The inside scoop on deluxe Korean weekend getaways

The inside scoop on deluxe Korean weekend getaways

by Bobby McGill
Busan Haps (

Settle in folks, winter is here and there’s no sign of warmth due until April. Time to hibernate inside and catch up on all the stuff you put off while the weather outside was good. If you’re going to be stuck indoors, why not treat yourself to something nice?

Wow Pension (Geogje)

As many of you looking at the accompany photos have likely just said to yourself, “wow!”, these gorgeously adorned rooms with just a slight touch of cheeky in Geoje offer a great respite from the weekday nine-to-five. When the weather’s right, lay poolside, or take a dip at the nearby shore. During fall and winter months, step in and relax in your in-room jacuzzi (also available on the patio with some rooms) while the hydra jets knead out all that ails you. Wow will run you $140-$330 a night.

Tel: 055-637-1821   Web:

Hi Class Pension (Namhae)

So, you say you crave a little opulence on your off day? Hi Class pension in Namhae fits the bill to a tee. While most often the casual traveler would skip over any accommodation with the gall to name their establishment “hi class”, in this case, the moniker is fully deserved—if not questionable grammatically. Check into one of their deluxe villas with a loved one or a group, and then step right into your own personal pool overlooking the South Sea of Korea. Will run you anywhere from $250-$950 a night depending on the season and day of the week.

Tel: 070-8220-9089   Web:

Cube Island (Geoje)

This place truly lives up to the first part of its moniker by taking architectural adventurism to the extreme with a unique design featuring each level of the structure jutting out in different directions. And while the outside is visually striking, the interior decor is equally impressive. Not for the extremes, but rather the simplicity of long rooms that look out directly onto the water from either the window or the patio. One of the least expensive on our list of places to go, Cube Island will run you upwards of $220 a night.

Tel: 010-3437-9440   Web:

Melody Pension (Namhae)

Melody bills itself as a “couples pension” and piles on the cheese with a pink royal carriage sitting on the shore that looks like it was pulled out of a Disney flick. From the outside standing on the beach, Melody looks like a scene on the French Riviera with the white units lined up side by side, but it’s inside where the place really comes to life with color-themed rooms ranging from pink to baby blue (all complete with a giant, fluffy teddy bear of course). A tad kitschy? Yes. But sometimes the warm fuzzies are most easily ignited by such trivialities. And kitsch costs. Depending on the season, look to spend anywhere from $200 to $400 a night.

Tel: 010-7697-1616   Web:

Tienne Spa (Ulsan)

Just south of Ulsan, Tienne Spa pension offers an upscale setting with an outdoor pool and the majority of the rooms featuring luxurious jacuzzis, ranging from a room for two to those large enough for a group. The beach is nearby, as are some great bike paths and several scenic mountain trails. The large suites, some with an upstairs and downstairs, are ideally fashioned for couples and remarkably well-decorated with a variety of interior themes to suit any taste. During non-peak season, prices range from 90-250,000 won, while peak season will run you an extra 30,000 won.

Tel: 010-3595-3116   Web:

Tacet (Tongyeong)

All of the wonderfully decorated rooms offer ocean views of this artist’s hideaway town. Also known as the oyster capital of Korea, Tongyeong offers a wealth of great seafood spots at every turn.

Tel: 055-641-3004  Web:

Dwitree Aroma Pool Villa (Gangwon-do)

Gangwon-do has some of Korea’s most stunning scenery. Dwitree’s opulent (and costly) rooms all sit on a huge pool with tapered edges that give the feel
of a Southeast Asian seashore.

Tel: 010-6320-0760  Web:

Marizoa (Tongyeong)

Another Tongyeong spot that just opened last year, Marizoa features gorgeously decorated multi-level rooms. Take the morning ferry out and dig on the hundreds of nearby islands.

Tel: 010-8806-5080  Web:

Tropical Dream (Geoje)

With its award-winning, and downright funky architecture that looks like an art-deco artillery battery outside and a cozily adorned home, Tropical Dream is a memorable spot to stay.

Tel: 055-681-5550  Web:

Bauhaus (Gijang)

The owner is a famed pottery artisan and it shows. Though not the best scenery of our picks, the rooms are remarkably well-adorned and its within a stones throw of Busan.

Tel: 010-2552-2081  Web:

Haneulteobat (Gyeongju)

If you want to get a feel for the traditional life in Korea, Haneulteobat offers it right down to historic wood and stonework at every turn. It offers simplicity at its finest in Korea’s most historic city.

Tel: 054-702-4002  Web:

– Contributed by Craig White, Marie Sung and Junnie Ahn

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