It's official: Korea's 50 'most unique' hotels

It's official: Korea's 50 'most unique' hotels

A ship hotel, a 'medical herb resort' and a mini Santorini: We pick our favorites from the roundup
korea's unique accommodations
Beds for bods: 50 of the best that Korea has to offer.

Never mind expensive weekend packages at Seoul’s luxury hotels.

Korea’s alternative accommodations tend to be much more visually interesting -- and not just a little campy. 

Korea Tourism Organization (KTO) announced the publication of “Korea’s most unique accommodations” on Monday. Travel writers and reporters, as well as high-profile foreign visitors contributed to the selection of the 50 venues.

While the 115-page photograph-filled book will not be for sale and mostly distributed to the 26 international branches of KTO, the organization is planning to make it available in an e-book format on the official Visit Korea website later this month. 

The roundup includes lesser known accommodation options such as the Phoenix Island resort, which features beautiful glass venues designed by Japanese architect Tadao Ando, as well as the recently renovated hanok hotel Kundaemunjip (큰대문집) in Seoul. 

"My personal favorite is the Podo Hotel Pinx on Jeju Island," says Shin Seokyung, the assistant director of the publications team who oversaw the project. Podo Hotel Pinx features a group of thatched-roof cottages where the rooms are "connected to look like bunches of grapes when viewed from the sky." 

Here are our three favorites from the extensive list:

1. Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht

korea's unique accommodations Where to cruise if you don't want to actually cruise.
It sounds like a bad riddle: What looks like a ship and feels like ship but doesn’t sail?

Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht, located in Jeongdongjin, “so resembles a cruise ship that it could, in theory, stay afloat if pushed into the sea,” says the KTO guide.

But with all the cruising mishaps happening in the world lately, perhaps it’s a good thing that this 121-room hotel and condominium isn’t actually braving the waters.

50-10 Jeongdongjin-ri Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do Province; +82 33 610 7000; 121 rooms, 8 suites, 82 condos; rates start at ₩70,000;


2. Sancheong Hanbang Resort (산청한방리조트)

korea's unique accommodations No, this is not the Hollywood set of the Smurfs movie.

If the Smurfs were visiting Korea, they’d feel right at home in this ‘medical herbs’ resort.

With all units built in the shape of mushrooms with locally harvested red clay and wood, the Sancheong Hangbang Resort blends in with its gorgeous scenery and features various hangbang jjimjilbang -- a Korean-style public sauna featuring herbal baths and sauna rooms built out of pine firewood.

Known for being the birthplace of Heo Jun, a legendary doctor of traditional Korean medicine, the region also hosts the Herbal Medicine Festival every year.

68 Ungseokbongno 151-beongil, Sancheong-eup, Sancheong-gun, South Gyeongsang province; +82 55 972 9989; 10 rooms; rates start at ₩100,000; (Korean) 


3. Happy House Santorini

korea's unique accommodations It looks Greek to me.
This “pension” complex was built to look like the Greek island of Santorini, and only the peppy name indicates its Korean location.

The pensions, originally designed for couples and not very family-friendly, feature white and blue walls, Mediterranean-style tables and chairs, outdoor pools and an outdoor barbecue site.

Nearby tourist attractions include Jebudo Island, Jeongokhang Port yachting and the Hane Theme Park.

80-32 Salgoji-gil, Seosin-myeon, Hwaseong-si, Gyeonggi-do Province; +82 31 357 2688; rates range from 120,000 to ₩200,000; (Korean)

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