The grand opening of the Aloft Seoul Gangnam hotel property occurred on Wednesday, October 1, 2014; and I was a guest at that hotel property fewer than two weeks later. It would be the first night of my stay in South Korea after arriving at Incheon International Airport, which serves the greater Seoul metropolitan area.
Location, Arrival and Checking In
After I purchased my ticket for 10,000 South Korean won to ride on route 6006 of the airport limousine bus and queued up in line, I asked several employees of the bus company as to what stop I should get off of the bus which would be nearest to the hotel.
The same puzzled look appeared on the face of everyone I asked. They conferred with each other, as none of them had heard of the hotel property — which at that time was brand new. I showed them the address on my portable electronic device; but they were still confused.
One of them finally figured it out and said that I needed to get out at the stop for the Prima Hotel. I then boarded the bus for the ride to the Gangnam area.
Upon arrival at the Prima Hotel, I stepped off of the bus — but I could not see the Aloft Seoul Gangnam hotel anywhere in sight. I saw by the street signs that I was on Yeongdong-daero — so I knew that I was on the correct boulevard. Facing the Prima Hotel, I then turned left and walked along the boulevard as it curved towards the right around a bend. The hotel property was across the street.
Afternoon was turning into evening as I walked through the entrance. Kevin — who is the front office manager at this hotel property and was at the circular front desk — spoke English quite well and was incredibly helpful throughout the entire process of my checking in. He answered every question I had and gave me some tips as well.
As I was tired from a long but quite good flight from Amsterdam and I needed to wake up early the next morning to participate in a tour of the demilitarized zone and joint security area at the border of South Korea and North Korea, I was eager to get some rest.
My room was on the ninth floor.
I entered the room and slid my plastic key card into the slot near the door. As the temperature was still warm outside, the air conditioning cooled the room quickly.
I was treated to the sight of the rays of a setting sun beaming in through the curtains of the windows and giving a nice ambient light.
Barely after putting my belongings down in a random spot, I immediately went over to the window to look outside to catch the sun moments before it set behind the buildings of the urban landscape.
I suppose the area by the window to the right of the desk could be a place to store your luggage outside of the closet area; or it could be an extension of the work area; or perhaps a person could even rest here temporarily. Regardless, I did not need to use it.
There are two electrical outlets conveniently located on the wall near the desk, which was perfect for charging both my portable electronic device and my laptop computer; and no converter is necessary to use them. Most of the other electrical outlets in the room do require converters.
During the last gasp of the setting sun, it was time for me to check out the room and its amenities.
Note the frosted glass partitions which separate the bathroom from the area of the room with the bed. You can slide open one of the partitions to give the entire room a more open feel but still ensure privacy when necessary. The closet is located in the entrance area.
I like hotel properties which place most of the controls of the room right next to the bed, which also included an electrical outlet which does not need a converter in order for you to use it.
When I opened the small refrigerator, two complimentary bottles of cold water awaited me — a welcome sight after a long trip.
Complimentary access to the Internet via Wi-Fi proved to be fast and efficient, according to my experience with it.
Safety is paramount in the room as well: the thermostat and emergency flashlight are mounted on the side of the closet wall; and the room is equipped with everything you need for a lifeline to escape from the building along its exterior in the unlikely event of an emergency. Because I found a similar emergency kit in another hotel property in Seoul, I am guessing that this is required equipment.
I liked the way the sun beamed in through the frosted glass of the bathroom.
The bed is located behind that frosted glass partition. Notice that there are two shower heads with which you can shower: a shower rain head above and a hand-held shower head. I felt very refreshed when I showered after a long flight from Europe.
Amenities found in the bathroom include cotton balls, cotton swabs, a shower cap, a bar of soap, a comb, an emory board, and body lotion. In the shower area are two dispensers: one for shampoo and conditioner; the other for body wash.
At least the dispensers within the shower area clearly show that they are almost full. I have been a guest at hotel properties — in Munich and Budapest as two examples — where the dispensers in the bathroom were opaque, disguising the fact that they were indeed empty and needed to be refilled.
Now that the Aloft Seoul Gangnam hotel property has had time to be established and familiar in Seoul, you should have no problems with getting there from the airport — or from anywhere else, for that matter.
This hotel property has a restaurant, three meeting rooms, a gym, a pantry of sorts where you can purchase snacks, and a place to have cocktails while listening to live music — although I used none of these facilities.
It also offers a shuttle bus service to the Coex mall, which is only minutes away. The Cheongdam stop on the 7 subway line is within a walk of five to eight minutes from this hotel property. Because the subway system in Seoul is remarkably efficient, that makes up for the lack of convenience to many areas of Seoul due to its location. However, there is plenty of upscale shopping nearby.
The rate of approximately $150.00 — including all taxes and fees — was a bargain when compared to the room rates of comparable hotel properties.
Credit cards are accepted.
Aloft Seoul Gangnam
Gangnam-gu, Seoul, 06075, South Korea
Telephone: +82 2 510-9700
The photograph on the left shows the exterior of the Aloft Seoul Gangnam hotel property; while the photograph on the right shows the lobby to the left of the entrance. The furnishings in the lobby were stylish; but they were not very comfortable. All photographs ©2014 by Brian Cohen.