Overview: A competitive in-city business hotel offering
Strengths: Rooms, dining, health club/facilities
Drawbacks: Some minor service limitations
Belatedly picking up on my Asia Roadshow report from the Summer of 2015, after stays at the Four Seasons Hong Kong and the Aman Summer Palace in Beijing, I next found myself in Seoul.
During my last visit to Seoul, I stayed at the Park Hyatt. My business associates suggested I try the Conrad on a future visit. I took their advice and booked at the Conrad this time.
The hotel is not a Virtuoso property (only the Park Hyatt was at the time, though I suspect the new Four Seasons Seoul will be in the program soon), so I booked a Club level room, which was only modestly more money than a regular room. This included breakfast in the Club.
My assistant arranged for a hotel car and driver to greet me and my colleague at the airport. Our flight from Beijing was very delayed, so Asiana moved us to an earlier flight (which was also delayed, just less so). I called the hotel from Beijing airport and they were able to arrange for the driver to meet us on the alternate flight without any issue.
The hotel itself is a modern skyscraper and is part of a broader office and retail complex.
Arrival at the hotel is into a multi-story porte-cochere cut into the building. This provides for a covered entrance, which is always welcome. Our driver called a few minutes ahead of our arrival and team of bellmen and doormen were waiting to greet us and assist us with our luggage. Despite being after 10pm, they had a full cadre of staff on duty.
We were escorted to the front desk while the bellmen looked after our luggage. As a Hilton elite member (I have no idea how I am a Hilton elite member – I suspect it must be due to a credit card I have), I was offered a small smoothie (in a shot glass) as a welcome amenity at the front desk. It was tasty, though I felt a bit awkward that my colleague (not an elite member, but clearly traveling with me) wasn’t offered a smoothie shot as well.
The front desk and lobby area of the hotel is quite grand. A corkscrew-style staircase that goes up several floors serves as an anchor in one of the corners. No one would ever visit this lobby and think the hotel is modest!
During the check-in process, I asked about overnight pressing service for my suit. I was told this was not available and the soonest they could return an item (even just for pressing) was at the close of business the following day. I would be enroute to Tokyo by that time, so it wasn’t an option for me.
I was disappointed that a business hotel couldn’t arrange overnight cleaning or pressing service. I am willing to pay exorbitant pricing to make it worth the hotel’s effort. I encourage the hotel to considering adding this to their service menu.
The front desk did tell us about the pool, gym and even a golf simulation area. Owing to our short visit, we didn’t have time to check out these facilities.
My room was located on a high floor and offered expansive views of the city.
The room was tastefully furnished with a modern Korean feel to it.
The bed was moderately comfortable. Most of the Korean beds that I’ve slept in were firmer than you’d find in the U.S. This bed was no exception.
The desk was at the right height to be comfortable to work at.
The bathroom was well appointed and included a separate step-in shower and tub.
The toilet had an automated seat with a number of functions. (Nowhere near the functionality of toilet seats in Taipei, however!)
After some calls with the office back in New York and a good rest, I woke up early enough to go for a run. The area is flat and had some residential areas. It is nice to get glimpse of how locals live. I ran a little less than 4.5 miles. I ended up turning back through the run because I wasn’t sure how long the loop I was planning on would take. From checking the map after the fact, it looks like a push!
Breakfast in the Club was also nice. Located on the top floor, the Club takes up about half of the space. The other half is a restaurant, which is open to the public. I’d eaten in the restaurant on a prior visit and found it to be quite good. (On this trip, my business associates noted a recent chef change at the restaurant and commented that he was still settling in.)
When I was seated, I was offered coffee and the hostess also asked if I wanted any eggs prepared. I asked for some scrambled eggs, which were served fairly quickly.
Many of the Club’s buffet items were kept in glass-doored refrigerators, similar to what you would find at a supermarket. Though at first it seemed odd to be reaching into a refrigerator to find things, I appreciated just how cold the cold items were. It does make you wonder what happens to food on a buffet that sits (even on ice) for several hours.
Check-out was smooth and my bill was accurate.
While we were handling the formalities at the front desk, bellmen came to take our bags and placed them in the car that had come to pick us up. A bellman was standing by at the boot of the car with our bags loaded, ready for us to inspect that everything had been placed in the car.
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Having stayed previously at both the Park Hyatt and Grand Hyatt in Seoul, I would rank this property just a hair behind the Park Hyatt. While the Park Hyatt’s rooms have a “cool” factor that the Conrad’s don’t, I’d select between the two based on location (whatever fit my need on that trip), or, if traveling on points, wherever the more compelling points option was.
The new Four Seasons is now open in Seoul. Unless they’re sold out on my dates of travel, that is where I will try next.
10 Gukjegeumyung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul, South Korea
+82 2 6137 7000