Dozens of small rapids provide a restful soundtrack that allows a sense of detachment from the city
Some of the city’s best-known hotels, including the Lotte, the Westin Chosun, the Koreana and the Plaza Seoul – which in January became a member of Marriott’s Autograph Collection – can be found around City Hall and the boulevard up to Gwanghwamun Square. However, the launch of the new-build, 317-room Four Seasons just over the road from Cheonggye Plaza in October 2015 has shaken up the luxury market and given new impetus to this part of the city. Facilities include a range of five restaurants encompassing Korean, Chinese and international food, two bars, a spa and a sauna. In Gangnam, the Palace Hotel became a Sheraton in August.
Most of downtown’s new properties are in the “business premium” sector. A good example is the 383-room Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun, which opened in December 2015 just north of Cheonggyecheon. A new brand for the Shilla group, it is one of five now in Seoul and is trendy and minimalist in style.
Another new hotel brand by a Korean hotel giant, focusing on millennials, is Lotte L7, located in Myeongdong (as is the Lotte City Hotel). It boasts an eye-catching mural on its façade, cool grey tones similar to the Shilla Stay’s, and funky wall collages. The hotel also offers cycle-rickshaw rides on three routes around the city centre, one of which includes the Stream. Starwood will open the 223-room Aloft Seoul Myeongdong this month.