Photo: © FRANCIS X. GALLAGHER
Arrival/Check-In: I flew to Seoul from JFK on Asiana Airlines’ flight 221, landing just after 5 p.m. at Incheon International Airport, helping you acclimate to the time change. Before checking into the SIGNIEL Seoul, I met my local colleague, Jeff Hwang, and his family at a local restaurant, along with Carly Allen, GT’s executive vice president, who arrived in Seoul a day earlier. After dinner, Jeff drove me to the massive Lotte World Tower, where staff appeared to be waiting for me and greeted me by name. I was taken to the 79th-floor lobby and then to the 95th floor, where I checked into the hotel in my room, No. 9581. Shortly thereafter my luggage arrived, and I quickly settled in for the evening. The room still smelled new with a clean, fresh scent.
Guest Quarters: I was impressed with the hotel’s understated Asian décor, clean and functional, using soft, muted colors and marble throughout. Near the entrance to the suite, a powder room on the left included a small sink; I find it nice to have that extra bathroom, especially when traveling with a guest. All the toilets were Japanese-inspired, offering all sorts of controls including sprays of various strengths and heated seats. Directly forward, the living area featured a built-in minibar (fully stocked) and a built-in sofa that followed the curvature of the exterior wall. A seating area with a tasteful marble coffee table held a nice welcome amenity of fresh fruit, nuts, chocolate and tea. A wall of windows central to the room offered beautiful views of the Han River. The righthand wall separated the room from the bedroom and held a built-in desk with a flat-screen TV hung above. In the bedroom the windows continued, and a king-sized bed included a control panel to operate nearly everything in the room (automatic draperies are a plus for those wanting to sleep late). Opposite the bed stood a flat-screen TV and entertainment area.
The bathroom was impressive, with dark marble and an open shower next to the tub. The shower and soaking tub afforded panoramic views of the city and the Han River below. I made a point of standing on the rim of the tub against the glass to gaze straight down 95 floors. The bathroom amenities for guests included shampoos and other accoutrements from the 34 Boulevard Saint Germain Diptyque brand.
Services/Amenities: Make a point to schedule time at the restaurants and bars at the hotel, as they are quite spectacular. Bar 81 is the Champagne-inspired bar on the 81st floor. I found it relaxing to have a drink and converse with the bartenders about their methods and signature drinks; one in particular has a brandy base and is delivered in a replica of the Eiffel Tower. The lobby-level lounge is always relaxing; enjoy French afternoon tea as well as casual cuisine and cocktails. On the 81st floor we had an amazing dinner prepared by Chef Elie Fischmann at Stay, Modern Restaurant. Each course was more spectacular than the last, served with Champagne and topped off with the Pastry Library, a Stay signature — absolutely decadent yet not overpowering after a large meal.
Suite guests can secure a reservation at the exclusive hotel membership restaurant, Signiel Club, on the 107th floor. Options include private dining rooms, Chinese cuisine under star chef Kyungok Yeo, the nine-seat Sushi-Bar and the Boutique Bar. We savored a one-of-a-kind sushi experience at the Signiel Club that will not be forgotten. The sushi chef, with more than 30 years in the industry, created handcrafted sushi and sashimi to our delight.
◆ The great bar on the 81st floor has a friendly and accommodating staff. ◆ Comfortable bedding follows in the footsteps of the Lotte brand.
◆ Enjoy VIP service at the Signiel Club.
◆ At a fine business lounge on the 79th floor, you can conduct a meeting and plan your day with your guests.
SIGNIEL SEOUL LOTTE WORLD TOWER
76F–101F 300 Olympic-ro
tel 82 2 3213 1000