Conrad Seoul Review
After four nights at the Andaz Tokyo, I was heading over to Seoul for two nights. Hilton was holding a 50% off in Asia sale, so I jumped on booking my first ever stay at a Conrad. The cost was 154,000 won ($144) per night all in for a King Deluxe room. I earned 3,486 Hilton points for putting the room charge on my Amex Hilton Ascend Card. Plus I earned 8,208 points for the stay as a Hilton Diamond (including a current promotion of an additional 2,000 points per stay) for a total of 11,694 points earned for the stay.
I found the Conrad Seoul to be mediocre, especially after my visit to the Andaz. Here is my Conrad Seoul review.
The Conrad Seoul is located south of the river in a large business development. A new Fairmont is going up next door (which will block the views of the river). The hotel is connected to a huge underground mall with plenty of recognizable stores and a good variety of restaurants.
For any sightseeing, you will have to take the subway. Yeouido Station is about a 10 minute walk and both lines #5 and #9 service the station. It is easy to get to from either airport. There is not much to do within walking distance of the hotel besides shopping.
I arrived at the Conrad Seoul from Gimpo International Airport via the #9 Express subway line around 7:30pm. The lobby is on the ground floor and is note very big, though high ceilings and a grand staircase give it a luxurious feel.
There was no line at check in and was recognized for my Diamond status. It was explained to me that I could have breakfast in either the lounge or on the second floor at Zest, the buffet restaurant.
I was upgraded to room 3512 on the Executive floor, which was the same room set up I booked, just on a higher floor and with a view of the river. They clearly wanted me to know I had been upgraded.
The Executive Lounge is on the 37th floor, so being on the 35th floor was very near the top of the building. One thing to note; I found the elevators to be extremely slow in getting to the floors. And the markings are not very obvious as to which elevator car is arriving and in which direction it is going. You also need your key to access your specific floor.
The rooms at the Conrad Seoul are very nice business hotel rooms. I would compare them to Grand Hyatt. They are starting to show their age a bit (one of the wall panels in my room was askew, scratches and wear, stains on the couch). Still, I found the room comfortable.
As you enter, a closet and the bathroom are on your left.
The main part of the room is a standard rectangle with floor to ceiling windows on one side.
Along the wall with the bed are two nightstands and a lounger.
Against the other wall, opposite the bed, is a desk and built in shelving unit that includes the TV and mini bar. Note that if you don’t want to see the minibar and coffee maker, a panel drops down to hide the shelves.
While I didn’t use the TV, I did notice that there was a Mac Mini computer and keyboard, so presumably you could use the TV for web browsing.
On the desk was a welcome letter explaining Diamond amenities.
The wall separating the bathroom has a clear window but it can be set to private (more on that in a bit).
During my stay, Seoul was smoggy so there wasn’t a huge amount to see out the window. And as I said, soon the view will be blocked by the Fairmont.
Back towards the entrance of the room, the bathroom and closet share a barn style door so that when you open the closet, the bathroom door closes.
The bathroom at the Conrad Seoul is large. A double vanity includes a built in TV in the mirror.
Next to the sink is the large soaking tub.
You will notice the window into the rest of the room. With the press of a button, you can make the “magic glass” become fogged for privacy. Pretty neat!
Next to the tub is a separate shower with glass door. It has a rain shower head and hand wand (only one or the other may be used at any given time). My one complaint about the shower is that the way the door is set up, you cannot turn on the shower without getting wet.
Opposite the tub is the toilet. It has a built in bidet that wasn’t quite smart as the one at the Andaz Tokyo.
I really liked the lighting in the bathroom (and the rest of the room for that matter). Backlighting through LED strips were used throughout to give depth to the rooms.
It seems that the Conrad Seoul is transitioning their bathroom amenities. Some of them were Shanghai Tang brand while others were Aromatherapy Associates. I preferred the latter.
My biggest complaint about the bathroom is the towels. They are old, thin and thread bare. Why a luxury brand hotel wouldn’t have luxury towels (or at least decent towels) is beyond me.
One of my biggest problems with the Conrad Seoul is their policy about the pool and spa use. Guests are free to use the lap pool and the small locker room next to it. I wasn’t able to get a photo of the pool as they had “no photo” signs up and there was a staff member giving swim lessons to children. Basically the pool is just for laps and if you want a place to just relax, you are out of luck.
The gym is also free to use.
As a Diamond, you also get to try out their golf lessons.
However, the hot tub and sauna area is an additional charge of $39 per person per day. It is clear to me that non-guests (locals) pay for memberships to the gym and pool area. I guess they don’t want hotel guests crowding out their paying members.
The spa is on a separate floor and prices seemed standard for a high end hotel ($200 or so for a massage).
The Executive Lounge of the Conrad Seoul is on the 37th floor. It is a massive lounge with lots of windows and views across the river (for now).
I didn’t ever eat breakfast there, but I did try their 5:00-7:00pm reception. They had a good variety of snacks and drinks. Substantial enough for a meal if you so desired.
During off hours, there are soft drinks available. Though they have a tacky sign that says that soft drinks must be enjoyed in the lounge and are not to be taken to your room. Come on.
As a Diamond at the Conrad Seoul, I was given the option of having breakfast in the Executive Lounge or in Zest, the buffet on the second floor. The normal price of the breakfast is around $50. It is a large buffet with a ton of options. I found most of the food to be high quality considering it is a buffet. The only made to order option is eggs/omelets. Although it was a breakfast buffet, there was a lot of non-traditional options like a salad bar (below) and various meat dishes. Both western and Asian options.
I found the Conrad Seoul to be nice business hotel with a great Diamond breakfast but odd rules about using the gym and taking soda from the lounge. The service is good but not over the top. The location is near a subway line but not much else. I found a great deal on a paid rate for my stay. However, if I wasn’t a Diamond and had a higher rate, I would consider other options in Seoul, especially ones closer to the downtown area.