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Newsmakers

JW Marriott, Seoul: A perfect home for the soul

THE PEPPER MILL - Pepper Teehankee - The Philippine Star

Seoul had always been a place I wanted to visit. When a friend invited me recently to go to Seoul, I jumped at the idea. We were both first timers to this city and didn’t know where to go and what to do. Another friend of mine suggested that we should stay at JW Marriott in Seoul, whose concierge is legendary for being the best in the city. So we headed to Seoul and booked at JW Marriott.

Located in the heart of a thriving business district, the JW Marriott Seoul has well-appointed guestrooms considerably larger than the average guestrooms of other deluxe hotels in the city. The designed room features a 40” LCD flat-screen television and the state-of-the-art Remote Jack Pack, which offers guests a single-source interface for audio, video, iPods and computer devices to connect to the in-room television or other AV outputs. The room was so comfortable that during our trip, I would sometimes just laze there for a long time before heading to see the sights and shop!

On our first day, I witnessed this: the concierge of the hotel was efficient and excellent.  Every time I had questions about food or shopping, the concierge staff always had answers. They would recommend restaurants according to my specifications and area of preference and write the address in Korean and direct me to a taxi. Not one of the restaurants they recommended were bad or just “okay,” everything they recommended was good!  (This list will come out when I write my story on Seoul in this column in the future.)

The hotel also has several food outlets like the Café @ JW, where I had my daily breakfast with a wide array of dishes to choose from. Its buffet is renowned for its outstanding selection of fresh, healthy dishes. Aside from the Korean and Japanese food corners, the restaurant also has different sumptuous food stations like shabu-shabu, pasta and dessert.

JW’s Grill is JW Marriott Seoul’s flagship restaurant boasting a variety of international dishes, including steaks, lamb ribs and lobster and some 150 premium wines. Mikado is the hotel’s Japanese cuisine restaurant while Man Ho is for Cantonese and Sichuan cuisine. Olivo is a casual trattoria-style restaurant specializing in authentic pizza made from the wood-fired oven, regional pasta specialties and homemade Italian dishes prepared from one large open kitchen.

 

 

After shopping or dinner, we’d head to one of the hotel’s two bars — Bar Rouge or The Exchange Bar for a night cap. If a night cap isn’t your thing, you can go to one of the largest indoor spas in the world and the largest in Asia, the Marquis Fitness Club.  The hotel’s spa spans 14,212 square meters over three floors, featuring high-tech amenities and the most comprehensive fitness facilities. The Fitness Club is equipped with the latest exercise technology and has natural mineral water pumped from a spring in the earth’s core. The spa offers a wide variety of massage and beauty treatments. Running on the indoor track is interesting since you run around overlooking the hotel pool. It also has a 12-meter rock climbing wall!

JW Marriott Seoul general manager Matthew Cooper took over the reins of the hotel since March last year. A native of Australia, Matthew began his career as a waiter at a five-star hotel in his home country. Since then, he has acquired experience working in a variety of top Australian hotels, including 16 years with Marriott International. Matthew’s first experience of Asia came in 2006 when he became in charge of food and beverage as part of the team preparing the opening of Marriott Hotel and Convention Centre in Hyderabad, India. Later, he advanced to the position of general manager of Courtyard by Marriott in Guragon, one of the hubs of India’s IT industry. Matthew was overall in-charge of the hotel’s preparatory stages and oversaw its successful opening. Based on this, he was named “Prestigious Global General Manager of the Year 2010” by Marriott International. The same year, the new hotel won the honor of being named “Global Best Opening Hotel” by Marriott International. Matthew’s most recent position before being appointed general manager of JW Marriott Seoul was that of general manager of Bengaluru Marriott Hotel Whitefield, Bangalore. This hotel opened in early 2013, becoming the first Marriott hotel to open in the former royal capital and renowned garden city.

My stay at JW Marriott was very comfortable. The service was excellent and I really have to commend the concierge for a job well done in making our stay in Seoul (where the language barrier can be a problem) very easy, especially as first timers to this wonderful city.

 

(JW Marriott is part of Marriott International’s luxury portfolio and consists of beautiful properties in gateway cities and distinctive resort locations around the world. There are 63 JW Marriott hotels in 24 countries. By next year, the portfolio is expected to encompass 88 properties in 31 countries. Visit jwmarriott.com and facebook.com/JWMarriott.

JW Marriott Seoul is located at 176, Sinbanpo-ro,Seocho-gu Seoul, 137-040 South Korea. E-mail contactus.[email protected] or visit www.marriott.com.)

(Follow me on Instagram @pepperteehankee.)

AMBASSADOR SUITE

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