The mesmerizing mix of old and new present throughout South Korea’s capital awaits inside one of its top luxury hotels: Four Seasons Hotel Seoul.
Ruins left intact peek through glass flooring while stunning contemporary design pays homage to Korean traditions. It’s a lifestyle space for locals, so guests have access to unique amenities, including a gourmet market, multiple restaurants, a speakeasy, and an indoor golf simulator—to name a few.
I checked in to do some Christmas shopping, and what a trip it was. Seoul is fantastic, especially when you stay here.
Book with Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits
Through me, you have access to Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits at no extra cost to you that include:
Full program details are below.
WHAT I LOVE
- Incredible dining throughout the hotel, including the breakfast buffet
- Palace views from some roomsLocation within walking distance to Insadong shops and restaurants
- Ruins exposed through glass in The Market Kitchen
- Grab-and-go drinks and snacks (helpful when traveling with kids
- Four Seasons Preferred Partner benefits
GOOD TO KNOW
- Pay attention to occupancy if traveling with kids
- Limited two double bed room availability
Speaking of the holidays, decor throughout was no less than stunning, partially due to a unique collaboration with Cartier. Guests could enjoy Cartier-inspired cocktails and cakes in addition to purchasing a gorgeous Cartier ornament with proceeds donated to Sisters of Mary; a charity focused on children in need. A holiday concierge could help coordinate dining reservations and other seasonal activities.
Multiple Christmas trees and stunning holiday displays were tastefully sprinkled throughout the hotel… perhaps another reason for you to consider holiday shopping in Seoul.
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul’s Ideal Location
This luxury hotel is located in Guanghwamun, considered the heart of the city, about 45 minutes from Incheon International Airpot (ICN). I arranged an airport transfer through the concierge in advance of my stay which was seamlessly executed.
I took a taxi only once during my Seoul vacation, due to shopping bags. Otherwise, I walked to, from and in between a myriad of attractions, many of which I could see from my hotel room:
- Guanghwamun Square
- Gyeongbokgung Palace
- Changgyeonggung Palace
- Changdeokgung Palace
- Insadong (I loved it here.)
- Bukchon Hanok Village
- Cheonggyecheon Stream
- Myeongdong Shopping Area
For me, the location could not have been more convenient. In fact, it is ideal.
You know a room is top-notch when it’s hard to pull yourself out of it. Floor-to-ceiling windows on two sides of my corner room showcased the gorgeous mountains that closely surround the city, Guanghwamun Square below the hotel and Gyeongbokgung Palace.
It was late when my flight from Dallas landed in Seoul and I managed to take a few photos before settling in. Having eaten an assortment of Korean favorites on the plane and in preparation for a street food tour the following day, I opted for a light dinner with a view while I unpacked.
The in-room iPad serves as a hub of hotel information, weather, in-room dining and then some which compliment the Four Seasons app. Tea coffee and snacks were replenished daily and blinds were electric. A powder room with a Japanese-style toilet was near the entry. I loved the art, books, vases and other thoughtful decor throughout.
A Full-Service Spa with Local Flair
One of the most quintessential Korean experiences is a visit to a sauna and you can do this in Four Seasons style. There are separate saunas for men and women in addition to multiple relaxation zones and other lovely amenities. A wide range of spa services are available for booking (I suggest you book in advance as the spa is popular).
I also particularly loved the extensive selection of nail colors and nail art options at the Nail Bar.
There is also a barbershop for men and a spa shop for necessities and gifts to take home with you.
A Great Indoor Pool with Juice Bar
Adjacent to the massive fitness center is a set of lovely indoor pools including a 3-lane lap pool, heated vitality pool, a kids’ plunge pool and a sauna overlooking all three. I highly recommend a dip here after a long haul flight or to soothe feet tired from a long day of sightseeing.
Always Eat Breakfast at a Four Seasons
My favorite meal of the day at a Four Seasons is usually breakfast and The Market Kitchen did not disappoint. Deciding between fresh bibimbap, dim sum, noodles, sushi, omelettes, baked goods, salads and a variety of other cuisines was a tough-yet-delightful challenge.
Chefs cook live right in front of you, but be sure to notice the ruins peeking through the glass floors. These were discovered during the hotel’s construction and a decision was made to showcase Korean history by leaving them intact.
Needless to say, I ate here every day. The Market Larder next door is unlike anything I’ve seen in a luxury hotel. It’s home to quick and fresh meals, hand-selected gourmet grocery items, and a carefully-curated selection of wine.
Bottles ranged from inexpensive all the way up to Krug with multiple styles and regions represented. How nice that you could grab a bottle or half-bottle to take to your room?
Japanese, Cantonese, Macarons and More
Maru: I unwound at Maru, which means “living room” in Korean at the end of most nights. I absolutely loved the decor and felt comfortable there editing photos on my laptop over salads and bulgogi.
Confections by Four Seasons: This little grab-and-go pastry shop with specialty coffees and teas would be a great help if my daughter was with me.
Yu Yuan: Specializing in Cantonese cuisine with other Chinese regional fare represented, Yu Yuan’s specialty is Peking duck and they have imported an authentic oven for it.
Boccalino: Also popular with locals, the restaurant and wine bar complement each other well. You can order a set of wine flights at the wine bar to start or finish a meal of classic Italian fare prepared in an open kitchen.
Akira Back: This multi-level Japanese restaurant has private dining rooms, a sushi bar, and serves a wide range of favorites by celebrity chef Akira Back.
Charles H: Find the hidden door and gain entry to Charles H, Four Seasons Hotel Seoul’s speakeasy for a night of old-fashioned and craft cocktails that embody the famous writer’s worldwide search for the perfect drink.
Flower Boxes by Nicolai Bergmann
I stopped dead in my tracks upon my first sighting of a Nicolai Bergmann Flower Box, his innovation that is nothing short of extraordinary. They are incredibly popular in Tokyo, where he is based, and I was told that the preserved flower version would last from 3 – 5 years.
Four Seasons Seoul Reservations
This is a hotel for girlfriend getaways, family vacations, and business trips. I regretted not bringing my daughter as this is exactly the type of Four Seasons that she loves.
As is standard with most Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, I found the service to be excellent from the time of booking through check-out.
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul is one of the resorts I can book for you with agent-exclusive amenities that will enhance and add value to your stay. These include:
- Daily breakfast for two in the Hotel restaurant
- Hotel/Resort Credit* (based on room category booked):
• Guest Rooms: USD 100 credit per stay
• Suites and Specialty Suites: USD 200 credit per stay
• Private Retreats: USD 200 credit per bedroom per stay
- Upgrade of one category, based on availability at time of check-in**
- Welcome note at check-in acknowledging you and your travel agency and the benefits that are being extended
- Complimentary standard Internet in all guest rooms and premium Internet in all suites
*Hotel/Resort Credit may be applied to select incidental charges incurred at the Hotel or Resort. Must be used in conjunction with the initial stay and will be applied at check-out. May not be applied towards the room rate, taxes, resort fees, service charges, conference fees, or any charges from outside vendors. Exclusions may apply; contact the Hotel/Resort for more details.
When a suite is reserved in connection with another guest room or suite, the cumulative credit (based on room category booked) value applies.
The Private Retreats credit applies to Villas and Residences with a minimum average rate per night (before Resort fees and taxes) of USD 1,000.
**Category upgrade based on availability at time of check-in excludes Specialty Suites, Villas and the Private Retreats collection of Villas and Residences.
I will absolutely stay here again. No question.
Have you stayed at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul?
Katie Dillon is the managing editor of La Jolla Mom. She helps readers plan San Diego vacations through her hotel expertise (that stems from living in a Four Seasons hotel) and local connections. Readers have access to exclusive discounts on theme park tickets (like Disneyland and San Diego Zoo) and perks at luxury hotels worldwide through her. She also shares insider tips for visiting major cities worldwide like Hong Kong, London, Paris, and Shanghai that her family has either lived in or visits regularly (or both).
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