Shilla Seoul Hotel
Seoul, South Korea
Photo courtesy of The Shilla Seoul / The Leading Hotels of the World.
Shilla Seoul Hotel Named for one of Korea’s major “three kingdoms” and one of history’s longest dynasties, the Shilla Seoul is the crown jewel of the country’s hotels. A 2013 renovation solidified its reputation as a cosmopolitan, world-class hotel deeply rooted in Korean tradition and culture, with an impressive collection of contemporary art in its sculpture garden and throughout the resort. The Shilla’s location keeps you close to the center and bustle of Seoul (there’s a shuttle to the nearby subway, though odds are, you aren’t taking public transportation if you’re staying here), while offering enough peace and tranquility in its 23 wooded acres to let you forget that you’re in the city. The property’s design aesthetic is warm but minimalist, with an “outdoor island” of heated pools and loungers with Namsan mountain views, and a high-end shopping arcade. La Yeon is the first traditional Korean restaurant to be awarded three Michelin stars, and the spa is one of only two Guerlain spas in Asia. The Shilla hotel group also includes a resort on the island of Jeju and a dozen business-oriented hotels should you be spoiled by its particular brand of understated luxury.