My Wish List: Luxury and Boutique Staycations

Two weeks from yesterday (Friday the 4th), I will be in Tokyo celebrating my birthday weekend at the Grand Hyatt (which, of course, I’ll write about after I return). Making these plans got me thinking about the places I still want to stay at here in South Korea, and, really, I’ve been thinking about this since my last staycation adventures. Therefore I put together a top 5 wish list of future hotels and pensions I want to stay at while deliberating over whether I could afford them or not. Here we go:

1) The Four Seasons Seoul

Before this hotel opened since late-September 2015, it was pretty hotly anticipated by many people, including myself (and The Skincare Guru™, who may or may not EVER visit me and I know you’re reading this!). This is far and away the one hotel I want to try: the interior pictures look gorgeous, and the rooms are supposed to be some of the biggest, if not the biggest, of its class here. However…it’s quite expensive. It’s definitely not Four Seasons Orlando expensive (because $800+/night for a non-suite hotel room in Orlando, Florida, Disney aside? Who does that??), but it’s still really expensive…but I’m always checking around of a good package I can jump on when I have extra money. It’s a visible and distinctive building in the Gwanghwamun area, so every time I go to my gym, I look up at it and just sigh with profound longing.

2) JW Marriott Dongdaemun Square Seoul

Before my dad came to see me back in September, I booked him in this hotel for two reasons: 1) Because it’s in a somewhat central (and continuously active) location; and 2) it’s a hotel that was easy and quick for me to get to from my apartment. He’s not a business man, but his stays at hotels are rather business-like, so he wouldn’t take advantage of the amenities like I would, and boy, would I in this hotel. His Deluxe room was so nice! Also, this hotel has what people call THE best hotel breakfast buffet in the entire city, which, when we dined there, totally lived up to the hype and more.

3) Lotte L7 Myeongdong

This boutique-like hotel just opened in January and, judging by the pictures, it’s the type of trendy hotel that would be right in my wheelhouse. The rooms are quite not that posh standard that you see in your average luxury hotel here; it seems rather funky with brightly colored accents and some interesting installations. This hotel definitely caters to the fashionable young Koreans and foreigners, and its prices are good and mid-range!

4) Casa Del Aya, Goseong, Gangwondo

I’ve been eyeing this pension out on the eastern shores of South Korea since I tried and failed to plan a Chuseok trip with my boyfriend. The rooms are clean and contemporary, but they still look homey and cozy; it’s also pretty much ON the water, which is a plus. The prices, especially during the summertime, are crazy, though.

5) The Paradise Hotel and Casino, Busan

If the Park Hyatt is considered #1 in Busan, then the mainstay Paradise Hotel would definitely be #2. The hotel might have a good 30 years on its younger competitor but, unlike the Park Hyatt, it is right on the water, which could justify the prices (especially during the high summer season). The hotel is currently undergoing partial renovations and will continue to do so throughout the year, which I’m sure will do nothing but benefit it when everything is over. I can’t wait to see how the final product turns out!

Honorable Mentions: The Grand Hyatt Seoul, The Westin Chosun, W Seoul Walkerhill

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