119, Sogong-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul
With the completion of a full interior renovation in 2010 under the direction of respected italian designer, Guido Ciompi, the 410-room Plaza Hotel, Seoul’s only true luxury boutique hotel, seriously upped its game. With a central location close to the City Hall subway station and within walking distance to the popular Myeong-Dong shopping hub, the Plaza boasts Seoul’s best location from a leisure and tourist perspective.
Entry-level rooms here, at 30sqm, are considerably smaller than those across town at the Conrad or Park Hyatt, where you’ll also find a more elegant and contemporary design. The Plaza, however, can match any hotel in town in terms of service and amenities, with no fewer than seven restaurants, a full-service spa and a truly massive gym (oversize gyms are a peculiar trademark of Seoul’s top hotels).
Design in the public spaces is clean and modern, while design in the rooms can be reminiscent of a Parisian boutique hotel, with quirky elements that have slightly more form than function. And although 30sqm should be plenty of space for a hotel room, some of the room layouts (with the bed brought out from the wall to take center stage in the room) leave limited space for luggage and shopping bags. The room’s best features are the bathrooms, which have plenty of light and mirrors and use Molton Brown amenities (Hermes on the Club floors).
Oddly, the basic rooms do not have an iron and ironing board, which is something of a sin for a hotel of this size and level (maybe this will be corrected soon). The hotel’s dining options offer something for everyone—contemporary Japanese, Tuscan, and even a European-style bakery, Eric Kayser. The hotel’s fitness center is more like a full-service sports club, with aerobics classes, a golf driving range and even a health clinic and sauna facilities.
Although the hotel bills itself as primarily a business hotel, don’t expect ergonomic chairs and dedicated work spaces in rooms (but rather a long table that doubles as a desk). So we would suggest The Plaza more as a leisure option, especially with its close proximity to Seoul’s cultural and shopping delights. For the best business hotel in Seoul, look no further than the Conrad Seoul in Yeouido.
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