Ideally situated on the cusp between major financial, retail, and historic districts is the Westin Chosun Seoul. Built during the Japanese occupation of Korea, the hotel survived through World War II and is the oldest in the country. Originally the Chosun Hotel, it was designed by German architectural firm Goetheland. Constructed in 1914, the European-style building was unique among its distinctly Asian counterparts. The Chosun was known for opulence and imported luxury goods from Europe and North America: a crystal chandelier from Tiffany’s in New York, silver dining utensils from Germany, and linens from Ireland. The hotel was also the first in Korea to build an elevator, host a ballroom dance, and serve ice cream. Most of the original building was demolished in 1970, and the modern hotel was rebuilt in its stead. Fortunately, the view hasn’t changed in a century. The hotel overlooks the picturesque Hwangudan Temple (“Temple of Heaven”).
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Walk in any direction from the Westin Chosun Seoul, and you’ll quickly see that it’s in one of the capital’s most versatile locations. Head north and you’ll come to the popular Cheonggyecheon Stream running through this financial district. Keep going and you’ll reach Gyeongbokgung, the most stunning of Seoul’s five Grand Palaces. You’ll also come to one of the city’s most traditional neighborhoods, Insadong. Head southeast when the shopping sirens call, and you’ll come to Myeong-dong, the district known for designer labels, fast fashion, street food, and underground malls. If your business in Seoul is indeed just business, the Westin Chosun Seoul is within easy walking distance of many buildings in the financial district, or a quick taxi or subway ride to the various other business districts in the city.
Need to Know
Rooms: 462 rooms, 40 suites. From $220. Check-in: 3 p.m.; check-out: noon. Dining options: A handful of restaurants vie for your appetite within the Westin Chosun Seoul. The two most elegant are Hong Yuan, with its Cantonese cuisine and jazz-age Shanghai ambience, and the Ninth Gate Grille, a brasserie overlooking Hwangudan Temple in the garden below. Sushi Cho pairs city views from the 20th floor with traditional Japanese seafood dishes by the restaurant’s Michelin-starred chef. Assorted bars, lounges, and cafés add to the hotel’s eclectic dining options. Spa and gym details: Multiple treatment rooms offer select massages and body treatments, and the gym encompasses areas for stretching, aerobics, and weights. A sprawling indoor pool on the third floor is accompanied by whirlpools and saunas.
Who’s it for: Business and leisure travelers who prefer a touch of history combined with modern, stylish surroundings. Our favorite rooms: The northwest side of the hotel offers views of Hwangudan Temple. But nowhere do the hotel’s longstanding roots emerge more than in the Renewal Suite on the 17th floor, where touches such as Korean artwork and a Hinoki-style bathtub add a traditional flourish. Peaceful respite: Most guests miss a walk through the garden that houses Hwangudan Temple. Make it a point to wander the tranquil oasis and glimpse the vibrant architecture from Korea’s Joseon Dynasty.