Review: The Easy Way to North Korea – The Westin Chosun Seoul

Introduction
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Hong Kong
Korean Air 604 A330-300 Business Class Hong Kong to Seoul Incheon
The Westin Chosun Busan
The Westin Chosun Seoul
JW Marriott Dongdaemun Seoul
Korean Air Business Class Lounge Seoul Incheon
Korean Air 607 747-400 Business Class Seoul Incheon to Hong Kong


The Westin Chosun Seoul is a Category 5 property smack in the middle of Myeongdong, the city’s central business district. Rates were sub-HK$1,800 on the site, which is a steal, and the fact that the last night was free reduced the average nightly rate to HK$1,440, which didn’t hurt either.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Rate

The hotel is a sub-one hour ride from Incheon, and we arrived the hotel at around 6PM. The exterior of the hotel is curved, feels grand, but at the same time feels slightly bland and corporate.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Exterior by day

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Exterior by night

The hotel has two entryways, one of which leads to the main lobby (floor “L”) and one of which leads to the lower lobby (floor “LL”).

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Entryway

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Entryway

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Entrance

The lobby was grand and felt pretty modern, and I liked the stone sculpture in the middle. I tend to prefer lighter hues (since they do make brighter lobbies), but the colours did all “fit” together which I appreciated.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Lobby

There was a path that led to the business center and other facilities, which I didn’t have to use this time round.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Lobby

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Lobby

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Lobby

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Lobby

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Lobby

The concierge was in a different area, and we checked in there.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Check-in Area

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Concierge

There was free ginseng lemongrass water, though I had gone tired of ginseng for the day (I don’t especially like it, and we had ginseng chicken soup for dinner), so I only had a glass. It’s supposed to be good for you, but it was rather bland, like a tea which was brewed in lukewarm water.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Ginseng and Lemongrass Water

The cups were situated beside, and there was a tray without any cups beside. Presumably that was put for dirty cups, so the drink could have stayed unnoticed, which was unlikely. I shudder at the fact that people could have put their glasses back, and I say this as a person who has no problem sharing food with others.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Welcome Drink Cups

Check-in was quick, and we were assigned rooms 1207, 1208 and 1229, which we took the latter room. The concierge told us that our rollaways would arrive later in the night as they left that out in our booking (apologising for it so I’ll let that slide), which was good, as I wasn’t about to share a single bed with my dad.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Lift Lobby on 12th Floor

The hallways at the hotel were definitely drab and ageing. Herbert would have seen the hallways and felt at home. The darkness and the olive coloured walls didn’t help, either.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Hallways

The hotel has a unique shape and is arranged in a triangle, with twelve rooms on each side of the hotel per floor. The whole hotel has 462 rooms, which makes a mid-sized hotel in a conurbation like Seoul.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Floorplan

Our room was located directly to the left of the lifts (thank god I didn’t have to navigate my way around those damn hallways).

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Entrance

The Westin Chosun Seoul
Check-in: Friday, April 3, 2015
Room Type: Business Deluxe Twin
Room Number: 1229
Stay duration: 5 nights
Check-out: Wednesday, April 8, 2015

There was an entryway which led to the rest of the room.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Entryway

The room was fine for South Korean standards, and was on the old side, featuring two Heavenly Beds, a chaise longue (which would be replaced by my rollaway), a desk and chair, a flatscreen TV and some storage.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room

As I mentioned in my first impressions post, I didn’t find the Westin Heavenly beds to be better than Sheraton Sweet Sleeper beds (which I’ve heard are of a lower caliber than these supposed suckers), though they sure were comfortable.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Beds

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room

The chaise longue was comfortable and the red pillow sure would’ve added some spice to the otherwise bland room.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Chaise Longue

The chair and desk were ergonomic enough, though I mentioned that I have an issue with glass sheets above desks, as my OCD takes over me when water slips through the glass sheet.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Desk and Chair

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Desk and Chair

Truth be told, I don’t really think the glass sheet on top is necessary, and I’m definitely not the only one around with OCD, and it sure did hurt to see this lump of water that I didn’t know what to do about.

On the plus side, it sure did remind me of home (agree with me that that looks like the map of China).

The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Desk Water Spill

I tend to like TVs fixed in walls in hotels (as they tend to take up less space – people that know me know that I’m a walking accident), though this one worked.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Flatscreen TV

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Flatscreen TV

Next to the TV was a Nespresso machine, which I always enjoy, though there wasn’t the milk machine to go with it.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Coffee Machine

The room was supposedly one half of an interconnecting room, though we hadn’t the need for it.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Coat Hanger and Door

The minibar was well stocked with glass bottled Coke and other sodas, but they came at a price. Given that Seoul has a lot of glass bottled soda anyway (which I find tastes better than canned soda), I passed.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Minibar

I liked how the storage and liquor compartments both had cupboards that lit up when opened. I like when hotels go high tech for environmental purposes, except when it comes to walk-in closets. 😉

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Closet

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Liquor and Snacks

The view was of the road the hotel was on, which isn’t especially exciting, though I suspect on higher floors the views would be nicer.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room View by Day

It’s worth noting that there’s a screen from a nearby department store that is pretty bright during the night, and kind of ruins the view with that bright sun tinting the colours of a few buildings, but the hotel has blackout blinds, and given that it was advertising the Asiana A380 half the time I didn’t mind.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room View by Night

The bathroom was also moderately nice, featuring a shower/tub combo, a sink and a Category 2 toilet (the toilet seat heated which is good enough – I mean, the toilet lid isn’t that heavy).

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Bathroom

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Bathroom Sink

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Sinkside Area

To be honest, while I’d definitely prefer a separate shower and tub over a combo, I found that the only pertaining problem was water leakage. I’m not sure why, but water kept flowing off the wall side of the tub and back around before hitting the floor, which was definitely a pain and a half to deal with.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Bathroom Shower/Tub Combo

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Bathroom Shower

I liked the towel basket featured, as we no longer have to throw our towels onto the floor.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Towel Basket and Weight

Speaking of towels, they were kind of rough, though I do hate soft towels because they tend to not rub water off you, defeating their purpose.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Bathroom Towels

The amenities were Sothys branded.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Bathroom Amenities

The room featured 110V and 220V universal power ports.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Power Ports

Overall, while aged, I found the room acceptably designed, and managed to survive five nights in it without complaint.

The first night they rolled in the rollaway, which was much softer than expected, on par with the beds next to it.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Business Deluxe Twin Room Rollaway

On the second and third mornings, I had breakfast at Aria, the hotel’s breakfast restaurant. At 52,000 KRW (~HK$380) I found it to be a ripoff, but the hotel didn’t have a breakfast package selling for my dates (confusingly), so we decided to have breakfast outside on our last two mornings.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria

The theme of the restaurant was clean and comfortable.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria

I found the breakfast spread to be both perfect in quality and quantity, and actually think that it was worth ~60% of how much it cost.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Restaurant Aria Breakfast Spread

Service at the restaurant was good. I find that Koreans tend to be passionate, caring and interactive, though sometimes they lack a bit of knowledge needed for their job. This was no exception – it took me a while to get across that we wanted lemon tea for our drinks, though the server was apologetic in his slow understanding (language barriers should be problems at “the world’s best business hotels”). I believe the same for the service at the rest of the hotel…it was great, they were passionate, they were sincere, I just wish they could’ve known a few attractions/what the DMZ was (at least in English)/that “face towels” and “body towels” are different things.

I visited the pool, though didn’t swim in it. It looked really nice.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Pool

And I also visited the gym lounge, as the gym was out of bounds for me.

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The Westin Chosun Seoul Gym Lounge

Bottom line on the Westin Chosun Seoul

I think that for a hotel smack in the middle in the city, this is one of the better choices out there. I’m intrigued by the Westin brand and definitely think I’ve missed out by not staying at them more, though ultimately there are more luxurious options out there in Seoul.

I’d return in a heartbeat given the chance, but I’d like to try out the other offerings too.

 

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