Thursday, January 24, 2013

Aug 2012 - Westin Chosun

Hotel Stay Details 
Hotel: The Westin Chosun
Dates: August 28-September 2, 2012
Rate Paid:  9,600 SPG points / night
Regular Rate:  $350 / night (incl. taxes)
Total $ Savings: $1,750
Point Redemption Value: 3.6 cents/pt

As you can probably tell, there's a consistency with my father's hotel selection strategy.

The SPG Award Night rate is typically 12,000 SPG points / night for a Category 5 hotel like the Westin Chosun.  However, SPG has a great offer where the 5th night is free when booking 5 consecutive nights.  So pay for 4 nights (48,000 SPG Points) and save your points for the 5th night.  

Check in
We arrived early (11AM) to see if we might be able to get into our room earlier than the usual 3PM. They were able to accommodate us a bit and were were in at 12:15PM. Also, most of the people my father interacted with in the lobby spoke excellent English, so communication was never an issue. The one downside was that the hotel is VERY popular and was very full when we were there. Getting someone's attention was never an issue, but they are always actively helping people. As someone mentioned before, the hotel seems to treat everyone well, but doesn't give any special treatment to SPG Elites. I think that's because the Chosun hotel was an independent hotel that subsequently joined the Starwood family so they don't always follow the SPG protocol as well as other Starwood hotels.

We didn't get upgraded for being an SPG Gold, but the king bed room we had (708) was adequate. It was a bit on the small side but overlooked the little shrine in front of the hotel.

We had to follow up and request a crib again (some hotels put one in your room before you check in when they know you have a baby with you), but not a big deal. The room includes a Nespresso machine and a stocked mini-fridge.   Overall the bedroom was very clean and gave us enough space for the crib, which is all you could ask for in a hotel.

The bathroom has a shower/tub combination and an electric super toilet (like the ones in Japan with a bidet and heated seats).

Unlike other Westin hotels, they did not offer the "Green Choice" option to skip housekeeping in exchange for 500 SPG points/day. So we just took housekeeping service every day. I was told that you don't really tip in Korea, though that's starting to change at many western-client oriented hotels and restaurants.

Cell Phone
A great surprise was that the hotel gives you a Korean cell phone to use during your stay. They charge you only based on the calls you make, but each call was MUCH cheaper than using your US phone while roaming internationally. It came in VERY handy when coordinating with local restaurants and other people. 

Simply beautiful. It's on the 3rd floor and has a full locker room area for guests to change. Swimming and gym access are free for guests but sauna is ~$30/day.

As everyone mentions, this hotel is PERFECTLY situated near a lot of places, including Lotte Department Store (luxury goods and dining), Myeungdong (traditional retail shopping), Namdaemun (lower end marketplace) and Gyeongbokgung Palace. The closest subway station is City Hall (but it's a 10 minute walk once you get downstairs into the underground shopping area). City Hall connects with 2 major lines that connect you to a lot of popular areas. I much prefer this area than the areas where the Park Hyatt and other high end hotels are located.

Seoul Metro tips: you can purchase a single ride ticket after selecting the final destination stop (which will include a 500 KRW card deposit). The price is based on the distance you travel. You swipe when you enter and swipe when you exit on the other side. Then you can find a Card Refund machine and it will give you back a 500 KRW coin for recycling the card. Another note: there are VERY few escalators and elevators so getting a stroller around is very challenging. I encourage parents to use baby carriers instead.

We didn't eat at any of the hotel restaurants because the Lotte food court was nearby and so amazing, but they looked quite posh (and expensive).

We really picked the Westin Chosun for its location.  The rooms were fine, the service tried hard, but in the end, it was too busy of a place and we felt like the ugly girl at the 7th grade dance.  But they did finally deliver the crib, though I think my dear mother was confused about who it was intended for.

1 comment:

  1. Enjoyed the review for someone looking at this hotel to spend SPG points with a lap child.