I decided to spend a few extra dollars for the 5 star experience, but I found that the marble lobby, the formal behavior of the staff, and having to dodge around international delegations to get to the breakfast buffet made my first stay in Korea less relaxing than I wished it had been.
That said, the location is right beside the Haeundae Beach walkway (check out the eco park on the opposite end from the tour boat, if you find you need some solitude), and there are two traditional markets and several tourist-friendly streets nearby, which are great for getting your first taste of Korea (more "real" shopping is only a stop or two away by bus or metro, once you're ready to venture further out).
Room rates (5 or 6 tiers of them) began at ~$350/night while I was there (I paid less by booking a package deal), and, while the room was very nice, I think a lot of the cost is based on location. The breakfast buffet, which cost about $19.50 per day during my stay in addition to the cost of the room, included many Western choices as well as plenty of local ones. By the way, the buffet was one of very few places I found fresh produce during my trip, the others being a Family Mart convenience store nearby (just a couple of apples and handful of cherry tomatoes - grab them when you can get them) and a couple of street vendors with just a box or two each of random fruit. A sign at the front desk indicates WiFi internet can be purchased by the hour, by 12 hours or by 24 hours (~$6.50, ~$17.60, ~$22.00, during my stay). Plug-in high speed internet can also be purchased in the room in the same increments and rates, but it doesn't include WiFi, so I recommend buying the WiFi downstairs. I did not test this out, but it could be that the plug-in internet is available b/c the wifi isn't reliable enough for laptop use; I can't think of another reason there would be two separate means of internet access.
All the check-in staff and door-opening staff in the lobby and dining room speak English and the most formal Korean, which isn't usually the type of Korean one studies. Most employees in other stores in the area speak some English too, so, if you don't speak any Korean, you will be able to enjoy your trip. Some of the Housekeeping and Serving staff did not speak English, but I really think it's unfair to expect them to do so.
Overall, the hotel was lovely but, in my opinion, a bit formal for a casual vacation.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- The Novotel Ambassador Busan is in the second largest city in South Korea, right on the spectacular Haeundae Beach, the most famous in the country. This 5 star hotel is perfect for business trips and holidays with a wide range of conference and leisure facilities. Most of our 330 rooms have breathtaking ocean views, while our three restaurants offer delicious food and drinks in a relaxing atmosphere. Guests can also enjoy our indoor pool, health club and sauna with natural hot springs. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Novotel Ambassador Busan Hotel Busan
- Accor Ambassador Busan
- Novotel Busan
- Busan Novotel