Starwoods first W Hotel in Asia opens in Seoul

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SEOUL, South Korea -- Asias first W Hotel opened here last month, in the resort district of Walkerhill, close to downtown Seoul.

Starwood Hotels & Resorts 19th W, the 253-room W Seoul-Walkerhill, sits above an underground entertainment complex that includes a casino, retail shops, restaurants and theaters.

The hotel is next to the Sheraton Grande Walkerhill, but Starwood officials said the W is expected to attract a different clientele, primarily Koreans and leisure travelers from Japan, Hong Kong and Southeast Asia.

Since it opened, the hotel has been popular with locals in their mid-20s to late-40s who have gravitated to its restaurants, bar and spa, according to Starwood.

Rates run about $300 per night, making the W the most expensive hotel in Seoul. But the Ws rooms are the roomiest in town at 138 square feet.

The hotels 223 rooms and 30 suites come in four styles: Media Room, with a circular bed, projection TV, theater system and Jacuzzi tub; Spa Room, with a gray interior design and bathtub placed near a window; Scent Room, with a guests choice of aromatherapy and outdoor terraces; and Wonderful Room, with bold red and white interior.

All rooms feature signature W brand amenities such as 400-thread-count linens, 29-inch flat-panel TVs and high-speed Internet access. The hotel is pet-friendly.

The hotel features what Starwood describes as the first full-service spa in Korea. The 50,000-square-foot facility features 21 treatment rooms, several water experience pools and an outdoor treatment area overlooking the Han River.

The spa offers more than 50 body, facial and wrap treatments, including hydrotherapy, and Thai and traditional massages. Theres also a Turkish hamam, an ancient Turkish bathing ritual administered by therapists called tellaks.

The spa includes the W brands signature fitness center, Sweat, featuring cardiovascular and strength-training equipment and a pool.

The hotel has three restaurants, including Namu, which prepares modern presentations of Korean, Japanese, Thai and Vietnamese cuisine. Western fare is served up at Kitchen, which has family-style seating and a gathering table that seats 20. Tonic, located in the spa, offers a lighter menu.

For information or reservations, call (888) 625-5144 or visit www.starwood.com.

To contact reporter Jorge Sidron, send e-mail to [email protected].

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