by Brooke Thio | October 15, 2015

New Hotels
The widely anticipated Four Seasons Hotel Seoul has opened at Gwanghwamun with 317 rooms and suites, and a collection of seven restaurants and bars. The property also includes two ballrooms, seven event spaces, 24/7 business services, as well as the Four Seasons Club Seoul: a gym, three pools, indoor golf, Korean sauna and spa totalling 5,986sqm.

In September, the Grand Hyatt Seoul launched a mobile app which provides recommendations on major tourist attractions, galleries, museums, restaurants and bars in Seoul - all recommended by the hotel's concierges. It also offers useful information such as the nearest supermarket, drugstore or hair salon. Additionally, the hotel is renovating its 10 restaurants and bars.

The ibis Ambassador Seoul Gangnam was renamed the ibis Styles Ambassador Seoul Gangnam on September 1, having completed major renovations of its rooms, lobby and restaurants to join the ibis Styles Ambassador Seoul Myeongdong.

Hyatt Hotels & Resorts is opening its fourth property in South Korea, Hyatt Place Seoul, in collaboration with KY Development Co. Ltd. Located in the Dongdaemun district next to Dongdaemun Design Plaza & Park (DDP), the 204-room hotel is expected to open in 2016.

 Best Western International is set to open a new 148-room Vib Hotel Seoul in Gangnam, the first Vib property outside of the United States. The mid-scale brand, which broke ground in March, focuses on contemporary design and high-tech amenities such as interactive lobbies with media walls, smart TVs, LED mood lighting and 24/7 fitness centres.

Citadines officially launched its first "apart'hotel" in Korea, the 468- room Citadines Haeundae, in the heart of Busan's Haeundae beachside district. It features studio or one- bedroom apartments, which include a fully equipped kitchen with laundry facilities, and full hotel services.

Wyndham Hotel Group has signed 12 new property franchise agreements in South Korea, growing its presence in the country to 26 properties. The Ramada Encore Jeju Seogwipo opened on June 30.

Spanning close to 10sqm, Resorts World Jeju is slated to open progressively from 2017 to 2019. Its four premium hotels, totalling more than 2,000 rooms, will be equipped with full meeting and conference facilities and complemented by retail, entertainment, and F&B facilities.

Meeting Hotels
Major properties in Seoul include the 602-room Grand Hyatt Seoul; 462- room JW Marriott Hotel Seoul; 656- room Intercontinental Seoul COEX; and 462-room Westin Chosun Seoul.

Other hotels include the 262-room Lotte City Hotel Jeju; 350-room Ocean Suites Jeju Hotel; 301-room Shilla Stay Jeju; 269-room Park Hyatt Busan; 327- room Novotel Ambassador Busan; and 324-room Hilton Gyeongju.

To find and compare hotels and send RFPs, visit mcmag.asia.com.

Group Venues
Fradia, a gorgeous floating property overlooking the Han River, accommodates up to 250 people in each of its halls and is equipped with modern stage technology, making it ideal for parties and banquets. (82) 2-3477-0033; fradia.co.kr

Classy evening cocktail parties and exquisite dinners for up to 400 can be held at The Raum in Gangnam district. The venue offers five banquet halls and a landscaped garden, with menus designed by a six-star chef. (82) 2-538-3366; theraum.co.kr

Located on Busan's Dongbaeksom Island with a scenic view of Haeundae beach, Nurimaru APEC House is a choice venue for international conferences. Designed like a traditional Korean pavilion, the three-storey building is located less than a mile away from BEXCO and can house up to 240. (82) 51-744-3140; english.busan.co.kr/ nurimaru

Airport Transit
Incheon International Airport, 48km west of Seoul. Transfer cost by taxi, about $52-$85 to downtown Seoul. Gimhae International Airport,
21km west of Busan, with flights from North Asia and Southeast Asia. Transfer cost by taxi, about $13 to downtown and $22 to Haeundae.
Jeju International Airport, Jeju City, with flights from China, Hong Kong, Japan and Taiwan. Transfer cost by taxi, about $25 to downtown Jungmun.

All major hotels provide a pick-up service.

Taxes
Value-added tax (VAT): 10%; Service tax: 3-10%; Total tax on hotel rooms: 10%

Contact
Korea Tourism Organization, (82) 33- 738-3301~3307; koreaconvention.org.