[This is part three of my Million-Mile Trip Report. I’ve included links to the other installments below:]
The Conrad Seoul will celebrate its one-year anniversary next month, and I was keen to book this relatively new property even though it’s in the financial district south of the Han River across from central Seoul.
When I arrived, the lobby was packed and the queue at reception was a good 35-40 people deep. Within moments of taking my position at the back of the line, however, an agent approached me and apologized for the wait explaining that the hotel ran a local promotion for Chuseok (Korean Thanksgiving).
Waiting didn’t bother me, but I asked if there was a separate Hilton HHonors elite line. There wasn’t, but she went to check my reservation and returned moments later, plucked me out of the line and escorted me to the Executive Lounge on the 37th floor as she noted my room wasn’t ready.
After a nearly two hour wait, my upgraded room (from a King Deluxe to a King Executive Floor) was finally available at 5:45 p.m.
All of the rooms (sans the suites, of course) are 516 square feet, which is rather large and impressive, so there’s basically no difference between a King Deluxe and a King on the Executive Floor(s).
I absolutely loved the rich earth tones and wood throughout. A closer inspection of the desk area revealed desktop universal power outlets (always appreciated) and the usual phone and notepad.
Looking back towards the entry, you’ll see the TV, a couple of drawers and the mini-bar area.
The bed itself was fantastically comfortable, mid-range in softness, and the nightstand nearest the lounger held the all-in-one electronic room control unit.
The closet contained your typical bathrobes, slippers, iron and ironing board, as well as a safe, additional amenities and more drawers.
My direct view was of one of the International Financial Centre (IFC Seoul) buildings, but there was plenty to see along each side. The Conrad, by the way, has direct indoor access to the IFC Mall (one floor below the lobby), which offers three levels of shops, restaurants and a movie theater, as well as a link to the subway.
Also large and impressive, the bathroom featured a deep soaking tub, separate shower, dual vanity sink area with in-mirror television, and a WC complete with a multi-functional bidet. There’s a button on the wall labeled “Magic Glass,” which frosts over the window looking into the bedroom.
I don’t know about you, but I’ve never been impressed with the Aromatherapy Associates bath amenities at Conrad properties. I think they’re pretty basic and unexciting. I still take ‘em, home though. 😉
The lounge on the 37th floor is equally rich with earth tones and wood accents, and it offers spectacular views. I always feel a little tacky taking pictures in lounges (ah, a blogger’s dilemma), and my crappy iPhone shots below don’t really do this one justice.
Both the breakfast (07:00-10:30) and evening (17:00-19:00) buffets were impressive and offered pretty decent selections. In the morning, eggs can be prepared to your liking in addition to the self-serve items (meats, rice, seafood, pastries, cereal, etc). And at night, a variety of hot items along with bread, cheeses and desserts can easily make up a light meal (or a full one with repeated trips).
Service and Final Thoughts
Service was impressive all around and everyone spoke excellent English. The same agent who escorted me to the lounge when I arrived saw me the next morning near the elevators, recalled my name and asked how my night was – very impressive for such a large and busy hotel.
I didn’t use the indoor pool, spa or fitness center, so I can’t offer a critique here. The business center, if you can call it that, is simply a single desk in the lobby facing reception that looks like where a manager or concierge would sit.
Overall, I was impressed with this property and it solidly lived up to the standard I expect from Hilton’s Conrad brand. While the wait for my room was a bit unacceptable, I was thrilled to get the upgrade as a lowly HHonors Gold.
– Follow Darren Booth on Twitter, @FrequentlyFlyin, for more airline, hotel and travel industry news, reviews and opinions.