Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A 6 Star Hotel in Gwanghwamun?

If Korean Air's ambitious 7-Star 'hanokish' hotel near Anguk* remains on hold, Mirae Asset's project for a 6-Star hotel at Gwanghwamun Station seems back on tracks.

As we saw earlier, many office buildings are to be delivered over the next few months and years in this area, and across the capital, some projects are already being partly converted into hotel rooms because the boom in tourism is expected to continue as Seoul catches up with rival world magnets. No wonder Jongno-gu wanted developpers to come up with something different than the office space initially planned at this prestigious address (Gwanghwamun Naegeori or the Saemunan-ro / Sejongdae-ro intersection).

We first heard about the project last March but today, more details were released in the media: 26 floors, 316 to 348 rooms, and an inauguration scheduled for 2016. To operate the hotel, Mirae would love to deal with Four Seasons. The franchise usually settles for buildings with a long history but here, the location is loaded with culture and history : in Shinmunro, between Gwanghwamun Square and Gyeonghuigung, just opposite Cheonggyecheon, and halfway between Gyeongbokgung/Seochon and Deoksugung/City Hall**. Bonus: a relatively low competitive pressure (not far from the Koreana Hotel, but clearly in a different area than the Westin or the Plaza).

Hankyung (Korea Economic Daily) published an update of the tourist hotels under construction in Seoul ("
"외국인 관광객 잡아라" 서울 도심 호텔 6000실 '공사중'"): a total of 6,000 rooms, and a few other Jongno-gu projects (JW Marriot in Jongno 6-ga, Waterfront in Gwansu-dong, and Ibis Ambassador in Ikseon-dong).

I hope the sketch presented in that article as the future Gwanghwamun landmark is just a first draft.

Seoul Village 2012
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*"Korean Air Grounded : Seoul 7 Star Hotel Delayed"
** and don't forget Baekundongcheon ("
Baekundongcheon / Gwanghwamun-gil - A River Runs Through It")!

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