Arrival/Check-In: Incheon Airport is a good hour’s drive from the heart of Seoul, so be prepared for traffic. I got into the city during rush hour, but at THE PLAZA Seoul everything slowed to a nice pace as the valet helped with my bags and escorted me to reception. There was a bit of a wait, but it allowed me to enjoy the ultra-modern lobby with its high ceilings, dark wood and unique art spanning the marble space. A huge bouquet of flowers sitting on the center table offered a charming touch, along with the signature eucalyptus fragrance used throughout the property. Soon the staff realized my room was on the Club Floor and whisked me to the 20th floor for a quicker, more personalized check-in at the Club Lounge.
Guest Quarters: My Plaza Suite was even better than expected; its modern and chic aesthetic charms you the minute you walk in. As I closed the room door, I noticed its entire back was a full-length mirror, a perfect use of the space. A closet in the hallway had white curtains rather than doors, making for a unique touch. I was delighted to see windows spanning the entire length of my room, giving amazing natural light and views of City Hall and Deoksugung Palace. A large, LCD flat-screen sat over an electric fireplace and cozy cream couch, perfect for relaxing. A unique desk spanned almost half the room, with lots of places to charge a USB device; however, it held only one universal outlet, so bring an adapter. On a raised platform (watch your step!) the king-sized bed featured the signature COMFORT bedding and provided a great night’s sleep. The nightstand held a tablet to control the lighting, dimmers, drapes and temperature — it took a day to get used to but became intuitive.
The bathroom, though quite small, still fit all the amenities. The bright lighting was by far the best I have seen in a room recently and made the space feel larger. A full spa tub sat to the right, and the marble single-sink vanity held Hermès bath amenities that had a strong masculine aroma. The modern toilet/bidet sat awkwardly close to the vanity and halfway into the shower door space, forcing you to open the shower door inward. Despite the tight space, the large, glass-enclosed rainforest shower was a delight.
Services/Amenities: When staying in Asia I recommend choosing a room with Club Floor access, and THE PLAZA Seoul’s is a great example. The staff is available 24/7 to help with printing, tickets, restaurants and more to make your day a bit easier. It serves a full breakfast, afternoon tea and happy hour on the 18th floor, giving you quick access, a place to meet colleagues and stunning views of the city. One lazy evening I chose its kimchi stew hot pot soup for room service, presented in restaurant-style pottery and tasting wonderful. The property offers four dining concepts ranging from Korea’s take on Chinese at Taoyuen to Murasaki for sushi and Tuscany for a bit of Italian.
The fitness club and Belle Spa are in the PLAZA-owned building next door, but I promise the facility is worth the trek. Spanning two stories, it offers dozens of cardio machines with views of the Seoul skyline, along with a class studio, a driving range and an indoor Olympic-sized swimming pool bathed in natural light.
◆ The best amenity is the central location across from City Hall and Deoksugung Palace and a few blocks from Namdaemun Market for local shopping and street-style food.
◆ Make your stay even more pleasant by booking a Club Floor room with added amenities and convenience.
THE PLAZA Seoul, Autograph Collection
119 Sogong-ro Jung-gu
Seoul, 04525 South Korea
tel 82 2 771 2200
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