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Banyan Tree opens in Seoul

10 Jun 2010

Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul has opened at the foot of Mount Namsan in the Korean capital, a prime location in city’s Jung-gu district. It is the luxury chain’s  second urban resort in Asia-Pacific after Bangkok. However it differs from the latter by also doubling as a private member’s club.

“We offer the concept of a social club of people with similar interests and views,” said hotel general manager Stefan Thumiger. “Our goal is to create a club that brings distinction to its members through various cultural, sports and charity activities, and whose membership can be inherited by the next generation.”

To date, Thumiger added, the private member’s club has more than 3,000 members “who regularly leave the city behind to enjoy our facilities and resort-like ambiance in Mount Namsan”. The property’s club facilities such as the outdoor and indoor swimming pools, sauna, indoor and rooftop gym, and golf range among others were made available to members in April, more than a month before the hotel opening.

The 70,000sqm urban resort is expected to cater to an elite market where privacy is a premium. The ultra-exclusive property only has 16 rooms and 16 suites fitted with individual plunge pools. Room size ranges between 50sqm and 105sqm. In addition, there are two double-storey Presidential Suites, measuring  280sqm and 315sqm each. The property maintains a maximum of four rooms or suites per floor.

All rooms are inspired by the five oriental elements of water, fire, metal, wood and earth.

“We anticipate our customer demographic will be mixed, consisting of local and regional guests particularly from China and Japan,” said Thumiger.  

“The unique element about Banyan Tree is being able to offer the best service while also customising services for specific needs,” he added. “Each visitor is treated like royalty, regardless if they are on leisure or business. Businessmen would especially appreciate our boardrooms, the complimentary Wi-Fi, the wide working desk, a wide selection of news channels, which they can watch on the large flat screen TVs, enhanced by Bose sound systems.”

The resort occupies the former Tower Hotel, a historical landmark built in 1967 to commemorate the Korean War, as well as two more buildings – The Club and The Festa, featuring a myriad of outdoor facilities that set the tone for a holistic lifestyle ambiance. All facilities have been remodelled by Banyan Tree’s in-house design arm Architrave, which gave a fresh, modern outlook to each outlet.

There are four F&B outlets: the alfresco 3 Sixty Wine Bar that serves tapas, gourmet cheese and farmed caviar; Namsan Terrace that presents Angus beef and fresh seafood in the casual outdoors; Granum Dining Lounge that offers extensive Southeast Asian fare; and Celeste, conceived as a “destination dining experience”, where guests are served in intimate cabanas in the lush surroundings.

The Banyan Tree Spa features 11 treatment rooms, including five deluxe single rooms, four deluxe double rooms and two spa suites. All treatment rooms include bathrooms and relaxation areas.

Meanwhile, Banyan Tree Seoul is also gearing up to become the city’s premier venue for corporate events. This early, its Crystal Ballroom and other meetings venues have attracted high-end clients such as Chanel, Porsche and Mercedez-Benz.

“We are now in discussions with our regional marketing offices to attract incentive travellers – from Hongkong. Due to our smaller inventory, we target to offer personal, customised packages which will attract the discerning traveller.”

For more information about the hotel, visit www.banyantree.com

Gigi Onag

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