© Michaelis Boyd / Photography: Yong-kwan Kim

As the capital city of a global economic powerhouse, Seoul is obviously steeped in innovation and creativity, pulling eager professionals from across the planet to its doorstep. Although the city has been hub for business for decades, and blessed with a slew of top lodgings in different categories, there has never been one that catered specifically to movers and shakers from the creative scene. Well, until now that is. It’s in the heart of Hongdae, a vibrant area of Seoul known for its underground youth culture and art scene, where the RYSE hotel has opened its doors. Occupying a 20-storey high-rise, the property aims to blend into the local setting, serving as a meeting place, market place and incubator for local creatives and their foreign counterparts along the way. Owned by the hotel division of Korean industrial conglomerate AjuRYSE lights up the local hospitality scene with an interior design by Michaelis Boyd, a renowned design practice based in London. The chosen aesthetic blends playfulness and sophistication, and it’s immediately evident when entering the voluminous lobby.

Already visible from the outside through the expansive floor-to-ceiling windows, a variety of materials are juxtaposed that, quite literally, anchors the hotel’s contemporary urban style. A shiny pink resin floor is paired with concrete pillars and walls clad in stone while a large statement artwork looms from a hole in the ceiling. Situated on an elevated platform at the far end, connected to the lobby by way of concrete steps which also serve as seating, is a cosy café. RYSE features 272 rooms and suites in six categories, each named after a creative profession and having a different size. At 27 sqm. (290 sq.ft.), the Editor Room may be the smallest in the house, but it comes with all the comfort and amenities today’s creative professional requires to stay on top of the game. The bathroom is modern and spacious, and features custom bathrobes by streetwear brand IISE, and the room is decorated with cool artwork. For travellers who love to live at large, the Executive Producer Suite is readily available.

It has palatial dimensions and takes up half of the top floor, featuring two bedrooms, a soaking tub for six people. and fully equipped kitchen. Fun extras include a DJ table with vinyl collection, a well-stocked bar and sweeping city views. Staying at RYSE comes with a number of matching facilities that’ll make the experience all the more enjoyable. The ground floor café we mentioned earlier is managed by Tartine, the revered coffee parlour and bakery from San Francisco, and which serves freshly baked breads and cakes, and obviously, also freshly brewed coffee. The 15th floor is home to the Side Note Club, a watering hole and lounge – mind you, there’s an outdoor terrace as well – fit for nocturnal banter until the wee little hours. Feeling peckish? If so, Long Chim happily accommodates.

This informal restaurant with open kitchen and spacious dining room is situated on the fourth floor, and serves tasty Thai dishes and drinks for lunch and dinner. The menu, supervised by chef David Thompson, is inspired by Bangkok‘s renowned street food, listing both simple dishes to a wide range of exotic Thai entrees made with fresh ingredients flown in from Thailand. And if you’ve got something to celebrate with a small group, you can pick from three private rooms. The property obviously offers spaces where to do business as well, notably the Meeting & Work Studios. Each studio is fully equipped to hold business meetings, private receptions, social gatherings, seminars and board meetings. Other facilities include a full-fledged gym, a library stocked with extensive selections of niche magazines, books and vinyl records, a gallery space, and last but not least, Worksout, a multibrand store stocking cool streetwear.

130 Yanghwa-ro (Hongdae)
04038 Seoul
Telephone: +82 2 3307700

© Michaelis Boyd / Photography: Yong-kwan Kim