Grand Hyatt Seoul
How has this hotel rated in the past?
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Photos of Grand Hyatt Seoul
TravelPod Member ReviewsGrand Hyatt Seoul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Grand Hyatt Seoul
Luxurious, but rooms & location are not so good
Earlier reviewers had it exactly right: this is a fantastic hotel, except for the surprisingly average rooms and the inconvenient location. I stayed there for 4 nights in November 2005, with a standard room. If you want to stay in a luxurious hotel, not walk around much, take taxis, go to the bar, enjoy the views, and just crash in your room, it might fit your bill.
There are many positives to the hotel. The service at the hotel is superb: very attentive, helpful, and fluent in English. Every imaginable amenity is available, with long hours (e.g., 24 hour massage). The hotel is perched on the side of Nam-san mountain, with spectacular views of Seoul, the Han River, and surrounding mountains. The lobby, lounge, pool, and restaurants are beautifully appointed and designed to maximize enjoyment of the views. The bars and restaurants are excellent (although a bit lacking in breadth). Room service is reasonably priced, efficient, and gorgeously presented.
Like many Grand Hyatts, the clientele tend towards executive businesspeople, dignitaries, and well-heeled expats and tourists from around the world. In my laid-back Seattle wear (khakis, polo shirts, and tennis shoes), I felt like an oddity, and got the impression that some other guests disapproved (too bad for them). The location is quiet (located off a couple of winding roads), and the lack of traffic noise was refreshing for a major Asian hotel.
Unfortunately, the hotel is a *steep* 10-minute walk to a subway station and Itaewon area, and there is relatively little to do around the hotel itself. There is a free shuttle down the hill twice each hour, but if you have to wait to catch the shuttle *back* up the hill, you'll just have to wait on the street in Itaewon. Itaewon itself is a famous tourist area for foreigners, but I can't tell why (a few stores and restaurants catering to foreigners are nothing special - go to Gangnam for a better area). I guess it will remain a mystery to me.
Now we get to the rooms. They are adequate: nicely decorated, equipped with several phones, broadband, mini-bar, marble bathrooms, etc. They also have fantastic views, like the rest of the hotel. However, they are lacking in several areas. First, they are small by Seoul standards; they are more like Japanese hotel rooms. As mentioned, I stayed in a standard room with a queen bed. The bath was cramped (room for only one person to stand, wedged between the bath/shower tub, toilet, and counter), and the room only has lounge seating for one person (in a standard room).
Second, the bed was hard, hard, hard. We're talking wake up in the middle of the night with shoulders sore and neck stiff (same as the Grand Hyatt in Beijing). The pillows and sheet-covered down comforter are nice, but the bed is so unyielding that it is incredible. I can only imagine with pain what activities other than sleeping would be like, on such a piece of concrete.
Third, the room was overheated and the air conditioning was off for the season! I stayed there in November, when highs in Seoul are generally in the 50s. When I arrived, my room was about 75 degrees. Too hot for me, so I tried to turn the air down. It wouldn't go down, and I called housekeeping, who informed me that air conditioning was off for the season. Come on, sometimes people like air conditioning to cool off a room, reduce humidity, etc., etc. Some of my relatives keep their house in Texas in the low 60s year round, and they would be sorely distressed here! I expect a decent hotel to have both heat and cooling available year round, according to guests' preferences, regardless of the calendar.
A last minor gripe is that there seemed to be no decent Italian restaurant in the hotel. The generic hotel restaurant serves a couple of unimaginative pasta dishes, while the signature restaurants are Chinese, Japanese, and "continental" with a heavy emphasis on meat. It's nice when traveling to have my favorite "Italian comfort food", and that is a relatively standard fixture of luxury hotels.
Tip: the deli behind the elevators on the first floor is excellent: wines that are not terribly overpriced, desserts, cheese, sandwiches, etc. That's a great choice for a smaller, less expensive meal or snack, with less hassle than dressing up and going to one of the restaurants.
In short, if you want to live the high life in public, or if you simply want to enjoy luxury and don't care so much about your room, the Grand Hyatt is a good fit. If you want to luxuriate in your room, explore the city by foot and subway, or experience more of the "real" Seoul, it's not a good choice.
Awful Honeymoon Evening
We wanted to stay at the best hotel in Seoul for our honeymoon. We were sadly disappointed. Although we specifically noted on the reservation that it was our honeymoon and wanted a quiet room, we got a room near the elevators and were awaken by loud laughter in the hallway at two in the morning. To top it off, the bed was incredibly uncomfortable. The supposed "double-bed" was basically two twin beds put together side by side and covered with a thin sheet. What was to be the best night of our lives turned out to be the worst. We will never stay at the Hyatt ever again.
Not what I have come to expect from Grand Hyatts
I have little to add to the excellent previous comments, but I will sum up a few things:
Rooms: I was on the executive floor and my room was painfully small. There is a three-inch step (Why? Beats the heck out of me.) up to the bathroom from the rest of the room. It is very solid - like marble. I stubbed my foot probably fifty times in a week. So annoying, I can't even tell you. The bathtub is very deep (nice) and very small (not nice). I'm not a large man, but found the tub to be just very odd. Finally, I agree with the previous comments about the fan in the room. Your choices are loud or no air circulation. By the way, non-smoking rooms smell of smoke if you don't run the fan.
Soundproofing: Nonexistent. As I was on a business trip, away from my gorgeous wife, the very clear and loud nightly sounds of my neighbor's "extracurricular" activities were somewhat frustrating, though they certainly seemed to enjoy each other. Again, lack of soundproofing isn't a first in a hotel, but it is for me in a Grand Hyatt.
Service: It's okay. Not great by Seoul standards. Very distant but polite, I would say.
Fitness Center: Poorly laid out, crowded (it's also a popular private club, so it's not just for hotel guests). The outdoor tennis courts are world-class...truly magnificent playing surface, and I've played high-level tennis on some of the best courts in the world.
Overall: Let me preface this by saying that I have not yet stayed at Seoul's Park Hyatt and I love Park Hyatt hotels. That being said, I would strongly suggest a room on the executive floors of the Grand Intercontinental Seoul. Simply put, it is head and shoulders above the Grand Hyatt.
Great for some, not so for others...
I am a business traveller and have stayed at pretty much all 5-stars in Seoul (both north and south of river) for an extended time. Grand Hyatt is at the top of the list for most categories, but decidedly inferior in one.
Best view - situated on top of Nam San, great view looking down at city (or greenery of Nam San)
Best facilities - great pool, great gym, and an ice skating rink (very romantic)
Best bars/lounges - Club, live-bar, lounge bar all great (probably best you can do north of river, hotel or otherwise)
Great meeting rooms/ball rooms - One of the best (Shilla and Walkerhill also quite good), and one of the most expensive
Great restaurants - Wouldn't say best (Shilla's cuisine slightly superior), but Hyatt is very good also. Japanese (sashimi, but also a small yakitori spot hidden in the corner) and French top-notch
So why wouldn't everyone stay at the Grand Hyatt? Because despite all these great qualities, the Hyatt has the worst guestrooms of the 5-star hotels in the city (was going to say one of the worst, but it really is the worst). Room small (really). Bathroom small (no separate shower stall). TV small and old (looks like it was gotten at a flea market). Fridge small (probably sourced from same place as TV). Bed hard (maybe good for posture). Air-conditioning makes loud noises (faced with unenviable choice of enjoying air-conditioning or enjoying peace and quiet, but not both). No sound-proofing - can hear every word from next room (and corridor). Really seemed like when the hotel developer allocated the budget, they splurged on bars, lounges, pools, and restaurants, and ran out of money for the rooms.
So if you are the type of traveller who (1) does not stay in the room much and (2) is either too tired or drunk to care when in the room, then Hyatt is the place to be, because in all other aspects the hotel shines.
Excellent luxurious hotel
My husband and I stayed at the Grand Hyatt and enjoyed the superb service, amenities, and clean, comfortable room. We stayed on the business floor and enjoyed a gourmet breakfast each morning. The room was immaculate and had the amenities you would expect in a high-end hotel (cotton sheets, duvet, robes, entertainment system). The lounge and nightclub were fantastic. The pool area was very nice but got very crowded.
First-class all the way
The Grand Hyatt in Seoul is a great hotel, even for the most discerning traveler. They have beautiful facilities, and a gym that real people from Seoul pay good money to belong to. If it's warm outside, you can enjoy an area with pools and nice landscaping. They also have grass tennis courts.
In addition, they have some of the best restaurants in the city, right there in the hotel (the Chinese restaurant is great). One of the best bargains in town is a lunch buffet, served on Saturdays (and maybe on Sundays?). For about $40US, you get beautiful food stations....a seafood station with shrimp and lobster, a sushi station, a Korean food station, and stunning desserts along with the regular hot food (grilled fish, perhaps an Indian dish, etc.) and a salad bar.
I am a business traveler, and I must say that having touches such as these makes being away from home much more bearable, even a treat. The rooms are clean, the high-speed internet service is reliable and fast, and the concierge is exceptionally helpful. The Club Floor is about $50US more, and serves up a top-notch cocktail party with hors d'oeuvres.
The Itaewon shopping district is about a 10-minute walk (or a free hotel shuttle bus ride) down the hill. It's kind of fun shopping there, and much like shopping in New York's Chinatown (except a lot less chaotic). It's amusing enough for a day.
The only small complaint that I have is that the Hyatt's location, in Itaewon, is really close to Itaewon and not walkable to anything else. If you're there for any length of time, you can start to feel a little isolated. However, taxis are cheap and plentiful so you can always get to the center city.
The better hotel in seoul
This is THE one in Seoul.
Have tried several 4 and 5 star hotels in town but none offers you the peace, view, comfort, service, facilities and choice of decent restaurants and bars you'll find at the Hyatt.
The clientele is also a notch above the rest (mix of upper grade expats, diplomats, locals and traveling execs).
Have been there several times now and am not going to change and wil be back next month.
TripAdvisor Reviews Grand Hyatt Seoul
Travel Blogs from Seoul
... and it is difficult to find your way around in the old town. On arrival we saw the shopping street Insadong very close by but we could not work out where it was. We chose a direction at random and wandered. It is quite atmospheric and we enjoyed our wander even on such a cold night. We found a whole section of restaurants and went for Bimimbap (a rice, vegetables and meat dish for me) and bulgogi (rice and marinaded meat for Katie). It ...
... and a rickety ladder we were on the roof and luckily had been upgraded to a 4 man tent so we had plenty of room for our bags and our stay instantly improved. The drunken Koreans and random useless Russian remained permanent fixtures in the crack den but we had a perfect little sanctuary up on the roof. After days of not really seeing any foreigners we were initially thankful to meet Mary from Ireland, but she soon became ‘Scary Spaghetti Mary’ after ...
... cruising the trendy neighbourhood that is Gangnam and latterly Itaewon. Somewhat disconcertingly in my opinion you could actually be in London, New York or Sydney in either of these places, especially Itaewon, such is the anglicisation (if that's a word) of all the bars and signs. Basically there's far too much in English.
Day two I took the Lonely Planet Shaminist hillside walking tour, which was random but very fun, as I visited a fully functioning ...
... with all the big chains, like H&M, Uniqlo, Geordano, etc... The Korean idols seemed to take advantages of their popularity to get advertising deals with these big chains. It was not hard to find familiar faces on the front door of these chains, like Lee Min Ho, Kim Soo Hyun, Jun Ji Hyun, Kim Woo Bin, etc...
On the side streets, there seemed to have endless number of smaller coffee shops / ...
... hours. At 6:45 I decided it was almost a reasonable time to be awake so I headed out for a run on Ewha Women's University campus. The campus is small and very hilly. I managed to achieve the remarkable feat of getting lost on a campus that is essentially just a circle, so I thought it would be a great excuse to practice speaking some HANGEUL (Korean). I confidently approached a girl my age and said this sentence: I'm sorry, but could you tell me where the main gate ...