Four Seasons Seoul

Saemunan-ro, Sajik-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea

The Four Seasons earns its five stars for everything from its location—smack in the middle of Seoul’s most-visited palaces and landmarks—to its detailed amenities, such as customizable mattresses. Rooms overlook Gyeongbokgung Palace, the largest and arguably most beautiful of the royal residences, or Cheonggyecheon stream, each a few minutes’ walk from the hotel. Its seven restaurants and lounges include a two-level sushi and sake bar, a Michelin-starred Cantonese restaurant, and an exotic cocktail bar hidden speakeasy-style in the basement. The massive wellness center combines traditional Korean spa rituals with personalized beauty treatments and a 24-hour gym with panoramic views. An indoor pool and saunas, a virtual golf simulator, and a Lego kids’ lounge provide something for every guest.

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The Elegance of the Presidential Three-Bedroom Suite

Welcome to the extraordinarily good life: Taking the Four Seasons Hotel Seoul’s suite offerings to new heights, the Presidential Three-Bedroom Suite is a special haven surrounded by panoramic views of the city. Spread out over a remarkable 4,445 square feet—larger than many actual three-bedroom homes—the suite features an extra-wide living and dining room (where floor-to-ceiling windows frame N Seoul Tower vistas), a customizable Four Seasons Bed, a curated art collection, and a spa bathroom. Guests naturally get the VIP treatment with access to the elegant Club Lounge, as well as special perks like round-trip airport transportation, complimentary mini-bars, laundry, and pressing, use of the private membership health club, and daily breakfast and one 50-minute spa service for each person registered to the suite.

A Distinctly Korean Spa Sanctuary

Dating back centuries, Korea’s spa traditions center on the bathhouse, where seasoned staffers scrub, cleanse, and massage bodies back to a natural glow. At Four Seasons Hotel Seoul, the serene spa takes its cues from these traditional services, mixing them with modern techniques and products to cater to travel-weary guests. Signature services include the three-hour My Present of Beauty, feauring a Nuruk rice and ginger body scrub, a rice milk head ritual, and detoxifying massage performed with warm, herb-filled poultices. The Um-Yang Ritual aims to balance the body using heated towels, clay masks, and herbal mixes made according to ancient recipes. A dedicated section for men—with a Korean sauna, hot and cold pools, and barbershop—rounds out the facilities.

The Seoul Markets

From sport shoes to traditional cookware, hipster fashions to metal chopsticks, Seoul’s markets have it all at bargain prices. Located by the recently restored Great South Gate—once the southern entry to the old city—the Namdaemun Market is the largest in Seoul and hums seemingly all day and night with activity in its hundreds of stalls. In addition to the mix of housewares, necessities, and souvenirs (including an extensive handicraft section), the market is a great place to try authentic Korean streets food; along with staple bibimbap, savor dishes like fresh kalgusku noodles and sujebi (a dough and shellfish soup) in the booths of Restaurant Alley. Once you’ve found your favorites, head to the market’s kitchen section to pick up dishes and utensils for your dinner parties back home.

Korean Dining: Barbecue and Beyond

If you can bear to tear yourself away from the Four Seasons suites, Seoul offers plenty of distractions—including a world-renowned food scene. Koreans are rightly proud of their local specialties, particularly the signature barbecue experience. It typically starts with an array of small, shareable dishes like kimchi, dried fish, tofu, and spicy beansprouts. Continue on with galbi (beef ribs), samgyeopsal (sliced pork belly), bibimbap (a mix of rice, veggies, beef, egg and chili paste served in a hot stone pot), and—if it’s cold outside—a satisfying bowl of samgyetan (chicken soup with red dates, ginseng, and sticky rice.) Seafood, served both cooked and raw, is another local’s favorite, as is naengmyeon, a dish of cold buckwheat noodles swimming in a slightly sweet vinegar soup. Toast it all with glasses of soju, a local spirit, or cups of perfectly brewed green tea.

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