Leighton Luke stays in a Luxury Valley View king room overlooking the Old Town
Not very big at all. The Sofitel has 128 rooms and suites in a modern five-storey building. Happily, all but 20 are non-smoking.
Room: A Luxury Valley View king room. The view really is quite spectacular and the complimentary minibar does no harm at all.
Price: From $467 per night, room only. An additional $63 per person per night is required to include buffet breakfast, an option we passed on. Quoting a Le Club Accor Hotels membership number when making the reservation gives 10 per cent discount.
Check-in experience: Arriving at 11am, reception was otherwise deserted and we were checked-in super-fast.
What's so good about this place? The Accor group has several properties in Luxembourg City, but the Grand Ducal is the best appointed and the best located. The aforesaid Valley View rooms give great views over the Old Town. The decor is a mix of bold, modern European design and top quality fixtures and fittings.
And the bad? Nothing I could see, although the bathroom design may not be to everyone's taste. More on that later...
What's in the neighbourhood? Nothing is very far from anything else in Luxembourg City and the hotel is reasonably centrally located. The picturesque Old Town and Grund areas are 15 minutes' walk across the Passerelle viaduct and the New Town CBD area (although "new" is a relative term) is just a few minutes away on foot. The intercity railway station (with high-speed trains straight to Paris), is a mere 10 minutes' walk.
Food and drink: The breakfast buffet came very highly recommended on a review website, so we chose to have it one morning and, though good, I have to say it wasn't outstanding. Orders were taken for tea or coffee and bacon and eggs, with everything else available from various buffet counters. There was a reasonable amount to choose from, especially in the pastries section but, given the quite substantial price, I didn't come away feeling like it was great value for money.
The L'Etoile restaurant and the adjoining L'Observatoire cocktail bar are on the top floor of the hotel and have stunning views of the city skyline, the deep river valleys and the arched viaducts that span them. L'Etoile offers French cuisine for lunch and dinner six days a week and those meals are probably better value than the breakfast. The views would be particularly stunning in the early evening as the sun sets over the old town and the lights come on.
The bed: Very comfortable indeed.
Bathroom: This is where the room gets interesting. The loo is in a separate little room of its own, very much as it would be at home. That's no bad thing at all but space is at a premium, so the wardrobe is tiny and the shower cubicle extends out into the bed/living area. It's actually promoted as a point of difference for the hotel and I guess it is. The glass of the cubicle is mostly — but not completely — frosted and it's a weird experience no matter which side of the glass one is on. If sharing the room, you need to be good friends.
Toiletries: The Eau d'Orange Verte toiletries by Hermes may be merely standard issue for Luxembourg but they still imparted a suitable sense of the deluxe. It is a strong scent, though, and walks a fine line between aromatic and pungent. Fortunately, it comes out on the right side.
Noise: None at all.
Exercise Facilities: There is a fitness centre but no swimming pool.
Perfect for: A luxurious stay in Luxembourg.
Would I return? I certainly would.
The Sofitel Le Grand Ducal is at 40 Boulevard d'Avranches, Luxembourg City, Luxembourg. Phone: +352 248 771.