The clamorous, chain store–crammed streets of Seoul’s Myeongdong retail district make it easy to forget the area was once better known for cultural pursuits. Hotel28, which opened there in July 2016, attempts to correct that imbalance by paying tribute to the long and vibrant history of Korean film. Designed by Australia’s HBO+EMTB and local studio Dynagram, the country’s first entry to the Small Luxury Hotels of the World is a realm of understated sophistication, defined by dark wood, black and white tiles, and exposed concrete surfaces. Movie references come thick and fast, from the footage flickering on the walls of the sixth-floor lobby to the vintage cameras resting in the hallways and cozy “Cinematheque” gallery, which hosts exhibitions and film screenings. The spacious rooms culminate in the Director’s Suite, which features a separate lounge area and all-Hermès furnishings. Hotel restaurant 3Birds Trattoria serves accomplished, Korean-tinged Italian dishes as light and fresh as the decor, rounding out what just might be the classiest addition to the neighborhood in decades. (82-2/774-2828; hotel28.co.kr; doubles from US$200).
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