Les Clefs D'Or
Les Clefs D'Or

Your Key To Seoul South Korea- 2024 Les Clefs d’Or Award Nominee

A City that Captivates your Soul: Seoul

From the past, traditional Korean mask dances have always played a vibrant role in village gatherings or national events. The dynamic yet restrained movements characteristic of mask dances, along with the inherent beauty of Korean tradition, show a striking resemblance to the cityscape I’ve observed over my 37 years in Seoul. Consequently, I firmly believe that Seoul, as the heart of Korea, is one of the most captivating cities that can capture the souls of its visitors.

To promote this charm, I, as a Les Clefs d’Or concierge, continue to busy myself sharing tips and insights with guests. It’s akin to passionately performing a mask dance. Are you ready to follow my dance as well?

The charm of Seoul begins its journey from the majestic Han River. Its appearance, crossing the heart of Seoul like a main artery, is no different from what symbolizes the history of Korea. Standing at the top of the tallest tower ‘Lotte Tower’, breathtaking panorama of Han river will leave you speechless and make you realize that you are in the very heart of Seoul.

If I were to pick a soulful dish representing Korea, there could be dozens. But I think the top choice is undoubtedly ‘Samgyeopsal’. Samgyeopsal is a well-known Korean dish, a pork belly barbecue. As a Concierge, I particularly recommend a restaurant that serves Jeju black pork for those who wish to savor the best one. Enjoy it with a sip of soju, Korea’s representative liquor, and shout ‘JJan(Cheers!)’ to experience how Korean enjoys this moment. For Koreans, it’s a magical incantation that resonates with the soul.

Despite being known for its ‘Bbali Bbali(quick, quick)’ lifestyle, Seoul retains the beauty of the past with its bustling energy. Please dress in Korean traditional attire ‘hanbok’ and stroll through the ‘Bukchon Hanok Village’, where you can feel the beauty of Korean tradition. If you find yourself unintentionally sighing in amazement, please express it only in your heart because this is a real village where people still live in. In addition, don’t forget to visit Insadong, located just across the village. It’s a place filled with traditional crafts and art pieces, embodying the essence of Korean culture. As a concierge, it’s regrettable to see many visitors missing out on this experience.

Even on a quiet night in Seoul, its charm never ceases. Please sit by the Han River Park and immerse yourself in the spectacular view created by the Rainbow Fountain and the Seoul’s night skyline. Thirty minutes? No. Take as much time as you want. Seoul, being one of the safest cities globally, allows for such special experience. The gentle breeze, the sound of waves, the beautiful night view, and the presence of your beloved make the moment even more precious.

Guests who have fallen deeply for the charm of Seoul can be recognized at a glance. With just that, I can continue the joyous dance of happiness as a Les clefs D’or Concierge. Uol-ssu(Hooray)!


Ji Hwan Ham is a candidate for the 2024 Les Clefs d’Or Award. This article has been published in its original form.

Meet the Author
Ji Hwan Ham

In 2015, I came across the role of a 'Concierge' and the significance of the 'Golden Keys' through an educational broadcast. It captivated me as an extraordinary position that epitomizes the highest quality of service every hotelier aspires to deliver. With a generous and calm personality, coupled with an abundance of energy to smile, I assured myself that a career as a hotel concierge would be engaging and fulfilling, allowing me to work from the heart and create invaluable memories for guests. My journey in the hotel industry began at Ibis Ambassador Myeongdong as a Senior Front Desk Receptionist. Here, I learned the foundational aspects of hotel systems and gained precious insights into handling customer requests of various kinds. To get deeper into guest and client interactions, I transitioned to Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas as a Concierge Agent, marking the initiation of my path toward achieving the prestigious 'Golden Keys.' I am tremendously enthusiastic about the opportunity to join this globally connected fraternity ‘UICH’, dedicated to professional development in service field.

Grand interContinental Seoul Parnas

Nestled in the center of Teheran-ro, the most modern district of the buzzing metropolis of Seoul, Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas presents True Hospitality based on 30 years of hotel management and service experience. The renovated exterior and 550 guest rooms of 2020 boast stunning vistas of Gangnam through floor-to-ceiling windows and exhibit traditional Korean elegance with a refined contemporary twist. The Club InterContinental, located on the top 34th floor, is a leading private lounge in Korea pursuing a sophisticated top-notch service. 12 state-of-the-art banquet halls of varying sizes, including the largest banquet hall in Korea, Grand Ballroom, are perfectly designed for elegant private weddings, family gatherings, small and medium-sized meetings, and large-scale conventions. A variety of international cuisines awaits at five distinctive restaurants, including an award-winning Japanese restaurant. Hotel chefs specializing in different fields create high-quality dishes from fresh ingredients and ensure exceptional dining experiences. Adjacent to Starfield COEX Mall, Parnas Mall, department stores, duty-free shops, World Trade Center, COEX Convention Center, and Airport Terminal, the hotel promises enriching experiences for both leisure and business travelers.


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