Hilton Busan opened in 2017 as a beachfront hotel in a mixed-use resort complex called Ananti Cove in the eastern suburbs of South Korea’s preeminent southern port city. Designed as an urban resort, the property fits those seeking to get away from the city hustle and bustle but still want to retain the urban creature comforts. The property is about 15 minutes walk from one of Busan’s tourist spots – the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple – and is about 20 minutes drive to Haeundae Beach and the commercial areas of Centum City.
It is rare for a hotel to actually inspire me to travel somewhere but seeing the compelling aesthetic of the Hilton Busan in social media actually led me to make my way to Busan for my first visit to the city. From Busan Station to Hilton Busan, I took a taxi which cost approximately 24,000 Won. To save a bit of money, you can also travel to Centum City subway station and take a taxi from there. Your cab fare to the hotel can go down to almost half of the fare compared to originating a ride from Busan Station.
The interesting thing about the Hilton Busan is that the lobby is actually located at the topmost floor, with the rooms situated at the lower floors of the hotel. The concierge is located at the ground floor and seeing how impeccably designed the hotel is, perhaps it was a good thing that the actual reception desk is upstairs. The ground level is usually filled with daytrippers taking selfies so the reception feels much more private.
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Premium Ocean View Room at Hilton Busan
My room for this particular stay was the Premium Ocean View Room. At 60 square meters, it’s almost similar in style to the lead-in rooms except that mine had a view of the sea and comes with an espresso machine. Looking more like a Conrad hotel than a Hilton, the decor was sleek with plenty of brown and other warm colors. There is a noticeable wooden screen pattern that shows itself in several areas, perhaps as a homage to Korean sensibilities.
The room is large enough such that the bath/wardrobe area takes up half the size while the other half is made up of the bed and sitting areas. There are indeed several areas here to lounge around including a work desk that can work as well for relaxing or even dining, a lounge chair and some seats outside from where guests can appreciate the view.
As mentioned previously, the bath area takes up about half the size of the room. This includes a walk-in wardrobe with both a his and hers section for storing one’s luggage and hanging one’s clothes. There are also plenty of drawers and storage areas here that it seems to me long-staying guests were also considered in the design plan.
The bathroom can be imagined as a high-end sauna’s washroom complete with dark stone tiles and even a long wooden bench from which to rest from. There’s also a his and hers sink. Toiletries here are notably from Crabtree and Evelyn rather than the Peter Thomas Roth ones I’ve encountered in my other Hilton stays such as the Hilton Kota Kinabalu, Hilton Kuala Lumpur or Hilton Bangkok Sukhumvit.
One of the highlights of the entire room is undoubtedly the bathtub. Hilton Busan has ticked the right social media boxes by placing it against the window, allowing for many tub snaps in Instagram. The Hilton Busan has the advantage of having a direct sunrise view so why not watch it while having a soak? The door from the tub leading to the balcony can be slid open, allowing for a bit of a cool breeze to sneak inside the bath area.
As the Hilton Busan is positioned as an urban resort, there are plenty of facilities here to keep guests busy even if they don’t step out of the hotel during the entire stay. The 2-storey fitness center for instance is disproportionally huge for a hotel of this size. Needless to say, they have the complete set of exercise equipment here. I felt so enticed to work-out during the three days I was there.
There is also a relaxing sauna for both men and women with spacious lounge areas. The hotel accepts a select few residents to be members in the inhouse wellness center which includes the gym, sauna and pool. That being said, I never saw the facilities crowded during my time there except for the indoor swimming pool which is especially popular with families.
Given the seaside location of the hotel, the Hilton Busan also has a private chapel that can host intimate weddings. As with the overall theme of the hotel, the chapel also has a nice curved ceiling that would make for excellent photos.
Breakfast at Hilton Busan (da MOIM)
Located at Basement 2, da MOIM serves as the hotel’s all-day dining restaurant. Its high ceiling as well as sea-facing concept reminds me very much of Oceana Restaurant at Hilton Malta.
Breakfast here is a mix of Korean, Japanese, Chinese and Western cuisine. As is my usual experience in hotels this part of the world, the buffet is extensive and they have plenty to offer even for vegetarians. I was surprised as well to find quite a number of meticulously made cakes available during the morning meal.
Food Options at Hilton Busan (da MOIM and McQueen’s Bar)
Those who don’t wish to head out of Ananti Cove (an excellent idea!) during their entire stay at Hilton Busan can very well have their gastronomic needs fulfilled by the restaurant options at the complex. I tried Mokran, a Chinese-Korean restaurant opened by a celebrity chef. Otherwise, the hotel itself has a couple of compelling f&b choices. I managed to try McQueen’s Bar for lunch. They have a lunch set with appetizers, mains and dessert for 49,900 Won.
For dinner, I went back to da MOIM. They don’t have an ala carte menu here for lunch or dinner but I was pleasantly surprised to find a sumptuous buffet being served. My stay coincided with an abalone promotion the restaurant was having. While the spread included Western, Chinese and Japanese dishes; it was the seafood selection that really made it special. Among the highlights during the buffet were Abalone Fried Rice, Abalone Bulgogi and Abalone Risotto. To be frank, it was the first time I’ve ever seen whole abalones being served in a buffet.
Hilton Busan Shuttle Bus
As mentioned previously, the Hilton Busan is close to some of the city’s tourist attractions such as the Haedong Yonggungsa Temple and Lotte Premium Outlets. On an almost hourly basis during the day, a free shuttle bus takes guests to these places, as well as to Osiria subway station from where there’s easy access to the rest of the city’s subway network. You can also check out the shuttle bus schedule here.
The Hilton Busan paints a fresh face where South Korea’s hospitality scene is concerned. Prior to its opening in 2017, few chain hotels in Korea have been as design-conscious. Fortunately, the hotel is not just about the looks. Its service level is also topnotch. From the moment one enters the hotel and is greeted by staff members in their immaculately white uniform to the point of check-out, the level of service is higher compared to Hiltons elsewhere. Coming from the tropics, the thought of seeing a seaside resort in a temperate country is quite a novelty for me and I initially wasn’t sure how it would work. But I have to say that even though I come from a region where hundreds of beach resorts are right at my doorstep, none can give off the same relaxing vibe as the Hilton Busan.
Gijang, Busan, South Korea
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