I hold the handle as the taxi zips towards Yeouido, an island in Seoul that doubles as the city’s main business and banking district. Although taxi drivers here are known for driving heart-stoppingly fast (but safely), I remind myself to keep breathing. Fortunately, it only takes a few intense minutes before my destination comes into sharp focus.
The brainchild of London-based Rogers Stirk Harbor + Partners (rebranded as RSHP last year), Parc.1 breaks through the skyline. Anchored by twin skyscrapers reinforced by glowing red steel structures, the mixed-use urban complex was unveiled in the summer of 2020 after years of planning and construction. Almost overnight, it established itself as a popular social hub with a mix of offices, including retail Hyundaithe largest department store and mall in Seoul, and last but not least, Fairmont Ambassador Seoul.
As with the rest of Parc.1, Fairmont Ambassador Seoul stands out with a striking, forward-thinking aesthetic. After being dropped off: a cheerful member of staff helps me with my bag, then leads me through the gleaming lobby and atrium, an all-day lounge accented by Parc.1’s signature red steel, straight to the front desk for a quick and friendly check-in process.
308 rooms and apartments spanning eight categories, from Fairmont rooms to Penthouse suites on the 28th floor, they offer something that many Asian urban hotels lack: the grace of space. Mine, the Fairmont Gold Room, was bathed in natural light during the day and, unlike the lobby, leaned minimalist with neutral tones, elegant bedding and Korean artwork and ceramics. The bathroom, stocked with Le Labo Rose 31 toiletries, however, is given a futuristic twist with a dramatically deep freestanding sink and bathtub in black onyx.
Like other new openings around the world, Fairmont Ambassador Seoul prides itself on its balance between luxury and lifestyle. With that in mind, there are casual dining options such as the Atrium Lounge and Spectrum, an all-day restaurant with a huge buffet bookended by two open kitchens offering Western and Asian specialties such as Peking duck, dim sum and Korean banchan. And on the top floor are the crown jewels, Mariposa and M29 Bar and Terrace. While the refined, European-inspired menus aren’t reckless—my squid carbonara cleverly made a clever twist on a favorite Roman pasta dish by replacing the noodles with delicate seafood—the cocktail program really shines. Spring for one of M29’s signature libations inspired by the five elements, like the Sun-inspired Drunken Butterfly.
Other amenities include well maintained fitness center, an indoor pool—like most city dwellers, Seoulites appreciate hotel pools—and direct access to Hyundai, where you can spend the day shopping and eating, from the lobby. But as weird as it sounds, it was my favorite perk Gold Lounge. Available to all guests booking Fairmont Gold rooms, this private space includes concierge services, a hearty breakfast spread, afternoon tea and evening cocktails and nibbles – which can easily turn into an early and very satisfying dinner.
And while Yeouido may not have been the most popular resort for tourists in the past, Fairmont Ambassador Seoul and Parc.1 is helping to change its once bad reputation. Now, it’s not just a place for business – it’s turning into a vibrant destination for the young, creative and worldly.
Forbes – Lifestyle