A Gem In The Heart Of Seoul

by Shelli Stein

There are cities that you enjoy and think to yourself, “I’ll come back again soon.” And it doesn’t happen until one day it does. I was very excited to once again be returning to Seoul, South Korea. When it comes to cities that offer what I enjoy, Seoul ranks HIGH on my list. The parks and the many districts are fun to explore. And yes, the people too! And let’s not forget the great food options 🙂 I don’t get to Korea often enough. Yet each time I visit I get to know the city better. I find that Seoul matches me well!

For my most recent visit I decided to spread my time in Seoul across a variety of Hyatt properties, one of which was the Andaz Seoul Gangnam. I do like to sample different hotels in Seoul, as well as different areas of the city, so this idea worked well for me.

Andaz Seoul welcome card

Andaz Seoul welcome card

Andaz Seoul welcomes you in such a creative way!

How I Paid and My Room Assignment at the Andaz Seoul

Don’t think for a minute that I’ll go easy on the Andaz Seoul as I pen this hotel and hotel room review. I may be a Hyatt fan girl, but that often means I hold Hyatt properties to a higher standard. After all, first impressions matter and if you’ve not yet stayed here I want you to have the best and most informed impression possible.

I’m not writing to promote Hyatt. I’m writing to inform readers!

Specifics About The Hotel And Some Andaz Seoul Backstory

Do you know what the word “Andaz” means?  Many people don’t. It was fun to learn that Andaz is a Hindi word and means “personal style”. That’s definitely fits this property!

The hotel has 241 rooms and 25 suites. There are 21 deluxe suites and 4 premium suites. Every hotel wishes they had more suites!

I was told that Globalists like this property as a choice for Seoul stays, and as you read more about the hotel and the amenities, you’ll see why. Interestingly though, it is not necessarily a mostly Hyatt member hotel. On any given day 50-60% of the guests are Hyatt members. Clearly, though, the hotel is a favored choice among Hyatt fans.

Andaz Seoul reception area Andaz Seoul front desk

Andaz Seoul lobby seating

Andaz Seoul lobby with generous seating options!

Andaz Seoul lobby and stairs to restaurants

Andaz Seoul lobby and stairs to restaurants

Typical guests stay on average 2-3 days. Sometimes, though, when families gather for visits in Seoul the length of stays increases to a week.

In case you’re wondering which months are the busiest and which months might be more off season, here’s your answer. Business travelers are a large part of the guest roster all year long. Leisure travelers tend to come at two different times of year. For local families weekend visits to Seoul are a popular option and the Andaz Seoul is often their choice.

Holiday times are busy at the Andaz Seoul as well. Holiday high season is December and January during the holidays. Asian holidays that come during the fall season are busy too.

Andaz Seoul lobby artwork

Andaz Seoul lobby artwork—looks better in person than my photo shows!

The hotel runs over 80% occupancy all year long. Occupancy during my stay was high with both business and leisure guests. The hotel felt lively but never crowded at all. Never a wait for elevators, to talk to a concierge, to be seated for a meal, or to ask for assistance.

The Andaz Seoul Gangnam opened in September 2019. It is Korean owned. The building was renovated and became the Andaz Seoul.

What Is Jogakbo?

Don’t be fooled by the exterior look of the building. It may seem flat and just another urban building when you approach the hotel. However, from the inside it takes on an incredibly unique design and modern motif. I’m no architect or interior designer, but I would love to have been around when design decisions were being made.

The hotel design is called Jogakbo. Jogakbo is traditional Korean patchwork. Jogakbo is traditionally used to create domestic wrapping cloths (known as bojagi) from scraps of leftover fabrics. Pay close attention when you’re at the Andaz Seoul and you’ll notice that not just the building, but the rooms and even the carpeting in the hallways reflect Jogakbo. You can learn more about this Korean patchwork style here.

I personally love the look and feel of the hotel. It’s a fabulous building that gets natural light and creates an ambience that is fun to explore and easy to enjoy!

Andaz Seoul Gangnam

My recent stay at the Andaz Seoul Gangnam was for five nights. I could have used a World of Hyatt free night award or booked nights with Hyatt points. Hotels in Seoul can be super pricey. The all cash rate hovered around $300 USD and higher a night. I decided to use points for my stay.

Remember, if you’re paying cash for a hotel stay, let Pruvo monitor your rate for price drops!

Andaz Seoul is a World of Hyatt Category 5 property, meaning free nights for me were 20,000 Hyatt points per night.

My Check-In Experience

Checking in to the hotel went smoothly. Check-in is at 3pm. I arrived in the early evening, so no waiting for a room at all. When I arrived I was happy to hear I had been upgraded to a suite. It’s a property that doesn’t hold back Globalist upgrades if they are available!

Andaz Seoul Easter decorations

Andaz Seoul Easter decorations

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Using my Hotel Room Scorecard I broke down the individual elements of my Andaz Seoul room which scored a 38 of 40 points.

Location (5/5)

I asked both hotel staff and many people I know who favor this Andaz Seoul why they choose this Hyatt property over other Hyatt hotels in Seoul. Again and again I heard LOCATION location location!

People love the Gangnam area near the hotel because it is both a business district and also filled with Gangnam nightlife options. It’s also on a subway line that sets you up for easy and quick routes to other parts of Seoul. Of course, taxis are always an option in Seoul as well. Nothing is really more than 30 minutes away from the hotel. For me this is a huge plus.

In under a half an hour you can walk to the local park and into a trendy restaurant and shopping area. I walked around the Gangnam area every day. There’s lots to explore and I even found a wonderful park and walking paths adjacent to the Han River. And plenty of great Korean local eateries and other Asian cuisines to choose from.

Andaz Seoul view of city

Andaz Seoul city view

Not much of a walker? Not a problem. The Seoul subway system is just up the street. I never mind using the public transportation at all. It’s an extensive system and for me, easy to navigate.

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Lighting (5/5)

The suite did have natural lighting, with two floor-to-ceiling windows and doors, one in the bedroom and one in the living room.  There were no standing lamps but that didn’t matter. The overhead adjustable lighting was more than enough.

Many times I write, “The brightest areas with the best lighting were the bathroom and the closet. Why is that, I wonder.”

In this case, I’m happy to write the lighting throughout the suite was perfect.

Andaz Seoul entrance to living room

Entrance to suite and living room

Andaz Seoul living room

You might ask why lighting so important in a hotel room.

Here’s my answer.

Yes, I recognize that the average guest stays maybe two nights, but there are guests who work or just want to sit on the couch and read with proper lighting.

Window Access (5/5)

Having floor to ceiling windows in both the bedroom and suite living room area made a big difference. Natural lighting in a hotel room makes for a whole different experience.

There are two levels of window shades, one for sun/privacy and one for black-out darkness. They were both easy to work and easily customizable.

Hooray for being able to open windows for fresh air!

It’s mostly the case, especially in newer hotels such as the Andaz Seoul, that you can’t open the windows. Being able to open a window in a hotel room is so rare that I’d like to give the Andaz a TEN in this category but alas, my whole scoring system would be thrown off. So I’ll just say BRAVO 🙂

Andaz Seoul living room

Bed Comfort (4/5)

The bed was fine. Not as soft as some beds at other hotel properties I’ve stayed at. But the good news is not nearly as hard as most beds in hotels based in Asia often are. I had just come from another property with an overly hard bed so maybe that made this one feel even more comfortable!

The pillows worked well and there were already different pillow types on the bed, so I was able to choose which worked best for me. Too often all the pillows are the same, but not in this case.

Andaz Seoul bedroom Andaz Seoul bedroom TV Andaz Seoul bedroom

Bathroom (5/5)

I’ll say right up front that this was a great master bathroom design and layout. Spacious with two sinks and a separate room with a sink and toilet. It had a shower and a tub area.

The shower was huge! Both the overhead shower and the directional shower head worked well with great water pressure.  There was abundant shelving for whatever sundries you needed on hand.

There was also a second toilet area just off the entrance way. Always a nice benefit in a hotel suite.

Andaz Seoul bathroom Andaz Seoul suite bathroom Andaz Seoul master bathroom

Andaz Seoul master bathroom with a marble counter top

Andaz Seoul roomy master bathroom

Andaz Seoul shower

One of my pet peeves in newer hotel shower stalls is that there is no place to put your sundries other than on the floor. Having a ledge for sundries is a simple thing that those of us who are now (or always did) bringing their own sundries when they travel might really appreciate. In this case there was a shelf behind the shower head as well as a bench with hooks for towels. Spacious, indeed!

Interior Appointments and Furnishings (5/5)

One of the other draws to this hotel is that the rooms are large. I know, I know, people often complain that hotel rooms are too small no matter what hotel they stay at. But that’s not always the case.

Coupled with the location, room size is often a deciding factor when opting for an Andaz Seoul stay.

My suite matched the one you’ll see online, both in design and layout. It was very well appointed and very spacious. It actually seemed larger than what the online photos displayed.

Andaz Seoul suite living room

Andaz Seoul suite living room

Andaz Seoul living room couch

Andaz Seoul living room couch

Andaz Seoul living room artwork

Andaz Seoul living room artwork–tasteful and simple

Again, those floor to ceiling windows and natural lighting, along with the light wood floors and brown and beige color scheme, definitely added to the spacious feel.

When a room matches what you see online, that’s a good thing. Too often guests’ expectations are set by photos they see on hotel websites. And when the photos don’t match the reality it makes sense that guests take issue.

I felt the suite design, with the two rooms separated by a wall with shelving and a TV screen, worked super well.

The closet space throughout the suite was amazing. I don’t use that word often but it fits here. I challenge you to tell me about a hotel you’ve stayed at (ruling out old school walk-in closets) with more/better closet space.

The square footage of this suite was so well used!

The artwork, with one large piece in the living room, was minimal. I prefer this because taste in art is so individual and I prefer that hotel rooms don’t overdue it on the art.

The living area had a very functional round table in one corner as well as end tables by the couch. I requested an extra office style chair for the table and it came within minutes of my request. This made the table much more usable for me as a work space.

The suite had an air purifier in the bedroom area. I’m told that Seoul has a pollution problem from neighboring countries as well as from other sources. The premium rooms come with an air purifier, but even in the standard rooms you can request one.

In general, the design of the suite made it feel like home. Super comfortable and functional!

The coffee/tea/snack area was along the wall opposite the table. Plenty spacious and big enough for any snacks or beverages of your own.

The hotel provides complimentary snacks. That’s the Andaz way!

Andaz Seoul beverage and snack area

Andaz Seoul beverage and snack area

Andaz Seoul beverage and snack area

Andaz Seoul beverage and snack area

The peep hole on the entrance door is placed slightly high for the average height of women. That’s usually the case. This has long been a pet peeve of mine. Do only men check who’s knocking or ringing the bell? I think not. Easier for a guy to bend down than a woman to grow a few inches to see who’s at the door 🙂

Electronics (4/5)

Plugs and outlets were adequate. Not great but adequate. There were outlets near the bed with universal plugs and USB charging ports. I would add an outlet near the table. There was one old plug, I’m not sure for what. Maybe it required an adapter. While working at the table I couldn’t charge any of my tech.

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Amenities (5/5)

The hotel does send welcome amenities to Hyatt Globalists. I received wine and fruit. And two special treats waiting for me!

The guest experience team at the Andaz Seoul is tops! They knew that I’m a swimmer, and so waiting for me in my suite was a swim cap gift. Wow, this put a smile on my face that lasted for days. How could I not have a great swim with this colorful cap 🙂

Andaz Seoul swim cap gift note

Andaz Seoul swim cap gift note

Andaz Seoul swim cap

Andaz Seoul swim cap

Also waiting for me in my room was a pitcher of fresh watermelon juice. This was a first, and such a wonderful and thoughtful idea. Perfect after a long day of travels.

Andaz Seoul arrival watermelon juice

Fresh watermelon juice waiting for me in my suite!

Andaz Seoul welcome gifts

Andaz Seoul welcome gifts–the loose leaf tea was wonderful

There was a lovely teapot with loose leaf peppermint tea alongside the fruit amenity. Another nice touch. I couldn’t wait to unpack and settle in to enjoy all these delights!

YES on providing a Yoga mat! I’ve started requesting Yoga mats when I stay in hotels. If you’ve ever taken a close look at the “need anything extra” card presented in your hotel room, you’ll notice Yoga mat is often listed. I’m starting to notice, though, how few hotels actually have mats.

Andaz Seoul Yoga mat

Yoga mat already in my suite upon arrival!

The property provides water, and it was super generous whenever I requested more. It was also generous with whatever supplies you needed. That always leaves a positive impression on a guest.

When writing hotel reviews I often review the minibar and available snacks. The minibar and coffee area was well-equipped with a kettle and Nespresso style coffee maker. I also enjoyed the brand of tea bags the hotel provided. I’d not heard of them before. There was a good size fridge underneath.  And plenty of complimentary snacks 🙂

Breakfast Options

For breakfast there is a restaurant area on the second floor of the Andaz Seoul. Hotel guests use the restaurant as do many locals. It offers a full buffet. And I do mean full!

There was whole fruit (which I very much prefer over assorted fruit cups prepared by a hotel) and an egg station, which was more like an egg restaurant with cooked-to-order egg dishes. There was also a large area with salad options—plenty of greens and veggies as well. I wish all hotel restaurants would offer salad for breakfast!

Naturally, fresh breads and baked goods (plenty of cold cereal options) as well as a cheese and assorted meats station. A large fridge had an assortment of yogurts. You could also order fresh juices.

Nothing was missing from this buffet! There was table service for coffee and whatever else you might need.

Korean and Asian choices at the buffet. Absolutely! If you welcome a Korean food breakfast you won’t be disappointed. And don’t be shy. If you’re not sure how to create a Korean noodle soup, or what some of the foods taste like, just ask. The breakfast staff is wonderfully helpful and they won’t mind at all guiding you through the Korean breakfast options.

During my stay there was never a time when the restaurant during breakfast time was overwhelmingly busy. It always had a nice buzz but the staff is large and always ready to assist.

Breakfast is 60,000 KRW or about $45 USD per person if not included with your room rate. Of the six Hyatt hotels in the Seoul area, the Andaz breakfast is often rated #1 and never less than #2.

As a Globalist breakfast was included with my room. My sense is that if you enjoy breakfast buffets, you’ll be very pleased with the one the Andaz Seoul offers.

There are many large common space areas at the hotel. There is a large cafe style beverage/bakery the restaurant does serve lunch and dinner. They are well used by hotel guests.

Andaz Seoul lobby bakery and cafe

Andaz Seoul lobby bakery and cafe

Who Is Andy The Robot?

Have you ever had a robot cook a meal for you? Didn’t think so. Neither had I until I met Andy. He cooked an awesome steak sandwich for me.

I won’t pretend to understand how Andy does it exactly. I do know two things, though. One is that he has been cooking steak for a few years now and each year he cooks thousands of steaks for hotel guests. Number two is that the steak sandwich was delicious. I say this not because Andy and I are now on a first name basis, but because it’s not easy to cook the perfect steak sandwich, so kudos to my pal Andy.

When you’re at the Andaz, or even just in the vicinity, do stop in and enjoy his cooking. The fries and side salad are awesome as well!

Andaz Seoul robot Andy grilling a steak

Andaz Seoul robot Andy

Andaz Seoul robot Andy at work grilling my stAIk 🙂

Andaz Seoul robot Andy

Andaz Seoul robot chef Andy

Andaz Seoul Staik Sandwich

Andaz Seoul Staik Sandwich

Andaz Seoul Staik Sandwich cooked by Andy the robot!

What Guests At The Andaz Seoul Complain About?

When I review a hotel I always wonder what complaints hotel guests have, so I ask the hotel team. This hotel’s chief complaint is one I’ve come across a few times before.

Even though the building was renovated, there can be plumbing issues. As previously mentioned, some guests complain the rooms are small but I’m starting to think that all hotels, even the ones with NOT small rooms hear this complaint.

Fitness and Spa Facilities At The Andaz Seoul Gangnam

For me this was a wonderfully surprising benefit. It added tremendously to how much I enjoyed my stay. I did see the pool and spa mentioned online but in this case it was even better than it seemed on the hotel website.

Pools and spas can be one of the areas of a hotel that DON’T meet expectations based on photos that are often glossy and glorified.

The gym is well equipped, the pool is 16 meters, the poolside THREE jacuzzi areas are large, and the women’s locker room (I assume the same for the men’s side) has a steam and sauna and even a cold plunge.

The pool was never busy and neither were the steam/sauna. Is it fair to wish for these kinds of amenities at more hotels? I swam and enjoyed the Korean sauna multiple times 🙂

If you’re someone who will use the spa, pool, and gym, you will NOT be disappointed!

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Hotel Service at the Andaz Seoul

You can tell I was thrilled with the hotel room and thought the design and layout were very much to my taste. I was also pleased with the service! This really does tie into my being impressed with the hotel.

Andaz Seoul lobby artwork

Andaz Seoul lobby artwork

I don’t often get a chance to stay at Andaz properties. So many friends have stayed at the Andaz Seoul and always tell me to make plans for a stay there next time I’m in Seoul. I had high expectations and images of living it up at the Andaz 🙂

I try not to set my expectations too high, but given the smiles on people’s faces when they talk about their stays here, I couldn’t help it. My expectations were high.

In this case it exceeded my expectations!

Housekeeping was always quick to deliver whatever I requested. If you’ve been traveling much these past few years you might have realized how short-staffed many hotels are. I did not find that to be the case at the Andaz Seoul at all.

There was never anything I asked for from housekeeping, the front desk and concierge team, the hotel management team, or the restaurant team where the staff didn’t happily oblige. I thoroughly enjoyed the friendly, warm and very helpful environment.

Final Thoughts On The Andaz Seoul Gangnam

The Andaz Seoul is an unusual and wonderful hotel. I say unusual because while each Andaz property is unique, I feel the Andaz Seoul pays extra special attention to not just the big picture that many hotel guests might notice, but to the details that guests might miss if they aren’t paying attention.

The hotel decor, the guest rooms, the spa, gym, and pool area, the high quality of service—I don’t think there are enough hotels that pull this off as well as the Andaz Seoul.

It can be an expensive property, whether paying cash or using points. You’ll have to think as to whether it is a great value on points or when paying cash. I think it’s well worth the value, especially on points.

There are now multiple Hyatt properties in Seoul, so it can be a toss-up as to which property to choose. What it offers and the service were both excellent.  For sure having the spa and pool available to me made a huge difference.

The location can’t be beat. That I agree with. It is a modern hotel with a certain vibe. If that suits you, you’ll enjoy the property. If you’re a fan of Andaz Hyatt properties, this one ranks up there with any other I’ve stayed at. In fact, it’s now peeked my curiosity to sample other Andaz properties.

Every Hyatt hotel is different, every staff is different, and every guest is different, right? Some properties are bound to work better than others for what you’re looking for.

Would I stay here again?

Absolutely! Putting together this review was fun because it brought back memories of an enjoyable hotel stay in a city I’m quite fond of. One of my favorite hotel stays, actually.

I think of the Andaz Seoul as a hotel for people who enjoy mixing their hotel stay with a great location. If you enjoy spending time in a more local area of Seoul rather than in a super touristy area, this property is for you. That certainly includes me and if it includes you, by all means gather up your travel gear and give this hotel a try and see what you think for yourself.

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MFK April 13, 2024 - 2:25 pm

I had a wonderful five-night stay there last month that was very similar to yours, except I used an SUA. Lovely property and staff.

Shelli Stein April 13, 2024 - 5:48 pm

So glad to hear this MFK! I totally agree on the staff and property. Thanks for reading and taking the time to reply.


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