A couple of days ago, I received a question on one of my Instagram photos from fellow Seoulite Joni Els asking me this:
“What do you think your best ‘fancy hotel in Korea’ experience has been? …[I have] birthday plans so [I] want to have a local, treat yo’self birthday weekend.”
My short answer was pretty immediate, but it did have me thinking about the places I’ve stayed at thus far and how I would rank them. So, without further ado, here is my ranking of the lux hotels I’ve stayed at in Seoul (so far).
If you want the total luxury experience, you need look no further than the Four Seasons brand. The year-old Seoul location experienced some growing pains in the beginning, but by the time I settled in for my 3-night stay back in May this hotel was well on its way to the top of the heap. Both lux and contemporary with great customer service, great food, superb facilities and a central location, this is where you want to be, whether you’re a staycationer or a tourist (and provided that you have the money).
97 Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu
+82 2 6388 5000
#2 The Conrad
I’ve practically written sonnets about the Conrad, and if the Four Seasons hadn’t swooped in, it would be numero uno (in my heart, Conrad, in my heart). With spacious rooms and even more spacious facilities, this hotel is situated in the heart of Yeouido’s business district. Oh, yeah, and the customer service is second-to-none, edging the Four Seasons out by a hair.
10 Gukjegeumyung-ro, Yeongdeungpo-gu
+82 2 6137 7000
This was a new stay for me, but I can still honestly say that this was quite the business hotel. And yes, it’s a business hotel: situated on the south side of Nam mountain, tourists would have a tendency to feel a little isolated, especially if they’d rather do the walking tours than the bus tours. Still, with Club Olympus access, a rather cool-looking lobby lounge, and a plethora of activities and events during the summer and winter months, this is one of the places to be.
322 Sewol-ro, Yongsan-gu
+82 2 797 1234
For being in the same price range as the Four Seasons, it doesn’t offer as much in the way of customer service, which is why it’s here at #4. However, despite the Park Hyatt’s age (it’s older than both the Four Seasons and the Conrad, and the second oldest on this list), it still holds up with its beautifully designed guest rooms. With a deluxe room far bigger than any other on this list, it was a dream oasis. The Park Club is a great facility, too, bar the tiny fitness room, and houses an amazing infinity pool. However, for me, it just couldn’t crack the top three. Do keep in mind, however, that I didn’t eat at the restaurants and therefore can’t comment on them (and they do have great reputations).
606 Teheran-ro, Gangnam-gu
+82 2 2016 1234
#5 The Shilla
What a gorgeous business hotel, really. Situated on the opposite side of Nam mountain from the Grand Hyatt, it’s isolated in a different way (at least for tourists), and then the rooms leave just a little to be desired decor-wise. However, the hotel’s sauna and duty-free game are both second-to-none, as is the food in their executive lounge.
249, Dongho-ro, Jung-gu
+82 2 2233 3131
Bonus: JW Marriott in Dongdaemun Square Seoul
I didn’t stay here, but my father did last year. I visited him multiple times, and this is a hotel that’s definitely on my list to actually stay at in the future. With spacious rooms, the best breakfast buffet (no exaggeration), and a prime location, this looks to be another great lux place to go! I hope to add this to my list.
279, Cheonggyecheon-ro, Jongno-gu
+82 2 2276 3000
And really, there are so many hotels to stay at and see, and I haven’t come close to staying at them all. However, as long as there is a need for a staycation, I am going to visit as many as I can. I’m also planning to expand my staycation horizons a bit, so stay tuned!