All Images Courtesy of the Four Seasons Hotels Seoul Communication Department
Constantly surprising, always captivating, Seoul is a city of contrasts, where deep tradition lives in harmony with innovative technology and leading-edge fashion, imaginative pop culture and fiery food, trendsetting style and a playful attitude. Now, in the heart of it all and welcoming the world for the first time, is the new Four SeasonsHotel Seoul.
“Seoul has emerged as one of the most exciting, inventive and inspiring cities in the world, and Four Seasons is right in the centre of the energy,” says General Manager Lubosh Barta, who oversees the 317-room hotel, an eclectic collection of seven unique restaurants and bars, a three-story spa and fitness complex, and more – all at one fabulous Four Seasons address.
The new building in the Korean capital’s Central Business District, designed by Heerim Architects & Planners, is also home to the city’s best choice of event venues ranging from elegant ballrooms to myriad private entertaining options. Opening his first shop in Korea within Four Seasons, celebrated Tokyo-based floral designer Nicolai Bergmann’s beautiful creations are on display throughout the Hotel, complemented by an expertly curated art collection in rooms and public spaces created by LTW Designworks.
One of Korea’s most revered religious landmarks, The Jongmyo Shrine is the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal shrines to have been preserved. Dedicated to the forefathers of the Joseon dynasty (1392–1910), the shrine has existed in its present form since the 16th century and houses tablets bearing the teachings of members of the former royal family. Ritual ceremonies linking music, song and dance still take place there, perpetuating a tradition that goes back to the 14th century. The shrine is a symbolic structure that conveys the legitimacy of the royal family, where the king visited regularly to participate in the ancestral rites to wish for the safety and security of the people and state. Jongmyo is the oldest and most authentic of the Confucian royal ancestral shrines, with a unique spatial layout that has been preserved in its entirety. It was originally built in the late 14th century, but was destroyed during the Japanese invasion during the 16th century, and was rebuilt in the early 17th century with a few expansions made to the buildings thereafter.
Jongmyo and its grounds occupy a 19.4 ha oval site. The buildings are set in valleys and surrounded by low hills, with artificial additions built to reinforce the site’s balance of natural elements, in accordance with traditional pungsu principles. The main features of Jongmyo are Jeongjeon (the main shrine), and Yeongnyeongjeon (the Hall of Eternal Peace, an auxiliary shrine). Other features include Mangmyoru, a wooden structure where the king thought about the ancestral kings in memory; Gongmingdang, the shrine to the Goryeo King Gongmin, built by the Joseon King Taejo; Hyangdaecheong, the storage building for ritual utensils; and Jaegung, a main hall with two wings, where the King and participants waited for the rites to take place. Jongmyo was built faithfully abiding by the Confucian ideology of ancestral worship and its ritual formalities under strict royal supervision, and still maintains its original form dating from the Joseon Dynasty.
One of the primary shopping districts in Seoul, Myeong-dong is a maze of streets and alleys that draws you in with a unique energy that is unmistakably Seoul. At night, the area is awash in neon, with signs advertising name brand shoes, clothes, accessories and beauty products, and the delicious aroma of Korean delicacies wafts through the air from the many small restaurants and street stalls. The neighborhood also includes some of Seoul’s most well-known department stores, including Lotte Department Store and Shinsegae Department Store.
The Sensual Style of Four Seasons in Seoul
Four Seasons Hotel Seoul invited some of today’s most creative minds into a world of possibility guided by an unwavering commitment to quality, and the result is truly extraordinary. Sensory delights abound from the finest textures and finishes to the carefully chosen music in each area of the Hotel and the signature scent created exclusively for Four Seasons by Lorenzo Villoresi Firenze.
In 317 rooms and suites, guests will find a private sanctuary for rest and relaxation. The new, fully customizable Four Seasons Bed is in every room, and thoughtful features include motorised window coverings that allow guests to instantly choose between complete darkness, veiled natural light or crystal-clear vistas across the city – including unobstructed views of Gyeongbok Palace and the landmark N Seoul Tower from selected suites.
The look is a modern reflection of Korean tradition, with light-filled spaces and every modern convenience at hand. More than 160 contemporary artworks feed the soul, while attentive Four Seasons staff ensure every need and want is met.
Among the world’s most impressive hotel suites, the penthouse Presidential Three-Bedroom Suite at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul encompasses an expansive 413 square meters (4,445 square feet). Every detail has been custom-designed to the highest residential standards – embellished with a curated art collection featuring sculptures, blown glass and paintings from celebrated local and international artists.
From the formal foyer with powder room, step into an extra-wide living and dining room with the backdrop of a full wall of floor-to-ceiling windows, including views of the N Seoul Tower. Adjoining are a complete kitchen, media room and private office. With dazzling corner views, the oversized master bedroom includes a sitting area and desk, a large walk-in closet, as well as a steam shower, sauna and a treatment room allowing for private spa therapies. Two additional bedrooms complete this extraordinary suite – also enhanced with access to the Executive Club Lounge.
By far the largest and most lavish presidential suite in the South Korean capital, this one-of-a-kind suite is magnificent for entertaining or accommodating VIP guests with the highest expectations.
Seven New Restaurants and Bars, All at One Address
Coinciding with the opening of the Hotel, Four Seasons Hotel Seoul also introduces seven new dining and entertaining venues, plus two specialty food shops.
Each new restaurant and bar is a destination unto itself, with one-of-a-kind concepts and menus created by an international culinary team led by Executive Chef Ralf Dohmeier.
With Chef Loris Pistillo at the helm, Boccalino and the adjoining Bar Boccalino present a complete rethinking of the traditional Italian restaurant. At Yu Yuan, Chef Simon Wu’s culinary vision is on the menu in a space inspired by 1920s Shanghai. Chef Sawada Kazumi brings his precision skills to the three-story Japanese restaurant Kioku. InThe Market Kitchen, diners are transported to a European-style market hall with myriad cooking stations manned by Chef Matthieu Moles and his team. Christopher Lowder is behind the bar at Charles H., the modern interpretation of a Prohibition-era speakeasy that promises to be Seoul’s best destination for spirited gatherings. At Maru, Four Seasons Hotel Seoul welcomes the world to its very own living room for dining, drinking and socialising.
Yu Yuan and Kioku are designed by interior architect André Fu and his design studio AFSO; Boccalino, The Market Kitchen and Charles H. are designed by AvroKO; and Maru is designed by LTW Designworks, who also created the public spaces and guest rooms at Four Seasons Hotel Seoul.
The Spa at Four Seasons Club Seoul
In a culture obsessed with wellness and beauty, Four Seasons introduces a new sanctuary of total pampering for local guests and world-weary travellers. Signature treatments at the Spa at Four Seasons include the indulgent three-hour My Present of Beauty, the Miyeok Slim-Steam Wrap and the Um Yang Ritual, a botanical cure using herbs found in the ancient healing bible Dongui Bogam. Guests are also encouraged to enhance treatments with time in the Korean sauna for maximum effect.
And there’s a special surprise for those booking a massage: the Mask Bar, offering a choice of Fedora facial sheets to be applied during the treatment. At the Nail Bar, a full menu of manicures and pedicures includes expertly applied Nail Art by the Spa’s artist technicians.
For local professionals and business travelers, the Spa + Snack menu combines 30-minute mini-treatments with an express lunch for midday rejuvenation.
The extensive Club facilities also include a 765 square meter (8,235 square foot) gym plus rooms for classes and personal training; a juice bar; members’ lounge; three pools; and an indoor golf experience.
In all, Four Seasons Club Seoul encompasses 5,800 square metres (64,430 square feet) of space across three floors dedicated to health, fitness and socialising for the exclusive use of a very limited membership, and guests of Four Seasons Hotel Seoul.
Meet Me at Four Seasons: Flawless Meetings and Special Events
With flexible rooms accommodating parties from 10 to 500, the Hotel’s event spaces are naturally-lit and feature gracious decoration and state-of-the-art technologies. Attentive Four Seasons staff work hand in hand with event hosts and meeting planners at every stage, from the initial planning to the execution of every detail to perfection.
In addition to a selection of packages, Four Seasons presents its signature personalised service to couples and their families who wish to create a one-of-a-kind, fully customized wedding. With five beautiful spaces to choose from as well as a traditional Korean pyebaek room, brides and grooms can create a tailored event with the assistance of expert Four Seasons wedding specialists. Event hosts will also have access to the Hotel’s florist Nicolai Bergmann.