Hilton Train takes off on last trip in Seoul

Hilton Train takes off on last trip in Seoul

The Hilton Train at Millennium Hilton Seoul’s final trip took off on Friday, at the hotel’s main lobby in central Seoul. (Kim Hae-yeon/The Korea Herald)

The Millenium Hilton Seoul, landmark hotel perched atop the city with a commanding view of Namsan, announced the final journey of its signature Hilton Train, located in the hotel’s main lobby, Friday. The hotel will be closing down on Dec. 31, after the decision was made last year to sell the property to IGIS Asset Management.

A special VIP event to mark the start of the final journey of the train was held Friday evening.

To celebrate the train’s final run on a special note, Millennium Hilton Seoul showcased miniature models of the hotel building and the Seoul N Tower as part of the Hilton Village, instead of the large Christmas tree put up every year.

“In the 27 years since, the Christmas train has become an integral part of the seasonal celebrations and decorations at this hotel, in the process raising more than a billion won through the generosity of sponsors and advertisers, money used for good causes at multiple institutions in need across Seoul,” said. Felix Busch, general manager of Millennium Hilton Seoul said in his speech at the event.event

In 1994, the Seoul Hilton’s general manager at the time, Michael Nagel, thought out a plan for the very first Hilton Train.

Launched in 1995, the Christmas train bearing logos of corporate sponsors has played a role as a holiday charity event. In recent years, the charity funds have been donated to Haesimwon, a child welfare institution in Seoul’s Yongsan district.

The train has been replicated to serve the same purpose at different Hilton hotels overseas, including Shanghai and Nanjing in China and Nagoya, Tokyo Bay, Osaka, Fukuoka and Odawara in Japan.

Opened in 1983, the five-star hotel with 680 rooms and 20 dining outlets has been in business for 39 years. The hotel was designed by Kimm Jong-soung, a prominent first-generation Korean architect, and soon established itself as an iconic building near Seoul Station.

The miniature Hilton Village, including the Hilton Train, will run until Dec. 31. A small exhibition explaining the history of the hotel with amenities and staff uniforms is also on display at the first floor lobby until the hotel closes.

By Kim Hae-yeon ([email protected])

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