A few weeks ago I was invited by Sofitel, the French luxury hotel chain to travel to Morocco and experience their hotel in Essaouira. I travelled via their Hotels in Heathrow Terminal 5 and Marrakech. My reason for staying at Heathrow is that the flights to Morocco, the main destination, were at seven in the morning and there was no way I would have been able to get from Manchester to Heathrow comfortably on the day. Therefore, Sofitel offered to put me up at their Heathrow destination.
On my arrival on the Sunday evening, I took the lift to the Sofitel floor, walked through the long glossy corridor to the reception desk. I was greeted all the way by warm and genuine “Good Evenings” and smiles all the way. The reception was nothing but lavish, with a gorgeous central water feature, marble floors, candles and serene lighting.
What greeted me in the room was consistent with the entire atmosphere of the hotel. I'd been put in a 'King Suite', with the beautiful 'MyBed' (I'll get onto that), a full desk setup, armchair and footstool. There was a four piece en-suite bathroom, with walk in shower, bath and TV!
For the majority of suites, L'Occitane provide the toiletries which make a hugely welcomed change to the usual 'in-house' products that are often offered and never used. The products are from the Verbena line, a quintessentially L'Occitane range. There was shampoo, conditioner, shower gel and lotion and after using some of them for the first time, I'm really impressed. My hair was left soft and shiny and my skin was left cleansed, hydrated and smoothed. There was one concession to the L'Occitane products, the bars of soap are Sofitel's own and were actually really gorgeous, lathering easily and not leaving your skin feeling dry and uncomfortable, but I prefer the L'Occitane shower gel in all honesty.
Food & Drink
Now, because I arrived at around 8/9pm on a Sunday, none of the restaurants were open, but there was room service. Not wanting to splash out £13 on fish and chips from room service however, I opted to nip out the hotel into the terminal building to the M&S Simply Food that sat right in front of the elevator, stocking up on some bits and pieces.
Once back in the hotel I really felt comfortable and 'at-home' in the suite, I sat in the bath with a drink and some chocolate (I was on my own!) watching QI on Dave. It was absolutely bliss. The stress of knowing I needed to be up at 4.30am the following morning and the journey the awaited me, seemed to completely disappear.
The bed was amazing. The MyBed concept has been designed exclusively for Sofitel and is a layered bed of exquisite sheets on feathers and cottons and so much softness. You simply melt into it. They're fairly high up for a shorty like me so once I'd high jumped onto it, you melt. I was sat trying to write this at the time, but lasted 15 minutes before I passed out asleep.
Ok, so this was paid for by Sofitel and I genuinely have to consider the following question: “Would I book and pay for this myself?”. My answer is yes, I would, BUT not every time I travelled, however for a special occasion or for the one big yearly summer holiday, it would help get things off to a relaxing start, but this is luxury and shouldn't become just your everyday, because then it wouldn't be the treat this fabulous hotel really should be.
If you are more of a business client on the other hand and are sick and tired of booking into budget rate hotels and you have an decent expense account at your disposal, then this is a great concept. I would also recommend paying the extra for the higher rate of internet access as the speed of what's included is almost unusable at around twice the speed of Dialup (56kbps vs 128 kbps).
Stay tuned for the next leg of my journey that I'll upload in a couple of days. I didn't want to bombard you with everything at once. Also, apart from the first two images, which are from Sofitel, the rest of the photos are mine, so please ask and reference me before using any of them.