The Mondrian Seoul Itaewon offers an immersive lifestyle experience. Despite the increased competition in the hospitality industry, the hotel, designed by Gansam Architects & Engineers (CEO Kim Tae-jip), received the highest rating of 5 stars in the evaluation. What is the secret of the Mondrian Hotel Itaewon, which has been converted into numbers despite the corona situation after remodeling in 2020? It used to be a hotel where US soldiers stayed, with a nightclub operating as an ancillary facility, but as the number of users changed, it was modified to fit the latest trend, and it reopened in August of last year. Let us look at the content of the Mondrian lifestyle hotel. 

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The Mondrian Seoul Itaewon Hotel_©Seungmu Lee

Gansam Architects transformed the three-star Capital Hotel, which was previously a standalone hotel run by guest rooms, into a five-star hotel by planning and designing guest rooms and auxiliary facilities. Gansam Architecture is a top-tier Korean architectural design firm that has designed over 60 hotels and resorts in the last ten years. They create spaces for people and believe that people are the essence of all architectural spaces, and they bring happiness to people through the ‘space’ that they create with full consideration for the people. They study people’s lives and the city’s roads and squares and reflect changes in space design.

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Hyo-sang Lee_©Gansam Architects

Design 

The Mondrian Seoul Itaewon, located in Yongsan-gu, Seoul, between the UNC and the US military transport site, was transformed into a five-star hotel by combining creative planning and individual lifestyle design. Mondrian Seoul Itaewon is a hotel in the heart of Seoul. The hotel has a unique concept that is centred around art. The Mondrian Seoul Itaewon has an art gallery open to the public and showcases some of the most talented artists in Korea. Lifestyle hotels are a new type of hotel that represents individual lifestyles and captures customer preferences in response to individual travellers’ growing demand for diverse experiences that reflect their personal preferences. The Mondrian hotel is gaining popularity thanks to user-generated content, such as the 26,000 posts on social media with the hashtag ‘Mondrian Hotel.’ In the hospitality industry, user-generated content depicts guests’ real-time experiences and activities.

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Before and After remodeling_© Remodeling association Magazine

Itaewon was transformed from a single hotel to a retail + hotel complex with expanded retail and food and beverage offerings. Mondrian Hotels combine a groundbreaking design with cutting-edge dining options in the heart of the world’s most exciting cultural scenes. The building’s basic structure was retained, the exterior appearance was refined, and the interior was transformed into a high-end facility that is beautiful both inside and out. By combining food and beverage with nightlife, well-being, and co-working, the hotel enables new ways to live, work, and play. It also provides digital solutions that increase distribution, improve hotel operations, and improve the customer experience. 

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The design concept Before and After_© Archdaily
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The design concept Before and After_© Global Hospitality Magazine

Existing entertainment facilities on the basement floor have been replaced with unique retails that can absorb local cultures, such as a book cafe (Arc & Book), a lifestyle select shop (dingool), and craft beer (Aton Brewery). Visitors who came to enjoy the lifestyle and facilities are located on the first and second basement floors; guests can freely park their cars from the third to fourth basement floors, which have 223 parking spaces. On the first basement floor of the Mondrian hotel, there are outdoor restaurants, Taegeukdang, a clothing editorial shop, a custom suit shop, and many other shops with various attractions. The second basement immerses visitors in the fitness world, complete with an indoor swimming pool with an LED media wall, a fitness club overlooking the pool, and a Botanical Lounge. Escalators were installed to improve underground accessibility. Furthermore, the concrete roof was cut to install a glass ceiling (Top Light) in some underground spaces. These shops are mostly kept busy by the footsteps of nearby residents.

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The Unique Corridors _© https://v.daum.net/v/cSuOzql9rD
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The Indoor pool with Gym overlooking _ © Seungmu Lee

Visitors can dive into the hotel’s first-floor lobby’s food options and photo spots surrounded by pretty flower decorations as soon as they enter the lobby. It is a great place to unwind and enjoy the food, drinks, desserts, and views from the large transparent windows. The lobby is an ideal location for experiencing the real-time forest. The colourful neon lights on escalators that glow daily are the subsequent eye-catching work. This floor is luxurious in every corner.

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The first-floor lobby with forest theme café (1F) _© Blog by Incarnation of Romance
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The First-floor lobby (1F) _© Seungmu Lee

In contrast to other hotels, the check-in desk is located on the second floor. Using the site’s slope, the hotel’s main entrance and lobby were relocated to the second floor, and the first floor was made public. There are lighted swings throughout the lobby, indicating that riding these works of art is not permitted. The Rumpus Room wine bar is a great place to enjoy premium music with live music, and the view is breathtaking. The Rumpus room provides a sense of openness with its entire glass window, and as autumn approaches, one can enjoy the atmosphere of the ginkgo and maple trees outside. A small library with seats, rugs, and tables is part of this room.

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The 2nd-floor Reception Entry (2F) _ © Seungmu Lee

On the third floor, the stunning 867-square-meter ballroom with integrated LED screen, and five stylish meeting rooms provide the ideal backdrop for any celebration or event. The Altitude Pool & Lounge is located on the fourth floor. The outdoor pool has a large viewing deck with a view of the city and relaxing sunbeds. Signature cocktails and beers are served on the pool deck while DJs spin. The eye-catching open water tank is famous for taking summer shots for Instagram.

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The outdoor pool (5F) _©Blog by Linda

It has 296 rooms spread across 18 floors and a rooftop Privilege Bar with views of Yongsan Park and Namsan Mountain. The rooms at the Mondrian Seoul Itaewon are classified as Standard, Superior, Premier King, Corner Suite, Studio Suite, Cabana Suite, and Mondrian Suite. The large windows in the rooms let in plenty of natural light and offer breathtaking views of Itaewon. Paintings by emerging artists such as Jang Su-ji and Kwon Shin-hong are displayed in all of the hotel’s rooms, preserving the hotel’s distinct artistic sensibility. Neutral tone colours, indirect lighting, and a round concept work together to create rooms.

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The suite_ ©Accor

Floor guide

  • Rooftop bar: Rooftop privilege bar
  • Guest room floor: 5f – 18f
  • Outdoor swimming pool & bar: 5f altitude pool & lounge
  • Banquet hall: 3f
  • Reception: l2
  • Bars & restaurants: l1 – l2 Cleo, blind spot, rumpus room
  • Retail: b1 fashion, dining, retail
  • Fitness club: b2 fitness club, indoor swimming pool, botanical lounge
  • Parking lot: b3 – b4
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The Floor plans_ ©Pinterest

Materials

The old Plaza Hotel had a simple white brick exterior; after remodeling, a golden window lattice was added to the front of the building, and grass could be seen. The entrance greets you as you enter the hotel, where culture meets modern luxury. The 550 guest rooms have all been renovated, with floor-to-ceiling windows replacing the old ones. The room’s colour scheme has also changed from brown to white. In contrast to the much bolder designs in the common areas, the guestrooms present a calmer environment with a relaxed residential feel. Hansgrohe shapes water flow in the kitchen and bathroom because these are the places where people spend the most time and have the most valuable interactions with water. Other manufacturers include Hansgrohe, Koa, LG Hausys, and TSblock LX Hausys has supplied various interior materials (including flooring tiles and marbles) to increase the value of hotel spaces. The interior design of Asylum includes installations by local artists and a whimsical fairy-tale forest. In the indoor swimming pool, the marble around the walkway and lighting leading to the ceiling create a mysterious atmosphere.The centrepiece of the outdoor bar is a repurposed compressor unit from the old building. To retain the Mondrian DNA, the overall design tone of the rooms has been kept modern with touches of vibrancy, such as the use of bold modern art by local artists as the backdrop in open wardrobes. Cabana Suites, on the other hand, are even more dynamic, entertaining, and progressive.

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The entrance windows from 1988 to 2020, remodelled_©Seungmu Lee
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The bookstore_©Seungmu Lee
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The suite king room_©Mondrain Seoul hotel Website

Sustainability

The hotel design was changed after 30 years to reflect the local people and culture surrounding the Itaewon site. HLd (Landscape design) critical interventions provide a fundamental environmentally and socially responsible approach. They made air purifiers for guest rooms available on request to give guests peace of mind about the hotel’s hygiene and cleanliness standards. Accor is deeply committed to long-term value creation and actively contributes to the planet and community through its planet 21 – Acting Here programme and the Accor Solidarity endowment fund, which provides employment opportunities to marginalized groups through professional training.

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The Outdoor landscape _ ©Yu Qing-oh
The Outdoor landscape _ ©Yu Qing-oh

References:

Citations for Newspaper Articles – Print or Online: 

  1. AP신문 | (주)인터쉐어 | AP뉴스. (2022). 간삼건축, 2022년 공간디자인페어 기획관서 ‘간삼 호텔 컬렉션’ 공개. [online] Available at: http://www.apnews.kr/news/articleView.html?idxno=3004101 [Accessed 14 Nov. 2022].
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Citations for Magazine Articles – Print or Online:

  1. Lee, H. (2021). Changes in the hotel remodeling market after the pandemic – Focused on Mondrian Seoul Itaewon. Remodeling Association Magazine. [online] 8 May. Available at: http://dev.gansam.com/eng/news/news.php?ptype=view&idx=3258&page=1&code=news [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
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  4. Lee, H. (2020). Urban entertainment hotel based on local culture Mondrain Seoul Itaewon. Global Hospitality Magazine. [online] 29 Jun. Available at: http://hotelrestaurant.co.kr/mobile/article.html?no=8092 [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].

 

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Citations for websites:

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Citations for social media:

  1. LINDA (2021). Accommodations, accommodations_korea, Recent. Available at: https://lindagoeseast.com/2021/09/09/mondrian-seoul-itaewon-checking-in/ [Accessed 14 Nov. 2022].
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  6. Images/visual mediums

Citations for YouTube videos:

  1. www.youtube.com. (n.d.). [4K] Mondrian Seoul Itaewon – the hottest hotel in 2021 incl. Studio Suites Room & SMT China Room. [online] Available at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AdYmBQjzHlI [Accessed 14 Nov. 2022].

Citations for images/photographs – Print or Online:

  1. Lee, S. (2021). Mondrian Seoul Itaewon Hotel / Gansam Architects & Associates. Available at: https://www.archdaily.com/973794/mondrian-seoul-itaewon-hotel-gansam-architects-and-associates [Accessed 12 Nov. 2022].
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  20. Other source types

Citations for reports:

  1. Han, Y.; Lee, H. Lifestyle Experiences: Exploring Key Attributes of Lifestyle Hotels Using Instagram User-Created Contents in South Korea. Sustainability 2021, 13, 2591. https://doi.org/10.3390/ su13052591
Author

Komal is an aspiring environmental enthusiast with a masters degree in environmental architecture and is engaged towards achieving a net zero society globally, by profession. She is currently working towards a paradigm shift in the construction industry by exploring possible uses of rice straw as a building material and working as a volunteer for change. She believes writing architectural content aids in the development of the mental skills required for creative thinking. Furthermore, she would like to make this world a better place to live in.

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