You have yet to set foot in Korea, but you have mastered the art of making a Kogi BBQ short rib taco, you play K-pop on loop, you eat kimchi with everything, and your soju collection is vast. L.A.'s sprawling and vibrant Koreatown is closer and cheaper than a plane ticket to Asia, which is why the New Seoul Hotel is your perfect weekend getaway.
Located on Olympic Boulevard in the heart of K-town, the hotel offers easy access to Korean restaurants, spas, mom-and-pop shops, K-beauty meccas, Asian markets and happening nightlife. You can’t wait to practice your fledgling language skills, and eat your weight in bulgogi and bibimbap.
Inside the New Seoul Hotel you discover an ornately decorated lobby with sun dappled plants and neo-Renaissance gold furniture that opens up to a shopping center. You zip up the elevator and enter a comfy, spacious room that’s tastefully decorated with scarlet-red chairs and black-and-white decals. You pull back the curtains—below, the pulsating neighborhood beckons.
You stroll a couple of blocks to the famous Park's BBQ restaurant. Inside the modern dining area the soju is cold, the Kobe-style prime beef and brisket is fresh and thick, and there’s a sea of small plate appetizers with things like spicy broccoli, little egg pancakes, and an assortment of kimchi. You order a Hite beer to wash it all down as the waiters attentively watch the meat simmer until it’s brown and delicious.
The mid-day, meat-heavy feast has left you relaxed and sleepy, so you head to Wi Spa to further unwind. You check your bag into a locker and slip into a robe for a few seconds until you’re in the buff dipping into one of the many pools that vary in temperature and size. There’s also dry and steam saunas, a TV lounge area, and a sprinkling of fellow nude spa-goers closing their eyes in relaxation. The spa is separated by gender except for in the jimjilbang, where both men and women can dine at the restaurant and recline in one of the many restorative mineral saunas. You’re in no rush so after a luxurious facial and a rigorous—yet relaxing—salt scrub that leaves your skin smooth and soft, you find yourself asleep atop the cool marble floors in the napping room.
You awake refreshed and recharged, and head out into the night. You wander along Wilshire past art deco buildings, eclectic strip malls, karaoke joints, classic music venues, and fashion-savvy locals. Dinner is at BCD Tofu House, where you inhale the restaurant's specialty, sundubu-jjigae (a spicy tofu stew) and wash it down with more Hite beer. Dessert is at nearby Honeymee, which serves delicate soft serve with honeycomb and drizzles of syrupy honey.
As you enjoy your soft serve, a K-pop star look-a-like strikes up a conversation and is so impressed by your Korean he invites you to Cafe Brass Monkey, which he informs you is the neighborhood’s funkiest and liveliest karaoke bar. Should you knock out the crowd by singing your killer, Hite-fueled version of the latest BTS hit? You follow him down the street. Why not? In this city—this New Seoul—there is no curfew.
New Seoul Hotel
2666 W Olympic Blvd, Los Angeles 90006
213. 381. 6262