Around the World in a Week, Part Eleven: The Park Hyatt Seoul

Part One: The Planning Process
Part Two: TPA-IAD on United in First Class, Lufthansa Senator Lounge IAD
Part Three: IAD-NRT on ANA in First Class
Part Four: ANA First Class Lounge NRT and NRT-SIN on Singapore Airlines in First Class
Part Five: The Crowne Plaza Changi
Part Six: The Grand Hyatt Singapore
Part Seven: Singapore
Part Eight: Singapore Business Class SIN-BKK, Thai First Class Lounge BKK
Part Nine: BKK-NRT on Thai in First Class, NRT-ICN on United in First Class
Part Ten: The Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport
Part Eleven: The Park Hyatt Seoul
Part Twelve: Seoul
Part Thirteen: ICN-FRA on Asiana in First Class
Part Fourteen: The InterContinental Frankfurt
Part Fifteen: Lufthansa First Class Terminal and FRA-SEA on Lufthansa in First Class
Part Sixteen: Conclusion


If there’s one thing I’m passionate about, it’s good customer service. That means I might often come off as critical because I notice the little intricacies and report on them. Even my best experiences might sound negative, simply because I point out all the minor flaws, though I try to balance that with all the small touches that make experiences great as well. But that’s just me trying to be constructive as opposed to a Debbie Downer. And then there was my stay at the Park Hyatt Seoul, where I don’t think there was a single flaw.

I booked the Park Hyatt using “Big Welcome Back” nights from Hyatt’s amazing promotion. The Park Hyatt is located in the COEX area of Seoul, which is easy to access by airport bus. The building itself is quite impressive, though the entrance is hard to find. For such a big building you’d expect there to be a “grand” entrance, but it’s actually quite hidden. Equally strange, the lobby is on the top floor of the hotel, so you have to take the elevator up to the top floor.


Park Hyatt exterior


Rather hidden hotel entrance


Lobby (on top floor)


Lobby lounge

The level of customer service received from the time we arrived in the lobby to the time we left the hotel was impeccable. The agent that checked us in did everything right – thanked me for my Diamond status, explained the hotel features, explained we’d get free internet and breakfast in the Cornerstone Restaurant daily, asked us what type of newspaper we’d like every morning, etc. He then escorted us to our room, which was on the 9th floor and explained all the features to us.

The hotel is rather high tech, in that you simply place your keycard on the “reader” in the elevator and it automatically selects the floor for you that you’re staying on.

The hallways were super-modern, with almost “hidden” doors.


Room door

While our room wasn’t huge, it was very nice for a standard room. The room had hardwood floors, two very comfortable twin beds, a table, a desk, a chair, and a swiveling flat screen TV. All the light switches were high-tech, all controllable from next to the beds, and the curtains and “black out” shades were electronic as well.


Park Twin room


Desk and table


TV


View from the room


10th floor


Room controls

The real highlight of the room had to be the bathroom, which was massive. It had a large walk-in shower, and within the shower “area” was a huge bathtub. The shower had three different water heads, and was truly massive.


Bathroom


Sink


Toilet


Huge bathtub


Shower


Bath amenities

As far as the Diamond welcome amenity goes, there were six miniature peanut butter cookies and two plums. I’d ask about where the “beverage” part of the “food and beverage” amenity is, but this hotel just kicked ass all around, so I won’t.


Diamond welcome amenity

The hotel facilities were incredible as well. Despite the general challenge of figuring out which elevator to use (only some of them go to the first floor, while others only go to the lobby), the top two floors were really neat. The views from the lobby were incredible, and on the 23rd floor was the “Park Club,” where the pool and gym were located. The pool was an infinity pool of sorts, with incredible views over Seoul. I went for a swim one night, and with the night lights it had to be one of the most memorable views from a pool ever.


Pool

As a Diamond we also got buffet breakfast daily at Cornerstone, the restaurant on the 2nd floor. For a relatively small restaurant, this was by far the most impressive breakfast spread I’ve ever seen. As a Diamond the buffet was included, plus any egg dishes and drinks we wanted.


Cornerstone Restaurant


Open kitchen

The buffet had all kinds of fresh pastries, fruit, granola, etc. They even had a pancake and waffle station, where I had some waffles with chocolate crème. Far too good! And while we didn’t have to pay, the actual cost of the buffet wasn’t bad either – it was 25,000 Korean Won, or about $22 per person. For a spread like this it’s well worth it.


Breakfast


Waffles

The place the hotel really shined, though, was the staff. They were top notch. First, not that it’s a requirement to provide good service, but every employee we came across spoke near-perfect English. This is very helpful in an international business hotel.

Second, and more importantly, they couldn’t have been more attentive or willing to help. Both days we were helped by Bo-La, one of the concierges, and she was so professional yet personable that I wanted to give her some sort of customer service award.

Once we took the elevator from the lobby to the first floor, and one of the people on the guest relations team followed us into the elevator, seemingly just to start a conversation with us. She addressed us by name, gave us her business card, and asked how our stay was. She mentioned that she saw us struggling with our bags as we had arrived, though she wasn’t in uniform and didn’t want to scare us, but she said she was pleased to see we found the hotel.

The last day when I was leaving, I was taking a bus from the City Air Terminal to the airport, and the hotel car provides free transfers to the City Air Terminal. When I arrived downstairs they mentioned the hotel car was gone but would be back in five minutes or so, which I was totally fine with. But they insisted I take a taxi and they pay for it. That’s going the extra mile.

Or as far as borderline freaky customer service goes, one evening I got out of the elevator on the lobby floor, and before I even got to the desk was addressed by name. They really have customer service down in every aspect possible. I always find something to critique when it comes to customer service, since it’s a difficult art to master, but service was legitimately impeccable.

This was my first stay at a Park Hyatt, and if this is any way a representation of what the chain is like, I’m hooked!

As far as the location of the hotel goes, it’s located in the COEX area, which is more-or-less the financial district. It’s not central for most tourist activities, but there’s a subway station nearby that can take you anywhere quickly and cheaply.

If I were to return to Seoul I’d stay here hands down. This hotel is a winner.

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Comments

  1. Lucky, I think you’ve really found where the Hyatt chain shines. I got hooked on my first Park Hyatt stay, and I can tell you, I’m loving it!

  2. LUCKY,

    as a diamond at park hyatt i always get a free breakfast for two at the restaurant. this is an amazing report!

    did you take a picture of the gym equipments?

    JOSH

  3. Wow, that makes me want to change my reservation at Grand Hyatt Seoul next week, to Part Hyatt Seoul! Well, but I’ve heard great things about Grand Hyatt Seoul as well, and the location will be more convinient for my travel purpose. So maybe I’ll try Park Hyatt Seoul next time.

    Enjoy Seoul! I know it’s hot and humid there, but I hope you can make the most out of your visit!

  4. Any chance your reputation is starting to precede you? Name recognition on walking out of an elevator seems a bit much for every Diamond who’s passing through for only a day or two.

  5. Wow Lucky. Up till now it seemed like Hyatt was far below your expectations in the customer service department. I was very surprised to see this review that seemed more enthusiastic than your usual Intercontinental reviews. I’m glad you had a good experience.

    I think Park Hyatt is in a totally different league than Hyatt Regency or even Grand Hyatt – so no suprise it was better. I hear Paris Vendome is one of the best…

    I just got my Private Line agent today – she has 15 years with Hyatt and 14 as a private line agent. If you haven’t signed up for that program I highly recommend it!

  6. Ben,

    I think you will find the level of service at Park Hyatt’s to be consistently superior. Bye, bye, InterContinental (well, sort of…).

  7. Well, to be honest, I’m diappointed by those photos. The furniture is probably really expensive design stuff, but the light colors and wood reminds me a bit of a Novotel. Also, those two chairs look rather uncomfortable? And there is no couch in the room, so there is not enough comfortable seating for two?
    The bathroom looks great, though.

    It’s probably the service level that makes a PH great. I would not book it though, looking at these pictures.

  8. Great report on Park Hyatt.

    I stayed at the Grand Hyatt – Seoul on a hill over looking the city a few months ago. It definitely ranks up there in terms of the Hyatt properties I have stayed around the world. GIve it a try next time you visit Seoul.

  9. Lucky,

    I have a question, you say the PH is in the COEX Area, is that the Seoul Congress/Convention center? I need to attend a convention in Seoul next year and the PH is not listed as a convention hotel.

  10. Lucky–not all the Park Hyatt service is as good as PH Seoul. Stayed at Park Hyatt Shanghai last week which is just impressive building on 80th floor, but PH Shanghai staff was not as attentive.

    Furniture–I’ve also noticed pictures didn’t look that great, but furniture do look better in person.

    I love the sunset view from this hotel’s lobby.

  11. I stay at the PH Seoul a couple of times a year and I concur, it is fabulous all around. Fruit on the table is standard, your special amenity was the little box of cookies. Also, one note about the gym – and this seems to be common in Korea – it’s HOT! If you want to have a workout at closer to a normal temperature for westerners, get there before it opens at 6. I joke with my colleagues that when the attendant gets there at 6, they turn the heat on.

  12. Hey Lucky… I have an overnight in ICN (arriving around 6pm and leaving at 10am)and can’t decide what to do.
    I have a couple of Hyatt upgrade certificates and am tempted to stay either at the Park Hyatt or Grand Hyatt… but apparently transportation to/from ICN is a bit of a pain so am considering a cheap hotel near the airport… what would you recommend?

  13. @ acs — Well I love the Park Hyatt Seoul, but for such a short overnight it’s simply not worth it with the transportation logistics. In your shoes I’d just stay at the Hyatt Regency Incheon Airport, or another hotel near the airport. It’ll be much more convenient.

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