Conrad Seoul became the brand’s first property in South Korea when it opened in November 2012 and has since become one of the city’s main business hotels with convenient access to all parts of the city.
WHERE IS IT?
Near the waterfront in Yeouido, an island hard up against the south bank of the Han River about an hour from Incheon airport and 20 minutes from Gimpo airport. Yeouido is one of the city’s key financial districts; Conrad Seoul is connected to the International Finance Center Seoul.
WHAT’S IT LIKE?
The hotel is high-tech, with a slick, modern aesthetic to go with the high levels of comfort and service. Some of its F&B spaces and leisure options have recently received refreshes.
Room size is generous – the smallest is 48 sqm, of which my Executive Riverview room was an example. The interior was sharp and stylish, with the minibar, coffee machine and glasses thoughtfully displayed in a back-lit shelving area, a comfortable king-size bed, and a spacious bathroom featuring a separate shower and bathtub, with a long two-basin counter running beneath the large mirror.
The hotel’s high-tech focus showed in everything from the toilet to the enticingly named “magic window” (a glass panel between the bedroom and bathroom that becomes clear or opaque at the push of a button). The TV remote’s design is minimalistic and intuitive (there’s also a second TV screen hidden within the bathroom mirror) while lights, blinds, temperature, alarms and housekeeping requests can all be set using a touchscreen device supporting English, Korean, Japanese and simplified Chinese. International and USB sockets are plentiful.
I was surprised, however, that the two tiers of wifi on offer – standard and premium – both come with a per-day price tag (12,500 won/US$11 and 19,500 won/US$17 respectively). While Hilton Honors members
get this free, executive room guests don’t – strange since wifi in the executive lounge and even the public areas is complimentary.
RESTAURANTS AND BARS
Six F&B outlets range from a pastry and sandwich café to a hearty Italian. Zest is the hotel’s main restaurant, offering an international breakfast buffet across a number of sleekly laid out cooking stations (it can get very busy at the weekend, so the executive lounge may be a better bet for breakfast then).
Last summer the hotel debuted its new outdoor sky lounge, Vvertigo [sic], on the ninth floor. Originally an outdoor garden terrace, it now offers live music and cocktails – but is closed for half the year during the cold winter, opening in April for the summer months.
A total of 2,562 sqm of meetings and events space is available, including two ballrooms with a maximum capacity of 700 and 1,200 guests, and 11 meeting rooms with space for up to 280 people.
The executive lounge is on level 37 – the highest floor of the hotel – with panoramic views of the city and a fireplace in a secluded “library-style” area. Open from 7am to 10pm, a good breakfast selection is served in the morning and happy hour is from 5pm to 7pm. The armchairs, while comfortable to sit in, were low and lacked a table, making breakfast somewhat cumbersome to eat when the lounge got busy. Laptops and iPads are available to use free of charge in the lounge, and wifi is complimentary.
The spa (open 9am-10pm) features eight rooms with treatments including reflexology, hydrotherapy and body scrubs, plus customisable two-hour-long Conrad Rituals. Grooming facilities include a Tony & Guy hair salon.
The 24-hour Pulse8 fitness centre features Precor and Technogym equipment, a sauna, steam room and whirlpool. It faces the 25-metre indoor swimming pool, separated by a large glass window. The hotel also offers a five-station indoor golf-driving range.
Convenient and efficient, Conrad Seoul offers a very comfortable environment to operate from, with easy access to the city’s key financial and commercial districts. A few small inconveniences aside, my overall experience was excellent.
Internet rates for a midweek stay in a King Bed Executive Riverview room in mid-July start from 390,000 won (US$345) per night including tax and surcharges
Conrad Seoul, 10 Gukjegeumyung-ro (Yeouido), Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul; tel +82 2 6137 7000; conradseoul.com