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Comfort is key when staying in Korea : Hotels offer top-notch amenities to ensure guests feel at home

May 10,2017
The view of Conrad Hotel, which offers a variety of activities, based on its 1-3-5 program. The hotel for instance offers a one-hour trip out to a market, and then writes down all the things one needs to try and even what to say in Korean so that visitors won’t get lost with what to order. [CONRAD SEOUL]
Looking for where to stay almost always takes up the most time when planning a trip, as some meticulous travelers check out all the available photos of rooms and restaurants, and even check for things to do nearby in an attempt to maximize the fun and comfort they will have during their stay whether they are a leisure or business traveler.

Most people want to feel at home after a long day of exploring the city or endless numbers of meetings. So, many hotels strive to provide a good mix of what’s new in the foreign city as well as what’s comfortable.

For business travelers who are in and out of Seoul frequently but only for a short trip, The Westin Chosun Seoul tries to make their rooms feel like home. Considering the comfort of having all of your private belongings when you go back home, the hotel will set the room up as you like it during your stay.

For those who stay at the hotel every month, the hotel offers a different kind of turndown service. You can leave your lotion and slippers wherever you wish, and as you check out of the room, hotel staff will collect the items you left behind and keep them for you until your next visit. Before you re-enter the room, all the items you left behind will be put back into the same spots, just as if you were in your own home.

“Those traveling so often have a tendency to stay in a place that feels more like home,” said Shim Kyu-won, a public relations official for the hotel. “So for the frequent guests to our hotel, we provide this service to make the stay more comfortable.”

Making the experience more personalized, the hotel also offers towels, shower gowns and other small things monogrammed with the guests’ name. These items will be ready in the room before the guests open the door. The experience in Seoul can even be more private as the hotel offers a check-in service at Incheon International Airport with transportation in a luxury BMW sedan.

While the Westin makes the Seoul experience more private, some other hotels in Seoul strive to make the stay more convenient.

Left two: Plaza Hotel Seoul offers a variety of halal food to better cater to Muslim guests. Middle: The Westin Chosun Seoul offers items monogrammed with guests names to make the stay more personalized. It also offers a BMW car service from the airport to the hotel to make the stay more comfortable. [PLAZA HOTEL SEOUL, WESTIN CHOSUN SEOUL]
JW Marriott Hotel Seoul, located in southern Seoul, works with nearby hospitals for guests who are coming for a check-up. Those coming to Korea for its top-notch health care are looking for a place close to the hospital they are visiting. St. Mary’s Hospital in southern Seoul is located about a 10 minute walk from the JW Marriott Hotel Seoul, and the two are in the process of making a package together. Due to the proximity, hotel staff don’t accompany guests to the hospital, but they answer special food requests for those who might be required to refrained from eating particular ingredients.

The Plaza Seoul in central Seoul provides halal food to its Muslim guests. Considering that there are only a handful of hotels in Seoul that have readily available halal options, The Plaza has made it so all of the food cooked in all four of the kitchens in the hotel’s restaurants are approved to be cooked halal, as it has been evaluated based on the rules the Korea Tourism Organization has set up to approve restaurants and hotels for Muslims looking to keep halal.

Lotte Hotel Seoul has all of its five restaurants approved, and Marriott Executive Apartment Seoul has one halal-friendly restaurant. Imperial Palace Seoul and Lotte Hotel World offer a special halal menu for those looking for it.

“It wasn’t easy to demonstrate the cooking process to have all of our kitchens approved for the ‘Muslim Friendly’ certificate, but that will work as a great benefit for many who are looking to explore Seoul while eating some tasty food,” said Yoon Mun-yup, a public relations manager for the hotel.

Some other hotels help out with how to get around and experience the city beyond what’s stated in guide books. Conrad Seoul, located in Yeouido, western Seoul, known as Korea’s financial area, sees lots of business travelers who rarely get an entire day for some leisure time. For them, the hotel has set up a 1-3-5 program called Stay Inspired, which gives suggestions on how to enjoy the city when you have only one hour, three hours or five hours. They not only tell visitors the location of must-visit places, but also help out with what to say in Korean to get what they want at shops and restaurants. Hotel staff will write down what to say, so that they won’t forget, and give out a more detailed itinerary of what transportation options to take and what items to eat so that travelers won’t waste a minute on the street.

JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square is working with a mobile application called Finger Trip to make the exploration of the city much easier. The hotel provides a cell phone with an unlimited data plan so that guests can use the device to explore the map and other information right from the Internet. This service was added after the hotel learned that many international travelers often don’t have enough data and have no access to the Internet. The device already has all the travel information one might needs, from maps to restaurant recommendations so that they won’t have to ask someone else to give them list of what to do.

Some hotels offer additional language services for those feeling nervous about using English or Korean. All the Hyatt hotels in Korea have a concierge service offered in Chinese so that guests can check in with a staff member who can speak the language, and further information about how to get around. Novotel Ambassador Seoul Gangnam offers such a check-in service in French as well to help out visitors from French-speaking countries.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]


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