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Tradition Meets Design: Ten Art and Culture Hotels in Seoul
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Tradition Meets Design: Ten Art and Culture Hotels in Seoul

Picture of Andrew Kingsford-Smith
Updated: 9 February 2017
Surrounded by mountains, peppered with natural beauty and yet home to a population of over 10 million people, Seoul is a unique metropolis that masterfully balances the traditional with the contemporary. With its booming arts scene and fascinating history, South Korean culture attracts travellers from all over the world to its capital. We look at 10 exemplary hotels which celebrate the art and design of Seoul.

Lotte Hotel Seoul

A hotel with its own museum and gallery inside, Lotte Hotel Seoul is the perfect mixture of culture and luxury. While the gallery displays a range of art works by both local and international artists, the Hotel Museum holds artefacts and antiques that highlight the history and culture of Korean hotels and its tourism industry. Exuding beautiful interior design throughout, the hotel is the first in Korea to have a whole floor dedicated to female guests, designed with elegant and trendy aesthetics.

 

Bayan Tree Club and Spa Seoul
© Bayan Tree Club and Spa Seoul

Bayan Tree Club and Spa Seoul

With both historical value and cutting edge architecture, the building of Bayan Tree Club and Spa Seoul is a modeled on the historic Tower Hotel, designed by one of the first-generation architects of Korea, Kim Swoo Geun. The interior design is just as impressive, with the guest rooms based around the four seasons and the five elements. The hotel also features its own gallery which showcases traditional handicrafts made by local artists. Set at the base of Mt Namsan, Bayan Tree Club Spa Seoul creates a relaxing atmosphere with a range of spa treatments.

 

Hotel April
© Hotel April

Hotel April

Designed in the New French modern style, Hotel April is a small boutique hotel with sophisticated design. Alluring brickwork, rich tones of dark wood and stunning chandeliers decorate the corridors. Each room of the hotel differs in feel, with the design playing with contrasting surfaces, from aesthetics of smooth marble to wallpaper of elegant drawings, and rustic bricks intertwining as a continuous theme. Art lovers will be drawn to the hotel’s gallery room, which displays photographic works by rising practitioners in Seoul.

 

Bongeunsa Temple
© Bongeunsa Temple

Bongeunsa Temple

Part of the Temple Stay program, Bongeunsa Temple opens its doors to travellers who are after a spiritual experience. A 1,200 year old temple located in Korea’s capital, Bongeunsa Temple offers an ethereal experience which is rich with history. Visitors staying at the temple will have the opportunity to partake in Yaebul chanting, Seon meditation, Baru Gongyang monastic meals, Da-do tea ceremonies and more. Bongeunsa Temple prides itself on writing a new history for Korean Buddhism through continuing traditional practices and introducing travelers and residences to Buddhist customs.

 

IP Boutique Hotel
© IP Boutique Hotel

IP Boutique Hotel

A renowned boutique in Seoul, IP Boutique Hotel’s exterior makes it hard to miss with its eclectic color block façade. Each of the white walled rooms features a vibrant wall painting, which creates a unique atmosphere in every room. The lobby of the hotel feels like a designer’s playground, with bright furnishings, a range of trendy decorations and artworks, and even playground swings. The hotel is close to the beautiful Namsan Park, which holds the N Seoul Tower, and the National Theatre of Korea is also within reach.

 

The WIN Hotel
© The WIN Hotel

The WIN Hotel

Decorated by designer J. Shim, the interiors of The WIN Hotel are speckled with light tones, a range of beautiful furniture and exquisite lights and shades. Each room is designed with unique aesthetics, however it is the roof of The WIN that truly makes it standout. Farming its own roof top garden, the restaurant serves beautiful dishes using the organic vegetables grown above. The roof is also a great location to relax, with incredible city views and tranquil garden décor.

 

W Seoul Walkerhill
© W Seoul Walkerhill

W Seoul Walkerhill

Design lies at the heart of the W Seoul Walkhill. Every aspect of this hotel has been designed with cutting edge aesthetics. Ultramodern pod-like furniture, an exciting range of art, radiant neon lights, and exceptional lighting design, all of these elements meld perfectly together within the metallic yet light-looking architecture of the hotel’s structure. The hotel also features stunningly designed hinoki hot tubs that sit in an outdoor decking area, offering open views of the buzzing metropolis of Seoul.

 

Rak Ko Jae
© Rak Ko Jae

Rak Ko Jae

With a history going back 130 years, this traditional hanok was renovated by Young Jin Chung in 2003. Rak Ko Jae exudes an aura of age-old Korean culture, and its balance of architecture and nature creates a harmony of unique tranquility. Visitors are enlightened through authentic Korean meals, tea ceremonies, yellow-mud saunas and lessons on how to cook cuisines such as kimchee. Transporting its guests spiritually to the heart of the country, Rak Ko Jae’s location in Seoul means all of the sights of the capital are within reach.

 

The Plaza
© The Plaza

The Plaza

Sitting in the heart of Seoul, the bewitching interiors of The Plaza Hotel were designed by internationally acclaimed Italian architect and designer Guido Ciompi. ‘Unique patterns, sensory colors, and natural beauty’ lie at the heart of the sophisticated ultramodern aesthetics. The Plaza also holds a multitude of restaurants that focus on different cuisines, from contemporary Korean to traditional Japanese, and each space matches its flavors with elegant and cultural ambience. On top of this, The Plaza Exhibition displays both a captivating range of art works from Korean artists and designers, further adding to the culturally luxurious experience of this hotel.

 

The Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul
© The Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul

The Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul

Opened in 1914, The Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul was the first Western hotel in Korea and as such has welcomed guests such as President of the United States Herbert Hoover and Japanese Crown Prince Hirohito. In its long history the hotel has been a central icon of the city during events such as the Second World War, Korea’s independence and America’s occupation during the Korean War. In 1995, the hotel became the first of its kind to be completely Korean owned. A hotel of many firsts, modern grandeur and a history of tradition stand at the heart of The Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul.