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“Quiet luxurious getaway”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Le Meridien Seoul

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Le Meridien Seoul
Ranked #12 of 474 Hotels in Seoul
Certificate of Excellence
New York
Level Contributor
12 reviews
11 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 59 helpful votes
“Quiet luxurious getaway”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 20 July 2007

It's the Ritz so you get pretty much what you think you'll get out from the hotel. It's surprisingly clean and quiet even though a few blocks away is one of the largest entertainment district in Seoul called Gangnam.

It sits on top of a "hill" - more like an incline. And it's about 20 minute walk from the nearest subway station (Gangnam - green line). So the transportation isn't very convenient. Probably the reason why most of the guests I noticed were on business trips.

If you're looking for luxury, this place is it. But if you're going as a tourist, you might want to look somewhere closer to the city center with easier access to transportation.

  • Liked — clean and quiet
  • Disliked — location can be inconvenient
  • Stayed March 2004, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
3 Thank anniecakes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Location
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
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English first
San Diego, California
Level Contributor
38 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 16 June 2007

I have stayed in Seoul and at this hotel annually since 1998. The hotel was designed by a famous Seoul architect who gave it a traditional Korean castle look from the street.

I gave my comment this title, because Seoul is a VERY difficult city for a Westerner. It is in some respects like the movie "Bladerunner", a blighted urban landscape. Be forwarned that the people make up for it, by partying hard into the wee hours of the morning.

The reception floor is airy and well decorated. The Club Lounge floor is the way to go as the extra food and beverage is well worth it. Breakfast, a nice selection of quality liquors, and hor devours throughout the day provide a nice ambience to kick back before, between and after meetings.

The service staff at the club lounge are incomparable in their service. They will get you anything and everything you need. There is a private check-in/check-out service here for those who make a club lounge room reservation. Tell them that at the front desk.

There is a convenience store a short walk behind and down the hill from the hotel. This is where I would stock up on my Diet Pepsis for my room and to take with me to meetings (Korean businesses sometimes have trouble meeting a soda order...of any kind; seems they prefer "healthy" drinks of green tea or ginseng juice) Also, there is a generous amount of shopping and restaurants (mainly Korean barbeque) in the same direction, i.e., towards Gangnam station and road.

On my trip this month, there was music in the lobby from a trio and piano player every night. Live music was also found in the bar, but since the remodel to include private rooms it has become a less friendly venue.

The rooms are rather small and the A/C was not the best, but my experience is that Koreans like or have gotten used to heat maybe as a way to conserve energy as all of my business meetings (10-12 each year) suffered from the same lack of cool temperature control.

The hotel is now feeling a bit worn around the edges and I was happy to hear from the American general manager that they are remodeling the rooms starting this year.

It is the second stop on the KAL limosine (bus) route from the airport (best ground transport option). Unfortunately, that means that it takes much longer to get back to the airport as it must make many stops at other hotels. The trick I have learned is to take a taxi a short drive, maybe 10 minutes, down the road to the J.W. Marriot and take an express bus from the City Bus Terminal down the escalator from the hotel. My last trip I had used up all of my won and found out that, despite what I had been told at the R-C, the ticket office did not accept credit cards and the bus terminal ATMs only accept domestic cards! Not the first time when I have experienced a backward financial system in Korea. (Fortunately, I found an international ATM on the hotel level.)

Stayed June 2007
Helpful?
4 Thank John_and_Marianne
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester
Level Contributor
80 reviews
72 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 73 helpful votes
1 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 12 November 2006

I have just returned from a business trip to New Zealand, Australia & South East Asia, and feel I have to comment on the extortionate prices I had to suffer at this hotel. My customer booked me in here as I stated I wanted to stay in the Gangnam-Gu area of Seoul, where most of my customers are located. He told me the price was 220,000 Won, which was about £140, the very top of my budget, but based on the fact that I was only there 2 nights, and I would be spending much less on taxis, plus the fact I am not familiar with Seoul, I decided to opt for it. Where shall I start?
1. All hotels add on 10% room tax, and 11% service tax, making the rate in fact 266,200 Won (£166) per night. But this is standard in all hotels so check the rate includes taxes before you book. The Novotel & Best Western are a stone's throw away - STAY THERE. If you take the KAL bus from the airport, it will cost you 13,000 Won, get off at the Ritz-Carlton, the Novotel is next door, and the BW is a 5 minute walk up the hill across the road.
2. For this price you would expect large, well fitted rooms. The room is small for a 5 Star hotel, looked like it needed a re-wire. You cannot control the air-con, my room was roasting, so I needed a portable air con unit (which the hotel did provide FOC).
3. The hotel did not have an adaptor for a UK plug, disappointing for a 5 star hotel.
4. I took customers to the coffee shop (underneath the lobby) for an informal meeting (in Asia, as it is difficult to get around in taxis, customers often kindly agree to come to your hotel). 4 coffees cost 48,400 Won (£30). I complained bitterly about this extortion, and the bill was reduced by 50%. I think £15 for 4 coffees is still on the high side. It was nothing special, just normal coffee.
5. Meeting room: it costs 40,000 Won (£25) for 1 hour, which I thought was OK (just). However, 4 employees from my last customer arrived, making it 5 in total with me included, so the rate went up to 80,000!!! Totally ridiculous. The room is tiny.
6. I asked the price for an English speaking taxi driver for the whole day. The hotel said they would happily arrange this but for 40,000 Won per hour. I said no thanks, I wanted a taxi driver, not a brain surgeon. I took a normal taxi, the hotel translated my customer addresses from English to Korean (all hotels in the Far East do this so it's not a special service). Normal taxis are very cheap, I didn't pay over 5,000 Won for any one journey.
7. I am not going to moan about high mini-bar charges, telephone call prices, laundry prices or internet connection charges. I paid 49,970 Won (£30) for a ten minute phone call home to my fiancee. I paid 92,500 Won to have 5 shirts, 5 pairs of socks & boxer shorts laundered, scandalous. If you want a Twix from the mini-bar, this will set you back about £3. They capitalise on the fact that many visitors are non-Korean, and would have great difficulty communicating outside the hotel.
8. There was no hotel directory in my room, so I didn't know what amenities the hotel offered. Also, there was no individual milk "pots" for making a cup of tea or coffee, maybe this was to force you to dip into the mini-bar.

The main point to get across to you, is that this hotel is nothing special. I am a very frequent traveller, and stay many nights away from home every year. All the points listed above are standard services that practically all hotels offer. My laundry was not washed with special expensive fabric softener, the proposed taxi driver did not offer to take me round in a Bentley, the coffee was not the finest freshy ground Arabica from the mountains of Brazil. The breakfast is OK but the staff hardly rush over to fill up your coffee cup.

I wrote to the hotel (the smarmy manager, Chris Lee, came up to me in the lift and gave me his card) by e-mail but I have not received a reply.

I will guarantee that the hotel cannot defend any of the above points, they are pure facts (I have the bill in front of me to prove it). Despite my anger and vitriol that I would like to direct at the hotel, I have kept my report purely objective and factual.

Hotels that I would recommend to you in other countries which were excellent were: The Vibe Hotel, North Sydney, Australia; The Fullerton Hotel, Taiwan; The Windsor Suites, Bangkok; the Al Murooj Rotana, Dubai, the Eastin Hotel, Kuala Lumpur. These hotels were all much better than the Ritz-Carlton, at a fraction of the price.

Please believe me, you would be mad to stay at the Ritz-Carlton in Seoul.

Philip Brooks
Manchester, England
Guest at hotel: 29th & 30th October 2006.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Extortionate prices
  • Tips/Secrets — Don't stay there
  • Stayed October 2006, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
10 Thank PhilExport
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
11 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 63 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 May 2006

My wife and I stayed at the Ritz Carlton Seoul with my parents and sister-in-law from the 20th of May to the 27th of May. The property itself is quite nice, and is in the process of a major overhaul. The hotel is located in Gangnam a quiet suburb of Seoul if such a place exists. We stayed in an Executive Suite on a club floor, and my parents had a Club Parlour Suite. The club level is definitely worth the extra minimal investment. The club lounge features five meal presentations daily including: breakfast with made to order eggs, snacks, afternoon tea, appetizers and cocktails, and even chocolates with cordials. The service is excellent and very attentive, and the new GM at the property really understands customer service. He is an enthusiastic cheerleader for the chain, and under his leadership the property already has had a remarkable number of changes including the addition of a beautiful terrace dining area.

The swiming pool / fitness club area was top notch with excellent service included with hotel stay. The spa is included with a club room; we didn't try the spa. The guest relations staff (concierge) is extremely concerned with making any guest's request a reality (reasonable or otherwise). Seoul is a city full of "business" class hotels, but the Ritz is the only luxury hotel. Luxury implies a certain amount of relaxed comfort and service tha the other properties lack. With the planned renovations including the new deck for the club are complete the property will again lead the luxury AND business segments.

I highly recommend the property.

  • Stayed May 2006
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank philfna
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
139 reviews
34 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 50 helpful votes
2 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 8 March 2006

Stayed at the Ritz the first week of March, in the lobby the hotel seems dated. Upon being taken to our room we realized how dated it is! The bathroom has water damage, with wood molding stained and dark coloring in the grout around the bath. Room is small and quite noisy on the 8 th floor facing the busy street. Same as the Anaheim Marriot in regards to year built and brick color marble features. Beds are horrible and I slept in the chair, however if you like a rock hard mattress this is the place for you. If you have back problems find someplace else. TV is tiny and AC not working. Service is good. Will never stay at the Ritz again as the mattress issue is the same at the Ritz Laguna location.

  • Stayed March 2006, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank 4snickers
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Edinburgh, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
30 reviews
23 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 46 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 13 February 2006

I have stayed at this hotel about 25 times over 3 years and so I can say that I am quite familiar with just about everything in it! What I like about this hotel is what most other reviewers seem to dislike...the rooms are decorated in a clasical style which I find very pleasing. The furniture is of fine quality and is solid and interesting, the pictures on the walls are limited edition signed copies of original paintings, the lamps are made from beautiful pottery, a CD player with classical and/or jazz CDs are provided, the quality of bed linen, carpets, curtains is high and the overall impression is one of comfort, quality and style. Yes, a little old-fashioned, but not at all poor standard. Deluxe rooms are compact but comfortable. Some parlour suites have bedrooms with no windows and others have large windows with impressive views (although Seoul is such an ugly city...), depending on the room configuration. I like the parlour suites best because they feel less like a hotel and more like cosy retreat to relax and enjoy life. I have only stayed in an executive suite once, and the style of the rooms was much more glass and modern. For that reason, I didn't like it as much, but the large whirlpool bath and extensive bathroom was great. In comparison to this Ritz, I find other hotels in Seoul, such as the Shilla and the Marriott, rather dull, modern and lacking in character.

The entrance hall of the Ritz is certainly large, marble and relatively empty but you only have to walk a short distance and you are passing beautiful antique furniture, vases and pictures. The club lounge is very comfortable and worth the additional expense, especially as snacks and some food are served for most of the day. Breakfast there is good but not extensive in choice. The swimming pool and spa are excellent. I like the ambiance of the atrium area where a pianist plays most of the day and the restaurants are very good, but highly expensive.

The service is in general very high, although willingness to please is not necessarily the same thing as sorting out a problem. A call to housekeeping or the bell service elicits an immediate response and that has been consistent for all my visits to this hotel. I am made to feel very welcome and combined with the charming character of the hotel, I really wouldn't stay anywhere else.

  • Stayed October 2005, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
7 Thank Washand
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
N. California
Level Contributor
172 reviews
69 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 138 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 December 2005

Stayed in the JW Marriott my last time in Seoul but tried the Ritz this time due to better corporate rate. Location of hotel is good with many restaurants within waking distance. The Korean BBQ about 100yards down the street (just past the Novatel on the same side as the Ritz) was very good.

Service in hotel was good, but the rooms were pretty dated. Not sure how old this hotel is, but the Marriott is only about 5 years old and about 2-3 miles closer to Incheon airport than the Ritz. I'll stay there next time.

  • Stayed December 2005, travelled on business
    • Value
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank CL5309
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Le Meridien Seoul

Property: Le Meridien Seoul
Address: 120 Bongeunsa-ro, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 06124, South Korea (Formerly The Ritz-Carlton, Seoul)
Region: South Korea > Seoul > Gangnam / Nonhyeon / Yeoksam
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Centre with Internet Access Fitness Centre with Gym / Workout Room Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Spa Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
#3 Family Hotel in Seoul
#5 Spa Hotel in Seoul
#10 Romantic Hotel in Seoul
#10 Luxury Hotel in Seoul
#18 Business Hotel in Seoul
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): ££££
Hotel Class:5 star — Le Meridien Seoul 5*
Number of rooms: 375
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
This place is temporarily closed due to renovation. Reopening is scheduled for August this year. The Ritz-Carlton, Seoul is located in Gangnam, the heart of Seoul’s business, culture and fashion. It is close to Korea’s World Trade Center, the shopping district of Itaewon and several top department stores, and the cultural neighborhood of Cheongdam-dong, bringing guests unparalleled levels of satisfaction whatever the purpose of their visit. Its classical, antique-style design is inspired by that of the 18th century Palace of Versailles, while its unique exterior, which soars upward light a series of steps, following the contours of the land on which it is built, has become one of Gangnam’s local landmarks. A newly opened entrance, offering access directly from Sinnonhyeon Station, along Bongeunsa-ro, has added still further to the hotel’s convenience. The Ritz-Carlton, Seoul contains 375 guest rooms of 10 different types, including 47 Luxury Suites and 75 Club Rooms. Its guest rooms with balconies offer inspiring views of the city and great opportunities to sunbathe and hold a variety of parties. The Presidential Suite, a previously winner of the Best Suite prize at the Gold Key Awards for hotel design, is a favorite among VIPS visiting Korea and offers the very best in state-of-the-art facilities and unparalleled comfort. Decorated with works by international masters including Pablo Picasso and Roy Lichtenstein, the Presidential Suite offers a unique chance to enjoy some of the 20th century's finest art.The hotel contains six restaurants and bars: All Day Fine Dining restaurant The Garden, Chinese restaurant Cheehong, Japanese restaurant Hanazono, Oksan Buffet, The Ritz Bar, and Ritz Deli, offering a wide variety of fine dining experiences. The Garden, located on the hotel’s lobby floor, is particularly well-known for its outdoor garden, bringing a touch of nature to the heart of the city. From late spring to autumn, The Garden is popular for outdoor barbecues and a variety of other parties and wedding ceremonies. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
The Ritz-Carlton Seoul Hotel Seoul
Ritz Carlton Seoul
Seoul Ritz Carlton
Ritz Seoul

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