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It’s pretty much a year and a half ago we learnt about Four Seasons coming to the South Korean capital of Seoul, and just as we have a better understanding of when exactly this year it will open and a first impression of what it will look like inside, the Canadian group throws in two more openings in the Colombian capital of Bogotá by the end of the year. We can’t keep up.
To cover off the Asian edition first, Four Seasons Seoul will open in September, just a few months after the initially predicted May arrival. Above that impression of a guestroom, of which there will be 317 in total, bringing in traditional Korean motifs centered around that new FS bed. Following what we saw in Johannesburg, we hope that that strong blue we spy is a sign of some interesting colors, fabrics, and patterns to find in the rooms. The brand new building will have seven places to eat and drink, including a “hidden drinking den” speakeasy. A website isn’t live yet, but when it is we’ll report back with details on rates and additional images.
Lotte Hotels might come out on top in the race for the largest hotel suite in Moscow, but one of the group’s new hotels in hometown Seoul, South Korea, is having some start-up problems on its way to its topping out. We’ll explain.
Above is a shot of the tower – once finished the tallest on the Korean peninsula, outshining the Hotel of Doom, and sixth tallest building in the world – on the way to its projected 123 stories (556 – 1,824 ft) total height. Floors 86-119 are planned to have a luxury hotel. Construction has hit a snag with news of sink holes appearing around the tower, as well as a nearby lake mysteriously shrinking.
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Last month, the 500-room Radisson Blu Mall of America became the second Radisson Blu to open in the US (after Radisson Blu Aqua Chicago). But one thing that sets this place apart from Chicago (and all other subsequent Rad Blus) is that it directly connects to the Mall of America, with its 530 shops, 5 major department stores, multiple food courts, indoor theme park, and 14-screen movie theater. If they want, hotel guests can even arrange for a personal shopper and bag pick-up to maximize the experience. Rates from $174/night.
For more mall hotel awesome-ness in Hong Kong, Dubai, and Houston, read on!
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From Brussel's stylish The Hotel to a Holiday Inn Express in Oklahoma, hotels are jumping on the hot "smartphone as room key" bandwagon. We don't blame them--we're sick of those flimsy little pieces of plastic.
Now, Seoul's Hotel Skypark Central is one-upping everyone.
Along with revolutionary accoutrements for the business traveler like, um, free airport shuttle service, the otherwise rather unremarkable downtown hotel has recently offered a new perk: bestowing free loaner smartphones to its guests upon check-in. The devices do just about everything, aside from calling home (actual phone services aren't available; unless you use Skype, of course), such as unlocking and locking your door, ordering room service, turning on the lights, channel surfing on your flatscreen, and browsing the web.
Courtesy of South Korean pop star Psy’s video-gone-viral, Seoul has gotten quite a bit of attention the last few months. Today, Hilton’s luxury Conrad brand is getting in on the action by opening the doors to its latest hotel in the city (but no word yet on any Gangnam packages).
We were tempted by British Airways’ astoundingly brilliant offer on its new route to Incheon (the home of Seoul’s award-winning airport) to drop £777 ($1235) on a business class return and spend a weekend here ourselves, but with our rational side kicking in we’ll have to settle for a look at the hotel from afar for the moment.
Finally, a hotel has jumped on the bandwagon and will begin to offer hotel packages that revolve around the world's latest earworm better known as Gangnam Style. Just as we would expect, the package comes from the Novotel Seoul Ambassador, smack in the middle of the district the song is named after.
For those that may be living under a rock for the last 3 months, here's a little back story. The musical artist is named Psy (real name: Park Jae-sang) and he is a Korean rapper who produces K-Pop (Korean pop music). He posted a YouTube video for Gangnam Style and it has become the most viewed K-Pop video, not to mention the most 'liked,' on the site.
Now let's get to the hotel news. This Novotel located in the Gangnam District is offering Psy groupies the chance to stay at the heart of the area in which the singer grew up. Fans can 'cowboy' and 'horsey' all around the popular shopping and entertainment areas of Gangnam. Since the area is known to be dripping with celebrities, you may even spot some other K-pop stars.
Back in October, one of our contributors had a little love affair with the pools at JW Marriott in Phuket, but we think we've found another JW Marriott pool to set our sights on. And this one doesn't mess around with squirting elephant sculptures and swim-up bars.
We're talking about the fitness center at JW Marriott Seoul, which not only has a six-lane, 25-meter pool, but also a climbing wall, a scuba diving pool, and an indoor running track—oh, and it spans three floors of the hotel.
The Marquis Thermal Spa and Fitness Club calls itself the largest hotel fitness center in Asia, and it offers pretty much every type of indoor fitness amenity you can think of. In fact, guests who stay here should really be held to a certain standard of fitness simply because they have so many options available to them. Just the other day we were mentioning how obsolete the hotel racquetball court has become. Not so in Seoul—this place has got two of 'em.
Since 1986, one hotel has dominated both the luxury sleeping and shopping scene in Seoul: The Shilla. Although the hotel has been around for a little longer than that, 1986 was the year that it birthed an independent duty free shop, making the upper echelons of luxury goods available at a price that was almost a deal. The Shilla now operates more shops on the Korean holiday island of Jeju and in Incheon airport, but its original two-floor boutique remains a cult shopping destination.
For anyone who feels the salacious temptation of a duty free catalog in the seat-back pocket, a stop in at The Shilla may be deadly (to your bank account). Being surrounded by smiling, impeccably-coiffed salesgirls and shiny products proves a drug for those who achieve VIP status at The Shilla shops.
That's right. Thompson Hotels, having finished with their monopoly on New York, is expanding overseas to Seoul, Korea.
We have to say, this destination is shocking. We thought for sure a London property was in the works. Yet today a press release was making the rounds of the interweb that Jason Pomeranc and co. are heading off to Seoul.