I knew from the photos that the decor of my chosen hotel in Seoul that it would be a complete 180 degrees from the traditional hanok style lodgings of my previous stay in Bukcheon, but photos did not fully prepare me for how I would feel walking in the door to my room.
Automatic light sensing someone in the foyer going on (then conveniently turning off shortly when not in the area)? Check! Now why don’t US hotels do this? I’ve seen this feature in the homes and apartments of many a drama character and thought how practical that was and now for the next 10 days I get to enjoy that feature too!
A place inside the door to slip off my shoes and slide into house slippers? Check! And there’s a shoe closet right next to this area with enough room to be an Imelda Marcos of travelers (were I that crazy). If I had a shoe closet by my door, I think I’d do the “no shoes in the house” ritual too, but for now, I get to slip off/slip on to my heart’s content.
The combinations of gilt-edged mirrors, crystal chandeliers (modern, two of them), almost Victorian-ornate wallpaper with a bed spread and upholstery covers in similar hues and style but nonmatching patterns, wood paneled walls, marble topped surfaces? Check! I feel like I’m living in the houses of one of the wealthier (though generally noveau riche) families. Okay, maybe it’s only comparable in size to a studio apartment, but if I can imagine a series of other rooms can I also not imagine it populated by a shrewish mother-in-law, parcel of disaffected children, and a suit-and-tie-wearing husband with perhaps questionable ties to organized crime? (Note: I’m not sure why, exactly, I would want any of those, not when I’ve got a perfectly good MIL and husband at home, just that it seems to fit with the place.)
The bedroom can be separated from the sitting room by pocket doors, in case I want to sit around and eat peeled fruit with the aforementioned family after dinner, making it seem more like an apartment. And the bedroom is pretty nice too, with bedside environmental controls at my fingertips and a set of closets with features like drawers for my watch collection (note to self: must get a watch collection) and a rack for ties.
Even the bathroom gets special mention. Not only does it have an interesting use of nubby little tiles on the wall (grouted in the shower, not outside the shower), but it has one of my favorite Asian inventions: the shower toilet, to wash those unmentionable areas and leave you feeling daisy fresh!
To complete the homelike feeling, there is even a Pullman-style kitchen with washing machine/dryer tucked conveniently behind trim folding doors – with a rice cooker! Yes, I think I’m going to like it here!
Gangnam Artnoveau City
011-82 2580-7300 (from the US)