After an uneventful KTX ride back to Seoul I hopped a cab to my final (holiday) staycation destination. The traffic was awful, as usual, but the cab driver was nice enough…until the confusion set in.
“Go to the Park Hyatt Seoul hotel, please.”
“Okay…[drives for 4-5 minutes]…the Grand Hyatt? On Nam Mountain, right?”
“[sigh]…No…the Park Hyatt Seoul in Gangnam, at Samseong station.”
“Oh…[drives for a few more minutes]…well, I don’t know where that is.”
We did get there eventually, but I did have a bit of a headache by the time I climbed out of the cab. I didn’t really blink an eye at the hotel: since I frequent COEX mall (which is across the street) I see this place all the time.
The layout of the ground floor reminded me of the Park Hyatt back in Busan, but much, much smaller. This time, the check-in desk was on the 24th floor. My check-in person was polite (almost too polite) as she explained the amenities and what my room package entailed. I got a package that, among other things, entitled me to a room upgrade if available, so I asked her about it; she gave me the most sympathetic face she could muster and said, “Unfortunately, we cannot. But we made sure to give you the bigger of the Park King rooms.” I made a mental note, but outwardly I shrugged it off. She handed me my room key and then showed me to the elevators.
And this is when things got a little weird.
Remember the slightly-confusing elevator system at PHB that I talked about in my last post? Well, this set-up was the same…except for one key detail.
The guestroom elevators do not go to the ground floor. If you are a hotel guest and you want to enter and leave the premise, you must take two different elevators. What makes it more awkward is that the 24th floor is the top floor of this hotel, so you have to take the elevator all the way up to the 24th floor, and then take the next elevator down to your room floor (or the ground floor, if you’re leaving the building).
I understand why some TripAdvisor reviews were annoyed by this.
But my slight annoyance totally melted away the minute I stepped into my room.
The room was super nice. I got room 1701, which is a corner Park King tucked in just to the right of the elevators. It was complete with floor-to-ceiling windows that provided a great view of the main street and COEX.
The layout of the room was not only spacious, but it was arranged in an interesting way (to me). There was a small dining area set up against a divider (which had a built-in mini-desk), and then on the other side of that was the vanity. The views from the windows by said vanity and the bathroom were obscured by large, diagonal beams. I would’ve preferred if the beams weren’t there, but hey,
you can’t have everything… I’m entitled to point out a few flaws because this room was expensive, more so than the Shilla.
The bathing area was everything: the tub was nice and deep, the raw granite facing was super nice, and the foot shower that was underneath the shower was a nice touch. I was curious as to why the toilet didn’t automatically flush like the one at its Busan counterpart did, but I chalked it up to being the older hotel (10 years to Busan’s barely-3).
In all honestly, though, I was in heaven.
After I rushed to COEX to get food from my favorite restaurant (General Banjum!!), I came back just time for my next room package amenity: the bottle of champagne. Beer+GB+champagne as a dessert couldn’t get much better.
Another perk to my package (entitled the Women’s Experience package) was 30% off of any spa treatment
which was not listed in the rate and which I wish I had known BEFORE I got that massage in Busan. I had a “…what the hell” moment and booked a reflexology session.
The Park Club floor houses the business center, the saunas, the treatments rooms and a juice bar called, naturally, Citrus. Coming off the elevator, you go down a nice, long hallway before reaching the check-in desk. That’s where the spa sessions take place.
Before my session, I had to experience the sauna, and compared to the sauna at the Shilla, and even the one in Busan, it was tiny: one hot pool, one (bathtub-sized) dunking pool, the dry sauna room, and three showers. In terms of toiletries, it’s everything Aesop (this is the hotel where my current gym toiletries came from). There was no one in the sauna at the time, so I could actually take pictures.
After relaxing a bit in the sauna, it was time for my reflexology treatment. I was met at the sauna entrance by a petite, smiling lady who promptly led me to my treatment room. She washed my feet first (and pre-treatment custom here that I’ve grown to like, albeit a bit uncomfortably), and then she guided me to the massage bed. Honestly, the reflexology was heavenly. Afterwards she led me out to their juice bar and gave me some cranberry tea and dried citrus chips (that were surprisingly delicious
and I wished there were more than three).
My two-night stay ended way too soon for my liking. The morning I checked out, I had a good breakfast and then went to the pool. It was an infinity pool in a gorgeous space, and it had the same view that my room had, only on a higher floor; the only downside is that the walls were made of glass, so everyone in the lounge (on the 24th floor) could walk by and just watch you swim and walk around. It made me a bit self-conscious, and if not for that I could’ve stayed in the pool for a lot longer.
I got a chance to check out the gym and man was it tiny! No pictures, though.
Overall, the Park Hyatt Seoul is a great hotel, provided you have the money to stay there. Is it worth the money? Hmm, it may be a tad too expensive for my tastes, but the rooms are aesthetically much more pleasing than the also-expensive Shilla…so I think both of them should be a little less expensive. I also liked this hotel a lot better than the Park Hyatt in Busan. However…Conrad, you still have my heart.
So, that’s a wrap on my holiday staycation series! Thanks for taking a glance at it…and who knows? I might be making the rounds to another place or two during my spring break…
Stay tuned for more posts!
Note: This was not a comped stay; I stayed here on my own dime and wrote this blog post for pleasure.