Dare I say that this Samsung-powered five-star hotel in Seoul is the pinnacle of luxury and fancy weddings for many Seoulites - or even South Koreans? Correct me if I am wrong, as I very much welcome good email correspondences, but I have had the privilege to walk through the revolving doors of this hotel for many, many good times through the past six years - so many times that I have sort of lost count, and have stayed at numerous variations of the rooms - that I am in very good company (“The Nation’s MC Yoo Jae-Seok had his wedding here, as have many notable Korean celebrities). From business deluxe to deluxe to the superior deluxe, I’ve seen it all - or mostly, at least… you get the gist. The hotel sprawls across the hills, making it a good neighbour of Namsan, and a bus ride away from the manic shopping district Myeongdong. It takes a good ride from the bottom to the entrance, and the view along the way is scenic, filled with gorgeous gazebo-esque rocks and trees, stone stairways and oriental rooftops that are worthy of the Joseon era (they say it holds about 23-acres, and is a private “parkland”) - which goes with the name the Shilla, I suppose, as the Shilla in Hangul was one of the many historic dynasties that ruled the country.
Oh don’t you just love the swirling doors? We all love a good old-fashioned entrance, and the grand lobby is indeed, very grand. The art installation that looks like cascading droplets of water crystallised from the ceiling remains my favourite - despite, apparently, I hear and see on Instagram, the garish red-light district kind of neon they shoot across the works during special occasions like Lunar New Year. Service game is always in top shape, and so there is no faltering from the doorman to the check-in counter to the concierge. Lovely, just lovely.
I like the Molton Brown toiletries. A lot. I take tons of them with no qualms, and the cleaning lady seems to have no issue with refilling them prodigiously either. So, a mutual love affair is established. I also have ordered room service many times, and I must commend them for following my HCLF, vegan diet to a T with extremely tasty vegetable picks - mushrooms, you are the easy way to my heart. The teas are always wiped out too at the end of my stay. Mm mm. Most of my stays here had me at a view that looks out to the tunnel, and depending on seasons, can look vastly different. Dongguk University is adjacent to the hotel’s property too. I can remember distinctly how the cherry blossoms coloured the lands pink in spring, and the Namsam mountain in the distance in russet and gold during autumn...
IT’S THE LITTLE THINGS…
By the way, if you are looking for some nibbles and tea, you will be most delighted to find that there are some serious complimentary bites upstairs in their Executive Lounge. Designed spaciously with clean wooden panels and minimalist lines that take a leaf from the old Korean Hanuk book, I especially loved the treasure trove of coffee table books they have there. I think South Korea is really one of the most erudite countries in the world, and when combined with style, well, let’s just say it had me right there for hours and hours of tea and relaxation. Did I mention already everything is free flow and unlimited (within tea time hours they keep of course)?
For real chasers of the Michelin glory, you’d probably want to make advanced reservations if you ever are contemplating a meal at La Yeon.
Also to note, there is a Guerlain Spa here, something that is very unique as they brought over their legendary spa treatments from Paris, but I haven’t had the chance to try it… yet. Maybe next time?
The Shilla Seoul, South Korea, Seoul, Jung-gu, Jangchungdong 2(i)-ga, 동호로 249