HO­TELS

Business Traveller (India) - - DESTINATIONS -

SEOUL DRAGON CITY

In­dus­try is a hall­mark of mod­ern Korea, and Seoul’s districts are alive with spe­cial­ist work­shops and stores sup­ply­ing light­ing, elec­tron­ics and en­gi­neer­ing ser­vices. Seobu T&D Cor­po­ra­tion – the de­vel­oper be­hind Seoul’s lat­est ma­jor ho­tel project – has its roots in a such com­mer­cial area, Yongsan, that is also home to plush neigh­bour­hoods and up­scale ho­tels. It is also where Seoul Dragon City opened in au­tumn 2017 as Korea’s largest ho­tel, with a com­bined 1,700 guest rooms spread across four brands.

The “hotelplex” is also a ma­jor project for Ac­cor, which has its Novo­tel Ho­tel, Novo­tel Suites, Grand Mer­cure and Ibis Styles in Dragon City.

For spe­cial events, the clus­ter boasts Sky King­dom, with four lev­els of themed venues housed in a bridge­way that links two of the tow­ers, and in­cludes the Sky Beach, which fea­tures deck­ing, BBQ fa­cil­i­ties and a DJ booth.

The hotelplex is 3km from Seoul Sta­tion, from where high-speed trains can reach Pyeongchang in 90 min­utes. Even closer, how­ever, are Yongsan and Siny­ongsan sta­tions, which con­nect to the rest of the city, and the iPark Mall – with Shilla Duty Free and Lotte Cin­ema – ac­ces­si­ble by a cov­ered walk­way.

CON­RAD SEOUL

Head­quar­ters of Korea’s cor­po­rate ti­tans are grouped around av­enues on ei­ther side of Yeouido Park and within sight of the Na­tional As­sem­bly building where the repub­lic’s law­mak­ers pre­side.

Amid the chae­bols and multi­na­tion­als stands the 480-guest room Con­rad Seoul with three floors of event space in­clud­ing the grand ball­room, which at 941 sqm can ac­com­mo­date up to 1,200 peo­ple. With 47 cor­ner suites, in­clud­ing a pres­i­den­tial suite fac­ing the LG head­quar­ters, the in­ter­na­tional cor­po­rate community tends to feel at home here with Deloitte, Hewlett Packard, AIG, IBM and more in the neigh­bour­hood. Along­side cor­po­rate com­forts, the Con­rad Seoul en­cour­ages trav­ellers to strike out of their com­fort zone with a choice of itin­er­ar­ies that last one, two or up to five hours and are “off the beaten track for our guests”.

FOUR SEA­SONS SEOUL

Gwangh­wa­mun is where old- and new-town Seoul meet, a hub that takes in the palace, the “K-wave cool” al­leys and streets, and – for those seek­ing a plush re­treat – Four Sea­sons Seoul.

Hid­den in the base­ment, a speakeasystyle bar of­fers xan in­trigu­ing post-meet­ing or in­cen­tive re­treat for small groups. The lounge bar is kit­ted out in sym­pa­thetic de­tail to con­jure the style of a US Pro­hi­bi­tion-era hide­away, but more Great Gatsby than Al Capone. Over­all, how­ever, the venue is a homage to Charles H Baker Jr (1895-1897), who wrote the Gentle­man’s Com­pan­ion se­ries of books, now un­der­go­ing a re­nais­sance as mixol­o­gists col­lect his clas­sic cock­tail recipes.

JW MAR­RIOTT DONG­DAE­MUM SQUARE

Dong­dae­mun is Seoul’s de­sign, gar­ment and fash­ion quar­ter all rolled into one, with the gate that gives the area its name stand­ing proud out­side the JW Mar­riott. This con­trasts with the uber-mod­ern Dong­dae­mun De­sign Plaza, a venue for fash­ion shows and de­sign-re­lated events. When US Pres­i­dent Don­ald Trump was in town the ho­tel pro­vided the base for some of his en­tourage. If they weren’t too busy they could avail them­selves of the ho­tel’s in­door pool, the set­ting for a num­ber of Korean TV drama scenes, which are al­most as soap op­er­atic as the White House it­self!

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