Guestwriter Hotels

THE PLAZA Seoul Autograph Collection (finally I can get the wifey something from Hermes)

A review of the Plaza Soul Autograph Collection- how do the rooms, service and food measure up?

THE PLAZA Seoul sits right smack in the CBD of the Korean capital and walking distance to Myeong Dong. To qualify to be a hotel in the Autograph Collection, the hotel has to have some sort of uniqueness in itself and exudes its own personality and spirit. What that means, I leave it up to your imagination. Personally I think it’s Marriott’s take to rope in more cool looking establishments to soften their stiff Americanised corporate image in view of competition from the boutique hotels and the ultra cool. Like they say, no two hotels in the Autograph Collection are the same. We shall see how THE PLAZA Seoul fares.

THE PLAZA Seoul (photo credit: Marriott Rewards)

Getting to the hotel from the Incheon Airport is not difficult as it sits right on top of the City Hall Station. From the airport you could take the AREX direct to the Seoul Station and then transfer on the subway dark blue line to get to City Hall Station. This travel mode should take 1.5 hours while a taxi should take about 45 min to 1 hour, depending on the traffic. It costs me about S$50 for the taxi ride.

Test your eye sight to locate the stations (photo credit: Seoul Sublet)

Once I arrived at the hotel, the porter asked me for my name and he ushered me to the lift rather than to the check-in reception at the main lobby. It was then I realised that I could be getting a room upgrade and club lounge access. True enough, when we reached the 18th floor, the club lounge was there and a pleasant looking lady staff took over and proceeded to check me out in. Such is the benefit of a Marriott Rewards Gold Elite member. Depending on availability, there will be a room upgrade to your existing booking. For this business trip, I was booked on the Deluxe guest room so the upgrade will put me up on the Premier Suite, which is the next higher. Other perks like guaranteed late checkouts and lounge access/free breakfast are part and parcel of the Gold status.

A look at the different rooms and rates for THE PLAZA Seoul

I checked in after 5pm on a Monday and the club lounge was empty except for one guest boozing away on his laptop. Check in was a breeze and I took a few pictures of the club lounge before heading to the room.

View from the club lounge overlooking the City Hall. This was where the people assembled back in January when they protested against the former President Park Geun Hye.
The seating by the window
The booze
The non-booze
One of the magazines in the club lounge. How apt..

My abode was on the 20th floor. Let the pictures will tell you a thousand words.

View of the living room area. The bedroom is to its right.
The couch. And yes, there are complimentary Kyoho grapes.

This is a small walk-in wardrobe which I really didn’t like. It’s red in colour!? and the lights are dim. Obiang to the max!
Bar and working area. Not bad with the Nespresso offerings.
A peek into the fridge bar

I like this mutli-functional touch screen device that can control everything in the room. But I must complain about mis-representation. My room looks nothing like shown.

So far the room seems ok, apart from the eerie-looking red coloured wardrobe. The living area is good size for up to 2 persons to sit comfortably on the couch to watch tv. The bedroom is small but neat enough and does not feel claustrophobic.

The toilet is bright lit and is just ok, with a separate shower and bathtub. Nothing to shout. Then my eyes shifted to the shower amenities…

Oh man. Finally I could get some Hermes for the wifey. Thank you THE PLAZA!

Before we goo-gaa over these, let me just say these Hermes smell pretty normal with a citrus overtone. I don’t feel/smell a million bucks after using them.

Before heading out for dinner, I make a quick visit to the in-house gym. Now this is a gym that is located in another building next to the main hotel. To get there, you have to cross a small road behind the hotel and  get to the building next door. The gym is located on the 16th floor. This is one of the best hotel gyms I have ever been into and it beats many of those membership ones. The equipment here are new, the space is big and even comes with a golf driving range. Some equipment are weird looking but soon I realised their benefits. On the 17th floor is the main gym area while the 16th floor houses the reception desk and men’s sauna and grooming room. The ladies’ area is on the 15th. And finally the swimming pool and aerobic studio is on the 18th. 4 floors of fitness and well-being. Wonderful!

Front desk of the fitness centre on 16th floor
Outside the gym on the 17th
The first few equipment you will see on the 17th floor. This is some kind of a vibrating belt machine.
Guess what this is for?
For this!
Roller machines! Perfect for my sore shoulders. The oma seemed to be enjoying herself.
There is also a machine to measure blood pressure.
Full length mirror and yoga mats. Regular sessions are held for instructor-led stretching sessions.
Colourful dumb bells. I like!
About 20 thread mills, elliptical trainers and so on. Comes with a nice view too.
Spent my 20 minutes on this machine before dinner.

 

Driving range
Choice of irons and clubs

 

Took a photo of one of the locker rooms on the 16th floor. Very nice looking and men go about stark naked in them. So only one photo!

The saunas and shower facilities were good. The swimming pool was warm and has a lifeguard present. By far this is the best fitness centre I have been too, especially for a hotel’s. I reckon that this is also a member’s gym based on the type of visitors and the locker rooms. If you don’t have your gym attire, you can loan the in-house pink t-shirt and blue shorts (that’s the reason why you see the gym visitors in the same attire). No sports shoes? No problem. You can loan that too.

The next morning I decided to visit two breakfast areas for the sake of writing this article. The first one was on The Seven Square located on the 2nd floor. This was the common area for paid buffet breakfast, and this breakfast was part of the rate which I had paid. The spread was good and some of the items were uniquely Korean in the form of kimchi and cold noodles.

Chef working on my eggs
I liked the French toasts here. They were light and fluffy.
Fresh juices
Noodles station. Cooked upon order.
Cheese that I liked

Breads and pastries
What I had from all that spread…

It was about 9:30am by the time I finished and it is coming to the end of breakfast service. I made a rush to the club lounge to have a look what is up there. The spread there is probably 30% of what the main buffet breakfast offered. But since this is offered free of charge to Gold Elite members, there is nothing to complain about.

The cold section for the breads, cereal, fruits and so on.
The hot section. That’s all about it. Stark contrast, well it’s free..

THE PLAZA Seoul suits the business traveler as well as the holiday maker. Roughly US$200 for a room is not a bad rate given its location and the service. For me, I like the service from the staff who are ever so friendly and the fantastic fitness centre that I can spend the whole day in. Travel safe and well, everyone!

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4 Comments on "THE PLAZA Seoul Autograph Collection (finally I can get the wifey something from Hermes)"

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CLICKBAITTT

on a sidenote, i really miss korea. was there for 1.5 months and it’s an experience that has never gone away 🙂 thank you for this ratatouille!

u r most welcome

I hope your title was jokey coz I am sure your wife means more to you than that. Hermes is actually my favourite perfume label coz the scents are fresh and botanical and gender neutral. And not really break the bank expensive either – mine were about 70 bucks at duty free.

it’s the thought that counts… no?

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