Let's start with being honest: if we wouldn't have gotten the 33% discount promotion on this website, we would have stayed at Grand Mercure, same place, just cheaper. But even at full price this hotel is worth its money. It's everything you could expect from a Sofitel: nice looking, luxurous and very friendly staff, with an excellent knowledge of English.
The hotel is located at Renmin Square, but that square is now almost fully occupied with Accor hotels, with also Mercure and Grand Mercure at its sides. The rest of the square has the People's Hotel and some theatre. Most important feature of this square is its proximity to the very centre of Xi'an, at a 20 minute walking distance of the zhonglou, the central Bell Tower. That was the main reason why I wanted to stay in those hotels.
There's only one slight problem with the Sofitel: it's divided in two wings, seperated by the entry to the square. We had to go have breakfast in the other wing and only on the last day discovered there's a "secret" underground passageway with an art gallery. Also there's a golfcart shuttling the two wings, but that was not really needed.
The rooms are very beautiful, with works of art and always at least one curved wall. The bathroom is really nice too but the bath itself was fit to Chinese measures, not to my huge western proportions. Internetconnection was not free but I wouldn't say it was expensive. Upon arriving in my room there was also a note that the final game of the FIFA worldcup Football would be broadcasted on large screens in the bar at half past two at night, so they really pay attention to what western customers want (although if I may add: the Chinese were pretty much also into this worldcup)
The hotel has many different themed bars and restaurants: a japanese and marrocan styled restaurant, a havana bar, a french bar (for desserts) and a cocktailbar. Unfortately for my friend, the two only good portos of a list of four on the menu were not available in the cocktailbar, but the normal cocktails were delicious and served with utmost professionalism. Breakfast also is very nice, both good looking and delicious, with a good amount of both Chinese and western dishes.
No surprises here for a Sofitel: you get what you pay for.