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Four Seasons Seoul
- Impeccable interior styling
- Great location close to major sites
- Inconsistent Executive Lounge hours
- The Market Kitchen buffet
- Charles H speakeasy bar
Home to almost 10 million, South Korea’s capital of Seoul is a dynamic city where the past and present meet, with high-tech hangouts alongside historic palaces and an accessible culture which leaves you feeling like a local in no time.
Among its top five star hotels is the Four Seasons Seoul – and just like its name implies, it’s a perfect base at any time of year. Yet it’s not reliant on its moniker alone.
There’s a real sense of sophistication and refinement flowing throughout, beginning in its serene lobby and climbing to the lofty heights of all 317 guest rooms and signature suites. The location is sensational too.
Location & Impressions
Towering 29 floors above Jongno-gu, the hotel is suited to whatever you have in mind, be it eating your Korean BBQ fill, exploring centuries of history at Gyeongbokgung Palace, or adding to your luggage at the numerous department stores radiating from it.
The Palace, Gwanghwamun Square and Sejong Center performing arts complex are all within easy walking distance, while the coffee houses of nearby Cheonggyecheon are sure to add plenty of pep to your step.
Gwanghwamun Station is a mere three minutes stroll from the hotel, making further exploration a breeze as well. From the airport, you can take Seoul Subway Line 5 in the direction of Sangil-dong or Macheon to reach the station.
Unlocking the doors to a King Premier Room you’re greeted by a crisp Italian marble-clad bathroom with deep soaking tub, double vanity and a walk-in shower on your right, plus a separate powder room to your left.
A king-size bed (marshmallow-like in its softness) dominates the living space and faces a 55-inch Chromecast-equipped TV, while a comfy lounge and a work desk take pride of place by the full-length window.
Decorative shelves with built-in tables and drawers rise either side of the bed; USB and AC power outlets are in easy reach of both.
A minibar stocked with snacks, Nespresso coffee, beer and soft drinks (including Bundaberg Ginger Beer for anyone who’s homesick) will satisfy whenever thirst or hunger strikes.
Free high-speed WiFi, an iPort tablet allowing access to hotel services, and a PlayStation/Xbox available on request round out the tech offerings.
If work forms part of your itinerary, there’s a large desk and comfortable reclining chair in the room, in addition to an assortment of stationary staples including paper clips, Post-Its and highlighters, plus HDMI and audio cables.
A business centre houses an iMac, PC and printer, while those checked into Club level rooms can take advantage of two hours meeting room use per day in the Executive Lounge on level 28 (subject to availability).
Although mainly geared up for relaxation – a hot breakfast buffet, afternoon tea and evening cocktails with a light supper are served daily – the lounge would be a fine place to work too (if you can take your eyes off the sweeping view).
Leaning into Korea’s culinary reputation, Four Seasons boasts nine distinct venues. Among them Yu Yuan Cantonese and Japanese favourite Akira Black, plus Maru for light meals and cakes.
Breakfast is a lavish affair in The Market Kitchen. The selection of hot and cold dishes is among the best we’ve seen – there’s even a churro station with a cascading chocolate fountain.
On the menu are a wide mix of cold cuts and salads, Western and Korean classics, freshly made noodles and dumplings, as well as buttery pastries, fresh fruit, yoghurts – and more.
It’s a vast space, so take a walk around before loading up your plate. Be sure to also look down, as the floor features glass panels revealing excavated foundations uncovered during the construction of the hotel.
While I didn’t have a chance to try the other restaurants, I did carve out a visit to the Charles H bar, impressively ranked #7 in Asia’s 50 Best Bars in 2022. Admittedly, it did take me a little while to find it though, with no signage to indicate its location.
Taking its name from Charles H Baker Jr, author of cocktail book The Gentleman’s Companion, the speakeasy is a dark and moody subterranean hideaway beneath a vaulted ceiling and adorned in gleaming brass details. Intimate leather booths line its walls.
My visit begins with a complimentary glass of Champagne and bite-size taco, before I settle into a Manhattan Flight – a deliciously-decadent trio of whiskey-based cocktails. A must try!
Like every good five star hotel, this one is ready to pamper at its onsite spa. An 815 sqm fitness centre is open 24 hours and includes cardio and weights equipment, in addition to a pilates studio and even a virtual golf zone.
Swimmers will also be in their element with a gleaming mosaic-tiled lap pool.
A triumph and absolutely worthy of its status among the top hotels in Seoul. The location is ideal for first time visitors to the city, while also delivering plenty for repeat guests.
The variety of restaurants and amenities onsite, including the brilliant Charles H, are exceptional. And when you factor in the top-notch rooms, you’ve got a hotel absolutely worth checking into.
The writer travelled as a guest of Korea Tourism Organization.