Friday, 2 November 2018

Review: Ibis Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun, South Korea

On this trip I was hosted by the Korea Tourism Organisation and Accor Hotels.

It's no secret that I'm a fan of the Ibis brand of hotels. Pitched at a budget level, their rooms are generally compact but utterly familiar. They're simple and perfectly functional for someone on a business trip, as I usually am when I travel.

On my recent Seoul trip I checked into the Ibis at Dongdaemun. It's a neighbourhood peppered with tourist hotels, and would be fairly nondescript if not for the marvellous Dongdaemun Design Plaza at its heart:


This spectacular complex, centred on a silver spaceship-like building designed by Zaha Hadid, is a hub of the design arts. It contains everything from large-scale exhibitions to the work of individual local designers, and is a worthy flagship of Seoul's identity as a UNESCO City of Design.

The Ibis is a short walk from the DDP, and also close to an underground station of the very useful Seoul Metro.

As for the hotel itself, it was much what I expected. My room on the 20th storey had the familiar Ibis beds and desk...



... as well as a functional open-plan bathroom nook and a shower. I'm always happy when I don't have to deal with a shower that's slung over a bathtub with a clammy billowing shower curtain, so this set-up suited me fine.



Even better, the windows could be opened! Unopenable windows are one of my pet peeves at hotels. As the weather in Seoul was pleasant by night, I enjoyed being able to get some fresh air rather than having to sleep in dry air-conditioned chill. Decent view, too.



There was a simple bar on the ground floor which was unappealing, but downstairs below street level was a pleasant restaurant. The breakfast buffet was simpler than the average hotel - boiled eggs instead of scrambled, for example - though filling enough and attractively laid out:


An Ibis hotel usually has a entertainment area with a distinctive character that belies its chain identity. A London Ibis I stayed in had a funky ground floor bar for example, while another Seoul Ibis had a cool cafe.

Where was it here? On the roof. I took the lift up to the 21st floor with the draft beer which was my complimentary welcome drink, and found a relaxed space with tables, chairs... and a kitchen herb garden:



On my last night in Seoul, I sipped my beer and enjoyed the view.

Just the Facts:
Ibis Ambassador Seoul Dongdaemun
359 Dongho ro, Jung gu, Seoul, South Korea
Phone: +82 2 2160 8888
Web: www.ibis.com
Rates: Rooms from A$79 per night.