[Hotel Review] Conrad Seoul

Spontaneous Seoul 2019

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The only Conrad I’ve ever stayed in was in Singapore.

So Conrads have been on my wishlists ever since I got my Diamond. Yays to lounge access and room upgrades! And this fell nicely into my atas trip itenary so I was super psyched to try this at seemingly 50% off during the 100hr flash sale.

Address – 10 Gukjegeumyung-ro Yeouido Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul,07326, South Korea. Website.  

Contact – +82-2-6137-7000. Email: Conrad_Seoul@conradhotels.com.

Location – Located in the Han river area in Yeouido, with the nearest subway being Yeouido station – lines 5 or line 9, Exit 3. I never did try the subway during this trip but other reviews say it takes about 10mins to walk there and should get you to other stations in a breeze once you get around navigating the subway system. The hotel is also connected to the IFC Mall which offers some shopping and dining options as food in the hotel is expensive. But otherwise, there is not a lot going on around the hotel, save for a park which offers the Yeouido World Night Market on Fridays and Saturdays if weather permits. So not a spot I would recommend for tourists spending a few days in Seoul, and especially not for first time visitors for sure.

Getting There – Airport Bus #6030 From Incheon Airport Terminal 1 gets you straight to the doorstep of the hotel. Bus tickets can be purchased at Gate 4 or 9 – Just tell the attendant where you would like to go and they will issue you the ticket accordingly. Each ticket costs KRW15,000 (SGD18) per pax (KRW13,000 if you have T-money) – then you head to Gate 6B to wait for the bus. The bus stop will come with a more detailed signage indicating which interval your bus is going to come so you know if you have time to run to the toilet.  There will also be an attendant which will help load your luggage and issue you a luggage ticket which you’ll need to keep for reclaiming it at your stop.

Total traveling time is 60mins, with intervals of 20-30mins. I ended up waiting for almost 20mins as I just missed the previous one 😦

Price – KWR182,500++ for a night booked during the Hilton 100-hours flash sale in May:  SGD240.19 in the end. This is a never-seen before price for the property and I am really proud to snag that!

Check In – I had emailed the hotel about an early check in prior to arrival and was told checking in at 10am would be difficult so I was prepared to skip out and do my Marriott Bonvoy mattress run in the window. So I was pleasantly surprised my room was ready but disappointingly, there was no welcome for being a Diamond and no proactive room upgrade (boo) even though a lot of room types were still selling on the HH app upon checking. But I didn’t push it as I was only there for one night. The only Diamond acknowledgement came about when I was given the Executive Lounge benefit letter and she highlighted that breakfast is for ‘tomorrow’ even though it was still breakfast timing then. For a top tier member, I find this gesture extremely ungracious especially if I had been paying full price for a room.

Room – Room 3317, was a King Bed Premium River View Room stood at a spacious 48SqM and was super nice! The TV and mini bar design was quite cool, and a large round working desk and a lounge sofa completed the look. The bed was super plush and high quality linens and beddings and were a dream to sleep in. The bathroom was also a big area for 1pax and comes with Shanghai Tang toiletries. The shower and toilet was modern and worked perfectly fine for me too. I also received a box of pralines, presuming my Diamond amenity?

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The Executive Lounge – located on level 37, the top floor of the hotel, the lounge was designed to be completely a place to chill in. Except it can be chilly at certain spots (haha).

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Entrance to Executive Lounge

Here’s what the offerings look like:

  • 07:00 – 10:30 Breakfast (Mon-Fri)
  • 07:00 – 11:00 Breakfast (Sat-Sun)
  • 11:00 – 12:00 Weekdays Croissants and Danishes
  • 14:30 – 16:00 Weekdays High Tea
  • 17:00 –  19:00 Evening Cocktail

I checked it out on my day of arrival just as they were closing breakfast but they didn’t stop me from taking a plate of food – they didn’t ask for my room number as well for some reason. Good that I looked legit, hah! They even offered more pastries if I wanted as well, a nice proactive touch.

 

Hardware wise, it is a big space with plenty of seating but the dark wooden tones makes the place feel a little dated. There were a few areas serving different kinds of food which helped to spread out the crowd especially during evening cocktails time. As with most Hilton properties I have tried, the place gets packed during evening times so come early! I never managed to snag a window seat during my stay there – oh wells.

I was however a little disappointed about the food offerings. I didn’t try their high tea, but came up early for evening cocktails. The food quality and quantity was lacking and may not add up to a proper dinner if you are a big eater. Alcohol wise, I was disappointed they don’t serve champagne and only Cava. Again, for a premium property they could have done a lot better.

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Other than that, I felt service was mostly clinical and no “warmth” – I guess I expected more for an upmarket property.

Facilities – Pulse8 is their Fitness centre on level 8 which comes complete with an indoor swimming pool and gym. I manage to take one picture of the gym before being frantically stopped and informed of their no-picture policy – supposedly to protect the privacy of guests. But I could take pics of the pool – so its anyone’s guess why this is so.

Breakfast – I had the option of having it at Zest on level 2 for the variety and indeed there were a lot of options but coffee was bad so I ended up going to the Lounge for a decent cup thereafter.

 

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Service – Nothing to complain about and yet nothing remarkable either. The friendliest staff I met was the bellboy. #firstworldproblem.

Check Out – Swiftly and painlessly done at the front desk.

In summary,

a rather nice property with good hardware but location is nothing to shout about since there is limited sights and shopping in the vicinity. But no regrets about trying this property at 50% for sure!Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – Marhaba Lounge

[Flight Review] Singapore Airlines SQ608 Singapore to Incheon Boeing 787-10 – Business

Spontaneous Seoul 2019

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  • Flight Time: 6hours 35mins
  • Singapore (SIN) – Incheon (ICN)
  • Depart Singapore: 00:10
  • Arrive Incheon: 07:45
  • Cabin Class: Business (I)
  • Aircraft Type: Boeing 787-10
  • Seat: 15K

With all the excitement akin to Snowball (that schitzo rabbit in Life of Pets), I embarked on my first experience on SQ’s 2018Regional J.

Continue reading “[Flight Review] Singapore Airlines SQ608 Singapore to Incheon Boeing 787-10 – Business”

[Lounge Review] Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – SilverKris Lounge

Spontaneous Seoul 2019

  • Introduction
  • Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – SilverKris Lounge
  • Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – Marhaba Lounge
  • Singapore Airlines SQ608 Boeing 787-10 Singapore to Incheon – Business
  • Conrad Seoul
  • Fairfield by Marriott Seoul
  • JW Marriott Hotel Seoul
  • South Korea Incheon Airport Terminal 1 – Asiana Business Lounge
  • Singapore Airlines SQ611 Boeing 777-300ER Incheon to Singapore – Business

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To say my inaugural SilverKris Lounge experience was disappointing is an understatement.

I was rather excited about visiting right up to when I was actually there. I mean, its Singapore Airlines. It’s business class, where you pay quite a penny to fly in that luxurious seat where you don’t have to fight for elbow space with a fellow passenger.

Continue reading “[Lounge Review] Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – SilverKris Lounge”

[Trip Review] Spontaneous Seoul 2019

I Love Seoul
Credits to http://english.visitseoul.net/tours/Seoul-Photo-Zones–I-SEOUL-U_/29582?curPage=1
  • Introduction
  • Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – SilverKris Lounge
  • Singapore Changi Airport Terminal 3 – Marhaba Lounge
  • Singapore Airlines Q608 Boeing 787-10 Singapore to Incheon
  • Conrad Seoul
  • Fairfield by Marriott Seoul
  • JW Marriott Hotel Seoul
  • South Korea Incheon Airport Terminal 1 – Asiana Busines Lounge
  • Singapore Airlines SQ611 Boeing 777-300ER Incheon to Singapore

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I just realized the title has a nice ring to it. Hehe.

So the story is that I had expiring miles starting from June 2019 onwards, in varying quantum in different months. And I really didn’t want to redeem for Scoot.

So I started stalking SQ’s Spontaneous Escapes for a bit. With my Hilton Amex Krisflyer Ascend 1-night and 2 Accor Plus stays still un-redeemed, I started to think maybe I can engineer something on biz class with 2 free nights albeit switching hotels. Over a short weekend taking minimum leave.

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The promotion that started it all. Grabbed from SQ’s official site

BUT there were a few glaring issues:

  1. Spontaneous Escapes is only released later mid-ish of each month for the next month and there is no predicting which routes will be available.
  2. I wanted my first proper business class experience to be good and hence the type of aircraft has to be the right ones too.
  3. The free Hilton night list of properties is quite lacklustre, with most being in China.
  4. I don’t want to redeem my Accor Plus free nights on cheap properties.
  5. End June is most likely as I’d like to stagger out my leave dates.
  6. I didn’t want to take too much leave.
  7. I’m going alone so the place has to be relatively safe.
  8. It has to be a quantum of miles so I didn’t have to think about expiring miles again in the next 6months.

So all factors combined, Shanghai / Guangzhou / Beijing became possible targets as at least one of them was on Escapes each month.

Then June 2019 Spontaneous Escapes was released.

And.No.China.

There were Tokyo and Osaka but there were no biz class coming back. Going on business class and having to come back on economy seems sad. #firstworldproblem.

Then there was Bali. Fine, I’ll make do with 2.5hours on biz (I can’t even finish a movie!). But it was waitlisted. Argh. 26,600 miles in the air.

While I was waitlisted, Hilton announced its 50% sale off Korea, Japan, and Guam.

Conrad Seoul
Grabbed from Hilton’s official site

And Seoul has biz class on my fly dates, YAYSSSS. And there was Conrad Seoul calling out to me.  I figured I’d wait to see if my intended dates do actually trigger the sale rates.

And drumroll* it did! BUT only for 1 of my 2nights. WHY OH WHY.

I contemplated a few options. Do I bite the bullet and paid full price for the second night (SGD450!)? Do I skip Seoul completely and wait for Bali to clear?

In the end, I found JW Marriott’s club room at a slightly cheaper rate of SGD380++ (cheap is subjective). And it only re-opened in Nov 2018 after a complete refurb -icing on the cake!

JW Marriott Seoul
Grabbed from Marriott’s official site

And with that, I am officially 65,800 miles + SGD$82.20 in taxes poorer. And the 2nights probably costing me SGD$700. And redeeming of my Accor / Hilton stays came to nought.

And in the midst of wrecking my braincells on all this, my Marriott Platinum Challenge got involved and I need to clock another 2 nights before end June 2019.

So Fairfield By Marriott at 65, 835KRW per night (SGD76) became my mattress run choice.

Fairfield Marriott Seoul
Grabbed from Marriott’s official site

AND the new Marhaba Lounge opened in time on 23 May 2019 at T3 and because I love anything with new carpets I’m going to lounge hop over to check it out too!

Marhaba Lounge T3
Credits to Shutterwhale and his post about the lounge

My final itenary looked like this:

  • Changi Airport Terminal 3 – SilverKris Lounge
  • Changi Airport Terminal 3 – Marhaba Lounge
  • Singapore Airlines Q608 Boeing 787-10 Singapore to Incheon (2018 Regional J)
  • Conrad Seoul
  • Fairfield by Marriott Seoul (pitstop)
  • JW Marriott Hotel Seoul
  • Incheon Airport Terminal 1 – Asiana Business Lounge
  • Singapore Airlines SQ611 Boeing 777-300ER Incheon to Singapore (2013 J)

 

Lounge wise:

I will be ticking the Changi Airport SilverKris Business Lounge off my list:

SKL
Grabbed from SQ’s official site

And the meh sounding Incheon Airport Asiana Lounge:

Asiana Business Lounge
Grabbed from Asiana’s official site

Flight wise:

I’ll get to try the 787-10 J

2018 J
Credits to https://www.ausbt.com.au/review-singapore-airlines-new-2018-airbus-a380-business-class-seats

And 2013 J

2013 J
Credits to https://mainlymiles.com/2019/01/05/sias-final-3-class-777-300er-has-left-service/

 

Most people I spoke to said I was crazy for flying all the way to Seoul only for 2 days.

See, this is why I don’t like discussing my itenary before I booked. Too many opinions is too much confusion. After all, I am spending my own money to spoil myself, so why the heck not?

With that began the endless stalking of reviews and plotting how to make myself stay awake on my red eye to Seoul (I will kill myself if I fall asleep after supper and wake up close to landing). Will just coffee do it? Should I prick my eyes open with toothpicks?

Decisions, decisions.

I am counting down every day now.

[Hotel Review] Pan Pacific Singapore

I finally tried the somewhat legendary Pacific Club!

I’ve actually stayed in the property twice, pre-refurb and then post refurb in 2013. But never tried the Pacific Club experience – despite seeing stunning photos of it on blogs and what nots. It has always been a Club to check off so when Discovery held its sale in March 2019, it was the perfect excuse to plan yet another staycation.

Continue reading “[Hotel Review] Pan Pacific Singapore”

[Hotel Review] Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central

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As part of my Marriot Bonvoy challenge, this was the only feasible (ie reasonably priced) property in Cotai. I stayed here back in 2013 but wasn’t writing reviews then so I figured time to re-visit the property. A 4,000-room Sheraton is no joke after all! Continue reading “[Hotel Review] Sheraton Grand Macao Hotel, Cotai Central”

[Hotel Review] YotelAir Singapore Changi Airport

My Macau trip was a prime occasion to try out the futuristic looking YotelAir in Changi Airport, made especially alluring with its opening rates. Well, okay, plus the fact that I almost missed my last flight to BKK, I figured I should make myself be already at the airport for a 6am depart flight this time.

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Continue reading “[Hotel Review] YotelAir Singapore Changi Airport”

[Hotel Review] The Canopi, Bintan, A Tribute Portfolio Resort

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My first Marriot Bonvoy experience in Bintan, checked!

My first Tribute Portfolio experience, also checked!

The Canopi had a lot to live up to, given that its actually Glamping only 1-hr ferry from Singapore. It also had to live up to Marriot standards after being bought over and is now operating as a Tribute Portfolio property.

The below marketing spill summarizes how the resort sees itself:

Set along Southeast Asia’s largest man-made saltwater lagoon, The Canopi Bintan offers nature, adventure and luxury an hour from Singapore. The resort is Marriott’s first glamping experience, ideal for families and corporate retreats. Amid the island’s tropical greenery, 100 safari-themed tents feature private patios and gardens, outdoor rainforest showers and comforts including Wi-Fi and air-conditioning

I can see why there is much built up anticipation. Continue reading “[Hotel Review] The Canopi, Bintan, A Tribute Portfolio Resort”

[Hotel Review] Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road

Thanks to my random stroke of good luck, facebook notified me that I won a 2D1N stay at this well located IHG property to be redeemed by May 2019. So stay I did, along with a shopping happy friend in tow who was more than happy to not need to fight the Orchard crowd transit back home after a day of spending money.

I’ve also thought Holiday Inn Express properties are clean quite good choices for travels, because they are always 1) clean 2) reasonably priced 3) free breakfast. The combination of all 3 makes its hard to ignore if the location is good.

You basically know what you are getting when you book a HIE – no surprises.

Continue reading “[Hotel Review] Holiday Inn Express Singapore Orchard Road”