A marquee name in a top-end city location, the Sofitel prevails among newcomers because of old-fashioned virtues: service par excellence delivered with Gallic charm. Guestrooms are beginning to date but it's hard to quibble when the views are so glorious – even entry-level rooms have views from the 36th floor and above – and the generously sized bathrooms are an ageless paean to the power of marble. The sparkle that's fading in guestrooms shines bright in communal areas; the potentially awkward inward-looking nature of the 35th-floor Atrium Bar, for example, is overcome with a spectacular 15-storey mirrored chandelier.
Admire the grandly proportioned lobby and adjoining Sofi's Lounge, home of elegant afternoon teas where guests laden with shopping bags from Collins Street's boutiques assemble for refreshments.
With two types of iced tea offered during check-in, massage chairs in the 36th-floor gym, and in-room tablets to order anything from a taxi to a dental kit, Sofitel leaves the impression that everything has been thoroughly considered.
The magnificent marble-clad No 35 is the home of a well-considered breakfast buffet ($45), where juice shots mix it with cooked-to-order eggs and Asian specialties mingle with muesli and yoghurts.
Minibars reach peak excitement with bottled cocktails from Melbourne's favourite mix-masters, The Everleigh Bottling Co, or head to the Atrium for a classic cocktail. But with bars such as Siglo and Romeo Lane so close by, there are plenty of reasons to venture further afield.