Ever wondered what it feels like to be a K-pop idol in Seoul? Now you can experience a snippet of their life, from choreographed dance classes to authentic food trails, via Booking.com.
If you can’t be a K-pop idol, you can still have the opportunity to live like one. A pair of lucky travellers, who managed to snag Booking.com’s ‘Ultimate K-pop Experience’ package, immersed in a once-in-a-lifetime tour in Seoul.
Booking.com has previously rolled out similar experiences like Mariah Carey’s Ultimate Holiday Experience and Mariah’s Beverly Hills Escape, where guests stayed at her favourite Beverly Hills vacation rental and enjoyed a Carey-curated itinerary. The global travel brand also worked with Disney and Melissa McCarthy for an Under The Sea-themed experience to celebrate the recent Little Mermaid live-action movie.
For those who’ve missed this one-off opportunity, you can still curate an authentic yet personalised K-pop experience through Booking.com’s platform. But first, here’s a sneak peek at the itinerary of Booking.com’s ‘Ultimate K-pop Experience’ in Seoul.
A brief rundown of Booking.com’s ‘Ultimate K-pop Experience’ in Seoul
Partnering with RYSE, Autograph Collection and K-pop star KANGDANIEL, the lucky guests who signed up for this three-day Booking.com ‘Ultimate K-pop Experience’ in Seoul only forked out USD$25.07 (approx. SGD$35). This price is a special nod to KANGDANIEL’s official debut date on 25 July 2019.
The stay for them, as you can guess, was at RYSE, located in the vibrant and youth-centric Hongdae district. Here, they received the lavish K-pop star treatment in the exclusive 217-square-metre RYSE Executive Producer Suite on the 20th floor. Not available for direct bookings and typically reserved for celebrities, this suite has housed prominent names like British crooner Sam Smith and rapper Zico.
For this experience, the suite was transformed to correspond with the K-pop theme. Besides the trendy Y2K aesthetic, the space also featured a dazzling private stage for guests to belt their favourite K-songs in their version of a noraebang (karaoke room), and even an in-suite hot food station stocked up with Korean favourites like ramyeon and tteokbokki.
K-pop soloist KANGDANIEL also stepped in to enhance the K-pop experience with exclusive fan treatment – including autographed albums and personalised recorded content himself. There’s also a custom Spicy Chicken Black Bean Ramen recipe by the idol, which guests can follow for a tasty supper.
In an exclusive room tour of the temporarily remodelled suite, KANGDANIEL greets the guests with his signature initials motif as they enter the spacious abode. Besides the aforementioned karaoke room and hot food station, there is also a dedicated section with all things KANGDANIEL. From official collectable merchandise like a portable fan and light stick to his stage wardrobe (which he wore while filming the music video for his 2023 song ‘SOS’), guests can appreciate the life of the K-pop star, bringing them closer to the idol.
Furthermore, this corner doubles up as a makeover site where guests can get a K-pop makeover from professional hair and make-up artists who worked with K-pop idols and celebrities – from IU to Lee Seunggi and Kep1er.
KANGDANIEL said of this partnership, “I’m thrilled to join forces with Booking.com to bring K-pop fans an experience they will never forget. Together, we’ll showcase the very best of K-pop and all the incredible things Seoul has to offer. Travelling brings me pure happiness and a whole new level of inspiration, and I can’t wait to share that joy with my fans.“
“Music and travel go hand in hand and K-pop is undoubtedly a big pull for travellers as part of South Korea’s appeal. With our Ultimate K-pop Experience, we wanted to celebrate the amazing ways the Korean wave can inspire memorable and unique travel memories via its beloved food, local experiences and of course, K-pop. The stay also gives guests a taste of how easy it is to explore their favourite cities with Booking.com, whether it’s finding surprising and wonderful stays, or tapping into local cultures with unique experiences,” added Laura Houldsworth, Managing Director, Asia Pacific, Booking.com.
Below is a list of what’s included in the ‘Ultimate K-pop Experience’:
- Flights, airport and local transfers, and all local transportation to and from attractions and activities
- A two-night stay at the Executive Producer Suite at RYSE, Autograph Collection, including USD$250 in credits for use in the hotel
- Two front-row tickets and VIP treatment at live music show, M COUNTDOWN
- A head-to-toe K-pop makeover with professional hair and make-up artists who work with K-pop idols and celebrities, from IU and Lee Seunggi to members of Girls Generation and Kep1er, done in the comfort of the suite
- A photoshoot to follow the makeover, and a printed photo book to take home as a keepsake
- A private dance lesson with YN Company to master the hottest new K-pop choreography
Signed albums and exclusive, personalised recorded content from KANGDANIEL
Although the suite is no longer bookable, you can still experience a slice of K-pop life with authentic curated activities selection via Booking.com.
Where To Stay – RYSE, Autograph Collection
The colourful design-focused RYSE, Autograph Collection is the perfect base for any K-pop-inspired itinerary. This boutique hotel, which opened in 2018, offers trendy and artistic-led hospitality to guests. Its interior was designed by Michaelis Boyd, the architecture firm whose projects include Soho House London.
Rooms are named and themed after roles in the creative industry – Creator, Editor, Director, Producer, Artist and Executive Producer Suite. Some suites in RYSE were even specially customised by creative masterminds, including fine art photographer Laurent Segretier and collage artist Charles Munka; Seoul based sculptor who defines space with light and polychromatic films Yeojoo Park, and multimedia storyteller Maekan. These Artist Suites are curated with strong aesthetics and individuality to embrace the youth culture of Hongdae.
RYSE also offers the hippiest F&B selections in the city – from Blue Bottle Coffee, and its in-house restaurant Charr, to the distiller-own Tokki Bar, and music-inspired rooftop bar & lounge, Side Note Club.
What To Do – Choreographed K-pop Dance Class at YN Company
No K-pop experience will ever be complete without a choreographed dance class. The foreigner-friendly YN Company will guide participants through dances of the latest chart-topping K-pop hits with a 70-minute class. You’ll move like BTS’ Jungkook on ‘Seven’ or groove to NewJeans’ ‘ETA’ via easy-to-follow directions.
The experienced instructors teach with clear cues, which makes learning the dance moves enjoyable. After the class, one will have around 50 minutes of free time to practice the newly acquired moves and even film a solo dance video.
Where To Eat – Seoul Food and Drink Tour
Discover and taste some of Seoul’s most interesting local eateries and drinking spots with this five-hour-long tour. The easiest way to understand local culture (and K-pop’s favourite dishes) is to go on a food trail.
Knowledgeable local guide Mike guides participants through his recommendations of local food and drink spots in Seoul. Explore the Insa-dong neighbourhood, Gwangjang Market and Jongno district that’s filled with charming historical landmarks and alleyways with insider-known eats.
Where To Shop – Hongdae
You’ll probably want a wardrobe update befitting a K-pop idol. The Hongdae neighbourhood doesn’t lack characteristic flagship concept shops.
The trendy five-storey multi-label Åland has an address here alongside prominent South Korean fashion labels like avant-garde Ader Error, the utilitarian Covernat, the minimalist Musinsa Standard, and streetwear thisisneverthat.