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Thursday, June 13, 2024

Review: JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul

During my visit to Korea, I was looking for a place to redeem my Free Night Award from American Express Marriott Bonvoy Card.

Despite having multiple options in Seoul, I chose to stay at JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square due to JW’s renowned reputation for exceptional food and beverage offerings.

Booking (June 2022)

A standard king room typically hovers in between 400,000~600,000 KRW.

Luckily, for the date I wanted to stay, it was only 34,000 Marriott Bonvoy Points.

Allowing me to redeem my free night award without requiring any additional points.

Location

The hotel is situated in the vibrant Dongdaemun district of Seoul.

and of course, right across the road from Korea’s national treasure No.1 – Heunginjimun (Dongdaemun)

While the area itself isn’t surrounded by major tourist attractions,

it offers convenient access to other landmarks, shopping centers, and cultural sites, which makes it suitable for all types of travelers.

To get to the hotel from the airport, you can either take an hour taxi ride, or take the airport rail to Seoul station, then transfer to Line 4, eventually getting off at Dongdaemun station.

From Dongdaemun station’s Exit No. 8, the hotel entrance just a few steps away.

Lobby & Check-in

Checking in at JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square was very smooth.

The staffs were both exceptionally friendly and professional, demonstrating excellent loyalty recognition for Marriott Bonvoy Elite members.

However, despite holding Marriott Titanium Elite status and staying on a weekday, I did not receive a room upgrade, aside from being assigned to a room with a Dongdaemun view.

I must admit that I didn’t make any effort to engage in “suite-talking” to request a room upgrade.

Staying aloneπŸ₯², I prefer to be humble and leave the larger suite rooms for couples and family travelers.

They were at least more than happy to extend my check out time to 4pm as a Titanium Elite Member.

Having encountered so many hotels hesitating to honor this “guaranteed” late check out benefit, it often makes me reflect on the true nature of this benefit when one has to request it with uncertainty.

Room (1 King, Dongdaemun View, Deluxe Room)

Upon entering the room 808, a hallway leads to the bedroom, with an open-style bathroom on the left side.

On the right side of the wall, there is a key slot to power the room, and a switch to opt-in/out of housekeeping services.

I really like the presence of this switch as it eliminates the need to physically hang the Do Not Disturb sign on the doorknob. (Yes, I’m lazy)

The room was surprisingly spacious, especially considering the typical size in Seoul.

The room featured a well-balanced color scheme that harmonized with the view of Dongdaemun visible through the window, creating a traditional Korean ambience.

The bed was very comfortable, featuring a Beautyrest mattress from Simmons, Korea’s premier mattress brand.

Adjacent to the bed, there is a seating area furnished with a elegant red sofa accompanied by a footrest and a coffee table.

It provides a delightful morning experience, allowing you to savor a cup of coffee while taking in the scenic view of Dongdaemun.

Next to the sitting area is a large desk, making the room great for guests on business trips.

On the other side of the room, there is a mini bar stocked with alcohol, glassware, a kettle, and a Nespresso machine.

One subtle detail I noticed was the display of mugs with Dongdaemun logo printed on them.

Additionally, there was a mini fridge; however, it was pre-stocked with the hotel’s beverages, leaving minimal space for personal drinks.

Moving on to the bathroom, it has a modern contemporary design, meeting the expected standards.

The bathtub is always a delightful bonus.

There is a mini TV attached on the wall, allowing you to enjoy some K-drama while washing up.

Additionally, the toiletries provided are from Aromatherapy Associates, a renowned brand from U.K.

One unexpected amenity was the inclusion of a hair straightener alongside the hair dryer.

While I personally haven’t used one, I recognize its potential value, particularly for women.

Executive Lounge

The executive lounge is located on the 10th floor and operates from 6:30am – 10pm.

The lounge is relatively small in size, but I didn’t find it overcrowded, likely due to the hotel’s small number of guest rooms.

Light snacks, coffee, tea are served through out the day.

Hors d’oeuvre is served between 5pm-7pm, along with a self-serve bar.

There was a good variety of alcoholic drinks available, and they even provided a cocktail shaker for guests to craft their own cocktails.

There is also a rooftop patio in the executive lounge, so make sure to grab a champagne and enjoy the stunning view of Dongdaemun πŸ™‚

In terms of food options, there were several hot dishes available, along with some bread and desserts.

While the selection was adequate, I wouldn’t say it could replace a full meal.

Breakfast

The breakfast is offered at Tavolo24 restaurant located on the 2nd floor.

I can strongly say this was the highlight of my stay.

The breakfast buffet showcased a blend of traditional Korean and Western dishes with an extensive variety to choose from.

I believe that photos convey food better than words, so let’s do a food tour with photo slides below πŸ™‚

Amenities

JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square offers both a gym and a pool.

Unfortunately I didn’t have time to visit these facilities, but here are some comments based on feedback from other sources.

The Gym pretty much has all the equipments you would expect at commercial gym:

  • Cardio machines
  • Strength machines
  • Dumbbells and barbells
  • Flat and inclined benches
  • Smith machines

The indoor infinity pool is absolutely stunning.

Contemporary chandeliers adorned the ceiling, while gentle underwater lighting softly illuminated the pool area. The mosaic tiles blended seamlessly with the white and gray marble finishes adorning the walls, creating a harmonious ambiance.

The only drawback is the 90-minute usage limit, but I guess it’s designed to ensure that every guest can enjoy a relaxed and uncrowded experience.

My Thoughts

JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square certainly lived up to my expectations.

The rooms were elegant, the lounge was satisfactory, and the breakfast was amazing.

However, apart from the view of Dongdaemun, there isn’t much to do in the neighborhood.

Unless you enjoy bargaining at the flea markets and retail shops in the Dongdaemun district, I’m not entirely sure if I can frankly recommend this hotel for tourists.

Nonetheless, if you’re local, long term guest, or staycation enthusiast, I highly encourage you to give this 5-star hotel a try.

You won’t regret it 😌

My Rating
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