Monday, 3 December 2012

Lotte Hotel Seoul

Lotte Hotel has always been my favourite choice for a good stay in Seoul. A good five-star hotel, great service, in a great location. With over 1000 rooms in two wings, the main and the new wing, rates are very competitive compared to other 5-star international chain.

I stayed in Lotte Hotel, some 5-6 years ago during my first two business trips in Seoul. I've always like the hotel, great for its location, just 5 minutes walk to the Myeongdong shopping area. My first stay was at the new wing. At that time, only the new wing was renovated. Hence, my second trip at the hotel at the main wing wasn't that pleasant compared as the rooms were pretty run-down.

Our budget could only allow us to stay at the Main Wing. A check on the website shows that the rooms at the Main Wing has been refurbished. We toyed on the choice of other nearby hotels, but Lotte Hotel seems to be the most value for money, considering the walking distance from Myeongdong. Bear in mind though, a decent hotel in downtown Seoul doesn't comes with a cheap price tag. Even a no-frills Ibis hotel command a price of at least S$250. Well, I guess one really has to pay for the central location.

Judging from the look of the lobby area, you would already have certain expectations of the standard of the hotel. In the afternoon, there will be a pianist playing at the lobby.

On the contrary, the rooms were smaller than expected. It probably couldn't fit a triple-share, unless the coffee table and armchair were removed. Thankfully, the rooms has been refurbished to simple modern, yet sophisticated feel. Just the type

Unlike in Singapore, or many other countries, you can't buy a prepaid SIMCard to fit into your phone in Korea as it's on a different network. The only way to avoid roaming charges is to rent a phone from the airport. Lotte Hotel provides you with a Korea handphone in the room. You can use the phone to call out, and settle your local call charges on your departure, which is much cheaper than renting a phone set from the airport. The best news is, you receive incoming call free! You can ask your Korean counterparts to just call into your phone at no cost to you! It's just a simple clam-shell phone, easy enough for you to make and receive calls only. However, don't forget to return the phone back to the room before you check out.

I didn't manage to take the bathroom, but by the number of Japanese staying in the hotel, you would expect a bath tub.

In addition to the complimentary bowl of fruits, there was also a bottle of wine that is on the house.

The photo on the left shows the waterfall that is located at the coffee house cum bar of the hotel. Although a man-made waterfall feature, the view looks promising. A pity that we didn't have time to have coffee there.

Finally, I manage to take a photo with the greeter - a lady in hanbok. I recalled years ago, I saw the lady greeter that is standing at the lobby, was really very tall, at least 1.8m and her height is the one thing I associate with the greeter in Lotte Hotel. Oh well, after 5 years, I don't expect to still see her there but somehow disappointed that this greeter isn't that tall. But still, I requested a photo with the greeter.

We have an unforgettable experience with this outstanding bell lady. Instead of the typical bell boy, there were a few "bell ladies". On this occasion, we were back from Lotte Supermarket with a heavy box and a huge shopping bag. The bell-lady, under no instructions, carried our baggage to the lift lobby. I felt so bad, as Papa Snew and I were already struggling while carrying it to the taxi stand. And by the way, tipping isn't the practice in Korea.

Snew's Rating: 3.9 / 5

Stay Period: 23-29 Oct 2012

Honestly, there is nothing very remarkable about the hotel. Everything you would expect from a five-star hotel. But the location is what you pay for. It's adjourning to the Lotte Departmental Store, and less than 5 minute walk from Myeongdong shopping area.

The Lotte Department store has a duty store, on the 9th and 10th floor. These are two massive floors of branded goods and cosmetics. If you are press for time, don't bother to shop elsewhere. Just focus your shopping over here. And, did I forget to mention that luxury brands in Duty Free Korea is much cheaper? Forget about Europe or USA if you do not have the luxury to travel long-haul to shop.

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