Kempinski picks Busan for its first Korean hotelEurope’s oldest luxury hotel group, Kempinski, selected the southern port city of Busan as the home of its first property in Korea.
The group signed a formal contract with local builder GL City Construction on Monday to develop Kempinski Hotel Busan in Suyeong District by the end of 2018. GL owns the property and Kempinski will operate the hotel.
On a plot measuring 28,000 square meters (301,000 square feet), the six-star establishment will consist of a hotel with 326 guest rooms and 221 serviced apartments, according to a statement released by GL.
The 32-story hotel property will feature indoor and outdoor swimming pools, a spa and upscale food and beverage venues.
The serviced apartment tower with 39 floors will have common spaces and other amenities.
Kempinski’s entry to Korea is rare in that it is choosing Busan over the capital city of Seoul.
GL said it was a testament to the city’s growing importance for tourism and business travel.
The number of foreign visitors to Busan was 2.6 million in 2012, which increased to 2.8 million in 2013. Last year, the figure reached three million, a 7.7 percent increase compared to 2013.
Suyeong District is an ideal location to attract both tourists and business travelers. The hotel will be located between two popular Busan areas: Haeundae Beach in Haeundae District and Gwangalli Beach in Suyeong District. The city’s largest convention center, Bexco, is a five-minute car ride away.
CEO Lee Cheol of GL City Construction expressed high expectations for the luxury establishment.
“Kempinski Hotel Busan will contribute to boosting tourism and the convention industries,” the CEO said.
The builder has been focused on building apartment complexes and recently started extending its business to resorts and hotels.
Competition is heating up as other luxury hotel operators set their sights on the area.
Hilton Hotels & Resorts near Haeundae is under construction.
The hotel chain signed a management agreement with Emerson Pacific and plans to open the 306-room Hilton Busan in 2016.
The 10-story Hilton Busan will offer a minimum room size of 56 square meters. The hotel operator will also feature services tailored to high-end customers, including an all-day dining restaurant, an outdoor pool, spa, health club and business center.
Founded in Berlin, Kempinski began operating in 1897, making it Europe’s oldest luxury hotel group. The corporate office is now located in Geneva, and the chain operates 106 top-tier hotels in 36 countries.
BY PARK EUN-JEE [firstname.lastname@example.org]