Last weekend was my 9 year anniversary with TFB, I cant believe it has been so long, I’d get less time for murder (just kidding). It being such a special occasion and all, we thought a stay at a luxury hotel would be the perfect way to celebrate. TFB had been lucky enough to win the grand prize at a recent chamber of commerce event. Included in the prize package were two very nice bottles of wine, a Jo Malone shower gel, and a night in the grand executive suite at the Grand Hyatt. This was his first time going to such an event and the cheeky beggar managed to take home the first prize. I have been to at least a dozen of these things, and the only thing I have ever won is a hairbrush, but as I reaped the benefits of his win I shall not complain. So despite the hotel being literally 200 meters from our house, we set off up the hill to enjoy our romantic getaway.

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Our room was a grand executive suite. I have stayed in a couple of suites over the years and I have to say it is so nice to have the extra space, in fact this one was bigger than our whole apartment. The room had a guest toilet, a guest toilet, you know for all those guests I planned on having over (lol). We also had a work space, living room, bedroom, walk in closet and gigantic bathroom with a sunken bathtub and walk in shower. It was pretty damn fancy. Although the decor wasn’t modern or cool, it was classic enough to not look too dated. One of the nicest things about the room were the views of the city. They had thankfully assigned us a room on the river side, as I can look at Namsan Tower any old day.

I think the thing we all want to know about is the food, and our room included Club Lounge benefits, which is where we enjoyed most of our perks. The Club Lounge is a service that many big chain hotels offer, and we have taken advantage of many times over the years. For a slightly higher room price you usually get a cool little executive lounge that you can sit in in, access to a business room, and free snacks and refreshments all day. After we had checked in and seen the room we popped down to the lounge to see what was on offer. There were some very nice tea & coffee making facilities (nicer than the room ones), soft drinks, cookies and a selection of cakes and what not. They also had these really nice pastry cream filled donuts too, which I wish I had eaten more of.

Between 6pm-8pm is where you really reap the rewards because they offer happy hour. In many of the hotels we have stayed in they offer this kind of service. You usually get spirits, wine and appetisers, more recently this includes hot food too. The Grand Hyatt puts on quite a spread, and it is one of the largest club lounges I have been seen. Booze wise there is Cava, a selection of white wines, and a selection of red wines. I cant say any of the wines I tried were that great, the Cava was probably the best but as it was free I can’t really complain. As with most bars there were ice and lemons, mixers and several spirits (gin, vodka, white rum, campari and bourbon). Nothing fancy but enough to make a simple drink. I wouldn’t go as far as calling them cocktails, but a free drink is a free drink. There was also a selection of international bottled beers, if you had seen what they were charging in the mini bars for these you would be astonished. I know mini bars are supposed to be expensive but at 20,000 for a little Absolut and 9,000 won for a bottle of local water they are kind of taking the piss. Thankfully there was an ample sock of free ones for us in the lounge.

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Food wise I was very impressed, there was a hearty salad station with a do it yourself caesar salad bar, plus an Italian pasta salad and other grilled veggie medley. There were also olives, breadsticks, dips and hummus which was a nice reminder of home. Then there was nice bread, smoked salmon, meats, and cheeses. Plus a hot appetiser buffet with some awesome samosas, chicken teriyaki, and even Korean dishes like ddeokbokki and kimbab. There was also a dessert selection with more donuts, cheesecake, tarts and fresh fruit. It was very bountiful and you could happily eat and drink here instead of going out for dinner, it was just like a free all you can eat and drink buffet. The food and booze was all taken away at 8pm but as a club lounge aficionado I stocked up ahead of that time so were able to relax over our remaining drinks and snacks.

The next morning we were also permitted to have breakfast in the club lounge. When I have stayed in club lounges at other hotels you are usually given the choice between eating breakfast in the club lounge or down in the main buffet. I generally opt for the buffet, despite the fact the club lounge being much quieter as I prefer the larger variety of foods you get at the main buffet. However this is not the case at the Hyatt and you can only eat breakfast in the club lounge unless you wish to pay. That being said the lounge breakfast was pretty good. There was more or less everything you would expect to see at a hotel buffet, just smaller selections. There were tea and coffee machines that are free for use throughout your stay, fresh juices, like the carrot apple and ginger one I enjoyed. There are also 4-5 different types of milk all labelled in different jars including non dairy. There was cereal, cold cuts, salad, bread, yoghurt, fresh fruit, danish pastries in the cold buffet. While the hot buffet had sausages, bacon, eggs to order, fried potatoes, noodles and congee. There was plenty to suit everyone and more than enough to feed a greedy sod like myself. I think I had about four rounds.

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After breakfast we relaxed in the room until check out at 12. But had we wished we could have used the gym, sauna and swimming pool. Overall we had a lovely stay, it was such a treat and nice to spend a relaxing weekend away, even if it was only 10 minutes from home. We didn’t pay for our stay as we won it as a prize in a raffle, but I looked up the prices online and the club rooms start at 300,000 KRW per night, and the Executive Suite that we stayed in is 370,000 per night, though this may vary. If you would like more information about the Grand Hyatt, please visit their website.

The Grand Hyatt is located 322 Sowol-ro, Itaewon-dong, Yongsan-gu, Seoul. To get there you can walk from Noksapyeong station (line 6), but it is up quite a steep hill so if you have baggage I would advise taking a taxi. For more information you can call them on 02-797-1234, or check their website.

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