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Hotel Review: W Seoul Walkerhill Wonderful Room

by on November 13, 2012 · 8 comments

in Hotel Reviews, Starwood

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Before I got to Seoul, TPG editor Eric spent a couple nights mattress hopping around the city, and his first hotel was the W Seoul Walkerhill. Here’s his review. Other posts on my trip to South Korea include reviews of the Park Hyatt Seoul and the Grand Hyatt Seoul.

I chose to stay at the W Seoul Walkerhill because I was arriving in Seoul on a Sunday evening and figured I’d be tired and wouldn’t want to do much, so it made sense since the hotel is actually quite a distance outside the city center. Incheon is to the west of the city and Walkerhill, where the W is located, is on the north bank of the Han River on a wooded hillside. It’s about a $20 cab ride to sights in the center of town like the Seoul Tower and Gyeongbok Palace.

The entrance to my room with the bathroom and bedroom in the back.

I took the Korean Air Limo bus from the airport for 15,000 Korean Won ($14) and it took about 90 minutes door to door. When I arrived, I was checked in immediately and escorted up to my room. I had reserved just the basic, standard room at this property, which was a Wonderful King mountain view non-smoking (you have to choose this category of room, so look out for it in the booking process!) room. The rate was 238,500 Korean Won ($220), or I could have used Cash & Points and paid 4,800 points + $90, or just 12,000 Starpoints for an award night since this is a Category 5 property. I just paid the nightly rate since Cash & Points would only have gotten me 2.7 cents per point in value, and the outright award redemption would have been just 1.83 cents per point. Not good enough to tempt me!

I was actually pleasantly surprised by the room – it was very large for a standard, at over 450 square feet, and had a little foyer entrance area, the bathroom off to the left, and a large bedroom area to it.

The room had a king bed with a red coverlet.

The bed was a W Signature king with a pillowtop mattress and feather duvet with white sheets, a red coverlet and faux-fur throw. Next to it was a Bose wave clock radio with iPod dock. The temperature control next to the bed also had light controls and a clock that told time in various cities. The room also had a round leather armchair and a floor lamp, cool recessed ceiling lighting, a large desk-drawer-minibar installation in white wood that ran the length of one wall and a 40-inch wall-mounted Samsung flatscreen. WiFi cost 22,000 Won ($20) for 24 hours, which was pretty steep.

Another shot of the room with the bed, desk and entertainment center.

The minibar was stocked with typically cheeky W wares like bath salts, panty hose, Asian munchies and even a collagen mask for rehydrating after a flight.

The single sink and glassed-in tub in the bathroom.

The bathroom was the real eye-catcher. Though you could draw curtains around it, the tub was enclosed in a fishbowl-like glassed-in section of the bathroom in full view of the bedroom. The bathroom also had a single sink with Bliss bath products, a shower stall and a separate WC stall, both behind frosted glass.

My view was indeed of the mountain – but mostly of the Sheraton Grande next door and a restaurant called the Pizza Hall up the hillside. I would have had to book a room one category up for views of the Han River and apartment buildings along the banks.

As I said, I got in fairly late, so the hotel’s casual restaurant up by the spa and fitness center, Tonic, was already closed. I popped by in the morning for a delicious (and expensive!) breakfast omelette. Instead, I headed down to one of the hotel’s other restaurants, Kitchen, for a quick bite. It’s something of a hybrid Asian restaurant and steakhouse and was fairly expensive, though I just got a bowl of noodles and an overpriced glass of wine and called it a night. It had great views of the river and the skyline’s twinkling lights, though.

Tonic, the healthy eating option at the spa where I had breakfast.

The hotel’s other main restaurant is on the other side of the lobby behind reception, Namu, which is a high-end Japanese restaurant with a sake parlor. Even on a Sunday night, the lobby bar, which is on several stepped levels sort of like gym bleachers, was crowded and a DJ was spinning from the mirrored DJ pod in the corner. It seemed to be quite the scene.

The W’s lobby bar area with a DJ pod in the corner.

The hotel also has a spa and extensive fitness center, though I didn’t take advantage of either during my one-night stay, as well as a cute boutique in the lobby that had a candy store section to it, which felt kind of precious.

The candy store section of the hotel’s boutique.

All in all, I really liked my room, but the prices at the restaurants and the spa seemed way out of whack with other options around town and it kind of seemed like the hotel was taking advantage of its captive audience.

As opposed to the Grand Hyatt, which is right on Namsan hill near Itaewon and a close taxi ride to the city’s historical sites, the W’s location far to the east of the city was a real downside for me since it was much more expensive and time-consuming to get anywhere (not to mention getting in from the airport!). And while I personally prefer the minimalist-chic of the rooms at the Park Hyatt, the palette and amenities in the W room, as well as its size, were all more than decent. Plus, for the rate I got, which was pretty much equivalent to the Grand Hyatt and much less than the Park Hyatt rate TPG and I got for our final three nights in Seoul, the hotel was a very nice property with great rooms. All the staff I came into contact with couldn’t have been more helpful and sweet, though, and the receptionists checking me in and out were excited that I’d be earning Starpoints on my stay, which was pretty charming. Though this property had typical W design and “attitude”, it didn’t seem to take itself too seriously, and the rooms and other amenities were all very nice, so if you’ve got some Starpoints to use and a choice of where to stay in Seoul, this could be a good option for you.

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  • Dhullan

    I stayed there in September, I thought it was overrated and was a bit disappointing to be honest. I also stayed at the Sheraton D Cube City which is far on the otherside of town. Now this property I loved! It was brand new the rooms and bathrooms were lovely however best of all was the pool, spa and sauna are on like the 27th floor and face directly towards central Seoul and Gangnam so the view is spectacular particularly at night! Hotel is right on top of a nice mall too so food choices are excellent.

  • Majuang

    Welcome to Seoul, Points Guy! You have a few followers in town, myself among them. Yes, Virginia thanks in part to many of TPG’s suggestions, it IS possible to rack up reward points on a whole host of hotel and airline programs. Would love to grab a coffee or a bite to eat with you if you have time and we can shoot the hay about Seoul (background: I’m a longtime expat here). If interested and have the time, fire an email to me. If not, that’s okay, too. Enjoy your time in Seoul. On the biz travel scene, do check out the express train back to the airport it’s pretty neat; also, the Grand Hyatt for the night view from the lounge. Cheers

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    Dhullan, what’s the Sheraton D Cube City like in terms of location? We are considering Seoul for a trip next year sometime (will spend 3 nights there) and it was one potential option.

  • Del

    Hey Euan

    D Cube is above a Mall in Western Seoul so it got lots of places to eat and drink at. However it is not the most central location and Seoul is rather a large place, so that is something to consider. However the hotel is right at a metro station so getting anywhere in Seoul is cheap and easy, just might take a little while. The hotel is brand new and really nice, the Club lounge is also very nice with a great view and it also puts out a great spread nightly. This combined with the favorable rates they offered when I was there more than made up for the less central location

    Cheers

    Del

  • Pingback: Destination of the Week: Seoul | The Points Guy

  • http://www.euanross.com Euan

    Hi Del

    Thanks for your comments and interest to note your comments about location. I think that given it’s proximity to the metro location may not be as much of an issue.

    If you were going to choose a hotel in a better location what hotel would you select? (just to give me an idea of the ideal location).

    Thanks
    Euan

  • Del

    Hey Euan

    Glad to help! And hope you find the info useful!

    Well in Seoul there seem to be 2 big areas of note that tourists like. I’m not sure what the purpose of your trip to Seoul is but I will assume its for tourism.

    So the 2 big popular areas are Central Seoul where city hall and the Insadong old city are, and Gangnam which is a bit of a yuppy town but has bright lights and lots of food/drink and entertainment.

    Quality hotels are pricier in both of these locations however as always there are budget options though most of these will be love hotels. There is nothing wrong with the love hotels they are actually pretty comfortable however its good to be cognizant that, thats what they are if you are not comfortable with the concept.

    If it were me and I had a bigger budget I would stay in Central Seoul it is close to the historical sites which interest me. There you have a number of good Choices, the Westin, Hilton and Hyatt are all in good locations but will be more expensive. If you arent so crazy about loylaty points the Lotte Hotel would also be a good choice and is a bit cheaper.

    Hope you have a great time in Seoul!

    Del

  • Pingback: Hotel Review: Grand Hyatt Seoul | The Points Guy

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