Home to the in­di­vid­u­al­ist

Seoul’s coolest ho­tel hits Hong­dae.

Esquire (Singapore) - - TRAVEL -

The ti­tle is not meant to call Esquire read­ers self-cen­tred. In­stead, the ‘in­di­vid­u­al­ist’ refers to the cre­ative type. The re­spectable kind with ego in check and a healthy dose of artis­tic aware­ness and busi­ness acu­men. Hav­ing dab­bled in de­sign at art school, I con­sider my­self to be a cre­ative as much as I con­sider my­self to be an op­ti­mist (clearly, not mu­tu­ally ex­clu­sive). And, in this abil­ity to ap­pre­ci­ate the finer things in life, RYSE has man­aged to con­vert me from the type of tourist who tol­er­ates a pass­able Airbnb, to a trav­eller who sees that the stay makes up the ex­pe­ri­ence as much as the sights do.

Upon en­ter­ing, the lobby it­self is al­ready a state­ment. You would think the grand gran­ite wall, iri­des­cent glass pan­els and pas­tel pink floor would be a fa­tal com­bi­na­tion of too many var­ied el­e­ments jostling for at­ten­tion, but no, they come together like art­work. The at­mos­phere buzzes with the sense of ur­ban en­ergy that is preva­lent in the neigh­bour­hood around RYSE. Hong­dae is home to un­der­ground clubs and an art univer­sity, and its res­i­dents are not easy to please. But nei­ther are the vi­sion­ar­ies be­hind the ho­tel, which in­clude top Hong Kong brand­ing agency Marc & Chan­tal as well as renowned Lon­don de­sign firm Michaelis Boyd. Im­pres­sively, for a project span­ning seven years and in­volv­ing tal­ented—and opin­ion­ated—peo­ple, there is zero dis­joint in the out­come. We fash­ion to think that there must be a board some­where read­ing ‘Team­work makes the dream work’.

No as­pect of RYSE is un­ac­counted for or is ac­ci­den­tal. If cre­ative types are set apart based on their keen eye for de­tail, RYSE is a joy of an Easter egg hunt. Con­crete, for ex­am­ple, plays a huge role—act­ing as an homage to its owner, The Aju Ho­tel Seokyo Co Ltd, which is in the con­struc­tion busi­ness. So you see con­crete in the lobby, when you step out of the el­e­va­tor, and it’s even used for the pa­per­weight in your room (which, if you hold up the right way, shows the RYSE logo). Even the bathrobes aren’t spared the de­tails. Made in tra­di­tional Korean cot­ton, the de­sign by IISE car­ries facets of re­gal robes worn dur­ing the Go­ryeo dy­nasty (918-1392). Not like you need any more help with feel­ing like a king here.

The ho­tel has ev­ery­thing. Feel­ing peck­ish? There’s great food at restau­rant Long Chim, and a soulful at­mos­phere with rooftop views at bar Side Note Club (which, in the hip­ster vein of the ho­tel, has an old-school vinyl turntable and col­lec­tion cu­rated by DJ Soulscape). Seek­ing in­spi­ra­tion? Visit the le­git­i­mate art mu­seum in the base­ment. And when it comes to the bed­rooms, their named after in­dus­try ti­tles, with the pent­house suite clev­erly ap­pointed ‘Ex­ec­u­tive Pro­ducer’. For those who want to know what it’s like to live in a Riso­graph poster, our per­sonal rec­om­men­da­tion is the ‘Artist’ room by Park Hy­oju.

When all there’s left to won­der about is the mean­ing of its name, th­ese guys have you where they want you. Just like the ho­tel’s ex­te­rior—a cor­po­rate front for the main road ver­sus an up­beat cafe on the back­street—RYSE has a dou­ble en­ten­dre. On pa­per, it’s the acro­nym for ‘Re­veal Your Self Ex­pres­sion’. In re­al­ity, it’s a play on the word ‘rise’, im­ply­ing el­e­va­tion, and was in­tended to get peo­ple cu­ri­ous about the name, along with the rest of the ho­tel. They’ve nailed the tagline too, be­cause even if you’re no ‘cre­ative in­di­vid­u­al­ist’, a stay at RYSE is, at the end of the day, ex­actly like noth­ing else.

Book your stay online at www.ry­se­ho­tel.com.

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