A new hotel in Korea’s second most populous city provides guests with a curated insider’s guide to its locale.
February saw the arrival of the Avani brand in South Korea with the opening of the 289-room Avani Central Busan Hotel (doubles from US$100). Located in the Munhyeon Finance Complex at the center of Busan’s commercial district, the millennial- minded property makes a great base for exploring the coastal city, which is home to Korea’s largest port as well as attractions ranging from golden-sand beaches and seafood markets to the Busan International Film Festival, one of the region’s most prestigious cinematic events. An added bonus? As part of the brand’s AvaniMe resident program, the hotel has produced an online guide with local videographer and photographer Andrew Kim that showcases some of his hometown’s must-visit venues and attractions. Among the standouts:
HUINNYEOUL CULTURE VILLAGE
Known as the Santorini of South Korea, this jumble of creative spaces is arranged along a cliff on the island of Yeongdo. Its winding alleys and whitewashed houses are home to a mix of cafés, workshops, and bookstores and have appeared in numerous Korean films, including Yang Woo-suk’s 2013 courtroom drama The Attorney.
BUSAN MUSEUM OF ART
With a rich program of exhibitions that spotlight modern Korean artists, the BMA’s five floors showcase the breadth of local and regional talent, while a stroll around the sculpture garden re- veals some interesting pieces.
Caffeine aficionados will be impressed as much by the architecture as the cold-brewing contraptions at this homegrown coffee shop and roaster, which occupies a glass-and-aluminum disc-shaped structure near Suan Station.
Another fixture of the local coffee scene is WERK, in the Jeonpo Café Street area just north of the Avani Central. Apart from the wide variety of beans on offer, they also bake what many consider to be the best macadamia cookies in Busan.
For scenic views and home-style Korean comfort food, Choryang 845 is hard to beat. The repurposed factory space derives its name from its address at 845-1 Choryang-dong, a hillside neighborhood in central Busan; big front windows overlook the port and Busan Harbor Bridge (82-51/465-0845).
Situated in central Busan’s Nampo-dong shopping district, this new-fledged cultural hub occupies a converted warehouse in Jagalchi Market. The first floor houses a market area and exhibition space, while the second floor has a café serving house-roasted coffee (82-51/256-4292).
This article originally appeared in the August/November 2020 print issue of DestinAsian magazine (“Bespoke Busan”).