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서울게스트하우스Seoul Guest House

135-1 Gye-dong, Jongno-gu, Seoul, South Korea
| +82 2-745-0057

Country-house in the city; stay in a "sah-rahng-cheh" in Seoul

A flagstone courtyard under a persimmon tree, lattice-doors under an upswept tile roof...on my last night in Seoul, I stayed in these traditional surroundings in the city's Bukchon neighborhood. Twenty million people live in the South Korean capital and its satellite cities, but sitting on the porch of this "hanok" (traditional Korean house) feels like being in the countryside of a century ago.

Bukchon, one of the city's last enclaves of traditional residential architecture, is dotted with homes that have been converted to bed-and-breakfasts or "guesthouses." Often, the owner's family still lives in the home--you might see their laundry drying in the courtyard, and the resident rabbit may nuzzle your ankles...

This particular hanok where I stayed has a rear courtyard with a separate "sah-rahng-cheh"--a building or a wing built to receive guests during the era of the yang-ban nobility. Furniture is low; you sit and sleep on the papered & polished floor. You can reserve this suite which includes a private bathroom, fridge, a/c and wifi. The entire latticed wall opens up, turning the sarangche into an airy pavilion, perfect for breezy spring and early summer evenings. Listen to the raindrops on the roof tiles while having a cup of green tea...

Just around the corner is "Reminis Cake," a diminutive bakery/café whose macarons are some of the best I've had outside of Paris...and you're within walking distance of noodles, dumplings, galleries & two Joseon-dynasty era palaces...