WHAT’S IT LIKE? Opened in 1973, Lotte Hotel Seoul is the flagship of chaebol (conglomerate) Lotte Group’s hospitality arm, which has since grown to include five other hotels around the country. (The latest of which, the 284-room Lotte City Hotel Mapo was launched in April this year as a budget business hotel with complimentary internet access.)
In October, Lotte Seoul completed its facelift, which started way back in June 2007. Guestrooms are designed by SOM, Wilson & Associates, Hirsch Bedner Associates (HBA) and Babey Moulton. Customers have also benefited from a brand-new lobby on the 14th floor and the Salon de Thé tea lounge, both in the New Wing; a ladies’ floor; and Korea’s first Pierre Gagnaire restaurant.
The hotel comprises two sections: the Main Building for conference and leisure and the smaller New Wing for business travellers, offering 759 and 365 guestrooms respectively. Guests of the New Wing check in exclusively at the 14th-floor reception, those booked into Club and Suite categories can avail of the Main Building’s 31st lounge, while the remaining guests are served at the ground-floor reception, also located in the Main Building.
WHERE IS IT? In downtown Myeongdong, a business and commercial address, and home to one of the world’s most expensive shopping streets. The Euljiro 1-ga subway station and Lotte Department Store are both linked to the hotel. Shuttle services are available for guests heading to Itaewon for nightlife and more shops.
Only 1.5km away is Seoul high-speed railway station, connecting to various points in South Korea. Incheon Airport is about an hour away by airport bus, which runs on a half-hourly schedule (KRW14,000/US$12 one way).
HOW MANY ROOMS? Both wings have a total of 1,124 smoking and non-smoking rooms, ranging from Superior/Deluxe to Club Floor Superior/Deluxe to Presidential and Royal Suites. Rooms that are designed by SOM sport a clean look with white walls, beige furniture, glass and steel. Other designer rooms feature Wilson & Associates’ use of dark marble and patterned carpet, HBA’s Korean-style design with latticework and Babey Moulton’s minimalist oriental style. Standard rooms measure between 26.7sqm and 46sqm.
The ladies’ floor, located on the Main Building’s 22nd floor which is accessible by a card key, consists of 22 rooms, a library-style lounge and Jacuzzis in rooms among others.
ROOM FACILITIES The refurbished room product provides all the creature comforts: LCD TV, high-speed wired and wireless internet, ample desk space, mobile phone with a dedicated number at cost, laptop-size safe, Japanese yukata and other amenities. Premium guests have access to the lounges on the 31st floor in the Main Building and 27th floor in New Wing, for dining and office privileges including workstations with internet.
F&B There is a variety of 13 restaurants and bars. Launched in October 2008 is the Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire à Séoul, replacing Schoenbrunn on the New Wing’s 35th floor. Diners can also choose from other restaurants offering cuisines such as Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Italian and international.
BUSINESS FACILITIES There are three business centres, located on the ground-floor lobby, 31st floor of the Main Building and 14th floor of New Wing (open Monday to Friday 7am to 10pm, Saturday 9am to 6pm). For meetings and conventions, 15 varied-size function rooms are available, with the grand ballroom accommodating up to 1,000 people banquet style and 1,800 for reception.
LEISURE FACILITIES The Main Building houses an indoor swimming pool, indoor golf driving range and a gym with jogging track, all on the third floor. Shoppers can visit the Lotte Duty Free Shop located near the lift lobby of the Main Building and well-stocked Lotte Department Store next to the hotel.
VERDICT A fine finished product in an unbeatable location.
PRICE A Superior Double Room in the Main Building is from KRW190,000 (US$165) per night in mid-December, while a Deluxe Double Room in New Wing starts from KRW230,000 (US$200).
CONTACT 1 Sogong-dong, Jung-gu, Seoul 100-070, Korea, tel 82 2 771 1000, www.lottehotel.com