Fabulous Fridays: Hotel Rooms & Suites Featuring Local Design Elements – Example: Grand Intercontinental Seoul

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This weeks Fabulous Friday is about hotel room designs and the ability of some properties to make you feel like you’re indeed in another country rather than emitting the typical chain hotel feeling.

I stayed at a couple properties recently where I was once again impressed by how easy it is to make a difference in the guests impression, including my stay at the Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas this week.

When staying at chain hotels it’s often a pretty sterile experience so to speak. There is rarely any difference in room and property appearance no matter where in the world you are. Many hotels show absolutely zero difference if they’re located in Chicago, Singapore, Seoul or London.

The more refreshing it is when you actually check in at a property where at least some rooms and parts of the hotels public areas have been decorated or designed with local design elements.

As mentioned this week I stayed at the Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas (one of two IC properties in the Gangnam-gu district) and had a nicely appointed Residence Suite there.


Living Room:

While the living room is a regular style of an international business/chain hotel, the bedroom has been done in a way that resembles traditional Korean design. The hotel itself also has many nice details all over.

Even though in Asia the hotels are a little better when it comes to including cultural elements in their properties it can be a hit and miss. The Park Hyatt Seoul next door for example doesn’t have anything remarkable in their rooms, however the hallways have some nice artifacts. The ‘Tokyo Suite’ at the Park Hyatt Tokyo was also fantastic!


The more upscale the hotel the more they have options to use a bit of space and money to design things in a unique way. I wouldn’t expect a select service property such as Aloft of Hyatt Place to invest a lot into it but once you reach into the five star area then there is definitely some expectation not to end up with a run of the mill hotel room. Even though I’ve stayed in plenty of hotels where this was totally a miss.