To westerners Seoul is an uncommon travel destination; South Korea is unjustly viewed as Japan’s country cousin, and those in the mood for some culture shock tend to choose cosmopolitan Tokyo. And Korea’s temperate climate does little to attract the types of people who typically travel to balmy Bangkok and other points to the south.
Those who make the leap, though, will find Seoul to be a world-class capital, a rich blend of old and new, and in this, at least, the Shilla hotel is a microcosm of the city as a whole. The style and decor are traditional, presenting a unique look to travelers unfamiliar with Korea’s heritage, and a welcome departure from the watered-down Zen or the gilded Chinese opulence that seem to be overtaking the Far East hotel world.
Of course, alongside the traditional design, one finds a thoroughly modern hotel—rooms feature wireless internet and 24-hour room service, and the hotel is almost excessively well equipped, with extensive business facilities, a health club with indoor and outdoor pools, and several restaurants, including Italian, Chinese and Japanese offerings. Shopping addicts will note that the arcade features a number of designer boutiques, with Issey Miyake, Hermes, and Sonia Rykiel among the names; and those who have not come prepared to shop are welcome to take a walk in the ten-acre sculpture garden or the adjoining Jangchung-dan Park.
Please note: Pending availability, guests may purchase day-of access to the outdoor swimming pool for KRW100,000 for adults and KRW60,000 for children.