Earlier this summer, I decided to go on what Koreans call a “hokangseu” — in English, a staycation. Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, staycations are becoming more and more popular. By taking an adventure in your own city, you can cut out the long, gruelling travel and minimise the risk of carrying a virus to or from different regions.
When you live and work in Seoul like I do, the city can become rather monotonous and draining. Feeling like I needed a vacation, but not wanting to travel far, I decided to refresh and reset with a whole new experience in the city I call home. Taking a staycation is a great way to break your daily routine and rekindle the romance you had with the place you live.
After hours and hours of research (and convincing myself that 700,000 KRW was NOT an acceptable amount of money to pay for a night in a hotel with a private pool), I settled on a hotel I’d seen on social media a couple of times.
Found near Myeongdong in Seoul, L’Escape is a hotel that describes itself as a “Parisian escape in the middle of Seoul.” L’Escape the French-inspired but not-quite-French-named hotel is an ornate time capsule of 18th to 19th century France.
The mix of 18th century furniture and 19th century art and decor will really make you feel like you’ve left Korea and gone to Europe! Moreover, anyone that has been to Europe will appreciate that although this hotel is not the most accurate reflection of French art, it is creative nonetheless. It is certainly a beautiful place to spend a night or two.
On the note of French authenticity, L’Escape provides the perfect opportunity for dépaysement, the feeling of being away from home.
When I first arrived, I noticed the hotel was clean, beautiful and had a range of facilities. It is not a luxury hotel by any means, but it makes for a comfortable stay. There is a restaurant, bar, gym and even a Starbucks but the highlight is definitely the rooms themselves.
The rooms are beautifully decorated and almost every corner is a photo zone! Those with a suite room gain exclusive access to the “Library”, a lounge area inspired by Parisian salons. There are books available in the Library but whether you’re there to read or not, its a beautiful place to relax in.
Vacances en solo
My staycation at L’Escape was actually a solo trip. I spent hours in my room taking photos! Therefore, if you are vacationing alone too, make sure to bring a tripod and your favourite outfits for a dream photoshoot.
Afterwards, I spent the rest of the evening reading, listening to music and enjoying a relaxing drink. For those of us that live in small apartments with only showers, you cannot miss the opportunity to enjoy a hot bath. What’s more, you will wake up feeling completely refreshed the next morning.
For dinner, I decided to step outside the hotel and got some take out sushi…for a French-Japanese fusion experience?
If you’re planning your staycation with a friend or partner, L’Escape would be the perfect place to stay too. The rooms are equipped with large TVs, ideal for a movie night and the hotel bar is a dreamy date spot. If you’re looking to stay active, you can use the hotel gym but you must make a reservation in advance. This is because the hotel has reduced the gym capacity due to Covid-19 — I even heard that it was possible to book a personal treadmill for your room!
My tips for a staycation at L’Escape is to check the current deals available on the hotel website. I was able to stay one night at a really good price with a promotion they were running. I also recommend checking out the restaurants in the area in advance, especially if you’re not wanting to splurge on both the dinner and hotel.
As part of the deal I paid for, I was given two 10,000 won Starbucks coupons (valid only at the hotel Starbucks) which I used for a my post-breakfast coffees — I regretted paying extra for hotel breakfast when I could’ve gotten it free at Starbucks!
I booked with the “Escape to L’Escape: 6 to 9” deal that was running at the time of my vacation. For ~130,000 KRW, the deal included a 1 night stay in Deluxe Amour room, two 10,000 KRW Starbucks vouchers and flexible check in/check out in accordance with typical work schedules.
Location and Getting There
Address: 67 Toegye-ro, Jung-gu, Seoul Check in: 3:00pm ~ Check out: ~ 12:00pm Website: lescapehotel.com
Overall, L’Escape is a great place for a Covid-safe staycation in Seoul. If you’re someone who loves aesthetic destinations, photography or is just looking for a quiet escape, this is the place for you. For me, it was the perfect staycation spot to escape the stress of daily life while keeping safe during the pandemic. What’s more, it felt amazing to get a restful break without the need for long travel. Come to L’Escape and experience Seoul in a whole new way!