Fodor's Expert Review
The Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul is accommodations for a different style of vacation—the one where you never leave the premises. This hotel atop Mount Namsan is truly a retreat made for respite, so if it’s your first visit to Seoul, you may have a hard time tearing yourself away beyond the hill. And with luxury quarters that feature options for private spa amenities in-room (like a relaxation/plunge pool and steam room) and room-length window spans, it will be hard to leave your room let alone the grounds.
Recommended Fodor’s Video
A control panel regulates everything you could need in the room—sound system, temperature, lights, blinds and blackout curtains—but little details make the room feel cozy. Incense and candles set the mood and scent of the room. Live plants make a homey, blissful room experience. Bose speakers provide surround sound from the living room to the bathroom, but we recommend the sound of the water filling your private in-suite relaxation pool, or dripping off the slate walls of a separate steam room. Allergy-free bedding, including a duvet and a variety of pillows, layer the king-sized bed. You’ll find universal sockets as a bonus.
Tip Windows here provide incredible views—of N Tower Seoul, Mount Namsan, the city and more—and best of all, open up so that you can air out a steamy spa session and let in a fresh breeze.
The bathroom encompasses vanity, separate toilet room (with frosted doors), and rainfall shower. Every toiletry you might need is provided by Banyan Tree’s brand, and while the vanity has incredible views, the space lacks a full-length mirror. Japanese-style toilets are heated and have a bevy of bidet options.
The lobby is lacking in any sort of atmosphere, but it serves its concierge purpose with attentive staff and plenty of space to sit. Beyond the welcome desk is the Banyan Tree’s Granum Dining Lounge for healthy, modern meals and breakfasts (buffet).
Indoor and outdoor pool are available--the indoor provides space for lap swimming, separate kid's pools, and is available year-round. The outdoor pool is seasonal with a festive atmosphere.
You Should Know The outdoor pool transforms to a skating rink in the winter, and the grounds around are great for sledding!
Pampering is the specialty at the renowned Banyan Tree Spa. Multiple pools of varying temperatures, a sauna, and steam room are all on offer for relaxation, along with body and facial treatments and massages. It’s a more intimate, upscale version of a traditional Korean bathhouse experience with a plethora of options.
Tip Not sure what to do with the kids while you spa? The extensive Kids Club (available to club members and guests for a fee) offer sitter services with crafts classes, a library, a play room, and a video and computer room.
The gym at Banyan Tree offers extensive and state-of-the-art equipment for your workout, and the fun doesn’t stop there. Yoga and aerobic studios flank the entire floor dedicated to strength training. Trainers are on-hand to help you with spotting, stretches, or even a leg-up on the rock climbing wall. The indoor pools have space for laps and relaxation, as well as separate kids’ pools. Facilities expand outside to soccer fields, basketball and tennis courts, driving range, and walking trails along Mount Namsan. The outdoor pool features with cabanas and poolside dining.
Festa Restaurant is the hotel’s star dining establishment, featuring seasonal, local fare for all tastes. The creative take on modern Korean food focuses on substance over style and sustainability over flash, but there is elegance in the dishes’ simplicity. Granum Dining Lounge is located in the hotel and features European cuisine in a relaxed setting, while the intimate Club Member’s Restaurant offers upscale Korean and Asian dishes. Though there are just three restaurants on-site, the variety of settings within these eateries range from private formal dining to coffee shop to high tea.
Moon Bar delivers on its appellation—the views from this rooftop cocktail lounge are stunning. From the tip of Mount Nansam, look over the park’s rolling trees and down the hill to the glittering lights of the Seoul skyline. If the extended whiskey collection is making you hungry, there’s tapas on the menu.
The Banyan Tree Club and Spa Seoul is probably the only hotel in Seoul not easily accessible by public transit, but this isn’t a hotel you’ll want to leave. If you simply must, plan to rent a car, because the closest subway stop is about a mile away, and taxis aren’t just passing by (but can easily be summoned by staff).
Visit the Food Court at the N Seoul Tower (a 20-minute walk) for a bite on a budget, or walk or take a taxi to Myeong-dong and Itaewon for food stalls and restaurants galore.
Hit the Beer Garden (20-minute walk) at the N Seoul Tower for brews with views or walk or take a taxi to Myeong-dong and Itaewon for food stalls and restaurants galore.