Review: The Easy Way to North Korea – JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square 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


After a short train ride on the Korea Train Express, my family and I headed off to the JW Marriott. The hotel is smack dab in the middle of Dongdaemun, with a huge shopping mall right next to it, and it just opened its doors last year, so I had high hopes.

The exterior of the hotel looks rather modern, and reminded me of a mosaic. Correct me if I’m wrong, but with the white colour tones they used, after a few years it’s likely that the hotel’d look drab really soon.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul exterior

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul exterior

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul signage

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul entrance

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul entrance

We arrived the classy, homey lobby, and went and checked in.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul lobby

The hotel definitely felt more like a luxury ski resort than an upscale city hotel, which was awesome.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul lobby

The lobby had a big spiral “chandelier” with stairs, and while a little on the over blingy side (I had to pull out my sunglasses), I felt like it was a modern twist on an old palace, if nothing more.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul chandelier

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul stairs

We went over to the membership zone and checked in.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Marriott Rewards Check-in Counter

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul reception

We checked in and were assigned room 731, and subsequently we headed there, escorted by one of the hotel associates.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Lift Lobby Ground Floor

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Lift Lobby 7th Floor

The hallways are swanky and modern, which I liked.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Hallways

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Entrance

JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul
Check-in: Tuesday, April 7, 2015
Room Type: Deluxe Room
Room Number: 731
Stay duration: 2 nights
Check-out: Thursday, April 9, 2015

The room was tastefully decorated, and definitely one of the better Marriott’s I’d been to. It featured two rather hard double beds, a desk, a flatscreen TV and a chaise longue.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Desk

The chaise longue was rather firm though I felt like it was in the primo position for a good city view.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Chaise Longue

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Double Bed

The room faced a street and a building, so there definitely could have been better views.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room View

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room TV

There was a coffee machine and a boiler, but that was it.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room coffee machine and boiler

The toilet was rather bland, at least compared to the room. It featured a sink, a toilet and a separate shower/tub.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Bathroom Toilet

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Bathroom Sink

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Bathroom Tub

The shower was pretty big and featured a bench.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Bathroom Shower

The bathroom featured standard L’Occitane amenities.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Bathroom Toiletries

For some reason, the hotel didn’t offer toothbrushes “because of the law”, which I found weird. It’s great that I have backup, as I needed it.

Overall, I found the room really nice, even for a newly built hotel.

In terms of the hotel’s other amenities, breakfast was served at the hotel’s restaurant, Tavolo24.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24

Now, the spread was rather limited. But the quality was amazing. I mean, f*cking amazing. All the food was beautiful and fresh, and was delicious. Cathay Pacific has a thing or two to learn from them.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Tavolo 24 Breakfast Spread

Service was amazing.

First of all, after we went for a walk, we noticed that the room was tidied and the slippers were pulled out.

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JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul Deluxe Room Slippers

Also, we had to make a booking to tour Changdeokgong, and as we booked through the Westin, we were all set. However, my mother lost the eCopy of her reservation. We asked the front desk Rachel if she could help us, and she called Changdeokgong for more information before my mother finally found her reservation, and Rachael was gracious about it either and we genuinely didn’t feel that we were inconveniencing her.

One thing to note: the people at the hotel. To sum it up in a sentence (okay, two) from a guest I heard in the elevator: “I smoked in the lobby! They didn’t even catch me!)

Bottom line

The JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square is an awesome place to stay if you want to stay close to the city and have an upscale room with not that much cash for what it was.

Though definitely people noticed. They kind of ruined my stay. Just come in with those expectations and you’ll come out happy.

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