New Sheraton opens, first 5-star lodgings in Yeongdeungpo

[INTERVIEW] ‘We’re very excited about the mixed-use nature of this project, which will create demand.’

서남권 첫 특1급 `쉐라톤 서울 디큐브시티` 오픈

Sept 19,2011
Matthew Fry
Starwood Hotels and Resorts Worldwide, headquartered in New York, on Friday opened the Sheraton Seoul D Cube City Hotel, the first five-star hotel in the Yeongdeungpo area of Seoul.

This is the third Sheraton-branded hotel in Korea; the others are the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill in Seoul and the Sheraton Incheon Hotel.

The facility is located on the 27th to 41st floor of D Cube City, a mixed-use tower that also houses a department store, restaurants and music hall.

In an interview with the Korea JoongAng Daily, Matthew Fry, senior vice president of Starwood Hotels and Resorts Asia Pacific, said that despite the global economic downturn, the hotel business worldwide has been on an upswing. He added that his company may launch hotels with the group’s other brands, such as Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft, in Korean cities other than Seoul.

Fry said three or four new Starwood hotels could be on tap; candidate cities are Busan, Daegu and Jeju Island.

“There are motels and five star hotels here, but there’s not a lot in between,” Fry said. “And I think Four Points will be an answer.”

The new hotel, which has 269 rooms, is an hour from Incheon International Airport by car and about five kilometers (3.1 miles) from Yeouido, Seoul’s financial district. The hotel’s target clientele is business travelers visiting Yeouido and tourists from China and Japan.

Starwood has nine hotel brands in its portfolio, including Aloft, St.Regis, W, Westin, Sheraton and Four Points by Sheraton. It manages over 980 properties in more than 100 countries, employing over 145,000 people across the globe. Sheraton is Starwood’s largest brand.

Q. I’m a bit surprised at the location of the new hotel. The area isn’t a tourist attraction at all and Sheraton is the first five-star hotel in the area.

A. It’s more about potential. For the market to evolve, you put in a flagship development like this and it’s going to enhance the surrounding area. It’s just the way the geography of Seoul is: There are not a lot of hotels in this area.

The strength of the Sheraton brand adds to the rest of the development, and [we will] be able to overcome perceptions that are out there [in a remote area].

The new hotel’s room occupancy rate in September is 65 percent. The Starwood ticker symbol is HOT and so we call its opening “hot.”

While Walkerhill is more of a leisure destination, we believe the new hotel will be more corporate driven.

We’re seeing what was a kind of a theory a few years ago, that Chinese are going to travel a lot more outbound. That’s actually turning into a reality. Obviously [because of the geographic proximity], Chinese like to travel to Korea and they’re going to be travelling here in large numbers.

How is the new hotel different from other competitors in Korea?

It’s the mixed-use development. You’ve got the benefits of a shopping center next door and restaurants, retail and a performing art center. That really differentiates it from any other hotels.

The design is something unique. The lobby is up on the 41st floor, so once you get up there it’s really “wow” and that will attract people as a place to entertain clients. The view is hard to beat.

We’re very excited about the mixed-use nature of this project, which will create a lot of synergies for the hotel and create a lot of demand itself. Mixed uses are very common today. In fact, most hotels being built now are part of a mixed-use development.

What’s the outlook for the worldwide hotel industry?

The global hotel industry is definitely on an upswing right now despite what you read in the newspapers about troubles in the United States and Europe. It’s kind of a tale of two markets.

You have emerging markets growing rapidly, like Asia and the Middle East, and you have more mature markets in North America and Europe. While North America and Europe’s economies aren’t growing quickly, in some parts of the world like the Middle East there is a lack of new supply. That benefits the existing hotel supply. In Asia, demand is growing quickly but supply is also growing quickly.

Despite the recent grumbling about a worldwide recession, we haven’t seen any impact from that as of yet. We didn’t see great drops in reservations, and I think that’s positive.

What will be the next goal for Sheraton in Korea?

We would love to expand Sheraton to other parts of Korea. We’re also looking into bringing some other brands to Korea.

We’ve got a lot of interest and activity around our [mid-scale] brands, which are Four Points by Sheraton and Aloft, which is a division of W hotels. So given the presence of Sheraton and W, there’s recognition of those brands and their baby brands have resonated with developers.

From the Sheraton perspective, I think Four Points [by Sheraton] and Aloft could work in Busan, Jeju Island and Daegu.

By Kim Mi-ju [mijukim@joongang.co.kr]

한글 관련 기사 [뉴시스]

서남권 첫 특1급 `쉐라톤 서울 디큐브시티` 오픈

서울 서남권 유일의 특1급 호텔인 `쉐라톤 서울 디큐브시티`가 16일 문을 연다.

신도림 복합쇼핑몰 디큐브시티에서 오픈하는 이 호텔은 호텔경영 전문회사 스타우드가 쉐라톤워커힐, 쉐라톤인천에 이어 한국에서 개업한 세 번째 쉐라톤 호텔이다. 소유주는 대성산업이지만 운영은 스타우드가 한다.

쉐라톤서울디큐브시티 호텔은 일본의 문화복합단지인 도쿄 롯본기 힐스를 설계한 건축회사인 미국의 저디와 일본 모리의 컨설팅으로 설계됐다.

총 19층(지하 1층, 6~8층, 27~41층) 규모로 딜럭스룸, 프레지던셜 스위트 등 객실 269개를 갖췄다. 각 룸에는 쉐라톤 스위트 슬리퍼 베드가 설비됐고, 객실 크기의 3분의 1 이상을 차지하는 큰 욕실을 갖춰 서울을 바라보며 목욕을 즐길 수 있게 했다. 브라이덜 샤워나 파자마 파티 등 호텔 룸을 이용해 모임을 갖는 여성 고객들을 겨냥해 여성전용 `허 룸`을 마련한 것도 특기할 만하다.

로비는 41층에 위치해 호텔 이용객이면 누구나 서울의 전경이 발밑으로 펼쳐지는 장관을 즐길 수 있다. 이곳에는 인터넷을 무료로 이용할 수 있는 링크@쉐라톤(Link@Sheraton)이 준비돼 있다. 클럽 층 이상의 객실과 스위트 투숙객은 룸에서도 인터넷을 무료로 쓸 수 있다.

각국 150가지 요리로 꾸며지는 뷔페와 1품 메뉴를 아침부터 밤까지 맛볼 수 있는 146석 규모의 시그니처 레스토랑 `피스트`, 서울 목동·영등포·여의도로 이어지는 아름다운 전경을 감상하며 칵테일을 즐길 수 있는 41석 규모의 `로비라운지 바`, 베이커리 전문점 `델리`, 건강음료를 내놓는 `피트 카페` 등 4개 업장이 들어섰다.

34개국에 지점을 거느린 스파 매니지먼트 회사인 태국의 MSPA가 직영하는 `아콰리스 스파`가 입점한 것도 특별하다.

500명까지 수용 가능한 그랜드 볼룸 등 연회장 12개, 실내 수영장, 골프연습장, 체육관 등으로 구성된 `쉐라톤 피트니스`도 있다.

쉐라톤 서울 디큐브시티는 인천공항과 1시간, 김포공항과 30분, 여의도와는 20분 거리인 교통상 이점을 이용해 외국 관광객이나 비즈니스 고객를 끌어들이고, 서울 서남권의 유일한 그랜드볼룸을 활용해 컨벤션 유치에도 적극 나선다는 전략이다.

디큐브시티에 함께 자리한 `뽀로로 테마파크`, `뮤지컬 공연장`, `디큐브 백화점` 등과 연계한 다양한 패키지를 통해 숙박, 외식, 쇼핑, 문화, 레저를 원스톱으로 즐기는 새로운 라이프를 제시한다. 연회장, 허니문 스위트 등으로 서울 서남지역 웨딩 수요층을 공략한다는 방침이다.

데이비드 커든 총지배인은 "새로운 복합문화공간으로 떠오르고 있는 디큐브시티의 다양한 서비스를 결합해 프리미엄 서

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