Art and Culture Hotels in Seoul, South Korea

Photo of Alicia Miller
26 July 2021

From rooms themed around South Korea cartoon characters, to those with serene mountainside views, whatever your idea of art and culture is, these Seoul hotels hit the brief.

From its rambling palaces – dressed in hues of red and jade – to its historic hanok houses and wealth of museums and galleries, Seoul is a top hub for art and culture in Asia. And what better way to soak up all it has to offer than from a base that’s also giving you an authentic local experience? The hotels listed below give you easy access to the city’s top attractions, while also giving you an authentic taste of Korean culture, all bookable with Culture Trip.

Lotte Hotel Seoul

Boutique Hotel
4.5/5 (1900 Reviews)
Lotte Hotel Seoul
Courtesy of Lotte Hotel Seoul / Expedia
A short walk away from the must-see Deoksugung Palace, the Lotte Hotel puts historic Seoul on your doorstep. But with its grand chandeliers, columned lobby and elegant array of restaurants, you might find it difficult to leave this palatial pad. Over a thousand rooms are dressed in neutral, classically elegant styles, and populated by leisure and well-heeled business travellers. Book into the 35th-floor Pierre Gagnaire restaurant for sweeping city views and indulgent elegant French bites.
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Banyan Tree Club & Spa Seoul

Hotel
4.2/5 (485 Reviews)
Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul
Courtesy of Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul / Expedia
Sprawling Namsan Park is Seoul’s main green space, and its vast mountainous landscape, dotted with cherry trees, is a hub for local cultural life. And this resort-style hotel puts you right on the edge of it. But you’re not only here to explore the great outdoors; Banyan Tree does indoor pampering to a tee. Book a ‘Tropical Rainmist’ treatment in its spa, and follow up with a light lunch in the serene Sauna Lounge.
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HOTEL April

Hotel
Map View

Spending a night at boutiquey HOTEL April almost feels like staying inside a piece of art – its Gallery Room is decorated with giant green polkadots on the walls and a minimalist staircase, along with mirror TV and jacuzzi. If you’re more into the location – right by Namsan Park – than the quirkiness, there are lower-key rooms too; the Spa Room, with its exposed brick wall and kitchenette, or the terraced Standard Room.

Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel, Itaewon

Boutique Hotel, Hotel
4/5 (987 Reviews)
Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel, Itaewon
Courtesy of Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel, Itaewon / Booking.com
If culture to you means nightlife, this stay is a great pick for you – it’s in the heart of Itaewon, a district packed with restaurants, bars, karaoke and shopping. And this contemporary hotel brings all the vibrancy of the area inside, with lobby walls splashed in rainbow hues and unusual frescoes (such as a giant Rubik’s Cube) in rooms. If you’ve got a sweet tooth, take note: there’s a Godiva shop right on site.
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Vista Walkerhill Seoul

Hotel
4.6/5 (430 Reviews)
Vista Walkerhill Seoul
Courtesy of Vista Walkerhill Seoul / Expedia
On the banks of Seoul’s winding Han River, at the foot of hikers’ favourite Mount Achasan, this hotel is a winner with outdoorsy types. The views – as the name might suggest – are a big draw, and you can take in the waters or greenery right from bed, through your floor-to-ceiling windows. Meanwhile, the décor is light, bright and contemporary, from the Italian-inflected Del Vino restaurant, serving Tuscan t-bone steak and truffle-topped pasta, to the glassy indoor pool.
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  • Rak Ko Jae

    Hotel
    Map View

    With Changdeokgung Palace a short walk to the east and Gyeongbokgung a stroll to the west – you’re spoiled for choice with cultural sights when you book into Rak Ko Jae. But you don’t have to leave to get a culture fix. The hanok-style hotel lets you sleep in traditional Korean accommodation, with tiled roofs, wooden detailing and rollaway >yo< mattresses. Another highlight is the chance to sample a traditional Korean feast, complete with fiery kimchi and grilled beef.

    Mondrian Seoul Itaewon

    Hotel
    Map View
    Mondrian Seoul Itaewon
    Courtesy of Mondrian Seoul Itaewon / Expedia
    People come to Itaewon to have fun, and the Mondrian reflects this – its own swanky rooftop bar turns out elegant cocktails (plus ace city views) while its Cleo restaurant dishes up Mediterranean sharing dishes perfect for banqueting with buddies. The swanky but not OTT rooms are perfectly on-point for the younger crowd, with herringbone floors, rounded-edge mirrors and super speedy wifi. If you stumble in late after enjoying the area’s party scene, there’s 24/7 room service for snacks, too.

    Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong

    Hotel
    4/5 (999 Reviews)
    Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong
    Courtesy of Sotetsu Hotels The Splaisir Seoul Myeong-Dong / Hotels.com
    Culture doesn’t just mean old palaces and temples. South Korea does a booming trade in modern culture, including the cute cartoon-like characters known as LINE FRIENDS. If you’re a fan of the brand, this hotel is for you; with a number of themed rooms on site, dressed in red and blue, let you get up close and personal with Brown, Cony and Sally. Never heard of them? There are regular, unthemed rooms too, in simple but stylish monochrome.
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    Small House Big Door

    Hotel
    4.3/5 (634 Reviews)
    Small House Big Door
    Courtesy of Small House Big Door / Booking.com
    With its ultra-minimalist stylings – white boxy spaces with the occasional statement piece of furniture – Small House Big Door feels like a museum space. And actually, it is; it showcases exhibitions from artists and designers in its dedicated gallery spaces, alongside hosting guests in its 25 bedrooms and bistro-cum-café. When you want to head out exploring, Myeongdong – with its bargain shopping and DIY Korean barbecue restaurants – is only a short walk away.
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    Walkerhill Douglas House

    Hotel
    4.8/5 (353 Reviews)
    Walkerhill Douglas House
    Courtesy of Walkerhill Douglas House / Expedia
    It’s easy access to the serene Achasan mountain and Seoul’s snaking river, but it’s not the only reason to book into Walkerhill Douglas House. The focus on lush local nature extends to its rooms, which feature nude wood boarding, framed leaf artworks and forest hues. The highlight? The Traditional Suite, which combines the hotel’s signature cool modern stylings with traditional Korean design. Don’t miss a swim in the lovely indoor pool, either.
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    This is an updated rewrite of an article originally by Andrew Kingsford-Smith.

    These recommendations were updated on July 26, 2021 to keep your travel plans fresh.

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