Thank goodness for this new breed of hotels, catering to the achingly hip and cool. Ryse in Seoul – part of Marriott’s boutique Autograph Collection – is unquestionably in this mould, conceived as a homage to the creative industries. It may not look like a business hotel, but it’s certainly able to cater to the working crowd, particularly those who are looking to add a heavy dose of art, design and fashion to their stay.
Ryse sits in the heart of Hongdae, an area known as the South Korean capital’s hub for all things arty and underground. It has become more commercial in recent years, especially as a centre for the creative industries. The business districts of Yeoeuido or Jongno are just a short taxi ride away.
The creative emphasis starts with the room names. They include the room categories of Creator, Editor and Director, while the suites are named Producer, Artist and Executive Producer. They’re simple in that ultra-hip kind of way – but all the touches emphasise the positioning: complimentary mini bar, prints for art, retro-designed Bluetooth speakers, complimentary face masks (they’re a Korean thing).
The hotel feels like a giant co-working space. The ground floor cafe Tartine bustles with meetings and freelancers tapping at computers, while the Over the Counter restaurant serves California-style bowls – grain, salad and more. The Print Culture lounge is a relaxed working space and library, and there are also plenty of event spaces for receptions, workshops and lectures.