Sunday, September 4, 2011

Almaty Adventure: Seoul Layover


We took the KAL limousine bus service from the airport to the Grand Ambassador Hotel (associated with Pullman) where we would be staying for the night. The bus service was really convenient with a counter manned by a English speaking attendant that was really helpful in guiding us on which bus to get and where to wait for it. The seats on the bus were comfortable and reminded me of first class seats on flights in the US.

The journey to the hotel took about 1.5 hours. When we got to the hotel, the hotel seemed rather busy but there was no line for check-in. This being a Accor Hotel and Pullman, I was expecting an upgrade due to my Aclub Gold Status but none was offered. There was also no mention of the welcome drink of gift. When we got to our rooms, we realized that we were given a smoking room and made the trek back down to reception for a change in rooms. We were told it was really full and they could only get us a twin bed room 30 minutes later. At this point, we were really tired from the travel and just wanted a shower and to get dinner so we stuck to the same room. Thumbs down to this hotel - wasn't too happy!
The rooms were a bit dated with some stains on the carpets and some rough edges here and there but it was overall okay. The rooms come with a Nespresso machine and each room is entitled for 2 capsules a day with charges for anything extra. The rooms also come with a rent-a-cellphone but the charges were really high.

What I liked about the hotel however was the facilities. There was a well equipped gym and pool that I used early the next day before checking out. There were also several restaurants that looked pretty good but we didn't try any of them. The hotel also provides hourly shuttle service to the various tourist sites like the markets.

I don't think we would be coming back to this hotel in the future due to the bad check-in experience and the less than ideal location. We might try the Ibis in Myeong-dong the future just due to it's better location or the Hilton for better elite recognition.

After a quick shower, we took the hotel shuttle to the Dong-dae-mun area which was a 10 minute drive away. The Dong-dae-mun area consists of shops, restaurants and stalls that stay open through out the night. I was shocked by the number of people still out at 1 am doing shopping! Good place for a jet-lagged traveler.  


  1. Sad to hear about the service received at the hotel, I would assume that Koreans would be more accomodating. Did you have an option when booking to request for a non-smoking room. If you did, than I would shoot a letter to Accor customer service. In general, I really feel that the AClub program is a joke..when I was a Platinum, totally no recognition at any hotels of whatever level, even Sofitels.. luckily I have spend all my points with the program and only under very desperate situation do I stay with them.. for me this is one of the worst hotel programs (though not surprising since this is after all a French chain.. just as bad as the Flying Blue program..)

  2. I've been treated pretty well at some Accor hotels thanks to my Aclub Gold Status. Love the upgrade at the Vie Hotel Bangkok and was just upgraded to a REALLY nice suite at the Novotel Citygate Hong Kong.

    However, I agree with you that Aclub severely lacks behind other programs. I still continue to use them as the Novotels suit more towards my price range and the yearly Supersale is great.