279, Jongno-gu, Seoul
Not to be confused with the JW Marriott Seoul (located across the river in the Gangnam business and commercial district) the JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul is Marriott’s latest addition to the city, and now one of Seoul’s best hotels—or at least we think it is.
The 170-room hotel opened its doors in the winter of 2014 in one of Seoul’s most attractive new buildings (designed by the local architectural firm, Kunwon+poly.m.ur), opposite the stunning centuries’ old Dongdaemun Gate. But this area of Seoul is better known as the city's wholesale shopping district; it also has a vibrant food stall market on most nights.
The sleek and modern JW Marriott—the area’s first luxury hotel—at first looks a little out of place in this slightly down market area, but that actually accents even more this small hotel’s attractiveness. Basic rooms here are among the best designed in Seoul—with gorgeous parquet wood flooring, a comfy and attractive reading chair and ottoman, and large marble bathrooms with walk-in closets. You can also expect stunning floor-to-ceiling windows, Bose sound systems and an excellent work space and ergonomic desk chair. These are rooms you will not want to leave! Well done, Marriott Group.
The hotel does not boast much of a lobby, but you have plenty of dining options, including BLT Steak, a popular casual steak bistro brand from the US. But with a massive gym and one of the more luxuriously appointed indoor pool areas, you’ll probably be spending more time upstairs anyway.
Location is one thorn in the side for this hotel. Yes, it’s right in the heart of Seoul’s commercial shopping area, but that’s about it. And it’s a bit of a hike to the airports, which are literally on the other side of town (be sure to budget at least 1.5 hrs to get to the airport, especially Incheon.)
Eco-minded travelers will be happy to know that JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul is the city’s only hotel to earn the coveted LEED gold certification, a certification given by the U.S. Green Building Council that stands for Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design.
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