Thursday, Oct. 09, 2008

Westin Chosun

History buffs and captains of industry choose this centrally located hotel, which is walking distance from Korea's political and corporate halls of power (both modern and ancient). Built in 1914, the hotel has the longest history of any in the city, but a complete renovation in 2004 has brought the property into the modern age. The 453 guest rooms now include chic curvilinear settees and padded headboards, as well as up-to-the-minute features like hypoallergenic carpets and electronic in-room checkout (no reception desk visit required). The Ninth Gate restaurant is a choice venue for Continental cuisine, and the wine bar is one of the best stocked in the city.

Insider Tip: Take advantage of the premium espresso coffee machines in the rooms. Although downtown Seoul has plenty of coffee shops, finding one open early in the morning is an impossible task.

Room to Book: Ask for a room overlooking the historic Seoul City Hall — which might not exist for much longer. The landmark building is facing demolition to make way for a controversial new government complex.