The Hanok-style Hotel Gyeongwonjae,
Unique Experience in the Urban Center
This picture often represents Incheon Songdo. "What is this place? An exhibition hall? A high-end restaurant? It sure is beautiful," you might have thought so.
This is the hanok-style Hotel Gyeongwonjae (hanok: Korean traditional houses).
It opened its doors in 2015. The country's top class masters participated in each of the construction processes to recreate the major architectural styles of the Goryeo (918-1392) and Joseon (1392-1910) Dynasties.
Daemokjang Choi Gi-yeong, registered as a UNESCO intangible cultural heritage, used the country's best wood from the Yeongdong Region in the bottom part of the structure to perfect the strength of the architectural structure. Master Kim Seong-ho who was in charge of lacquering for the country's prestigious Buddhist temples has added the subdued beauty of the hanok-style hotel. Lee Geun-bok, the country's only master roof tiler, who has participated in the repairs of the country's cultural assets of the national treasure class, completed the curvaceous characteristics of the traditional Korean buildings through the application of the country's time-honored tiling methodology. Lacquer furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl crafted by lacquerware master Im Chung-hyu is installed in a number of locations through the hotel, perfecting the beauty of the traditional Korean houses. Traditional windows crafted by Ga Pung-gook boost the comfortable atmosphere of various indoor spaces of the hotel through their understated beauty and decency.
Upon entering the hotel premises, you will immediately feel that this is anything but a typical hotel. Gyeongwonjae is not a huge multi-level building that overwhelms people. A group of traditional Korean houses that are about as high as 2-story modern buildings are well laid out in the complex. The beauty of a curve in traditional Korean roofs creates an exquisite balance with the beauty of a straight line in traditional Korean stone walls so that guests feel warm and snug in the premises.
An exquisite balance between traditional beauty and modern convenience. There can be no other expression that better sums up the characteristics of Gyeongwonjae. The guestrooms are characterized by the beauty of self-control, which produces the ambience of quiet and calm, while providing guests with all the modern conveniences. The interior of guestrooms is decorated with wallpaper made of hanji (Korean paper) and classic antique furniture to offer guests the warmth and comfort that only hanok can provide. A large bathtub made of cypress wood is installed in each guestroom. Take a bath and experience what a classical scholar felt during the Joseon Dynasty. It will definitely give a big smile on your face.
Now get out of your guestroom and see what programs the hanok hotel offers that you can enjoy the country's cultural heritages more intimately. First, the hotel presents 'a stamp tour trail' so that guests can observe the skills of the masters who took part in the construction of the hotel. The tour introduces the masterpieces of seven master craftsmen, including the signboard of Gyeongwonjae, the lacquer furniture inlaid with mother-of-pearl featuring red Japanese apricot blossoms and a peacock, wooden window frames, natural lacquerwork, traditional Korean roof tiles, woodwork by master carpenter Choi Gi-yeong, and a folding screen featuring the sun, the moon and five mountain peaks. Be sure to get a stamp at each of the seven stops and receive a gift. Second, you can rent royal costumes of various sorts and put them on. Make an unforgettable memory with your beloved ones. Third, try playing traditional Korean games such as tuho (pitch-pot), jegi chagi (shuttlecock kicking), and yut nori (board game) which are always available in the front yard near the entrance.
Fourth, just opposite the yard is Hamwolji Pond (literally a pond embracing the moon) that has a small pot in the middle. Make a wish and throw a coin into the pot. If you succeed, your wish will come true.
Fifth, take a stroll along the trail and revel in the beauty of hanok. The trail goes by Japanese apricot trees and 100-year-old hackberry trees. While walking in the unique environment, get absorbed in meditation and experience the beauty of kenosis (self-emptying).
Lastly, try to eat the Korean royal cuisine at Sura which serves both full course meals and a la carte meals. It also serves traditional liquors and teas from across the country. It is a paradise for gourmets with refined taste.
Hotel Gyeongwonjae Ambassador Incheon lets you experience Korea's proudest cultural heritage including the beauty of hanok in its finest form. Gyeongwonjae has come from 'Gyeongwonbu,' the administrative unit centered around Incheon during the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392). 'Gyeongwon' means 'a village that brings good luck.' Gyeongwonjae wishes all its visitors plenty of luck and happiness.
Hanok Hotel Gyeongwonjae: KRW 209,000 - 1,100,000 per night
Korean Restaurant Sura: KRW 20,000 - 100,000 (a la carte), KRW 33,000 - 125,000 (course menus)
As the hotel is located inside Songdo Central Park, you can also enjoy outdoor activities including walking and jogging. You can take a water taxi in the park.