Destination Unlocked: Le Méridien Seoul

Bloom by Kim Hee Kyung at Le Meridien Seoul

Bloom installation by Kim Hee Kyung with hotel staff in traditional Korean Hanbok at the Le Méridien Hub of the newly opened Le Méridien Seoul

The Le Méridien Seoul opened in September 2017 after a renovation of what used to be The Ritz-Carlton Seoul. The interior of Le Méridien Seoul is designed by David Collins Studio in a mid-century style that reflects the charms of Europe. It is located in the upscale neighbourhood of the Gangnam district that is home to attractions such as the Seonjeongneung – UNESCO World Heritage Site and Bongeunsa Temple, COEX Exhibition Centre and Mall and Jamsil Baseball Station. Sinnonhyeon Subway Station Line 9 is just five minutes walk from the hotel. The new Le Méridien Seoul sets the standard for future Le Méridien properties around the world.

The Le Méridien brand was established by Air France in 1972 to provide a home away from home for its customers. The world’s first Le Méridien was the Le Méridien Etoile, a 1,000-room hotel in Paris. Within the first six years, it grew to 21 hotels in Europe, Africa, the French West Indies, Canada, South America, the Middle East and Mauritius.  Starwood acquired the brand on 24 November 2005 after multiple previous acquisitions. Today, Le Méridien brand is under Marriott International, post acquisition of Starwood by Marriott.  Le Méridien competes with the likes of Hilton, Intercontinental, Kimpton, Loews and Hyatt Regency.

 

Triple Garden installation by Kim Byoung Ho at lobby of Le Meridien Seoul

Triple Garden installation by Kim Byoung Ho at lobby of Le Meridien Seoul

The 19-storey Atrium Building and 16-storey Prime Building in the hotel complex house 336 rooms and suites, a fitness centre and outdoor swimming pool, an art centre with seven exhibition venues, five restaurants and bars, a library lounge, kids club as well as 1,650 sqm of meeting venues.

Entrance of Le Meridien Seoul with Gather + Build Light Installation by Yang Min Ha 1G7A1953

Entrance of Le Meridien Seoul with Gather + Build Light Installation by Yang Min Ha late at night

Art has taken the centre stage with art installations and paintings throughout the hotel. Even before you step into the hotel, you will be greeted by the “Gather + Build” an illuminated installation created by new media artist Yang Minha to symbolise the history of the transformation of The Ritz Carlton Seoul to Le Méridien Seoul. Just as you enter the building, Kim Byoung Ho’s Triple Garden. When you enter the Le Méridien Hub, or how we all know it as the lobby, you will see the round Bloom installation by Kim Hee Kyung.

In the rooms, guests can enjoy the travel-themed art of Park Sung Hwan and Park Jeong Pyo.

 

 

Le Meridien Seoul Presidential Suite

Presidential Suite Living Room 1G7A1757

High Ceiling Living Room in the Le Meridien Seoul Presidential Suite

The largest suite here is the Presidential Suite. Six main rooms take up the Presidential suite’s 293 sqm of space, each offering a different feel. The living room is two level’s high giving the intended illusion of space. The decor throughout the suite is a blend of green, lavender and blues with dark timber parquet flooring and velvet upholstery. The custom furniture is inspired by French designers of the 1950s with a selection of pieces selected from the David Collins Studio for Promemoria “The London Collection”.

The artworks of Frank Stella, Park Tae Dong and Robert Rauchenberg have also been displayed in each of the rooms.

Presidential Suite - Dining Room 1G7A1754

Dining Room in the Le Meridien Seoul Presidential Suite

You have the option to dine with 11 others in the indoor dining room that comes with a show kitchen. The room is finished in navy-stained timber. An outdoor terrace also offers a generous dining space. A spiral staircase to the suite’s upper terrace lets you enjoy the Jacuzzi and cabanas offering views of the city.

Presidential Suite Bedroom 1G7A1750

The bedroom in the Le Meridien Seoul Presidential Suite

The bedroom’s soothing blend of green and white and the dark timber parquet flooring and walls of ivory & lime green cracked gesso immediately calm you down as you get ready for a good night’s rest. Behind the screen is a bathroom that is almost as big as the bedroom.

Large bathtub and shower area in the Presidential Suite bathroom at Le Meridien Seoul

Large bathtub and shower area in the Presidential Suite bathroom at Le Meridien Seoul

The spacious bathroom has two wash basins and a very inviting bath tub. I swear, if you moved the bathtub, you could put in two poker tables.

 

Le Meridien Seoul Studio Suite

Le Meridien Seoul Studio Room 959 1G7A1719

Studio Suite bedroom

Located in the Atrium Building, the Studio Suite is double the size of the standard rooms featuring larger bathrooms and a separate seating area. It feels more like an apartment. This was my room for three nights in November last year.

Le Meridien Seoul Studio Room 959 bathroom 1G7A1720

Studio Suite bathroom area

The bathrooms feature green and white marble while the bathtub and shower trimmings have a brass finish. The separate toilet has a WC with bidet and heated seats. The tiled flooring does get cold, so the bedroom slippers provided come in handy.

Le Meridien Seoul Studio Room 959 1G7A1719

Studio Room bedroom

What I liked about the Studio Suite is the white light from the ceiling lights. White light in the bedrooms of hotels are not very common and personally, I prefer bright white lights to yellow lighting. In this case, I could always turn off the ceiling lights, and illuminate the room with the rest of the lights around that illuminate yellow lighting. The Samsung Smart TV in the bedroom also meant that I could throw up my Netflix from Samsung Galaxy Tab 3 to watch my movies on a larger screen.

Le Méridien Seoul - In room dining - Porridge

In-room dining – Porridge

And if you are hungry, you can always order in-room dining. I had a bowl of porridge with condiments in the middle of the night. And boy was it good.

 

 

Le Meridien Seoul Amenities

Malin + Goetz Toiletries at Le Meridien Seoul

Malin + Goetz Toiletries at Le Meridien Seoul

Le Meridien Hotels & Resorts has partnered MALIN+GOETZ since early 2017 as its partner of choice for bath essentials. Available at Le Meridien Seoul are MALIN+GOETZ’s signature sage body wash, peppermint shampoo, cilantro hair conditioner, lime bar soap and vitamin B5 moisturiser. And if you are a fan of MALIN+GOETZ products in Singapore, you can purchase them from Sephora, Spa Esprit or Lazada Singapore.

 

Illy Coffee - A Le Méridien Hotel standard

Italy’s illy Coffee is a Le Méridien Hotel standard. You can enjoy Illy coffee in any of the over 100 Le Méridien hotels in 40 countries around the world. illy coffee from the top 1% Arabica beans from around the world has been sold since 1933. Guests can brew their own illy capsule coffee in their rooms or enjoy machine brewed illy coffee at the dining outlets within the hotel.

The Future of Tavalon Teas at Le Meridien Seoul

The Future of Tavalon Teas at Le Meridien Seoul

The Tavalon Teas was founded by John-Paul Lee when he was having a caffe latte in Covent Garden, London in 2005. He observed the many young and old folks enjoying tea. Today Tavalon Teas has a selection of Teas and blends. Packaged in individual boxes, the tea bag is sealed to ensure freshness.  Besides the traditional teas, one can expect from any decent tea brand, TAVALON Teas has interesting blends including NYC Breakfast, Peachy Oolong, Earl Grey Reserve with premium Italian bergamot flavour or Roobois Lemon. These teas are available in the guest rooms and are also served at the dining outlets at Le Méridien Seoul.

 

 

The Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge

Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge - Le Meridien Seoul 1G7A1813

Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge on level 14

The club lounge located at level 14 in the Atrium Building allowing Club and suite guests to check in or check out. Guests can head over to the lounge at different times of the day starting from 6 am when the lounge opens. There are five food presentations throughout the day, the most generous at hotel club lounges I have ever come across.

Club Guests also enjoy two free pieces of pressing service and 20% discount for subsequent pieces during the stay, complimentary access to the 24-hour gym, or the swimming pool and sauna which operates from 5.30 am to 10 pm every day except on every third Monday, up to two hours use of the Club Lounge meeting room as well as free use of the computer, fax and printing service at the Club Lounge.

The Club Lounge has double height ceilings , a glazed wall hung with traditional Korean overlapping linen blinds and two outdoor terraces. It is finished in a mixture of eucalyptus dark timber, dark green and navy velvets and warm red accents in the soft furnishings. There is parquet flooring and polished marble on the walls, with a variety of artworks and a row of marble linths displaying scultpures.

Poached eggs at Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge 1G7A1843

Poached eggs at Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge

Continental Breakfast is served from 6 am to 10 am. You can order a variety of dishes that will be prepared freshly for you. I had a poached egg and ham sandwich with spinach as well as a freshly brewed cappuccino. And if you are not a morning person, you can still make it for a lite snack of finger food and canapes from 11 am to 2 pm.

 

Afternoon Tea set at Club Lounge 1G7A1882

Afternoon Tea set at Club Lounge with Ed Ruscha’s art in the background

From 3 pm to 5 pm, you can enjoy a three-tier afternoon tea set of sandwiches, scones, cakes and pastries.

 

Cocktail hour at Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge

Happy hour at Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge

Happy Hour is served between 5.30 am and 9 pm. You can help yourself to a selection of spirits, red & white wine, beer and non-alcoholic beverages.

Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge Happy Hour selection of food

Le Meridien Seoul Club Lounge Happy Hour selection of food

Light bites and canapes are also available during happy hour. You have to try one of Chef John Oh’s Bulgogi Brioche. They are one of the signature dishes at Le Meridien Seoul.

And from 9 pm to 10 pm desserts are available in the lounge but every night I would be too full to head to the lounge for more food or drink.

 

M Contemporary and Art at Le Meridien Seoul

Art Exhibition at M Contemporary

Kim Byoung Ho Art Exhibition at M Contemporary

Guests staying at Le Méridien Seoul get complimentary access to M Contemporary. The art centre is located on the first floor. Various creative art pieces ranging from fine art to new art media are exhibited. The main exhibition hall of M Contemporary is the M Museum. The 628 sqm space exhibits various spatial compositions with free-standing display walls. M Gallery in M Atrium is a 48 sqm independent gallery that exhibits pieces aligned with M Museum as well as independent exhibitions. The large-scale M Screen media wall measures 14m x 2m and is located in front of the M Museum.

When I was there, the works of László Moholy-Nagy, Su Kim, Jeon Joonho, Byoungho Kim, Anna Han and Minha Yang were exhibited at M Contemporary as part of The New Vision – from Bauhaus to A.I. exhibition that ended 19 November 2017.

Replica of Triple Garden by Kim Byoung Ho

Replica of Triple Garden by Kim Byoung Ho

Staying at the Le Méridien Seoul gives guests the opportunity to go on an art journey with the hotel’s 13 artwork located throughout the hotel. Pick up a “Le Méridien Art Journeys” map and explore.

 

Lattitude 37

Latitude 37 is located in the level three lobby.  Enjoy chilled wines, cocktails, or illy coffee prepared by skilled baristas. The cafe bar is called Latitude 37  because of the hotel’s GPS coordinates of N 37 30′ E 127 01′

Le Meridien Seoul - Latitude 37

Latitude 37

The cosy space is the perfect venue to savour signature éclairs and light bites while you enjoy music from French Bossa Nova band Nouvelle Vague who created the soundtrack for the hotel and all Le Méridien hotels around the world.

Le Meridien Seoul - Cocktails at Latitude 37

Cocktails at Latitude 37

 

 

 

Chef’s Palette

Breakfast at Chef's Palette

Breakfast at Chef’s Palette

Chef’s Palette is located on the third-floor lobby level on the same level as Latitude 37. Buffet breakfast is available every morning where there is a very generous spread of both local and western dishes. There are also healthy options for the health conscious with fresh juices, fruits, cereals and more. Enjoy a cuppa illys coffee or Tavalon Teas.

 

Elements by Edward Kwon

Le Meridien Seoul - Element by Edward Kwon

ELEMENTS by Edward Kwon

ELEMENTS by renowned Chef Edward Kwon is located on the same level as the Monet Room, Spa and Lab XXIV on level four. Chef Kwon serves up contemporary Oriental cuisine with his reinterpretation of Korean classics. I had dinner here and enjoyed the “GALBI” Prime Beef Steak with charred spring onion, crispy garlic and soy sessame glaze and the crispy soft shell crab with Gohujang, cole slaw, miso mayo and crown daisy oil.

 


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