Those heading to Josun Palace for the first time won’t be able to anticipate what’s to come from its facade.
The property is located within the shopping and office complex, Centerfield, built with an appearance of silver and glass that blends perfectly into the business district of Gangnam. However, everything changes from the minute guests step into the main entrance.
While understated glamour has become increasingly popular in the luxury hotel scene, Josun Palace has decided to go in the complete opposite direction and lean into the opulence of it all. From a Daniel Arsham’s towering Blue Calcite Eroded Moses statue in the entrance to a ceiling gilded in gold and black, you know you’re in the arms of luxury here.
For those familiar with the Josun Hotel & Resorts brand, these details shouldn’t come as a surprise. The 254-key hotel is part of the highly regarded hotel group in Korea (as well as The Luxury Collection by Marriott International), and was built based on the heritage of the first luxury hotel in Korea, Chosun Hotel. Here, they’ve taken the space and modernised the 100-year legacy, while still keeping to the theme of old-world splendour.
One can expect nothing less from the designs of Monaco-based architecture and interiors firm, Humbert & Poyet. Strong lines and bold geometric patterns are embedded throughout the hotel, and one just has to take a look at the Grand Reception to see what we’re getting at: a flurry of tall brass structures, splashes of red, marble, and concentric circles that make up the main ceiling lights — you almost feel transported into the set of The Great Gatsby, with Leo standing by the windows with a drink in hand.
The rooms are a little pared back in design compared to the rest of the Josun Palace, but the details were not lost on us either. We were housed in the Masters Room, a sizeable 50-sqm space dressed with a sofa bed, patterned sofa fabrics, asymmetrical ceiling lights and of course, a soft, arch-framed doorway that separates the main bedroom area from your personal hallway.
After a night of sleeping easy with the Bespoke Cube Air (your personal purifier!) and plush blankets, we woke up to expansive morning views of the city, marked by Lotte World Tower in the distance. We then began our day by hanging our clothes for the day in the handy Samsung AirDresser – a smart device that sanitises, deodorises, steams, and dries our garments – before stepping into the double-doored bathroom for a relaxing soak in the marbled bathtub, followed by a shower with Byredo amenities.
A nightcap amidst the backdrop of a city that doesn’t seem to sleep seems to be in order at 1914 Lounge & Bar, but if you only have the time for one meal in the property (heck, one fine-dining meal in Seoul) a trip to Eatanic Garden is well worth it. The restaurant, which clinched its first Michelin Star just a week after our visit, is helmed by the talented (not to mention, handsome) chef Son Jong-won, who also runs another Michelin-starred restaurant, L’Amant Secret.
Here, guests are treated to contemporary Korean cuisine made with seasonal ingredients. From an intricately made origami seaweed snack to a decadent plate of stacked abalone and Korean beef (hanwoo) topped with white truffle – served with a medley of mushrooms to reflect the fall season – each dish was more impressive than the next. A detail that we really enjoyed? Pictorial menu cards were presented with each dish, with a short commentary by chef Son to help us understand the thought process behind his creation. We got to take these beautiful cards home too, as a reminder of the most impressive fine-dining lunch we’ve had on our trip thus far.
When we weren’t swimming laps in the heated pool or taking pictures by the corridors where BTS filmed episode 150 of Run BTS, we spent a good amount of time exploring the area around the hotel. For a more relaxing activity, head straight to Bongeunsa, a traditional Buddhist temple. Shopaholics can head directly to COEX Mall, just a short 20-minute stroll or two train stops away, where they’ll be able to visit the famous Starfield Library too.
Jamsil, famous for being the home of Seokchon Lake Park and Lotte World, is also a 15-minute train ride from the nearest Seolleung station. P.S. Jamsil is also where you’ll find Ossu Seiromushi, a restaurant owned by BTS’ Jin’s brother.
It’s safe to say you’re getting a whole lot more out of Josun Palace than a good night’s rest. There are unique pieces of artwork that range from sculptures to paintings in just about every corner of the locale, almost as though a trip to the hotel is an attraction in and of itself. From delicious eats to impeccable service staff that remember you by name, there’s no doubt that given a choice, we’d choose to spend our nights in Seoul at Josun Palace again.