Grand Hyatt, Seoul: Pleasing in The Eye, but …

grand-hyatt-grandroomThis hotel came to us highly recommended by quite some people, so we decided to try it because our favorite hotel, Lotte Hotel Seoul, was full. It was a nice, predictable, Hyatt experience, but nothing more. Here’s why:

Location ****

Location is nice because the rooms will give you a view of downtown Seoul from the hill, which is very pretty at night. The hotel also provides free shuttle bus to Itaewon (the main hangout area for expats, full of nice shops and restaurants) and Myeong Dong (a less-touristy area, but still a nice place to visit) until 9pm. The main issue with their location is that nothing is walking distance. You have to take a taxi, or shuttle bus, to find the nearest restaurant or convenience shop. Office buildings and commercial districts are also not within walking distance. This place is definitely for business travelers who do not like crowds and noise after they’re finished with work 🙂

Room ****

We got a corner room (free upgrade, thanks to my husband’s colleague) which was renovated two years ago. The room is quite spacious, with display shelves that don’t usually exist in a hotel room, two wardrobes, and a separate corner to make tea and coffee. Very pleasing in the eye from a design standpoint.

But I find quite a lot of things that are not practical in the design … the two wardrobes are definite waste of space (which business traveler would have enough clothes to fill up two wardrobes in one trip?). The shower door left a gaping hole, so the bathroom floor is always flooded after we shower. There are two sets of racks in the wardrobe that makes it hard for us to reach to the left end of the wardrobe (you won’t understand it unless you’re there … but believe me, it’s kinda annoying). They put a set of racks on the tea-making table that makes it hard to pull out the kettle from its base without hitting a glass or cup.

Another thing that might be minor but important to us is pillows. They only have soft, mushy pillows, which goes down immediately after you put your head on it, but the rest of the pillow will stay high and fluffy so when you sleep on your side, you will end up with the side of that pillow blocking your respiratory system (aka nose).

Internet was slow when we used it …. and it really bugged my husband because he needed to do some work on his office e-mails … 😦

Service *****

The service is excellent, as is usually the case with the Grand Hyatt. Everyone is friendly, speaks good english, and is efficient. The hotel’s marketing department even throw a complimentary bottle of wine and fruit platter there, which is nice 🙂

They also have a choice of newspaper, including International Herald Tribune and Wall Street Journal to deliver to the room. Way better than forcing everyone into reading a local newspaper. They also have a nice choice of reading material in the room, from the normal hotel and touristy magazine to Newsweek – my favorite! 🙂

Will I recommend this hotel to people? YES if you’re a business traveler traveling alone, NO if you’re there for leisure or there with your family. If you’re a business traveler traveling on your own, then the gaping hole in the shower and the super space in the wardrobe wouldn’t bug you. But if you’re traveling with your husband/wife plus kids, forget it … stay in a hotel where it’s easy to buy snacks and get anywhere by foot 🙂


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