Grand Hyatt Seoul - The Experience
The rather novel Grand Hyatt, Seoul, with 601 well-appointed luxury rooms and suites, each offering priceless views over the historic and spectacular Mount Namsan and the Han River, is a masterpiece blend of excellent architecture and perfect Feng Shui. The hotel is located in tranquil settings on a hill in the prime setting of the Itaewon shopping district, close to the city’s most happening place. There are numerous high-quality bars and restaurants within a short 10-minute taxi ride. The hotel is under 60 minutes away from Incheon International Airport, 35 minutes from Gimpo Domestic Airport, and 20 minutes from the Samsung-dong business hub, with most all of the city’s key districts within close proximity of the hotel.
If you are visiting Seoul for the first time- especially on a business trip- then most likely you may have been whisked straight from the airport to the hotel, and then straight to your meeting room or office (and vice-versa). So when you are in an international bubble like this, it is difficult to enjoy the true colors and flavor of the real Seoul city. The hotel is a favorite for business travelers, families, foreign dignitaries and also for military personnel because the Yongsan Base, the famous US Military base, is located quite close. There are numerous foreign embassies dotted around the hotel’s area. It is perhaps the safest place to be at, too.
The first thing that strikes out about the rooms is that they are rather unusual compared to most other Grand Hyatt hotels around the world- perhaps only comparable to the old styled rooms because this was one of the first 5-star properties in Seoul. The bathrooms don’t have any rainforest showers, but the old fashioned bath tubs.
Every inch of the building is made to full use-this includes the bridge that connects the two towers’. The suspended bridge houses the “Guanxi Lounge” which is another innovation from the designers of the hotel building. Here you can just while away the evening while sipping a glass of, say for example, fine “2 Up Shiraz” or the in house, “G Wine”.
The gastronomical highlight of the Grand Hyatt Guangzhou has to be the exciting Paris Grill for European cuisine, and J.J. Mahoney’s Centre with 9 separate entertainment spaces. From the glamour of the culinary delights and the rooms décor comes the fine art of relaxing. They don;t call it grand for no reason, you know?
After a long tiring day nothing beats the feeling of going to the Spa for a wind down massage. The Spa offers a variety of exquisite treatment including pedicure, manicure and professional body massage services to cool down your heels after a long day. Having a relaxing foot or back massage after a long tiring day forms part of the culture in Seoul. Evidence of this can be seen with the numerous Spa houses scattered around every city and village. The Spa and Club Olympus recreation centre offer a sanctuary of calm, with specialized and personalized spa treatments, indoor and outdoor pools, tennis and squash courts and an ice skating rink. The hotel is proud that the tennis courts are one of the best facilities offered by any hotel in the city, and are regularly used for practice by major sports stars.
Occupying a key spot right in the heart of Shenzhen’s most happening place, Luohu, the 491-room Grand Hyatt, Shenzhen is also at the centre of the city’s modernist landscape that is changing at an ever-dizzying pace. The beauty of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen is that you can easily get to downtown Hong Kong within 40 minutes either by driving or by taking the highly convenient metro. A vast majority of people from Hong Kong prefer to live and work in Shenzhen. This is especially true for those who are increasingly looking at Shenzhen as a destination for M.I.C.E. activities, and the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen would be a preferred choice any time of the year for that.
Like the majority of the newest Grand Hyatt properties in China, the first thing that strikes the visitors is the spacious and rather futuristic lobby on the 33rd floor. This is where your Grand Hyatt Shenzhen experience starts because guests check-in and then are ushered to their respective rooms in style. There are breath-taking views of Shenzhen on both sides of the lobby. On one side, you can see the lavish MixC, the city’s largest shopping mall, which houses the largest number of international luxury brand retailers in China, an Olympic-sized skating rink, and Park Lane Manor, the most exclusive residential property in Shenzhen. Further onwards is the current tallest building in Shenzhen, the Diwang that is soon to be overtaken by the Kingkey 100 finance centre, as it will be the tallest building in Shenzhen as well as one of the tallest buildings in southern China. While on the other side one can view the vast lands that go across into Hong Kong across the border.
The eight venues for dining are the true jewels of the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen. They really do bring a feeling of true paradise to this restaurant and it is in these eateries that you can truly spoil yourself. Each one caters for different tastes and there is plenty of variety in terms of the ambiance, the feel, the look and most importantly, the taste and style of the food. For those who really pamper themselves with ridiculously good food and to enjoy the surroundings it will take at least a week I should say to absorb the true atmosphere of all the eight exciting and innovative dining venues. For those who have time as their enemy, it would be good idea to start at The Lounge located on the 33rd floor, adjacent to the Sky Lobby. This is the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen’s focal space where you can indulge yourself with various refreshments, light snacks, and evening cocktails throughout the day. It is also perhaps the best place to do people watching, if that is what you like doing while having a signature coffee. For the next culinary showcase, it would have to be the 226-seat (including a 10-seat private room), Show Kitchen, located on the 25th floor below. Here you can drown yourself in the thought of tucking into any of the delights on offer at four distinctive open kitchens: Asian, Japanese, Western, and Seafood. The beauty of it all is that this allows the guests to dine among the live culinary action creating an interactive restaurant experience.
Three places that would be notable interest for luxury foodies are Belle-Vue, China Lodge and 1881. Belle-Vue is a European restaurant where classic western cuisine is prepared à la minute on 10 tableside cooking stations; while China Lodge is situated on floors 35 and 36 and comprises of 14 premium private dining suites, which cater to parties between eight and 22 guests. 1881 offers an authentic Sichuan cuisine set on the ground floor of the hotel.
The fun part starts in the evening when most diners head off to the 109-seat Penthouse located on the 38th floor. An amazing fusion of Eastern and Western music tastes that blend in perfectly with some unique fashionable and innovative experiences. These experience-focused areas include a Living area with a resident DJ on most nights, a kitchen featuring a teppan hot plate; a balcony, a terrace, and an illuminated bar serving premium spirits, wines, champagne and cocktails as well as imported premier cheese and charcuterie.
One of the biggest things that may surprise you is that the vast majority of the classy and super-rich crowd are local mainland Chinese people who know how to enjoy a good wine and company in true style. This is where the future of China, and indeed Shenzhen, is and this is just the beginning. Would you believe it, wine tasting in China and especially in Shenzhen? It was almost unheard of just a few years ago. It just demonstrates the face pace at which this city (and country) is growing, and how rapidly the demographics of modern Chinese cities are changing. A final big atttraction for the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen is the spectacular terrace-bar, which has become one of the hottest bars in town for an evening drink or informal dining after a good meal. Usually people first have a meal in one of the hotel’s other seven restaurants’ before making their way to the top to while away their evening. It is here that you will bump into perhaps the who’s who of Shenzhen (or Hong Kong).
Each of the 491 contemporary guestrooms (including 53 suites and 48 long-stay serviced apartments) provide panoramic views across this booming metropolis. What impressed me most was the remarkable way in which all the Canadian marble floor tiles lined up neatly next to each other. It really is amazing the way the construction and architecture have blended in perfectly to make sure that the pattern on any one-tile matches exactly in terms of micro-scale detail to the tile placed next to it (or the tiles that surround a tile). This also goes true for the imported mahogany that is used to construct the furniture and the doors of the rooms. How it all perfectly matches together is perhaps a secret that only the architects and interior designers would know. The best part of the guestroom is the airy, spa-style marble bathroom, housing an over-sized rain-shower and separate bathtub. Equally hi-tech is the main room, which is equipped with automatic time-controlled curtains, a self-contained workstation with wireless, high-speed Internet access, a multi-channel 40-inch LED television and DVD player, an iPod® docking station, and dual phone-lines with voicemail.
Another interesting aspect is the ‘magic sliding door’ that separates the bedroom with the bathroom. When the bath is not in use, the door acts like a see-through glass, however when someone takes a shower or bath then all they need to do get privacy is to close the sliding door, and instantly the doors frost over to block the view both ways.
If you are residing in any one of the Grand Club rooms from the 22nd to the 31st floor, then you have complimentary access to the massive Grand Club Lounge on the 25th floor. Not only does the Grand Club Lounge provide stunning panoramic views across the metropolis, but also it can be used to just relax with a lovely wine, or to catch up on any work in tranquil and private surroundings. There is ample Space for holding short corporate meetings as well, with a meeting room fully equipped with interactive technological facilities.
You cannot come all the way to the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen and not try one of the signature treatments at the Shui Xiang Spa (translates as “water village”). Highly recommended is the signature Shui Xiang 90-minute massage that will not only cleanse your body from the inside but also open up your five senses and will refresh the most important parts of your body including the brain, the kidneys, and your skin. The Shui Xiang therapists’ are well trained to not only give you the best relaxing experience ever but also vastly improve your blood circulation. The expansive 3,132 square meter Spa has been created in the style of a traditional open-air Beijing hutong (Chinese courtyard residences), with 13 individual Spa ‘houses’ circling a central water feature which is a very much important part of Chinese Feng Shui as it brings prosperity and fortune. The majority of the houses feature private outdoor terraces that offer somewhat eye-widening views of the Diwang building in the background. Each Spa suite contains a private lounge area, bathroom, shower room, and therapist’s pantry. Nine of the suites feature private steam rooms with a heated treatment bed and four have outdoor bathtubs. A visit to the Shui Xiang Spa will round off a perfect stay at the Grand Hyatt Shenzhen.
In June 2009, the City of Dreams, an integrated entertainment resort, was opened at the Cotai Strip. Located right in the heart of Cotai in Macau, the rather newly opened City of Dreams combines electrifying entertainment, an amazing array of accommodations (Grand Hyatt, Crown Towers and the Hard Rock Hotel), regional and international dining (over 20 restaurants and bars), designer brand shopping (Gucci, Armani and so on), together with a spacious 420,000-square-foot casino that has over 400 gaming tables.
Ideally located at the City of Dreams is the Grand Hyatt Macau. This luxurious 791-room 5-star hotel is made up of two 36-storey, wave-inspired towers and only around 5 minutes away from the Macau International Airport and around a 10-minute drive to the Macau ferry terminal. The best thing is that a complimentary shuttle service operates all day, everyday and every 20 minutes to take hotel guests to all the territory’s major transport terminals, as well as the city centre where they can explore the true Macanese and Portuguese heritage and culture as well as other historic elements of the Unesco-listed World Heritage site.
Macau is tiny but on this minute piece of land there are some amazing wonders to see and experience. It’s almost as if Macau has become Asia’s new Dubai, a playground for the wealthy. But don’t be deceived by my words as you are highly unlikely to find any James Bond characters here (especially not in the casinos!). The vast majority of the visitors that come to Macau and those that stay at the Grand Hyatt Macau everyday are from mainland China, Taiwan or Hong Kong.
The Grand Hyatt Macau is set to become the leading venue in Macau for hosting M.I.C.E. (meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions) events because of its excellent conference facilities. The entire second floor is dedicated to hosting event space. The massive pillar-less Grand Ballroom has over 2,000 square meters of space and can host around 2,500 people. With the ease of travelling to Hong Kong, mainland China and even flying in from overseas, the Grand Hyatt Macau is the ideal place to host M.I.C.E. events.
The key feature that the Grand Hyatt Macau offers for the M.I.C.E. facility has to be the Salao do Teatro (‘show theatre’ in Portuguese) which is the only ballroom in Macau that offers natural daylight. There is a massive open space kitchen that can accommodate upto 50 chefs and on full capacity the ballroom can host upto 500 people.
The first thing that strikes the eye of the guest is the vast amount of space available throughout the hotel. This stems from the reception right the way through to the rooms. The roof of the exceedingly beautiful lobby reaches an amazing 22 meters. Water cascades over a giant stainless steel hemisphere, while above it, curved ribbons of stainless steel shower down from an illuminated cloud motif in the ceiling. From the ground it looks like a large set of paint droplets are falling down. The architecture of the hotel is strikingly rich both in terms of the powerful colours that are projected and by the overlapping geometric wall panels. Everything is amazingly symmetrical and matched to the micro-scale, including all the tiles and slabs on the floors and the walls. It’s not just a hotel but a piece of giant art that probably deserves the highest award possible.
Its here in the lobby that you’ll find the beautiful, yet very simple coffee bar and patisserie that specialises in Portuguese egg tarts, as well as various pastries, cakes and homemade chocolates.
The hotel has two dedicated check-in desks, one for each of the towers. The Grand Tower houses 424 rooms and suites while the premier Grand Club Tower houses 367 rooms and suites. In the Grand Tower the standard rooms are spacious with a 64 square meters and feature an entirely separate living area that has a sofa, separate TV, complimentary wireless internet connection. The living area is separated by a sliding door. All the rooms are equipped with the latest technology to anticipate the guest’s needs, including bedside lighting, curtain controls and an AV control panel transmitting iPod, camera and laptop data through two 40-inch LCD TVs.
Rooms in the Grand Club Tower feature such extra freestanding elliptical bath looking out over the Pearl River or the Cotai Strip, and an exclusive capsule-based Nespresso machines from Switzerland. The beauty of staying in the Grand Club rooms is that you get to use the Grand Club Lounge, and no is no better time to use the Grand Club Lounge that at breakfast time. An approximately 250-seater restaurant with a bar and open kitchen offers complimentary full buffet breakfast, all day light refreshments (you’ve got to try that fresh orange juice!) and evening drinks and canapés. There is also the option of dining on a private outdoor terrace. The Club Lounge is not just your typical gentleman’s club type lounge where you can just while away with the beautiful wine but also doubles as a library and a place to hold a meeting should the MICE facilities at the conference level be occupied.
But the key advantage of residing at the Grand Hyatt Macau is that the location is perfect because the hotel is right in the middle of all the action. Within a stone throw away you can go shopping right next door at the shopping complex, you can go and watch a show at the theatre (The House of Dancing Water) or you can go to the casino and try your luck at winning loads of money. Well, if you prefer to stay indoors, then why not wine and dine at Beijing Kitchen at level 1 or mezza9 Macau at level 3. Beijing Kitchen is an inspiration from the “Made in China” from Grand Hyatt Beijing and provides perhaps the best Beijing duck in the whole of Macau; while the mezza9 Macau has nine different culinary experiences that you can try.
Food aside, the other most exquisite feature of the hotel has to be the spa treatment that it offers. After a day of intense meetings or walking around the city, what better way to relax and unwind than have a signature massage at the Isala Spa located on level 3. Highly recommended is the signature massage where you can just close your eyes and relax and pamper yourself in one of the 15 capacious spa suites that come complete with a shower, changing room and a rest area where you can relax after the treatment and drink some Chinese tea to cool down after the treatment. Lush boutique toiletries are provided by MOR cosmetics.
mezza9 at the Grand Hyatt Macau
The mezza9 Macau is a Located on the 3rd floor of the splendid Grand Hyatt Hotel in Macau’s City of Dreams resort. The eye-catching restaurant has been inspired by the mezza9 Macau at Grand Hyatt Singapore. Beautifully designed and created by the cutting edge Japanese interior design firm SuperPotato, the space is defined by giant roughly-hewn granite blocks creating counters and lining walls, as well as an array of lattice-patterned, rusted metal screens.
The aim of the 292-seater mezza9 Macau is to stimulate not just the taste buds, but also the senses of sight, smell, sound and touch by blending the gastronomic experience with elaborate counter displays and theatrical show kitchens. The restaurant’s name essentially means that it provides nine different dining experiences under one roof. These include Macanese, the grill, the sushi and sashimi, the wok, the delicatessen, the steam basket, the patisserie and the bar and cellar. For those who wish to dine with their family, friends or colleagues in private then there are three 10-seater private rooms, one of which looks rather like a small cosy wine caller because its got various wines displayed on the shelves surrounding the room.
While the vast majority of the food is from around Asia (Japan, Thailand, Taiwan and Malaysia), some of the more precious items, such as the huge Lobsters, are all the way from Boston. To get the right quality and the smoothness of the food in Macau the key idea of the culinary experience is to present the freshest food that you can. An example of this in the starter dish called ‘Seafood on ice’. Generous and healthy portions of fresh lobster meat, mussels, king sized prawns and various shell fish are on offer.
Should you wish to go for the local Macanese option, then a wonderful dish to tuck into would be the African Chicken, which isn’t really African but a very traditional Macanese dish. Why? Well, if you go back to the roots of Macau’s culture you would be amazed to know that when the Portuguese first arrived in Macau they bought along with them various foods from around the world. The first Portuguese settlers in Macau had travelled from various far away lands such as Africa (namely places such as Angola) and India (namely Goa) from where they bought along with them the foods and flavour from those countries. Though history tells us that it was the natives from Madeira (island of Portugal) that had first introduced spicy food to India and Asia, otherwise India and other Asian countries would never had any spicy food in their cuisine.
African Chicken, which tastes a bit classier then your average fried chicken meat is not so spicy, yet it tastes exceedingly good with a hint of chilli sauce. The key difference is the crunchiness of the fried skin that melts as you take a bite. African Chicken would splendidly fine with a glass of lovely Shiraz.
The highlight of the meal at the mezza9 Macau has to be the choice of the desserts on offer. The Raspberry Pavlova at the mezza9 Macau is a must to try for dish if you want to spoil yourself. A lovely layering of dried egg white blended in neatly with whipped cream and fresh raspberries makes up the cover of this fabulous dish. Breaking the solidified egg white layer is like cutting into a slab of iceberg that is about to melt, and inside of it you will find the most amazing raspberry sorbet ever. This inspirational dish is like an igloo applied with a reverse analogy because the outside is warm and solid, but the inside is cold and soft.
The mezz9 Macau presents a pleasant setting to dine in that caters for all kinds of people and tastes. No matter you are on a honeymoon, on a business trip or just simply relaxing with your family, you can be rest assured that genuine Macanese hospitality can be guaranteed with a smile at the mezz9 Macau. In actual fact, it would be perfect place to go for a meal before heading off to see Macau in the evening or even “The House of Dancing Water” show.
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