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Hotel Westin Chosun Seoul Hotel 5 star
Easyexperts
87 Sokong-Dong Jung-gu, Séoul Seoul, South Korea -
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Amy Adejokun Section editor

Korea's oldest operating hotel, the Westin Chosun has never been better. With a downtown Seoul location, this refined, classy property marries the very best of Asian hospitality and service with the finest European amenities and design. Being a chain hotel, no great risks have been taken in terms of the décor, however the scale is pretty grand and the guestrooms are spacious in a way that us Europeans could only dream of. They are not only generously proportioned but highly functional, excellently appointed and above all comfortable. Close to many of the city's main attractions, the hotel also has top class eating and drinking outlets and an admirable wellness facility. The fine views and quite remarkable service make the Westin Chosun Seoul one of the city's finest accommodation choices.

The oldest hotel in the country is still one of its best with spacious rooms, tip top service and restaurants to die for.

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  • International Standard
  • Well located
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    Location 9.45 /10

    The Westin Chosun is situated in downtown Seoul alongside several other of the city's large hotels. The area is dominated by large financial institutions, embassies and government offices, the most notable of which is City Hall, just a few minutes' walk away. Two of the city's most famous markets, Namdaemun (traditional, Korea's largest) and Myeogng-dong (more modern) are in close proximity to the hotel. Both open until the early hours, the former is great for street food and cheaper clothing, sports equipment and the like, while the latter is made up of designer outlets and department stores. Also within walking distance from the hotel are two of Seoul's most famous temples, Deoksugung and Gyeonghuigung. There are a couple of subway stations near to the hotel as well as several bus routes than run past. From Incheon International Airport you can take the KAL Limousine Bus which will drop you directly at the Westin Chosun. Alternatively you can catch a cab which should cost a little over 50,000KRW.

    Accommodation 9.20 /10

    The 462 guestrooms at the Westin Chosun are divided up between deluxes (standards), executives and suites. By European standards, the deluxe rooms are extremely spacious and even if you were staying for a week or more, they would be more than sufficient. The carpeted rooms all have a sober colour scheme with whites, creams, tans and browns accounting for 99% of the room's décor. King beds are wrapped in custom white linens and have a tall leather headboard behind them. The pair of bedside tables between them has a telephone, reading lamps and a panel controlling all lighting and curtains. Also either side of the bed is a small towel and slippers while a clothes stand is placed just at the end of the bed to one side. Such is the scale of the room that there is room for a sofa and coffee table (with fruit), a sideboard with storage space and a flatscreen television and a large writing desk with chair. Other amenities in the room include an iPod docking station, minibar and snack tray, coffee-maker, bathrobes and safe. The large picture windows allow in floods of light although not all of the rooms have views worthy of such a frame. The bathrooms are perhaps a little small given the size of the bedrooms, but are very well appointed in marble and wood with several large mirrors and all the amenities you would need including bliss toiletries. There is a make-up mirror, complimentary water and a set of scales also in the bathroom although perhaps the best thing about them is the Japanese-style Toto loos which do just about everything for you apart from your actual business! We also like the Korean art work throughout the room which is simple yet relaxing and calming.

    If for some reason you feel you need even more space or you need extra work space or entertaining space then you could either opt for one of the office rooms which are available as a deluxe or executive or go for a suite, of which there are several sizes. The smallest is the junior suite, decorated in the same way as the guestrooms but with extra living space within the bedroom in the form of a seating corner with sofa, armchair and coffee table and an extra large writing desk. These suites, just like the others, have a spacious bathroom with both a bathtub and walk-in monsoon shower. The larger suites, some of which are positioned on the corner of the building, have a separate salon and yet more living space with one and a half bathrooms and in some cases dining facilities. The Renewal Suite is the only one appointed in a traditional Korean style while the largest two suites have extras including jet baths, walk-in closets and extra bedrooms, not to mention the finest views available.

    Overview

    As one get used to in a place such as South Korea, with the high degree of importance it place son welcoming strangers, you will be met outside the Westin Chosun by the most gracious of doormen looking simply to help you with your bags and not, as is the case in most places in the world, for financial recompense. After being led inside to the sober but perfectly formed lobby, with an original Henry Moore at its centre, you will be guided to the right-hand side and the reception desk where fluent English-speakers will check you in while conversing fluidly and intelligently to sooth the monotonous process. In the same marble-floored space you will find the concierge desk and the guest services desk behind both of which yet more exceptional staff will meet your every need with professionalism, competence and genuine goodwill. While the soft furnishings may be European in style, some of the other décor, such as the folding screen with its intricate tree paintings, are decidedly Asian. An art collection, flower arrangements and a grand piano (played in the late afternoons) help to add character to the space while also on the ground floor one can find the business centre and an ATM.

    Downstairs from the lobby on the ground floor you will find two very different outlets. The first is Kyukmul Gongboo, a traditional Korean flower shop, which, while obviously not very practical to buy gifts from, is nonetheless beautiful to browse through. The second is Vecchia e Nuovo, an Italian bistro famous for its cheesecake (see 'Food and Drink').

    For those who like to keep fit even while away from home, then head to the hotel's City Athletic Club. Although it is not a full blown wellness centre, it is a very smart affair indeed which boasts a 24-meter indoor pool whose roof is retractable, a couple of jacuzzis, a state-of-the-art fitness room and separate men's and women's saunas and steam rooms. As well as the relaxation lounge, guests can take time out on one of the many loungers or on one of the cabanas. If you are heading out and want to look your best then you can make an appointment at the hotel's hair salon.

    If you are staying in one of the executive rooms or have bought into the executive programme you will have access to the executive club. This private space is a place to come to work in a quiet environment, relax with a book and a glass of wine or to enjoy complimentary breakfast and snacks throughout the day. The smart and cosy facility offers some pleasant city views although they will not take your breath away. Facilities include a small library, several televisions and work space.

    The hotel as a whole is in excellent condition and is kept immaculately. Everything is spotless and nothing is ever out of place. The service in all departments is outstanding and there is always someone available to answer your questions or help you with anything that may not be to your satisfaction. The staff is also attentive, for example offering guests an umbrella to walk a mere 15m from the entrance to the hotel in the rain to the smoking area. You just cannot fault the attention to detail at the Westin Chosun.

    Food and drink 9.20 /10

    There is one thing we can say for sure about the Westin Chosun - you will not be going hungry. There are a total of six eating and drinking outlets within the hotel premises which we will now resume for you.

    Vecchia e Nuovo is the hotel's Italian bistro, situated on the lower ground floor. Open all day, it operates as both a deli and a restaurant serving up beautifully presented traditional dishes as well as sandwiches, salads, pastas, breads and pastries. Famous for its cheesecake, this eatery should not be underestimated simply because it is so far away from Italy - the produce here is of the highest quality.

    The hotel's buffet restaurant, Aria, is an interesting concept. Nine live cooking stations serving up good quality Korean and Western dishes to the background of classical music. The restaurant is open for all three meals of the day and has plenty of seating - although it is a shame the space receives no natural light. While modern and of course spotless, this is not the most charming of the outlets in which to eat, although it is one of the most cost-effective.

    Next up is The Ninth Gate Grill, the country's first French restaurant, which specialises in grilled meats which are cooked in wood-fired hearth ovens. Also with an open kitchen, the seating at the restaurant is smart yet informal and highly comfortable and the floor-to-ceiling windows frame the small temple situated just outside the hotel. Of note here is the transparent wine cellar which contains over 300 different wines.

    As with many top Korean hotels, the Westin Chosun has both a Chinese and a Japanese restaurant. Hong Yuan is the Chinese eatery and is probably our favourite in terms of its design and décor. At the entrance to the traditional affair is a tea station on the black marble floor, where some seating is also to be found along with a large pot of orchids and wonderfully delicate bamboo outlines on the dark walls. The interior is magnificent, with a handful of seating booths with red leather banquettes and red-topped tables sectioned off by beautifully intricate Chinese lattice work. In addition to these compartments there are, like in all of the hotel's restaurants, several private dining rooms for family occasions or business meetings, although the décor is somewhat toned down compared to the eye catching red and black association in the main dining room. The head chef here, half-Chinese and half-Korean, is famed for the use of tofu in his dishes - something that will please vegetarians looking for an authentic Chinese meal.

    The fifth and final restaurant at the Westin Chosun is the aforementioned Japanese eatery Sushi Cho. The highly acclaimed sushi restaurant is run by the Michelin starred Ginza Kyubey and is located on the hotel's 20th floor. The décor remains contemporary but extremely simple so as not to take attention away from the exquisite dishes coming from the open kitchen. Diners can choose either to sit at a classic sushi bar or at the tables under which there is a well for legs and feet. Not only does Sushi Cho have a dedicated sake bar, but there are also spectacular views of Mount Inwang through the floor-to-ceiling windows.

    And finally, the cosy lounge space in the lobby is known as The Circle and is open all day for either tea, coffee and pastries from Payard during the day, or for beers, wines and cocktails in the evening to the accompaniment of live music. There is a wide selection too of whiskies and cognac as well as a snacking menu.

    To know

    The oldest functioning hotel in South Korea, the Westin Chosun was originally opened in 1914 as the Chosun Hotel. It was the country's first European hotel and was extremely contemporary for the era with Otis elevators brought in from New York. It may look a lot different today, but it is still one of the leading hotels in Seoul and its history is here to stay. The hotel has 3 guestrooms adapted for those guests in a wheelchair.

    Equipment

    • Shuttle bus
    • Car park
    • Handicap access
    • Restaurant
    • Internet access

      (wifi 32,000KRW per 24h)

    • Air conditioning
    • Spa

      massage, spa, Turkish bath, wellness, sauna, beauty salon, keep fit, hammam

    • Swimming pool
    • Sports equipment

      sports, fitness, gym, aerobics, golf

    • Barber
    • Whirlpool bath
    • Safe
    • Limousine service
    • Non-smoking rooms
    • Solarium
    • Meeting room

    advantage

    • Downtown locaiton
    • Guestroom size
    • Impeccable service
    • Food and drink options
    • Wellness facilities
    • Executive club

    disadvantages

    Traveller Reviews

    • Overall Score nc/10
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