Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_01Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_02

Hello, I’m here to fix your boiler…

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_03

I am a strong believer that when it comes to cities, especially of those ‘home’ variety for individuals who – like me – have confusing heritage, it’s all about spicing things up in the bedroom, so to speak. And for this I wholeheartedly recommend roleplaying: sexy nurse, keen repairman, bored prison guard… whatever floats your boat (enthusiastic Pokémon trainer for me), but the trick is to live, experience and interact with your city from a slightly different perspective, different lifestyle. Rent an inexpensive car for a few days instead of taking public transport, wear a suit every day for no reason, shop like a local, walk like a tourist, book an Airbnb flat in a high-rise and wake up to sunrise on the 20th floor… Enjoy wider horizons but also encounter new limitations. Yes I’m aware this sounds like a page out of a self-help book, but I promise, IT’S SEXY WHEN YOU’RE DOING IT RIGHT. I’d like to think that this is how London and I keep a healthy relationship, even if I have to ask for a hall pass every now and again.

Seoul, for me, is one of those ‘home’ cities – despite never having lived there and a place I still consider an exciting, unmapped territory, I can’t help that on the rare occasion I do visit I slink into an oddly familiar routine that one would typically expect from a local. Now, this isn’t to say that I know my way around the back streets of Gangnam or the best way to haggle over a kilo of spinach with the lady in the market (why does one need kilo of spinach anyway), but it is the inevitable nature of: I seem to blend in with my own people? Last April, brought over by work, I was determined to spice it up – and instead of going straight to one of my relatives, booked two nights at the Conrad hotel on Yeuido island – the city’s business and banking district and also home to the most spectacular cherry blossom festival.

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_04

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_07

Bag – Celine. Shoes – Aquazzura ‘Christy’

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_05Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_06

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_08

Watch – Larsson & Jennings ‘Saxon’. Necklace – Effra London

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_09

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_11Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_12

The hotel, while stunning in design and efficient in service, is undeniably oriented towards business purposes, which is exactly what I’d wanted. I woke up early and mingled with the suited men at breakfast, read the cartoon page off the International New York Times with my glasses perched low on my nose, and abused the concierge app to book wake-up calls but snoozed through the morning. In the afternoon, I took walks through the cherry blossom festival and bought street food, which I smuggled back into my room. And on the last day, I took a friend and snuck into a local public school’s sports field and we spent the afternoon on the bleachers imagining life as a Korean high-schooler. It was love rekindled, and so far away from the Seoul that I got too easily accustomed to. Next time, I’m booking a helicopter ride and borrowing a dog. Now tell me that’s not some power couple’s therapy.

A big thank you to Conrad Seoul for the kind hospitality.

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_13Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_14

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_15

Sweater – Isabel Marant. Trunk bag – Marni. Denim culottes – Charlie May. Heels – Gianvito Rossi

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_16Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_17

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_18

Park-and-Cube_Seoul-Conrad_19

Write a Comment

41 Comments

  1. Lovely pictures as per usual, Shini! Especially the part where you snuck onto the field and bleachers!

  2. EWMcCall

    Gorgeous captures!

  3. Olga

    wonderful photos as always – i love the dreamy, yet slightly melancholy feeling in them.

    http://wideseanoanchor.com

    PS i love the idea of city role play

  4. Beautiful photos! Seoul seems like such an incredible city, your photos have really inspired me to move it up my list of places to travel!

    Tessa at Bramble & Thorn

  5. Wow, you know, I’ve never thought of switching up my routine like that… I think it’s such a fun way to explore the city you live in when you just step outside of the box to do things you’ve never done before! Now I’m looking for a fun AirBnB to book and stay in next weekend :D
    xo, coco | millennielle.com

  6. What a breath of fresh air it was to read this post. Such a seductive way to experience a city. Who needs vacations when they could just do this.

    xx
    http://www.fixatedf.com

  7. @her_editorial

    That hotel looks gorgeous! Great photos.

  8. gorgeous photos

    giveaway on my blog!

    http://hashtagliz.com

  9. These are beautiful pictures! South Korea is definitely in my list of Must go!

  10. I can completely relate to this post. Being half Thai (but not having lived there since I was practically a baby) I feel like I always end up falling into the local routine whenever I visit here. It opens up new experiences though, that someone being a total tourist would never come across. We did the same thing when we visited Japan & it seems so much more fun to live like a local than to visit a country & do all the typical touristy things.
    Really enjoyed this post! The photography is beautiful & I love the Marant knit! Seoul is high on my travel list & I always get excited when you post about your travels there!

    TFM – LIFE & STYLE BLOG

  11. Love your take on traveling. I’m also Korean but never really lived there to feel like a local. But it’s definitely quite magical every time I visit ;)

    Thanks for sharing!

  12. those photos from above seem totally surreal!
    September Rules

  13. Gorgeous photos as always. Just love it.

    March and May

  14. Always love your photo composition

    http://carissainez.com

  15. I really like this idea, should try it when I go back to my hometown and see what happens :)

  16. ahhh i feel like i need to experience my home city of melbourne in different ways now
    ps- would love to go to seoul one day
    x
    http://anoddgirl.blogspot.com.au

  17. my ‘hood!

  18. Lovely! I also feel as if you visit that track field every time you’re there?! Or maybe I’m just imagining it all… xx

  19. Hah nah this was that time when I first posted it on Instagram! Back in April hehe

  20. Just incredible as always! You capture everything so well, I think even if you went and took photos in Scunthorpe you’d make them so beautiful I would want to go haha!

    Shot From The Street | Fashion Blog

  21. love your marni trunk & your lovely pictures!
    it is always a pleasure to read your posts.
    very magazine-esque, but without the cumbersome heaviness and flipping.
    all i need is to just scroll. ^^

  22. Sarah

    Lovely snaps! This is great: ” book an Airbnb flat in a high-rise and wake up to sunrise on the 20th floor… “. I’d actually love to experience a few nights in a penthouse with a view overlooking my home-city. What a lush way to re-experience your city!

  23. I love how each post not only documents your looks, but it also creates an entire experience so your readers can truly feel a part of your adventures. Gorgeous shots as usual.

  24. I look at your blog and I just want to go “fuck offff” in that way one goes at things that are all kinds of stunning and offend one with their splendor.

  25. That definitively sounds like a way to spicen things up, thanks for the advice! ;)

    http://www.lips2lagerfeld.com
    http://www.lips2lagerfeld.com

  26. Hi lovely, great pictures, I could live in that hotel forever! ahaha.
    Glamoury Armory Blog

  27. Really loving the dark moody feel of the photos

  28. Gorgeous photos Shini!

    http://theavantguardian.com

  29. I like this a lot. Makes me think that I should book a hotel for a few nights somewhere in HK rather than stay with relatives. I do love a hotel but then again, I also love waking up and seeing my grandparents pottering about, reading papers or just chopping up freshly purchased market veggies in the morning!

  30. Love to travel with your blog! :)))
    le-sycomore.com

  31. Loving the Pokemon reference, I just started re-playing it on my Game Boy Color & I’m SO enjoying it.

    Becky :: accooohtrements.wordpress.com

  32. Lovely photos & aesthetic.
    xx http://www.nuunablog.com

  33. Lovely photos! :)

    Best, Albert | Palming Pebbles

  34. “enthusiastic Pokémon trainer” Love that so much! Ha ha! Fabulous article and great idea.

  35. Amazing photography as always, it just makes me want to visit :)

    Those shoes are beautiful!

    A Forte For Fashion

    x

  36. Goodness me, I’d do anything to avoid staying with relatives when on holiday… Business hotel every time…

  37. So weird but I knew this place was in Korea just by looking at the photos. Your photography leaves me dreaming about a getaway every time! I am not a creature of routine but I haven’t thought of switching it up that much. Now excuse me while I go and take a tiger from the zoo for a walk. ^^

  38. Ah yes, travel role play! I love going up to Montreal & staying @ my Uncle’s condo. It’s right downtown & I go to hotel bars, some stores I cannot”really” afford, and pretend I’m way fancier than I am. I sometimes even ask people out on dates! If anything, this post has made me want to AirBnB, but I’ve seen Hostel and have this irrational fear that one minute I’ll be asleep in cozy bed & the next handcuffed to a radiator in a basement :p

  39. “I seem to blend in with my own people?” I can really understand how do you feel in Seul. I feel very similar in one of my home cities despite we moved from there when I was two years old. I totally found myself in this post. Wonderful reading as always.

  40. Really interesting selection❤

  41. Hyoung

    YEAH~ Korea! I am very proud of you.
    I visited Conrad also. very modern ,clean. I love this place.