Spontaneous Seoul 2019
- Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – SilverKris Lounge
- Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – Marhaba Lounge
- Singapore Airlines SQ608 Boeing 787-10 Singapore to Incheon – Business
- Conrad Seoul
- Fairfield by Marriott Seoul
- JW Marriott Hotel Seoul
- South Korea Incheon Airport Terminal 1 – Asiana Business Lounge
- Singapore Airlines SQ611 Boeing 777-300ER Incheon to Singapore – Business
I was super excited to check out this new property for my 2nd night in Seoul after knowing they had completed an extensive 8-month refurbishment and only re-opened in Sept / Oct 2018. I was also stoked to be able to compare this back to back with Conrad at similar price points.But first, a little background: this is Marriott’s first luxury property in Korea debuted in 2000 and boosts 379 of the city’s largest guestrooms including two multi-level penthouses and 32 suites, and boasts over 1,460 square meters of floor space with a magnificent 766-square-meter Grand Ballroom and six Salons.
After checking out of Conrad at 10:30am, I hopped onto a cab and headed over. To be sure I had room available, I “check in” on the Marriott app prior for 11am.
Address – 176, Sinbanpo-ro, Seocho-gu, Seoul 06546 South Korea. Website.
Contact – +82-2-6282-6262. Email: email@example.com.
Price – KRW324,900++ per night = KRW393,129 (SGD480) booked under the Member Rate Advanced Purchase. Quite an eye watering amount for a club room for a solo stay but since its supposed to be an atas trip, sure!
Location – There are two JW Marriotts in Seoul so the first thing is not to get confused. The other seemingly more popualr one is JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul. This is simply called JW Marriott Hotel Seoul – located in the Gangnam Central City, neighbouring to COEX Convention Centre. The property is part of the Shinsegae Central City – where JW is the hotel block, then you’ll get shopping blocks Famille Station & Garden, Shinsegae Department Store & Shinsegae Duty Free, and Express Bus Terminal Underground Mall. And of course the transport hub, Express Bus Terminal Station.
This effectively makes the property the best of the 3 I’ve checked out this trip as it is all-in-one option whether or not you choose to wander to elsewhere or just stay put. Which is what I did as I only had one day after all.
Side Note: Express Bus Terminal Underground Mall is a zoo on the Saturday I was there. Be careful of elbows and trolley wheels!
Getting There – My cab from Conrad took about 10mins and costs about KRW7,000 (SGD8-9). Otherwise, it is connected to the Express Bus Terminal Station and a 5-10min walk should take you to the lobby.
Check In – I mentioned to the bell boy that I was checking in at the Executive Lounge and he tapped me up. Upon reaching I was welcomed but after waiting for a while for the lady seated at the Lounged reception to be ready, she asked to take a seat and have coffee / tea as she is new and not equipped to do check ins (the other lady was attending to another guest). I spent this time taking photos, sipping peppermint tea and it would be another 20mins before her senior attended to me.
It was nice that they checked me in at my seat and processed everything there. Efficient and simple process. But what I didn’t like was that she explicitly said something to the effect of “as you may be aware, our usual check in time is 3:00pm, but however we found you an available room and can check you in now”.
Now, it could have been delivered in many other ways, but when she chose to put it this way, it made me feel she was doing me a great favor by checking me in now and that I should be thankful for it. I don’t know if it boils down to language barriers but at least for me, that was how it came across.
It was nice though that the Executive benefits were printed in a high quality print out.
Room – 3014 Executive Deluxe (40SqM). Upgraded to Executive Deluxe Premier with a city view. Same room size so I think the difference is the view which would have cost an additional 80,000KRW per night.
The room itself is spacious and decked out in mostly wooden hues. Round work desk and TV alongside a photocollage of sorts, then at one corner is a day sofa which is very nice for lounging. The bathroom uses its old tiles from the past but has been updated with modern touches including the sink and bathtub, and I found it cute that the shower floor was fitted with wooden panels much like a sauna.
The house brand toiletries were nice and available for sale at the main restaurant in bigger bottles.
I do have an issue with the beddings / linens. They felt very thin and very budget – not plush at all. Felt like something I would expect from an Ibis, not a JW. Even the one at Fairfield was a lot better. Disappointing that the reno has skimped out on this and definitely not what I was expecting for a room which costs this much. This made me miss Conrad’s bed so much 🙁
Executive Lounge – taking up the entire 9th floor of the hotel, the lounge is one of the biggest I’ve ever seen, equipped with many seating arrangements for different groups.
- 06:00 – 10:00 Well Being Breakfast
- 14:00 – 16:00 Afternoon Tea
- 16:30 – 19:30 Evening Hors D’oeuvres
- 18:00 – 22:00 Evening Cocktails
- 20:00 – 22:00 Cordials and Desserts
Lets start with breakfast (didn’t try the main restaurant as Club room guests are only allowed to eat at the main restaurant if you pay a supplement of KRW59,000) – the spread was definitely more than what I’ve seen other Lounges offer and a live egg station too!
Afternoon Tea is 3-tier offerings of the usual sandwiches, cakes, and mini stuff. They serve to you alongside your choice of drinks once you are seated.
Evening Hors D’oeuvres / Cocktails / Desserts was one of the most extensive offerings I’ve ever seen in terms of quantity (quality wise can be improved). I liked the fact that they offer some Korean dishes alongside the usual. There is also a bartender serving up your choice of cocktails from a menu of 4, and if that’s not your pet, you can stick with wines on tap, beers, or sparkling wine of course.
Marquis Spa & Fitness Club – Marquis Spa is only due to open in late 2019 so I checked out the Fitness Club on B2. The facilities offers paid memberships to non in-house guests as well so its a lot of shared facilities. Free body analyzing system and fitness classes were also available.
The club deserves a mention as it is 3 floors of workout indulgence – they even have a pilates room:
“An expansive fitness complex offering a variety of sports and activities. Facilities include state-of-the-art professional exercise equipment, 85-meter jogging track, Pilates room, screen golf zone, squash court, basketball court, swimming pool, scuba diving pool, jacuzzi, cabanas, sauna and more”
They were not kidding.
Main Lobby – I realized I had completely missed out the main lobby on level 8 so popped by to take a look. It’s actually quite nice with modern check in counters. and all. I do have pictures but they are not loading for some reason.
Others – The property also offers 7 culinary outlets: in the hotel Flavors & Patisserie, Tamayura, The Margaux Grill, MOBO Bar, The Lounge, Café One, but I’ve only walked thorugh Flavors during their very extravagant lunch buffet (KRR120,000!) and saw abalones and lobsters on offer.
Getting Around – There is plenty to do in the entire area without heading out but if you have to, it’s useful to know that the property offers shuttle buses to Itaewon, Myeongdong, and Namdaemun area on Sat, Sun and holidays, 4 times a day. This is the schedule they emailed me (but I’m not sure if it changes regularly).
Service – Felt much better than at Conrad and efficient throughout. At departure, the staff on level 1 even accompanied me all the way to the bottom of the escalator. Attentive service!
Check Out – Painlessly done at the front desk on level 8 and a hard copy of folio upon request.
Getting to the Airport – Airport Bus #6020 takes you back to Incheon Airport but the bus stop is tricky to find as it not in front of the hotel – rather it is in front of the Shinsegae departmental store and you got to walk through the store, find shake shack, go out of the door to shake shack’s left, turn left and walk straight, and cross the road. The bus stop that you will see first is the one coming from Incheon, so you got to cross that road to the bus stop opposite.
The stop name is “Gangnam Express Bus Terminal”.
There is no counter to get tickets from – rather you pay the driver cash of KRW15,000 or KRW13,000 if using T-money.
The schedule located at the bus stop was very useful for me but not available anywhere else online so I was lucky to get a bus after a 5-mins wait. The journey to Terminal 1 takes about 60mins.
a great (but expensive) property with an excellent location with the only disappointment being the cheap beddings. The hardware is great with the completed renovations and I don’t regret splurging one night here.
I wasn’t able to find any proper reviews of this property so I’m hoping mine will help someone out there 🙂