Glistening Park Hyatt is Busan’s newest jewel

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Glistening Park Hyatt is Busan’s newest jewel

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At the 33-story Park Hyatt Busan in Haeundae Beach, every one of the 269 rooms has an ocean view. [YONHAP]

A Park Hyatt luxury hotel opened in Busan yesterday, adding a mark on the city’s skyline with a 33-story, glass-exterior building at Haeundae Beach.

“In Busan, an emerging leisure and business hub in Northeast Asia, there definitely have not been enough premium hotels providing global-level facilities and service,” said Marc von Arnim, general manager of the new hotel. “Park Hyatt Busan will be a new standard in luxury hotels for business and leisure customers in Busan”

Park Hyatt is the flagship luxury brand of Hyatt Hotels Corporation, and Park Hyatt Busan is the second in Korea after Park Hyatt Seoul in Samseong-dong, southern Seoul, and it is the 31st in the world.

All 269 guest rooms have floor to ceiling windows facing the ocean and was designed by architect Daniel Libeskind, who won the competition to be the master plan architect for the World Trade Center site in 2003.

Although Busan is Korea’s vibrant second-largest city and home to the internationally renown Busan International Film Festival, there were only 10 four- or five-star hotels in 2011, compared to 47 in Seoul.

“There is still a lot of room for more luxury hotels to enter the city,” said Bae Gwang-hwan, an official at Busan Metropolitan Government’s tourism division. “The more luxury hotels are built, the higher the name value of the city and greater the number of tourists and international conferences that come to town.”

Four- and five-star hotels in Busan average 71 percent occupancy, and others about 50 percent, according to Bae.

Hilton Worldwide also has recognized the growing market for the luxury hotel chains in Busan and is preparing to open a property after 2015.

A Japanese entertainment company, Sega Sammy, also is finalizing a plan to build a 500-room hotel near Bexco, or Busan Exhibition and Convention Center, according to a source at the Busan Metropolitan Government.

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Meanwhile, the number of tourists in Busan is growing. Last year, there were 2.6 million visitors, a year-on-year increase of 10.5 percent. And President-elect Park Geun-hye has promised to consider resurrecting a plan to build a new international airport in the area.

Along with the new hotels, existing businesses have been considering expansion. Lotte Hotel broke ground for another high-rise for shopping and accommodation last year. Construction of the 107-story skyscraper is set to be completed by 2016 in Busanjin District, central Busan.

“To stay competitive in Busan, where many of the new big name rivals with some brand power are coming in, we are not only constantly renovating existing facilities but also constructing another multipurpose building for shopping and lodging,” said an official at the Lotte Hotel’s communications team.

Lotte already operates Lotte Hotel Busan in Jung District, central Busan, and has invested 60 billion won ($56 million) since 2008 to upgrade the 15-year-old facilities.

Westin Chosun, located in Haeundae, also is reported to be considering another resort in the area, although no details have been confirmed.

“Some fierce competition among luxury hotels is expected in the near future,” said Yoo Jeong-woo, a researcher at Busan Development Institute a think tank. “Such competition will expand the tourism market overall in the area and help the city become a popular travel destination in the global community.”


By Lee Sun-min [summerlee@joongang.co.kr]

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