The Westin Chosun, Seoul, sits next to the historic Temple of Heaven monument. // © 2010 The Westin Chosun, Seoul
My first memory from my trip to Seoul last winter involved snow — lots of it. I distinctly remember not being able to see anything except for massive drifts of snowflakes as I looked out my taxi window.
So, once I made it to my hotel, The Westin Chosun, Seoul, you can imagine how elated I was to have arrived out from the cold, and into such a warm, inviting environment. From the outside, the 456-room Westin Chosun resembles any other high-rise hotel but, once inside, it’s easy to notice details that reveal a deeper, more meaningful history behind the 96-year-old property. Peering into the hotel’s Compass Rose lounge was like entering an old English library from the early 1900s. Further inspection of the lobby brought me to a bronze plaque in the middle of the room from the “Guinness Book of World Records,” stating that this was the oldest hotel in the Republic of Korea.
The hotel began in 1914 as The Chosun Hotel, a luxury European-style hotel that catered to an international clientele. In 1981, it became a Westin property and, to this day, the hotel continues to be a popular choice among business and leisure travelers alike, including foreign dignitaries visiting Seoul during the G20 Summit this November.
After checking in and being informed that my Executive Deluxe room was still being prepped, I headed to the 20th Floor Executive Club Lounge. After that short respite, I headed up to my room. Executive Club privileges offer additional perks such as complimentary breakfast and in-room Internet access.
My guestroom was spacious and fully outfitted with all the things I needed to make me feel at home, including a Nespresso coffee machine. All rooms feature high-speed Internet access, cable television, an in-room safe, a minibar, complimentary tea and water, 24-hour room service and a complimentary mobile for personal use (exclusive of call charges).
In August, the hotel unveiled three new luxury Korean Suites on the 17th floor which blend contemporary conveniences with hanok (traditional Korean house) touches. Three acclaimed Korean interior designers were called in to design each suite.
While clients might be tempted to spend the majority of their time in their rooms, they shouldn’t. The Westin’s prime downtown location is central to numerous attractions and sites, including the beautiful, adjacent Temple of Heaven monument, the massive Lotte department store complex and the bustling open-air Namdeamun Market — all of which are within walking distance of the hotel.
The Westin also offers a number of enticing features, including a year-round indoor heated pool; a steam room; a sauna; a fitness center; six different restaurants and lounges; a fully equipped business center; event and meeting spaces; and much more.