South Korean superstar Psy may be the reigning king of Gangnam Style but another trendsetting icon shares the spotlight in Seoul’s most famous shopping, entertainment and business district.
Towering over the major intersection of Teheran-ro and Yeongdong Daero in the bustling heart of Gangnam, the 24-story Park Hyatt Seoul rises like a sleek glass box designed to showcase spectacular views of the city from every room.
The drama begins in the main lobby which has been cleverly switched from the more traditional first-floor entrance favored by most city hotels to the 24th and highest level of the Park Hyatt.
Guests step out of the elevator into a Zen-calm reception area, fashioned in cool Japanese aji stone and framed by floor-to-ceiling windows. Tip: Reserve a window table in the adjacent Lounge for cocktails and breathtaking views as the city lights up at sunset.
With the largest deluxe rooms in Seoul (600 square feet), the Park Hyatt uses its four-element design aesthetic of wood, stone, glass and natural light to maximum effect in all 185 guest rooms and suites. Each floor is limited to a maximum 10 rooms, creating a heightened sense of space and privacy.
While the Presidential Suite (No.2208) and two Diplomatic Suites (Nos.2109 and 2009) are the undisputed star turns, each offering the comforts and facilities of a luxurious city apartment, the 35 Park Suites are the hotel’s most requested rooms.
|The Cornerstone restaurant has an open kitchen and is an ideal venue for a weekend brunch.|
Note: Park Suites differ by ‘lines’. Line 5 (rooms ending with #5) have views of COEX, Seoul’s striking Convention and Exhibition Center; Line 10 (rooms ending with #10) are even more dramatic offering two opposite views (COEX and the Tancheon) at the same time.
The standout feature in Park Hyatt Seoul’s 22nd-floor Deluxe Twin room is the spa-inspired bathroom, measuring a third of the entire room, with a deep-soaking tub, a rain shower mounted on a granite wall, Aesop amenities, and full wall windows looking out to the city skyline. Note: Discreet blinds can descend to protect one’s modesty.
The pale Myanmar oak paneled walls and adjustable mood lighting in the bedroom and living area create a contemporary residential feel, complemented by an array of up-to-the-minute technologies. For more information, contact Assistant Director of Sales Sofia Kim ([email protected]; 011-82-2-2016-1252).
The hotel has taken another of its key elements, the Park Club Spa and Fitness Center, and elevated it to new heights. Perched on the 23rd and 24th floors, adjacent to the lobby and The Lounge, the Club offers an indoor heated lap pool, three treatment rooms, and more than 30 spa treatments. Tip: The 150-minute Korean Ritual is a sure-fire cure for jet lag. Contact Spa Manager Yoon Hwang ([email protected]; 011-82-2-2016-1175).
The main restaurant, Cornerstone, on the 2nd floor, has an open kitchen specializing in grilled meats and seafood prepared in wood-burning ovens, and is the venue for an excellent weekend Brunch at the Park. Note: There are two private dining rooms for exclusive gatherings. Contact Cornerstone Manager Para Kim ([email protected]; 011-82-2-2016-1220/1).
The lower level Timber House is a favorite with Seoul’s cocktail crowd. Styled on an old hanok, a traditional Korean house built of wood, and divided into three themed areas, this outstanding bar serves top quality sushi, sashimi, boutique Japanese sakes and Korean sojus, cocktails, whiskeys and champagnes, and offers live entertainment Monday through Saturday from 8:30 p.m.
The hotel has a dedicated concierge team which can arrange private tours by luxury limousine, including an exclusive Art & Design tour to leading galleries and boutiques. Contact Concierge Team Leader Jini Lee ([email protected]; 011-82-2-2016-1148).
Seoul itself is a dynamic city with several cultural gems. The majestic Gyeongbokgung royal palace, founded in 1395, served as the main palace of the Joseon Dynasty for more than 500 years, and remains one of the city’s major tourist attractions. Tip: Tours in English are available.
Directly in front of the palace is Gwanghwamun Square with its imposing statue of King Sejong the Great—the fourth and most respected sovereign of the Joseon Dynasty and the creator of Korea’s alphabet—surrounded by fountains and a flower carpet.
Just off the square lies Cheonggye Plaza, the site of Seoul’s first stream, now an elegant promenade lined with art installations and sculptures and a venue for popular cultural events through the year.
Old and new Korea collide in Insa-dong, a busy commercial district in central Seoul with shops, art galleries, craft stores, antiques dealers, traditional tea houses and restaurants.
Other good shopping options are Namdaemun Market, the largest and oldest street market in Korea; the more upscale Dongdaemun Market with its array of fashion-centric malls; and the boutiques and restaurants of Cheongdam-dong in the trendy Gangnam district. For more information, go to www.visitkorea.co.kr.
For a leisurely day in the country, head to the Ananti Club, a 40-minute drive from Seoul. Ananti is a stylish and exclusive private members’ club which welcomes guests for lunch or dinner in the main restaurant.
Korean Air offers daily nonstop flights to Seoul from major U.S. gateways. Prestige Class (business) service is offered on A380 aircraft (New York and L.A.), has fully flat sleeper seats, super-efficient cabin crew, and two private bar lounges for relaxing.
|Deluxe Bathroom is a spainspired setup with a deep-soaking tub, shower mounted on a granite wall and full glass windows.|