Concealed in the scenic Seoraksan National Park, Kensington Hotel Seorak is the closest accommodation to Korea’s most famous vacation area. With a mahogany interior and royal emblems, the hotel surely evokes the graceful atmosphere of a British royal residence.
After a 3.5-hour bus trip from Seoul, including a brief stop in Sokcho, we arrived at the Kensington Hotel Seorak on a chilly afternoon. The hotel is located just 200 meters from the entrance of Seoraksan National Park, making it an ideal place for whoever wants to enjoy the golden hour in the famous park.
As we walked from the bus stop, the first thing that captured our attention was the bright red double-decker bus standing outside the hotel. An icon of London, this bus cafe offers a stark contrast to the autumnal gold surrounding and the plain white facade of the hotel.
Completed in 1977, Kensington Hotel Seorak is the country’s first themed hotel. It is wholly designed in the British style, with antiques, mahogany walls, and furniture. On the walls, emblems and pictures of the British monarchy are ubiquitous, evoking the atmosphere of a royal mansion. Its sophistication is accentuated by a grand piano in the foyer and a library that seemingly comes straight out of Hogwarts.
Kensington Hotel Seorak is a household name with Korean celebrities. Of 109 rooms, 43 are adorned with photos and items contributed by artists, sports stars, and politicians in the 70s and 80s. The hallways are also exhibition halls, featuring pictures and belongings of the big names. This hotel is a museum in itself.
Despite its Western interior, guests can choose between the classic and the Zen-style bedroom. In my case, I prefer the latter which is simple and offers more space. It’s also accompanied by an extra comfy blanket. Except for those in the back, most rooms overlook the scenic Seoraksan.
The Abbey Road
At the top of the hotel is Abbey Road, an elegant bistro and bar decorated with images and precious possessions of the Beatles. One of them is the 1963 Rickenbacker guitar signed by all members. On a warmer day, guests can have a panoramic view of Seoraksan on the terrace, while enjoying afternoon tea and a range of classic British dishes.
- The bus stop is directly located in front of the hotel. From there, it’s just a short walking distance to the foyer.
- Thanks to its strategic location, you can easily walk from the hotel to the park. My advice would be to wake up early and be the first person entering the park before the tour buses arrive (the first one comes at around 6:45 – 7:00 AM). In the early morning, Seoraksan National Park is amazingly beautiful and tranquil.
This post is written based on my personal experience. It was neither sponsored nor solicited by Kensington Hotel Seoraks or any third party. All texts and pictures reflect my own opinions and are provided solely for informational purposes. I will not be liable for any errors or damages by making use of this information.