| As visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping is reportedly staying at the Hotel Shilla in central Seoul, the Chinese government`s preference to the hotel is gaining new attention.
The Hotel Shilla was once the most preferred hotel in Seoul by visiting Chinese dignitaries. However, they had shunned the hotel since Nov. 11, 2010, when it had a power outage for six minutes from 9.43 a.m. on the 20th to 22nd floors where then Chinese President Hu Jintao and his entourage were staying. Perplexed Chinese security guards had a ruckus in the dark in case there would be a terrorist intrusion into the hotel.
Chinese dignitaries had long avoided the hotel since the accident. Dai Bingguo, a then Chinese state councilor who visited Seoul about two weeks later, stayed at the Lotte Hotel Seoul. Hu, who visited Seoul again in March 2012 to attend an international nuclear summit, put up at the InterContinental Seoul Coex hotel in southern Seoul.
Regarding Hu`s change of hotel from Lotte to InterContinental, there were rumors about an elevator accident. Rumors had it that an elevator that Chen Deming, the then Chinese commerce minister, was in stopped abruptly. However, Lotte officially denies the rumor.
As Xi has chosen Shilla as his hotel during his visit to Seoul, it seems that the relationship between Shilla and Beijing has returned to the good old days. An industry official said that compared with other hotels in Seoul, the hotel`s location makes it easy to block protesters and ensure security.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met with Lee Boo-jin, president and CEO of the Hotel Shilla when he visited Seoul in May, expressing special interest in the health of Lee`s father and Samsung Group Chairman Lee Kun-hee.