The recently opened JW Marriott Jeju Resort & Spa in Seogwipo, Jeju, is perched on a cliffside overlooking the volcanic coastlines of the island, the largest in South Korea. It is a true architectural masterpiece, offering 197 guestrooms, including 28 suites, that draw direct inspiration from the island’s unique culture and magnifies the landscape and history of its native people, specifically the Haenyeo deep sea divers.
Haenyeo female divers specialize in the harvesting of seafood by relying solely on their own breath control without the use of mechanical devices. Their work, known as muljil, is not only a means of nourishment but also a way of coexisting with and nurturing the marine habitat. Haenyeo was listed as an Intangible Cultural Heritage site in 2016 by UNESCO.
The resort is a beautiful fusion of nature and design. Its surroundings are directly connected to Route 7 of the island’s famous Olle Trail, a walking path along the coastline for approximately 11 miles, overlooking endless stretches of blue ocean and nearby Beomseom island. Jeju island is home to several UNESCO World Heritage sites, including Hallasan Mountain Natural Reserve, Geomunoreum Lava Tube System, and Seongsan Ilchulbong Tuff Cone. The island is a one-hour flight from Seoul, and the resort is an hour’s drive from Jeju International Airport.
The resort’s remarkable design is by luxury hotel designer Bill Bensley, who took inspiration from the raw natural beauty of Jeju and its farming and fishing traditions. The landscaping is a harmonious fusion of nature and architecture, representing a Jeju Island farm complete with low lava stone walls, cabbage fields and mustard flowers that bloom in springtime. Bensley used gray, black and white to represent the volcanic landscapes of Jeju, contrasting these colors with the abundant use of yellow throughout the resort, South Korea’s lucky color.
Guests find balance through five carefully curated culinary experiences. A tempting selection of dining options from a traditional black pork barbecue to indulgent daily brunches await. With views overlooking the ocean, Island Kitchen is an all-day dining restaurant showcasing ingredients from Jeju and beyond, including yellowtail tuna, Jeju black pork and locally produced vegetables. Its signature brunch, featuring a diverse buffet and dishes served directly to the table, is available daily from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. to suit individual guests preferred schedules. Brunch starts with unlimited Champagne, and premium caviar is served upon seating, complemented with coffees developed in collaboration with local roasteries.
The hotel’s signature BBQ and rotisserie restaurant, The Flying Hog, features a wood-fired oven in which Jeju black pork and beef are slow-roasted to perfection. For guests who wish to explore Jeju’s local dishes, Yeoumul is a Jeju-style omakase restaurant featuring seasonal ingredients and fresh seafood harvested by the island’s local female divers. The Lounge, with its resident coffee expert, welcomes guests with specialty coffees and a high tea set with special savory menu items featuring locally produced lemons, carrots, green barley from Gapado and peanuts from Udo. Outdoors on the terrace of The Lounge, Romantic Sunset is a relaxing space where guests can sip cocktails and take in sunset views over the ocean. At the hotel’s poolside, Bar Botan is a place for sitting back, relaxing with a local beer, and sampling signature menu items of lobster tartine and Jeju octopus and caviar tartine.
The resort offers activities to revitalize the mind, body and spirit. Guests can enjoy morning yoga, Pilates, meditation yoga or sound healing sessions in spectacular settings. Special interest activities include Jeju tea ceremonies, traditional wine tastings and wine art classes. The resort offers its signature Spa by JW with sauna facilities, and four indoor and outdoor swimming pools fed by the island’s volcanic springs.
Guests traveling with children can enjoy family-friendly facilities, including a kids’ club, playground and swimming pool. The resort also offers kids’ adventure activities, such as Jeju Forest Adventurers, where young guests can safely explore the nearby forests.
The resort’s event spaces, equipped with the latest audiovisual technology, are ideal for meetings, social gatherings and romantic island weddings. The grand ballroom accommodates up to 600 guests, and other function rooms are customizable to suit every event.
The resort’s all-day dining restaurant, Island Kitchen, features the finest of the island’s produce. Dishes are made with Jeju abalone, Jeju stone octopus and horned top shell offered in the buffet. For brunch, guests enjoy Jeju sashimi and vegetables, while for dinner, the buffet offers special dishes in the Haenyeo Village area, including Jeju hanchi fish soup, hanchi pancake and steamed abalone.
At Yeoumul, a Jeju-style Omakase restaurant, guests indulge in seasonal sashimi and sushi made from the choicest ingredients and fresh Jeju sea urchin caught by the Haenyeo. In addition, the chef prepares Korean dishes and sushi using fish caught by local fisherman near the resort. Other items on the menu include Jeju-style soups and exquisite selection of seafood procured directly from Jeju’s fishermen and female divers on the same day.
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