Even if you enjoy the backpacking life, Grace Yeoh suggests treating yourself to a hotel that won’t cramp your style – Korea’s vibrant Aloft Seoul Gangnam.
When was the last time you did something for the first time? It is upon this question that I base all my travel plans. So, while I usually rough it out by “couch surfing” or living in hostels, and rarely allow myself the comfort of a hotel due to budget constraints, I thought it would be nice to finally try something new and different. Seeing as it’s the month of love, I reckoned it was time to search for a hotel that would appeal to fun, young couples. My only criteria: the hotel couldn’t be too conventional or stuffy. My search ended last November at Aloft Seoul Gangnam. The funky Aloft line of hotels caters to the new age traveller – someone who appreciates the possibilities that travel brings – by incorporating style and connectivity into every aspect of their design and philosophy.
A warm welcome
Stepping into their chic lobby, I was immediately greeted by the friendly and hospitable concierge staff. The rainbow wall of LED lights and the hotel’s winning customer service instantly made this foreigner feel at home. Additionally, the hotel offered Cool Concierge tablets that gave visitors access to local information, restaurant reservations and even maps, making it uber convenient for tech-savvy couples to plan an itinerary on their own.
Seoul is teeming with things to do, places to go and food to eat, so it’s easy to be spoilt for choice. But I knew I was in good hands – after all, Aloft is the sister of W Hotels group, which is known for appealing to the contemporary and hip urban crowd. I kicked off my Seoul getaway within Aloft itself at the WXYZ bar on the second floor, which prides itself on delivering top-notch music and drinks. Aloft’s commitment to music and talent discovery makes this hotel a music lover’s dream, and the bar regularly brings in emerging artistes to perform acoustic sets (think The Lumineers and Better Than Ezra!). It’s almost like having a concert at your doorstep.
Get a room
Trust me, with myriad activities happening at the hotel, you might just forget you haven’t stepped out yet. That is, until you retire to your room for the night and fall head first into their plush platform beds, after taking a hot shower from their rainfall showerheads. If you’re knackered from the day’s activities, Aloft’s winning combination of tasteful decor, comfy bed and Wi-Fi access it the ideal romantic hideout for a couples night in. At this point, it’s fair to say I didn’t ever want to leave this paradise.
Grab and go
And then morning broke. Hungry but unwilling to settle for measly grub, I grabbed a quick breakfast at Nook, the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant, where their array of international dishes would impress even the fussiest foodie. Couples looking for a little time alone tend to grab a spot by the floor-to-ceiling windows that offer picturesque views of the city. Then, before you finally head out for a day of sightseeing, stock up on a few light meals and munchies from Aloft’s Re:fuel lounge at the ground floor. The hotel doesn’t believe in placing goodies in your room’s fridge, but here you can pick and choose your own desired treats!
When I started the search for a hotel for young couples, I wasn’t expecting to fall in love with Aloft Seoul Gangnam’s stylish vibe and hip location. But like all great love affairs, it eventually won me over with its charm – and it’ll win you over too. Besides, it’s always good to keep things exciting and fresh in a relationship. For the couple who usually travels on a budget, treating yourself to a stay at the youthful and hip Aloft Seoul Gangnam is the best way to do it. All while keeping to your free-spirited travel style.
For reservations, call +82 2 510 9700 or visit www.alofthotels.com/seoulgangnam.
By Grace Yeoh, CLEO, February 2015