TECHNO-TRANQUILLITY: THE WESTIN CHOSUN SEOUL HOTEL
Techno-tranquillity: The Westin Chosun Seoul Hotel - Luxury Travel Magazine
|By Timothy Morrell, 11th November 2011|
|South Korea’s sophistication as a hi-tech society is now a familiar fact of life. Regardless of whether you find this intimidating or the principal reason for going there, it makes sense to stay in a hotel that has absorbed technology as comfortably as the nation as a whole.|
Among the cluster of luxurious establishments around City Hall in the centre of Seoul, the Westin Chosun stands out because it’s not just technologically advanced, it also manages to embody traditional Korean style and exude calm in this rather frantic city. It’s in the preferred location for doing corporate business. This is also the best part of town for department store shopping, and is centrally placed between the royal palaces, which are Seoul’s main cultural tourist attraction. The hotel is on a small plateau above the dense traffic at street level. A classical Korean garden with a pavilion is directly beside the entrance to the restrained and elegant lobby (where, as in so many top hotels all over the world, a dubious work of contemporary art is prominently featured).
The original 1914 Chosun, the first hotel in the Republic of Korea, was replaced in 1970. The new building was comprehensively refurbished in 2011. It isn’t quite a standard modern high rise. A triangle composed of three concave wings, it has rooms that you enter from gently curving corridors, which create the impression of an intimate space because you can’t see rows of doors stretching out into the remote distance.
The guest rooms incorporate pale wood and stone surfaces that give a natural feel to the warm and subdued atmosphere. Occupants may sense the minimalist grid design that often imposes a serene logic to Japanese and Korean interiors, through both the architecture and the fittings. Your immediate impression, however, is that the rooms are relaxingly informal. Guests who feel strongly about retaining some sense of being connected to the natural world will appreciate having windows that can be opened. Comfort is key, and the beds come with a selection of five pillows in various shapes, sizes and degrees of firmness. Bathrooms include that most engaging achievement of modern Asian domestic technology, the performing loo, with water jets controlled by an illustrated keypad. The seat is heated.
Instructions are provided explaining how to use everything in your room (including the espresso coffee machine). This eliminates the customary period of adjustment upon arrival in a new hotel room, when slightly woozy jet-lagged travellers take what may seem like forever to familiarise themselves with all the time-saving devices. It’s a particularly user-friendly hotel. There’s a charge for using the high-speed broadband connection in your room (approximately A$20 for 24 hours), but free Wi-Fi is available in all public areas. Business travellers are the principal clientele, and nowhere in Seoul caters to them better, but the simple efficiency also helps create a calm atmosphere that recreational travellers will appreciate.
The facilities include beautician and massage services, a well-equipped gym, pilates studio, heated indoor swimming pool, whirlpool, steam room and dry sauna. The six restaurants provide a range of modern international bistro food, fine Japanese dining and traditional Cantonese specialties.
|Rates start from KRW270,000 (about A$236) per night for a Business Deluxe room, and KRW700,000 (about A$612) per night for an Executive Deluxe Suite. For more information visit starwoodhotels.com/westin/|