With a high appreciation for aesthetics, the city’s fine taste can be imbibed through the various senses.
Novotel Seoul Ambassador Gangnam
Located right in the heart of the stylish district, Novotel Seoul Ambassador Gangnam is the perfect starting point to explore what the city has to offer. Spacious, relaxed and equipped with modern amenities, each of its 332 lavish rooms allows guests to stay on top of their work while enjoying leisure time. Don’t miss the culinary delights offered at the restaurants and bar. Log a workout after a long day with the latest fitness equipment, dive into the swimming pool with a retractable dome or unwind in the sauna.
If you want to store-hop on a hunt for designer duds, Garosugil is famous for its chic, upscale shops and boutiques alongside the studios, caés and restaurants. The trees lining the street appear prettiest in the fall, when the leaves turn golden; and walking down Garosugil feels more like exploring a European city. A similar street is Apgujeong Rodeo Street, where new trends and culture emerge. Here you can find a multitude of shops, featuring fashions from Korean brands as well as international designer labels.
Apart from clothing stores and food stalls, the streets of Myeongdong are without a doubt a haven for those who love to pamper themselves with Korean beauty products. You can easily find any local cosmetic brand you want, with each brand opening multiple stores a stone’s throw from one another. If you’re looking for international brands, there are many duty free shops throughout the city, including Lotte Duty Free near the Myeongdong area.
The overflow of creative juice in the city has to go somewhere – manifesting in the city’s many design shops. There are also buildings dedicated to design, with a special space for showcasing crafts and accessories by local artists, from the art square in Sangsangmadang to the stalls in Ssaemziegil. The latest addition to Seoul is the spacecraft-like Dongdaemun Design Plaza designed by renowned architect Zaha Hadid, featuring a design market among its cutting-edge, modern multicultural facilities.
Get a taste of light street food with a gourmet twist. Aside from the idea of luxury street food at affordable prices, Play Pot also integrates street stall elements into the interior – including the sheets of tarpaulin arranged to look like a tented canopy – bringing an outdoor atmosphere into the space. The menu also features international cuisine such as pasta and Thai food infused with Korean influences.
An exclusive restaurant that aims to recreate traditional Korean cuisine in a modern way, Poom uses only the best seasonal ingredients and natural spices. Serene and simplistic, the atmosphere complements the transcendent cuisine. There’s no walking in and deciding what to order on the spot – guests have to book and choose their meals at least one day prior. Poom also boasts an interesting Korean wine selection to go with the dishes.
Elbon the Table
Chef Hyun Seok Choi fuses Western and Korean dishes for a creative and modern cuisine that teases the taste buds. The signature course menu changes monthly and continuously provides a fresh, unique selection. Elbon the Table is especially popular with foreigners who are looking to have food from home but with a local twist. The beautiful presentation sets the bar even higher, separating it from the rest and attracting Seoul’s cool crowd.
Settled in the fancy Apgujeong district, the sophisticated vin.ga indulges guests with high-quality wines and plenty of rare vintages for wine connoisseurs to enjoy while listening to live jazz music. At dinnertime, the signature menu includes Foie Gras Gyoza, Poached Sea Bass and Grilled Lamb Chop. The interior looks like a reinterpretation of a vast wine cellar – warm with plenty of brick and wood – and there is a private room for meetings.
Musicals and plays are huge in Seoul. The language barrier won’t be a problem if you choose one of the performance shows that speak for themselves, such as the long-running “Nanta” based on traditional Korean percussion. Or go for “Fanta-Stick”, a modern interpretation of Korean traditional music, break dancing, martial arts and dance, or “The Painter’s Hero”, an innovative painting performance combined with incredible visual effects and a witty blend of mime, dance and comedy.
Among the many art galleries and museums in Seoul, the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art (MMCA) represents Korean modern art in three existing of its branches and an upcoming one. Located within a historical site, MMCA Deoksugung will showcase modern art from Korea and overseas. MMCA Seoul focuses on showcasing global contemporary art. While just outside Seoul, the MMCA Gwacheon is devoted to various genres of visual arts such as architecture, design, and crafts.
Gaining a reputation as the hub for cost and time-efficient bespoke health and beauty treatments, Seoul is the city where highly skilled doctors are supported by top-notch technology. JW Plastic Surgery, for instance, offers six specialized clinics for eye, breast, nose and facial bone restructuring, anti-aging treatments and body contouring. The Arumdaun Nara, meanwhile, is popular among celebrities and foreigners thanks to its one-stop beauty network and meticulous follow-up care.
It’s common knowledge that Seoul is among the tech capitals of the world. Experience a taste of the smart city at Samsung D’Light, an exhibition space by Korea’s major tech company. Aside from showcasing its latest high-tech products, the three-story Samsung D’Light invites visitors to interact with the technology. Write a text message and see it displayed on the floor, see your face displayed on a huge augmented reality screen or simply play one of many video games.
opening photo by
Korea Tourism Organization