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Monday, October 7, 2013

Four Seasons Seoul

Just to wrap up my January 2012 post on Mirae Asset's luxury hotel project in Gwanghwamun ("A 6 Star Hotel in Gwanghwamun?"), which as expected went to Four Seasons, and will open on May 2015:

See also "Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts enters Korea" (Four Seasons PR 20130904)

For the prestigious hotel group, Seoul fills a gap in an increasingly strategic region. Mirae Asset confirm their ambitions in hospitality businesses: they bought the Four Seasons Sydney a few days before the deal was announced (from Eureka Funds Management, see "Four Seasons sold for $340 million" - The Sydney Morning Herald 20130821), and also pilot the Courtyard by Marriott in Pangyo.

Now I realize that I never shared any image of a project I often pass by. Well the working site is not that spectacular...

March 14, 2013 (much more advanced today!)
... and the architecture not very original either:

The future 317-room hotel near Sejongno Sageori
As far as office spaces are concerned, Gwanghwamun area has been dotted with many new towers over the past years, and in order to fill them, operators had to suck tenants out of older and lower tier buildings. If many hotels will open across Seoul in the months and years to come, this shouldn't be the case for a hospitality franchise targeting elites.

Still, competition will be fierce. Particularly since all major players have completed renovation, most recently their main rival, The Shilla Seoul, which at last decided to act as a leader by opening a high end Korean restaurant: even if they don't make a fortune with 'La Yeon', that's a higher calling (see "Korean Cuisine Aiming At World's Top Five. China is watching"). I would be disappointed if Four Seasons Seoul failed to propose fine Korean dining.

Seoul Village 2013
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