Guests can be rather picky nowadays. When choosing a hotel, the brand is no longer the only thing on their minds: now it is all about the design – and how it fits in with their tastes, lifestyle… You name it.
Even mainstream hotels have cottoned on to this, and have started embracing unique design. The Marriott, Hyatt and Hilton are all channelling their efforts into landing and collaborating with unusual design brands and famous designers. Take hotels Park Hyatt Hangzhou and Grand Hyatt Chengdu as examples: both were designed by Yabu Pushelberg and Tony Qi.
What’s more, industry boundaries are breaking down as home furnishing, fashion brands and big names in retail are entering the hotel business. A single space can now blur the lines between a hotel, restaurant and multi-purpose venue. The fact is that brands are striving to become an ‘all-in-one’ service to meet their customer’s every need. These new hospitality players are really just theme parks for grown-ups – and Seoul is one of the most competitive battlefields in this ambitious marketplace…..
Once an abandoned warehouse in the 1960s , local furnishing company Design Methods made this venue into a super modern house with a big emphasis on minimalism. As well as holding 25 bedrooms, other spaces in the building are used as an art gallery, restaurant and event space. Opening in 2016, the house was one of the top picks for Seoul Design Spots 2016. But by far the the coolest things in this space are the 3D-printed room keys and all the signs around the house.
The hotel is the new outlet for Casa Mia, one of the most popular home furnishing brands in Seoul. More of a huge, unofficial showroom for Casa Mia, the lobby is decorated like a study with book-lined walls and comfortable sofas. The design of its 61 rooms makes you feel right at home. Plus, after you finish your stay, you can shop at the furniture store located in the hotel. The onsite restaurant, Casameal is also a hotspot for Instagrammers. Top tip: try the daily baked breads… You’ll thank me later.
Complete with Edison light bulbs, Tolix rocker stools, highway signs, typewriters and factory machines, this hotel brings a whole new definition to the work ‘edgy’, and is a rather alternative interpretation of Ace Hotel in 1990s. The hotel also puts a lot of effort into hosting events: the monthly events calendar is almost resembles a step-by-step guide to Seoulian modern life – find star events such as the live Jazz show at the hotel and food safaris organised by Makers Insiders.
Nancy Huang is Features Editor for Condé Nast Traveler China.