Fraser Suites Seoul
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- 98%Luxury Travelers
- 98%Family Travelers
- 74%Business Travelers
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- Fraser Suites SeoulJul 09, 2014
Fraser Suites is a lovely option for an upscale, long-term stay in Seoul. Fully serviced luxury apartments located in Insadong- a very popular tourist street brimming with traditional Korean art, culture, and food- these rooms are elegant, thoughtful, and impeccably kept.
The lobby and rooms are a gorgeous blending of modern western and traditional Korean design, with authentic Korean antique art and furniture accents through out the hotel.
You would certainly want for nothing during your stay. The list of services and amenities is really impressive, including extensively-equipped kitchens, a children's playroom, heated indoor pool, sauna and spa, full home entertainment system in each room, and even a roof-top driving range.
Sign me up.
With kind and warmly run 24-hour reception, all the luxury of a hotel and all the homey convenience of an fully loaded apartment, the Fraser is the elusive Centaur of the hotel industry- a perfect blending of two separate beasts. (I don't know about you, but I like me a good Centaur...)Recommended for:
- Fraser Suites SeoulJul 29, 2013
We have traveled to Seoul several times in the last few years and usually stay at another residence hotel just a few blocks from here, the (excellent) Somerset Palace. This time, because we had very short notice of our impending trip, the Somerset was full, but they recommended Fraser Suites as an alternative and told us that they were their primary competition.
We made a huge mistake by following this advice.
Even before the trip, I should have known something was up. There were a number of strange issues:
First off, the Fraser Suites, like some kind of load-balancing airline and unlike 99% of the hotels in the world, charges a different rate every night.
Second, also refuse to quote in dollars (unlike the Somerset or any other Seoul hotel), so the fluctuating exchange rate and variable nightly rate can be a huge surprise when you show up.
Third, the Fraser Suites rate is higher than the Somerset, so I expected a nicer room, or one that at least resembled the beautiful photos on their website – the actual room was NOTHING like the beautifully-furnished, spotless, decorated apartment pictured on the website!
Please don't fall for this awful bait-and-switch - the photos show clean rooms with unmarked floors, bamboo and other plants, bright rooms. The reality is anything but this: a dingy room with marked-up floors and walls, electrical switches that are mapped to the wrong fixtures, dirty dishes, low-quality linens, too few pillows and towels (even when they knew three people were in the room, they refused to replenish all three towels, and in a 10 day stay we only got 2 towels a day after asking three times for additional towels). They don't refill the coffee, tea, water, or detergent, as the Somerset and other residence hotels do, either, which seems like a small thing, but was quite disappointing.
The Fraser also charges as much as $60 a day for breakfast ($20 per person, x2 adults and a child!) - something that is offered for free by their lower-priced "competition" just a few blocks away at the Somerset. Given that we were staying so long and in a deluxe two-bedroom, I asked for that charge to be waived - something that no other hotel would balk at - and got huge attitude and a woman told me I could just buy instant noodles at the 7-11 across the street instead.
There were dozens of small issues as well: we stayed here partially because we needed a playroom. Their website shows a play structure in the kids' pool area - but it's non-existant. The room guide says the play room is full of "attractive pictures" on the wall (none) and "a reading corner full of books" (a total fabrication - there's not a single book there).
The air conditioning only worked intermittently; the telephone was broken - only the zero button worked and the front desk got very tired of me asking for housekeeping, but the housekeeping button didn't work and the front desk, upon being told the phone was broken, never offered to fix it.
There is a weird, half-finished bathroom off the master bedroom that had a piece of paper on its door, held up with gaffer's tape. That was quite disconcerting.
The rooms are NOT child-friendly, as toddlers can easily unlock and open the windows enough to climb out, and the windows are right at their chest level. There are only screens on a small number of the windows. The latches should be tightened.
Upon checkin, we were told that we had been "upgraded" to a 2-bedroom apartment. If they tell you this, please note that it can actually be a downgrade; the "extra" second bedroom is taken out of almost the same square footage (the 2-bedroom is approximately the same square footage as the one-bedroom) - we asked for the one-bedroom as we wanted the larger living/dining area for the kids to play in. So they downgraded our room, wouldn't let us change back to a one-bedroom, and refused to charge us less, even though we got something we specifically did not ask for. This seems awfully unethical to me.
They have a massive roach infestation. We found this out by happenstance: we told the hotel that we might need to stay an extra night, back when we made the reservation. We reiterated this upon checkin. They said fine - just give us 24 hours notice. We gave them 48 hours notice, but they still made us change rooms (to another room, exactly the same, for some odd reason, a new room with no coffee, tea, detergent or bottled water), and on a day with 98°-F weather and high humidity and a crying, sick child, they kicked us out of the hotel from 11 am to 3 pm to get the other room "ready."
Then, in the new room, on the 8th night or 9th night of our stay, we found a massive cockroach - over 1.25 inches long! - scuttling down the hallway. We were unable to sleep, worried that these things were all over, in our suitcases or under the beds. I inspected the mattresses and bed seams very carefully and found small black insects in the mattress seams which might have been bedbugs. When I reported the roach issue to the front desk, the attendant laughed, seemed slightly embarrassed, but wasn't overly concerned about the obvious serious public health issues that coincide with cockroach infestations.
The cockroach issue doesn't seem to be specific to this property; a quick perusal of other Fraser Suites properties (Thailand, Singapore and elsewhere) shows that they have serious bug problems at many of their properties, which makes this problem endemic to the chain. And it's not simply the weather - I've stayed at many cleaner, less expensive properties in Thailand, Japan, Korea and elsewhere in Asia that had no issue at all with bugs. I think it just goes to show how little management is dedicated to actual cleanliness at any of their hotels. They want a veneer of surface cleanliness so the rooms look good at first glance, but any serious deep look at the rooms and all the nasty little issues will become quite obvious.
The housekeeping staff is competent - definitely - although their policy of not refilling coffee/tea/water, not doing dishes, and not supplying laundry detergent is odd (If you have a toilet you supply toilet paper; if you have a shower you supply towels; if you have a clothes washer/dryer, you supply detergent - one is useless without the other). The rest of the staff, management, and sales folks are near-useless, completely inflexible and uninterested. This is not something specific to Korea's culture; at almost any other hotel in the city – and I've stayed at several – you'll find friendly, outgoing staff who want to make your stay pleasant. Not so at the Fraser Suites.
Be careful if you get a corner room - if it's rainy season, you should ask for something else. We found that because of the structure of the storm drains down the side of the buildings, a very loud noise is generated by dripping water - more than 20 decibels, according to my measuring tool! - which will last for many hours or even days in a heavy storm. Strangely, no other hotel I have ever stayed at anywhere in the world seems to have this issue, and our neighbors in center rooms didn't have it either, so it must be particular to corner rooms, or corner rooms on upper floors.
Don't ask the front desk staff for restaurant recommendations; they can't answer. Don't ask them tourism info - they can't answer. I asked for a jokbal restaurant or place that served pork nearby, and was told there was nothing like that in the entire neighborhood, which I found utterly unbelievable. I walked one block away, under the Nakwon arcade and to the other side, and found three such places, all of which were just fine. How can an employer hire front desk staff who don't know the area intimately? That seems incredibly short-sighted.
The location is good - it's right in the heart of Insa-dong, an accessible tourist neighborhood. But the Somerset is right on the edge of this same neighborhood, and the facility is infinitely cleaner, and more pleasant, than this disappointing place.
Finally, ignore the on-site restaurant(s). The prices are triple what the same food will cost you at a dozen decent tourist-friendly restaurants within two blocks (and quadruple what you'd pay just a block or two outside of Insadong at any of the hundred decent restaurants throughout Jongno, a 5-minute walk away), and not nearly the quality that you can find at the many takeout restaurants throughout the neighborhood. The ajummas at every little hof, fried chicken joint, and naengmyun spot within a 10-block circle have significantly better service and give larger servings than these places ($25 for a tiny 5-ounce steak, overcooked to the point of being inedibly well-done, is not a good deal anywhere else in the world; and any restaurant in Korea selling simple and not-very-special manduguk for $12 a bowl is, in my opinion, a joke).
I wish I could go back in time and not only make sure I stayed ANYWHERE other than here (even an Insadong back-alley love hotel would have been cleaner and more pleasant - even with kids!), but that I had never even heard the name Fraser Suites. They ruined what should have been a perfectly pleasant 10-day trip to Seoul, and I will never, ever recommend them to anyone, ever.
I travel with children and almost always stay in serviced residences, but next time would pick something in an out-of-the-way location, or pay more, just to avoid this awful venue. It is just not worth the trouble.
- Fraser Suites SeoulMember ofOutdoor EnthusiastsFoodiesLuxury TravelersHistory BuffsDec 11, 2012
Equally good for a short-term stay. Not the cheapest - you'll be paying the equivalent of a smarter four-star hotel - but well-equipped kitchens so you can make yourself something using some of the amazing ingredients on sale in the city. The breakfast room is like something between a scene from 'Cocoon' and someone sounding the three-minute air warning prior to Armageddon, so best avoided. Bus 6011 which runs to/from ICN airport stops about a five to 10-minute walk away, which makes for a stress-free journey.
- Fraser Suites SeoulMember ofLocal CultureBudget TravelersFoodiesVegetarianFirst to ReviewJul 05, 2012
In terms of extended-stay housing in Seoul, The Fraser Suites are a cut above the rest. It’s located in the heart of Insadong, one the most popular areas in the city for art and tourism. All of the upscale units are actually fully furnished apartments, so it’s way more than a mere hotel. The style is a harmonious melding of traditional Korean and chic modern Asian. From the moment you enter the lobby, the refurbished yet authentic Korean antiques that adorn the space inform you you’ve come somewhere special. The entire property is impeccably clean. The amazing service, privacy and luxurious amenities further distinguish this spot from other long-term options in Seoul. The staff is professional, ready to assist with whatever you need (from business meetings to catering to child care), and speak English fluently. Regarding privacy, I love that you need a key card to go anywhere using the elevator. Plus, not only are the fitness, pool and sauna areas fabulous, but there’s also a separate pool for kids. Oh, and did I mention the driving range on the roof? Many of the apartments have fantastic views of Insadong and the nearby Jongno Tower. This is the place to be for a stress-free and luxurious long-term stay in Seoul.Recommended for:
Dining options at Fraser Suites Seoul include a restaurant and a bar/lounge. A complimentary breakfast is served daily. Recreational amenities include an indoor pool, a children's pool, a health club, a spa tub, and a sauna.
There are 213 guestrooms at Fraser Suites Seoul. Guestrooms have balconies. Furnishings include desks and sofa beds. At the 4.0 star property, accommodations include kitchens with microwaves, refrigerators, and coffee/tea makers. Bathrooms feature separate bathtubs and showers with handheld showerheads. They also offer jetted tubs, makeup/shaving mirrors, and bathrobes. In addition to CD players, guestrooms offer multi line phones with voice mail. Televisions have DVD players and VCRs. Air conditioned rooms also include separate sitting areas, complimentary bottled water, electronic check out, and welcome amenities. Guests may request wake up calls. Cribs (infant beds) are available on request.
Additional fees and deposits may be charged by the property at time of service, check in, or check out.
- Business Center
- Fitness Center
- Room Service
- Free Parking
- Swimming Pool
- Free Hi Speed Internet
- Data Ports
- Hair Dryer
- Air Conditioning
- In-House Bar
- Video Check Out
- Meeting Rooms
- Clothing Iron
- In-House Dining
- Wake Up Service
- Family Rooms
- Coffee & Tea Maker
- Game Room
- Car Rental Desk
Very Good!1067 reviews across the web.
- Guests think this is a family-friendly hotel.
- Location91% liked the proximity to shopping.
- Room88% thought rooms were spacious.
- Service85% found the staff to be very friendly.
- Hotel Building53% considered the lobby entrance to be so-so.
- GroundsNice grounds.
- HotelHotel is nice enough.