Booked the cheapest room, checked in at way past 10 pm, and got … UPGRADED!
Suddenly I was the master of a one-bedroom deluxe apartment so big that it really sprawled ---- a corner suite on the 22nd floor with two bathrooms (well, one-and-a-half), a king bed, two huge closets, a kitchen, a bar counter, a dining area, a living area, a working desk, a dresser table, two flat-screen TVs, a tiny laundry room, two armchairs, and sweeping views from four large windows of the COEX/Gangnam area and the Han River. It’s a bit much for a three-night stay, but luxuries are appreciated on intense business trips.
The room décor is clean and understated, with a welcome splash of color here and there. The kitchen is well-stocked with utensils, plates, bowls, pots, pans, glasses of various shapes, culinary tools I don’t recognize and even a big pair of scissors for those who left their Swiss knives at home. The refrigerator is big and blessedly empty (no annoying mini-bar goods-for-sale). But do note that two bottles of water are provided only upon arrival ---- you’ll have to buy more for your daily drinking supply (there is a convenience store in the basement, along the hallway leading to the COEX underground mall), though I’m told that tap water is drinkable in Seoul. (Didn’t try it, though.)
There are cabinets and drawers galore, and lots of table surfaces to hold your documents, books, charts, maps and other goodies. There’s also lots of light ---- lamps and overhead lights scattered generously through the suite, not to mention the ample natural light from the four windows if you feel like throwing open the blinds. The glassed-in shower area is also spacious enough to accommodate big-elbowed bathers, and the push-button steam function was a welcome extra-value treat.
The room does take some mastering. The light switches are a bit fussy (took me a while to figure out how to turn on the two bedside lamps), and the bedroom closet doors are the sliding type that are unnecessarily awkward to handle and prone to loud bangs and bumps. The closet lights have motion sensors, but they were so erratic and hard to activate that I frequently found myself scrounging through my suitcase in the dark. The airconditioning was difficult to adjust, with different instructions applying to the controls in the living/kitchen area vs. those in the bedroom area. I found the room a little bit on the warm and stuffy side on the day when it was 10 to 15 degrees C outside, but pleasantly cool and comfortable when the outside temp dropped to zero C.
The bed was perhaps too firm, but tolerable. The pillows, however, were far too soft, and I had to pile up all four pillows to get better support --- and even then I’d wake up with a sore neck. (Maybe there are other pillow options, but I didn’t have time to ask around.) The big armchair in the living area looked comfy, but wasn’t --- the stiffer-looking couch was a far more relaxing choice.
Small nitpicks: a couple of metal shower parts detached easily; it takes at least 3 minutes for shower water to heat up properly; the trashcan in the kitchen had a broken lid. The dining table area is relatively dark, in contrast to the rest of the room. Oh, and the main door had to be shut firmly to lock automatically --- it’s too easy to leave the room accidentally unlocked.
The Oakwood has no grand lobby, just a small, quiet and softly lit front desk reception area on the 5th floor and a small waiting lobby at street level. Service is however brisk and efficient, and friendly in a quiet and unobtrusive way. (A request for extra writing stationery was handled warmly and promptly.)
Breakfast is served in another softly lit hall, also on the 5th floor, but features a fairly limited selection (a far cry from your typical Asian buffet spread). No fried rice, no separate egg station that I could detect. Nonetheless, the food was fine, as was the self-serve coffee (push a button for cappuccino or latte, if that’s your fancy).
The hotel is in the bustling commercial neighborhood of Gangnam, surrounded by office towers and linked to an underground mall (it was easy for me to run to a decent food court for some kimchi rice without borrowing an umbrella, since it was raining steadily outside). Perfect location if you have a conference or trade fair at the COEX center. However, it’s rather far from central Seoul and its attractions.
Overall, the Oakwood is a wonderful pick for a long stay, and likewise great for a short business trip (as in my case). The nitpicks I cited above are minor concerns. Best of all, I enjoyed the room, the little luxuries and all the space, space, space. That goes far in a crowded, hyper-busy city like Seoul.
Higher floors have nice views. Ask for a corner room if that's possible.
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC