For a city of more than 10 million people, five-star hotels are fairly thin on the ground in Seoul. There are around 20 in the city while Bangkok, which has a population of only eight million, has at least twice that number. It is notoriously difficult to find a hotel room in peak season, so the city’s latest luxury offering, the Conrad Seoul, is a welcome addition to the skyline.
Opened in late 2012 the Conrad sits in the International Finance Centre on Yeouido Island in the middle of the Han River that bisects the city. Yeouido is often called the Manhattan of Seoul and is home to the financial district as well as a number of media offices. But it’s also one of the greenest areas of the city centre, surrounded by parks that in spring are a riot of flowers and cherry blossoms, and is an escape from the noise and smog of downtown Seoul. There is a maze of jogging and cycling trails around the island if you like to get outside on holiday and easy access to the subway station, the fastest way to get around the congested city. The nearby IFC Mall is one of the largest in Seoul and home to a huge number of international designer brands and local boutiques.
The 434-room hotel is the first for Conrad in South Korea. The style is sleek and modern with high vaulted ceilings, floor to ceiling glass, polished marble and a huge multi-storey spiral staircase in the lobby. In a city renowned for it’s petite hotel rooms, the Conrad’s entry level rooms are the largest in Seoul starting at 48 square metres. At the top end is the six-room, 288 square metre penthouse suite with views over the river and city skyline. All rooms have an Apple Mac mini at the centre of a multimedia and entertainment hub with highspeed internet, hundreds of movie and television channels, iTunes, USB ports and social media connectivity.
There are four restaurants, a spa and a vast fitness centre with a seven-tee golf driving range, including two with virtual screens, as well as a 25-metre indoor swimming pool. Don’t miss an evening drink in the executive lounge on the 37th floor – it has incredible panoramic views over the city.