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I had an amazing time in Seoul and my uber-French themed hotel, L’Escape, definitely added to my enjoyment. But was it a knock out 10/10? Not quite…
Summary – 7.5 / 10
Pros: Beautiful and decadent decor throughout, well equipped rooms, good housekeeping, excellent location, decent free late check-out, free face masks, stunning bar with great drinks, some helpful staff
Cons: No explanation of hotel and facilities whatsoever, language barrier, expensive minibar, not offered breakfast, no real space to work
When: October 2019
What: Three-night stay at L’Escape Hotel in Seoul paid for as a cash fare
Cost: £508 for three nights on a room-only basis, booked with Agoda
Technique: If you search for a hotel on Google, the Agoda price shown is often reduced against the competitors, rather than the price you would get if searching direct on Agoda.
Arrival & Check-In
Firstly, the hotel is in an excellent location. You are right by Hoehyeon Station, which I used to get everywhere from. You are also a short walk from the larger Myeongdong station, which is also one of the main shopping areas in Seoul with loads of cosmetics, luxury brands and street food!
I arrived exhausted after the longest wait for immigration at Incheon airport. The hotel is on a steep ramp with steps leading up to it. With two suitcases this is NOT easy to navigate as you risk one rolling down the hill!
There was no doorman and no help was offered, despite two people waiting in reception and watching my hilarious struggle. I didn’t really appreciate that.
The ground floor entrance is cute but is basically just a small lobby area.
My check-in details and room was confirmed and my luggage was then taken. I was then advised that the actual check-in was on the 7th floor, so I would need to head there next. Have you ever been to a hotel and had to check-in twice?!
So I head to the 7th floor, and the actual reception is much more beautiful. I find my way to the check-in area, which is more like a lounge. Very nice. My check-in details were confirmed again. Note that they will take a VERY large deposit on your card – mine was £400 for 3 nights. It wasn’t really explained what they were doing and how much they were taking.
In fact, nothing was explained. I did not find out about breakfast and assumed there wasn’t one (there is – it is served on the 26th floor). No advice about the bar and multiple restaurants. No explanation of the gym. Nothing. Nada. This was my main issue with the hotel. I understand I was not in an English speaking country, but the hotel markets itself as a European-themed hotel. I was expecting slightly easier communication, which felt a struggle throughout.
On the positive, I did manage to get access to my room early (official check-in is 3pm and I arrived at 2pm). I was also granted late check-out at 2pm for free. And finally, my bags were already ready and waiting in my room when I got there.
I stayed in a Secret King room, and it definitely had a wow factor. Spacious, with deep decadent colours and furnishings, lots of storage and a beautiful bathroom.
There was a small entrance area coming into the room, which made it feel more like a suite. Off from there was a closet area with plenty of hanging space and drawers.
The room itself had a seating area, lovely big bed, and separate bathroom with roll-top tub, walk-in rain shower and a fancy toilet with lots of setting I was too scared to press!
I appreciated the ample USB charging spots, plug points that took various types of plugs and also the ‘Genie-Ya’ that lets you change the room temperature, close the blinds and even request housekeeping using voice command (although I had various success getting it to understand me!)
The bed was extremely comfortable and the room was incredibly quiet. I slept really well each night. Further, no matter what time I left and came back to the room each day, it had always been made up to a very high standard.
My only tiny gripe with the room was that it was very dark. This made doing work and my make up slightly uncomfortable as I had to strain my eyes.
Food & Drink
I did not try the food at the hotel so I cannot report on the quality of it. With no explanation from the front of house, it never really occurred to me to sample any of the restaurants or enquire about breakfast. And I wasn’t in bed until 4am every night, so to be quite honest, breakfast was never going to happen!
That said, the hotel has a good selection of bars and restaurants. All of them are beautifully decorated and very Instagram-worthy! There is HELL cafe next to reception on the 7th floor with hot drinks and sweet treats.
Adjacent is the Salon. I wasn’t too clear what this was for, more of a chill out area? I was not served at all when I sat in here, but there was a sign to say you can purchase or bring in a bottle of wine and drink it in there for free.
Palais de Chine, a Chinese restaurant, is on the 6th floor. A modern international restaurant, L’Amant Secret, on the top 26th floor is also available.
Next to the top floor restaurant is Marque D’Amour, the stunning cocktail bar. I did sample the drinks here! They were the most expensive of all cocktails I had in Seoul, at just under £20/$25, but there is no cover charge (some bars in Seoul charge you just to sit down!) And they were really great with attentive and knowledgeable service. The cocktail menu was ample, without being overwhelming. I had the ‘Kiss The Bubble’ which explodes intense aromas when your lips touch it.
The common areas of the hotel are all really beautiful. Even the toilets with the most amazing taps I’ve ever seen!
There is a well-equipped gym available to all guests. I’ve never been inside a gym in my life so I won’t try and comment too much on it. But it was large and had lots of stuff in it!
There is also a spa, but I didn’t try it.
For suite guests, there is The Library, which is a nice quiet chill-out area on the 7th floor. I wasn’t staying in a suite, but I never saw anyone in there and could easily wander in and take some photos. I think they should just make the area available to all guests, because the hotel is lacking somewhere to sit down and do some work. It could then offer its suite guests some free drinks or evening canapes.
There wasn’t really much in the way of extras. You get free bottled water (not refrigerated) in the room on a daily basis. Everything else is chargeable and pretty expensive (just under £4/$5 for cold water). There are also Nespresso coffee pods.
What I did like was that on the final day, a packet with some Korean face masks was left in my room saying “Sorry to see you go!” That was really cute.
I would have appreciated some more help with transport and generally accessing the city. I found it difficult to get taxis in Seoul because often you need the address in Korean to get the right location. One time, a member of staff at reception saw I was struggling. But another time, I asked for help with a taxi and they said they couldn’t at the moment! I think if the hotel is trying to appeal to international customers, it should have an in-room guide for getting around Seoul.
L’Escape Hotel is undeniably boutique and feels luxurious, but it also feels a bit style over substance. Amazing surroundings and rooms are complemented by a wonderful bar and array of restaurants. The Hotel just needs to work on its service, communication and anticipating the needs of its guests.