, but at least the bed area looked quite nice. Also, the two random chairs they had put into the corner facing the tv looked quite out of place, and I never bothered to sit on them.
As for the bed itself - it was ridiculously comfortable, and it apparently feature's Sofitel's premium 'MyBed' bedding - which was one of the most comfortable sleeps I've ever had. I got a little curious and had a look at what they do - they take their mattress which is already comfortable and put their bedding duvet thing under it, thus creating a second layer you sink into. Smart I suppose - it worked for me!
Anyways, moving to the bathroom - it was all marble, and quite nice looking as far as aesthetics go - but not necessarily invitingly warm.
The bathroom technically had a center and two offshoots - one for the toilet, one for the shower. The toilet could be closed if someone wanted to use the sink, but it was quite tight a feeling.
While I really wanted to take a bath, I never really got into the mode I wanted, and just ended up taking regular showers. But least they had swanky robes I could wear.
Amenities wise, they had Lanvin branded products - which isn't a brand I'm familiar with, but they smelt nice, and looked good - so I presume Sofitel knew what they were giving.
After a few trips out and back, they had some nice lighting at the hotel at night.
I decided I couldn't be bothered going out the first night - it had been a long day, and I didn't know what time the last bus to my area was, so I decided to just head home after sightseeing (first day Strasbourg, second day Trier) and just order some room service.
As expected - prices were exorbitant and I really struggled to decided on what to get - so I decided on a burger. Did I want to pay $35 for a burger? No - but I was limited to only hotels around me unfortunately, so I stuck with it. Room service told me the burger would take 30-40 minutes, which was an oddly long time, but I went it it, but fortunately they ended up bringing it less than 20 minutes after I rang up.
The food itself was accompanied by some potato cakes (which I thought were local fries originally on the menu, but oh well), and they gave me a complimentary yogurt as well, which was the weirdest side dish I've ever had with a burger - but I took it as dessert. In terms of taste, the potato cake things were pretty weird, so I ate one and left the rest. As for the burger - mediocre. I'm not entire sure what they put in it, but it wasn't amazing, nor terrible - but it was more bun than mean, so it wasn't the best in that respect. The yogurt was delicious though! Definitely not worth anywhere close to $35 AUD.
During my time there I took two day trips as I said - one to Strasbourg in France, and one to Trier in Germany. Below is a few quick pics of the trip - but were wonderful places, but Strasbourg was a ridiculously charming city as well.
And a little Trier as well, one of the oldest towns in Germany, and predominantly a university town as well.
Strasbourg is a very unique city, about 2 hours away from Luxembourg by direct train, and I thoroughly enjoyed it - but perhaps 6 hours wasn't enough time to spend there. I even wanted to check out Colmar - one of the prettiest towns I've seen, but unfortunately the timelines didn't make sense - have to leave something for next time after all 😉
Trier as I said is one of the oldest towns in Germany, and it was a quick 30-35 minute bus ride from Luxembourg to Trier - where I met my earlier mentioned Mexican friend for a quick tour around the town. It was a pretty enough but quite small though it was riddled with ancient roman ruins which was quite unique enough - and since Sunday was an unplanned day, Trier made sense. Though if I had a choice between both - I'd head straight back to Strasbourg as there's much more to do.
Anyways, back to the hotel - I decided to check out their facilities (apart from their bars and restaurants) and ended up finding the Gym, which was quite small, but it had enough equipment I suppose. I can imagine it getting really tight and packed if more than 4 people use it however.
In terms of location, for tourists the Business district is a bit away from the city center so to speak, and it's about a 15-20 minute bus ride away from the train station, about 10-15 minutes away from the city shopping & dining areas. Not too bad, but it's still not practical to walk as bus or cabs are your only option (keeping in mind there is no Uber in Luxembourg). There's a bus stop just 5 minutes walk from the hotel which is quite convenient, but at nights the area can be quite deserted - so while Luxembourg is quite safe, it's still an odd feeling.
In terms of the hotel, I'd leave the main parts for the review - but for business travels it's perfect - for tourists it's a but out of the way, and the Sofitel Le Grand Ducal might be your better option going forward. But this Sofitel is cheaper if you don't mind the slight distance - since Luxembourg isn't a very big country either way - let alone city.
With that, I left early the last day as I had to get to Frankfurt, and I was given another silly routing with 3 trains to take, but convenience from or to Frankfurt isn't the greatest to Luxembourg - something to keep in mind.