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Wanderlust: In Seoul, an Urban Oasis in the Heart of the City

By T: The New York Times Style Magazine Singapore

The in-door pool of The Shilla Seoul overlooks the Namsan Mountain and its iconic landmark, the N Seoul Tower.
 
The Shilla
The in-door pool of The Shilla Seoul overlooks the Namsan Mountain and its iconic landmark, the N Seoul Tower.

For a millennium, “Shilla” was synonymous to an old-world kingdom which ruled over the southeast of the Korean peninsula. Today, the use of the word most likely refers to The Shilla hotel namesake, Seoul’s very first luxury hotel which was opened in 1979 by The Shilla Hotels & Resorts, South Korea’s hospitality behemoth.

Situated in the heart of the buzzy capital’s financial district, the Samsung-owned structure sits behind the city’s medieval walls, adjacent to the Mount Namsan. Albeit it being the oldest luxury hotel in Seoul, The Shilla has continually remained as a landmark property and lifestyle destination, adapting with the times to provide state-of-the-art technology and contemporary updates to suit the needs of modern travellers.

The ShillaOn The Shilla Seoul’s third floor is the Urban Island, the hotel’s signature outdoor oasis.
On The Shilla Seoul’s third floor is the Urban Island, the hotel’s signature outdoor oasis.

Inside the 464-room hotel, its world-class amenities feature an indoor pool, a driving range and putting green, and a Japanese-style dry and wet sauna, as well as a Guerlain Spa, Asia’s very first. The topmost floor of the hotel is occupied by the Executive Lounge, an expansive space that combines a living room, dining room, lounge and library in one, designed by California-based interior designer Peter Remedios. In the basement is the Arcade, a secluded mall with 20 shops the likes of Hermès, Valextra and Brioni.

The hotel’s jewel in the crown, however, perches on its third floor: the Urban Island, the recently refurbished outdoor oasis where one would typically find Seoul’s affluent crowd lounging by the outdoor pool against a panoramic backdrop of Mount Namsan during the city’s summer season.

The ShillaThe Urban Island’s outdoor jacuzzi.
The Urban Island’s outdoor jacuzzi.
The ShillaThe rooftop garden.
The rooftop garden.

This year, in celebration of the hotel’s four-decade milestone, The Shilla introduces ‘Urban Escape’, a time-limited accommodation package for its guests. Available until 31 August, the ‘Urban Escape’ package includes a minimum of a two-night stay at the Executive Grand Deluxe Room and grants all-day access to the Urban Island. While in time for summer is the hotel’s family-friendly ‘Urban Days’ package. Available until 30 June, the package includes a minimum of a two-night stay at the Deluxe Room or Business Deluxe Room that comes with complimentary all-day access to the Urban Island outdoor pool. Guests can lap up the laidback splendour of the heated pools and jacuzzis or soak up the warm rays at the rooftop garden. Tiered cabanas, nestled in the verdant corners of the Urban Island, can be booked for those who prefer a private retreat.

The ‘Urban Escape’ and ‘Urban Day’ packages are available until 30 June. For more details or to book a package, click hereThe Shilla Seoul, 249, Donho-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul, 04605, Korea.
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