This is post eight of twelve on our autumn trip to South Korea. Check out the other posts in this series here:
- Back for One Last Score: Intro to our Korean Babymoon
- 4 Nights at the Stylish Park Hyatt Seoul
- Checking Out Seoul’s Spirits
- Eating Our Way Through Seoul
- Seoul’s Other Palaces
- Staying at the Hilton Gyeongju
- Visiting the Silla Kingdom: 1 Day in Gyeongju
- 4 Nights is Not Enough at the Park Hyatt Busan
- Temple Time in Busan
- Tricked out Again: The Busan Trick Eye Museum
- Busan BBQ: A Mixed Bag
- 14 Hours in Hong Kong: Protests, Dim Sum & Giant Buddhas
Mrs. Selfish and I have stayed at a lot of Park Hyatt hotels since we discovered the world of miles and points. The Park Hyatts Zurich, Istanbul, Tokyo (twice), Sydney, and most recently Seoul, come to mind.
And while this is by no means an exhaustive list of Park Hyatt’s (there are currently 35, according to my count on Hyatt’s webpage), I can easily say that our stay at the Park Hyatt Busan was the best stay I’ve ever had at a Park Hyatt hotel.
Good view? Check. Good breakfast? Check. Good service? Check. Good room? Double-check! We basically had the perfect stay here, but it took a lot of coordination on the hotel’s side.
tl;dr: stay here if you’re in Busan. It’s #$(*&#$ awesome!
Getting there and Check-in
Mrs. Selfish and I arrived at Busan Station, where we grabbed a cab. While the taxis in Seoul were slightly expensive, the Busan taxis were dirt cheap. Our 40 minute ride from the train station to the Park Hyatt Busan cost less than 21,000 KRW (~$21).
We could have also taken Busan’s excellent metro system, which would have been even cheaper at 1,500 KRW per person (~$1.50), but Mrs. Selfish and I were coming in around rush hour and were tired and hungry, so we decided not to fight our way through commuter traffic.
The Park Hyatt Busan is located right across from Busan’s iconic Gwangan (diamond) bridge, and is on the ritzier side of town.
Mrs. Selfish and I arrived at the hotel around early evening. The staff’s reception was friendly and enthusiastic, and moments later we were in elevator to check-in on the insanely beautiful 30th floor.
The Park Hyatt Busan is a relative newcomer to the Park Hyatt family, and opened in 2013. Like the Park Hyatt Seoul, it is a category 4 hotel, meaning it costs 15,000 points a night, or $100 + 7,500 for a points and cash room. Since this is Busan, a normal room goes for 26,000 KRW a night, instead of the 40,000+ KRW that the Park Hyatt Seoul would cost.
I booked the room for four nights using the points and cash option. Unfortunately, when I tried to use a diamond suite certificate I was told that the hotel didn’t open up any Park Suite Kings for use with certificates.
A little annoyed (who’s staying in Twin Suites?), I reached out to the Park Hyatt’s concierge team, who sent me over to reservations. Now as much as I love North Asian service there is one big flaw: they generally follow the rules and rarely make exceptions. In this case, they said I could pay for the difference in hotel rates – not a bad offer, but certainly not what I was hoping for.
Luckily the General Manager, Ross Cooper, was much more accommodating. After a few back and forth emails, he mentioned that we might be able to upgrade to a Park Suite King upon check-in if there was availability.
So when the assistant manager said we had been upgraded and offered to personally escort us to our room, I was more than a little excited to see where he was taking us. Especially since the hallways look like this.
Upon arriving in the room, Mrs. Selfish and I discovered we had been upgraded to a Park Executive Marina Suite. The exact room used in all of the hotel’s promotional material – score!
The Marina Suite is 67 square meters (~720 sq ft), which is more than half the size of our tiny SF home. It is also jaw-droppingly gorgeous and even features a small foyer to leave one’s shoes. Craziness.
The suite came with a separate living room, connected by a hallway to the bedroom.
The bed room was stunning, mainly because of the sweet panoramic views of the bay. It’s rare that we use the phrase “panoramic-view” here at the Selfish Years, but in this case it’s totally appropriate.
As with many Asian hotels, the toilet was in a separate room from the rest of the bathroom area, and came with a small sink and a Japanese-style toilet.
The bathroom itself was very nice, and had dual sinks, a bathtub, a free-standing shower and killer views of the marina.
Heading to the gym
The next morning I decided to check out the pool. Like the Park Hyatt Seoul, the Park Hyatt Busan has gym and sauna facilities that are open to all guests. Unlike, the Park Hyatt Seoul, however, the Park Hyatt Busan’s facilities are massive.
The gym could easily accommodate two times the number of people as the Park Hyatt Seoul’s gym. The pool was also larger, clocking in at 22 meters long (vs. the PHS’s 17 meters).
That being said, while the pool is long, it’s not the widest. If you’re a lap swimmer, you’ll find that the pool can comfortably fit 3 swimmers shoulder-to-shoulder, but not much more.
For our first breakfast, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to head up to the Dining Room, located on the hotel’s 32nd floor.
The Dining Room featured similar offerings to the Park Hyatt Seoul and came replete with a full yogurt bar, hot buffet, and Korean and Western options.
Unlike the Park Hyatt Seoul, the Park Hyatt Busan’s breakfast was missing a juice bar. They were also woefully understaffed.
Where the Park Hyatt Seoul had a good 8 – 10 servers running around, I only counted 2 in our area, so service wasn’t *quite* as good – though to be fair we showed up towards the end of breakfast.
The food, on the other hand, was quite good.
For our remaining 3 breakfasts, Mrs. Selfish and I decided to eat in at our room. The food was identical in quality, but the ambiance was much more laid back. They were also able to serve us at 5 in the morning our last day, since we were catching an early flight.
The Park Hyatt Busan is the nicest city hotel I’ve ever stayed in, period. The food was excellent, the hotel was beautiful, and the room was downright gorgeous. The staff went out of their way to make sure that Mrs. Selfish and I had a wonderful stay, from the awesome upgrade, to the concierge’s team excellent restaurant suggestions. While the service could have been a little better, it was overall excellent for our needs.
I cannot speak highly enough of the Park Hyatt Busan. Should you find yourself in Busan, South Korea, I’d definitely consider giving it a try.
Join us tomorrow when Mrs. Selfish will talk about Busan’s temples.