In the Yeouido district of Seoul, known as the “Korean Wall Street”, the International Finance Center is currently undergoing rapid construction in order to be finished by 2011.  The IFC Seoul project, begun in 2004, aims to build Seoul’s reputation as a commercial powerhouse, positioning the city as the financial center of Northeast Asia.  It is set to integrate office space, modern lifestyle amenities and a distinctive mix of contemporary design, abundant natural lighting and landscaped gardens.

Recently, Hilton Worldwide signed an agreement with the IFC Seoul to manage Korea’s newest and most spectacular luxury hotel–the Conrad Seoul. Overlooking the Han River and nestled among the headquarters of Korean enterprises and multinationals, the 446 room Conrad Seoul will offer guests an oasis of respite from the city’s bustle, with sweeping views of the city skyline, a swimming pool, health club, luxury spa, and three innovatively designed restaurants, a lobby lounge and bar.

In addition to the Conrad, IFC Seoul will comprise, upon completion, three office towers, a cineplex and a luxury retail mall (IFC Mall), as well as extensive dining and leisure areas, public access to green spaces and a direct connection to the Seoul subway transportation system.

Check out more information on the project  here

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Today marks the opening of the Prada Transformer Project.  The project, bringing fashion and architecture together, begins with the “Waist Down – Skirts by Miuccia Prada”. A collaboration with Rem Koolhaas, the project will transform and feature new exhibits over the summer.  To read more about the project and tonight’s cocktail party, and for more images, see here.

Prada Transformer Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Prada Transformer Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Check out the project website here: www.prada-transformer.com


City by City, the luxury travel show sponsored by Carl F. Bucherer, that seoulplay helped produce is now live.  The video is a glimpse into the multitude of things that this busy capital city has to offer.  Life is so dynamic and things change so rapidly that in the time since filming City by City last fall, Circle has been replaced by Volume and Eden as the hot-spots for night life and entertainment in the city. Let seoulplay plan your experience and guide you around, contact us at contact@seoulplay.com for details about our Urban Detour city tour with our resident expert guides.

www.seoulplay.com

 

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 Check back with us for more on the featured sites in the show.

 

seoulplay was the local media partner for OnNetworks and was responsible for planning, location scouting, production assistance, and travel planning. For more information regarding seoulplay’s media services visit our media section of our site. To inquire about a project and our capabilities please contact us at contact@seoulplay.com


The rumors that we have been hearing about the Swedish brand H&M coming to Korea have been confirmed.

H&M is set to launch its first store in South Korea in the Myungdong section of Seoul.  The store is set to open during the spring of 2010. The sales surface will be approximately 2,600 sqm., covering a massive 4 floors of the in construction “Noon Square” shopping mall.  The mall will also feature the MANGO flagship store, in addition to a CGV.

 H&M has also confirmed that negotiations are currently under way for additional store contracts in the Seoul area.   H&M has had successful launches in both Hong Kong and Japan and we predict they will do equally as well in Korea.  Staying on top of the trends at a reasonable price point, with clothing of a similar quality as department store Korean brands, H&M will be welcomed by both foreigners and Koreans alike.


 

Korea already has the disappointing domestically based themeparks Lotte World and Everland, but thankfully, new word comes that three major global companies are looking to establish amusement parks near Seoul.

universal studios Korea

Universal Studios Korea has recently received financing to build their themepark in the Hwaseong Green City, set for a 2013 opening.  The park is set to include 9 different theme areas, including one focused on the  both the Korean and International movie industry, thrill rides, a water park, shopping malls including a  premium outlet mall, hotels, condos, a city walk, golf links and a convention center.  The park is set to be 3  times the size of the well know Universal Studios in LA, Orlando, and 6 times the size of Universal Studios-Osaka

para1

Rival Paramount will open their first theme park in the world in Korea in 2011.  They began construction on December 3 to open their movie themed park in Songdo International City.  Paramount’s park will be much smaller than Universal, but is looking to capitalize on the Hallyu wave by focusing the park on movies from Korea and abroad.  Additionally, there will be several ‘thrill’ rides based on Titanic, Indiana Jones, and Mission Impossible, a waterpark, and a themed 4-star resort hotel.

Lastly, talks are underway that MGM Studios will open their own themepark near Incheon Airport by 2012.  Construction has not yet begun and so speculation remains that in this soon to be crowded amusement park market, MGM might lose out in the end. 

From personal experience, Lotte World has never been ‘busy’ in terms of the volumes of people we see in amusement parks back in the USA.  That, combined with the economic crisis hitting the world, we are left to wonder if even one more park, let alone 2 or 3, will attract a revenue producing crowd. 

See here or here to read more.


Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport (Seoul)

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Spa On Air, Incheon International Airport’s first luxury spa, has opened the basement floor of the main terminal. Spa On Air is about the ultimate in relaxation and indulgence making for the perfect treat before or after any flight. Spa facilities include a luxurious sauna, private sleeping rooms, massage sanctuaries, and more.

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Services include full-body therapy and massages, clothes deposit service, wake-up call service, internet service as well as shoes care, hair styling and more. And the best part about all of it is that its a taste of heaven at a price that’s not going to break your wallet. Prices for the basics start from 15,000 KRW during the day and from 20,000 KRW for overnight stays.

There is also a place for food and snacks after relaxation. Spa On Air is also a sister organization of the Food On Air dining expert in Incheon International Airport as well. Check back with us shortly for more on dining at Food On Air.

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

Spa On Air - Incheon International Airport Seoul (Photo Courtesy)

For more information on spas, luxury leisure, or personalized travel planning and tours in Seoul or other parts of Korea, visit us at www.seoulplay.com or write us at contact@seoulplay.com.  seoulplay is the local expert in luxury travel and leisure as well as local culture, fashion, art, and entertainment.


City by City (Alpheus Media)

City by City (Alpheus Media)

City by City, a travel show for the hip, stylish, and affluent traveler, is coming to Seoul this winter.  Sponsored by Carl. F Bucherer, Swiss luxury watch maker, City by City is in its second season, and is focusing entirely on Asian cities this time.  Seoul is in the line up and seoulplay has been chosen to be the exclusive media planning and fixing partner. We will be shooting Seoul’s hottest and hippest places for shopping, dining, fashion, relaxing, partying and will be introducing the best that the city has to offer in culture and art.

Shooting for the tv show officially kicks-off today and will continue throughout the week.  If you see us out in the city, be sure to say hi, introduce yourself, or whatever.  Stay tuned for more updates and footage from the show.


Set to open on December 13, at the Ancient Seoul Station, the theme of this year’s festival  is “HumanScape”.

The festival will feature the work of famous photographs such as Nan Goldin and Araki, including up and coming Korean photographer Sang Woo Go. (look for an exclusive interview in the upcoming future!)

The work will examine the human relationship in three stages:

1. Looking Inside: The relationship someone has with his or her own body and his or her own consciousness.

2. Feeling Others: Human interaction with each other.

3. Going Outside: The relationship human beings have with the environment and society.

 

The festival will continue through January 15, 2009.

Location: Ancient Seoul Station; Seoul Station, line 1 or 4, Exit 2.

Hours: 11am-8pm

Admission: Adults: 8,000 won; Students (13-18): 6,000 won

More information can be found here.


6 Columbus (Photo Courtesy)

6 Columbus (Photo Courtesy)

Thompson Hotel Lobby (Photo Courtesy)

Thompson Hotel Lobby (Photo Courtesy)

 

Thompson Hotels, the small luxury hotel group that has multiple properties across Manhattan is coming to Seoul. They are opening Thompson Seoul – Seoul’s first true boutique hotel.  Hong Kong and Shanghai have the Jia Hotel, Bangkok the Metropolitan and Davis, Singapore has theirs, and so on. But until now  the W Hotel was the only “chic” feeling in the city, and the Park Hyatt was the only modern luxury hotel in town.

An interview with Stephen Brandman confirms the plan for Seoul. Current plans are for 100 rooms starting at around $400 per night. The location – just a block from the Park Hyatt, is in Samsung-dong and near the Han River. A good choice in location makes it perfect for business travelers who want to be near the business centers and for creative professionals as its only a 5 minute drive from Cheongdam-dong, Seoul’s high-end fashion district.

Brandman explains that some rooms will have views of the Han River, while others will have views of the Olympic Stadium. In addition to the 100 rooms, plans include a a 50,000-sq.ft. spa, a 7,500-sq.ft. gym, a three-floor driving range, a members’ library and other function rooms. Like most Thompson properties, Thompson Seoul will also include a several bars, restaurants, and a rooftop pool and bar. 

Rooftop Pool at one Thompson Property (Photo Courtesy)

Rooftop Pool at one Thompson Property (Photo Courtesy)

Brandman says the group is exciting about this opportunity and hopes to make this a destination within the city – a place where you “check-in but don’t need to check out”.

Non-guest local membership initiation fees are expected to start at $100,000. 

Thoroughly excited about the addition of Thompson Seoul. This is finally something worth talking about and certainly should bring a whole new meaning to the luxury and boutique accomodations in Seoul. Welcome Mr. Brandman and the Thompson group. We will be anxiously awaiting the opening of this new lifestyle property in Seoul.


As many of our readers know, victim’s rights, especially for foreigners, is a cause close to my heart and one that I am passionately working to improve in Korea.

Therefore, I was happy to read last week on Korea Beat last week about a Victim’s Rights Conference in Seoul.

In the days following my attack, the U.S. Embassy “worked” to ensure that the proper procedures were followed in the handling of my case.  However, it was only after being attacked that I found out that they were virtually powerless to do anything.  They informed me that unless there was clear and convincing evidence that I was targeted solely for being an American, they couldn’t step in on the police “investigation” or on any Korean laws.  Although the US couldn’t step in and force the Korean police to investigate, or the media to cover my case legally, I did expect the U.S. Embassy in Korea to protect my human rights by forcing pressure on the Korean government, media, and other authorities to assure that my rights as an innocent victim were honored.

Laying in the hospital after almost losing my life by the hands of a random many who broke into my home, I was away from my family, alone, scared, and unable to wrap my brain around what I just survived.  I asked for an English speaking (and foreign trained) psychologist but the only one that could be found was one whose English was barely discernible. I lay there while time passed without any DNA taken from my body, without any perpetrator sketch taken, and knew that no investigation was being done.  I lay there in the hospital, a proud survivor of a vicious attack but forced to be a victim by the horrible treatment I faced by being so ignored in the aftermath.  And, because the Embassy wouldn’t step in, perhaps afraid to “offend” their host country, I needed a voice to speak out for me.   And I had none.

Where the populace is powerless to petition a higher legislating or governing power to actually change laws, the power that we all have is to speak out and to ensure that there is a measure of accountability when clear mistreatment is shown to anyone.  When enough people speak out, someone higher up will listen.  If there is no one willing to ask questions, people will remain silent.  And where people remain silent, crime will continue to grow, there will be no accountability for authorities, and victims of crime will remain victims, instead of proud survivors.

Continue reading ‘Victims’ Rights — for Foreigners?’