In 2018, right after the Winter Olympic games hosted by South Korea, Gangneung city has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the country. Even though just a few years ago Busan was called the capital of summer tourism, it was replaced the east coast of Korea.
If you have ever thought about staying in Gangneung overnight, you most definitely stumbled upon the famous Sun Cruise Resort and Yacht hotel, which is widely known for its unique look. The hotel is located on Jeongdonjin beach, on a mountain cliff and gives an impression of the actual cruise ship. Obviously, this is the reason why some people call it the Quirkiest Ship that Never Sailed.
According to the sources of the Korean Tourist Organization Webpage, it is also the first cruise themed resort in the world, which makes it even more unique. Even though the main purpose of the resort is a hotel, short-term visitors are also welcomed to look around the outdoor areas of the resort.
Jeongdongjin area is known for having the best view of the sunrise in Korea, so the sunrise viewing point is also installed in the external yard for its’ visitors to enjoy. The viewpoint has a huge sculpture featuring two huge palms that are there to meet the sun every single morning. It is a great picture opportunity for my Instagram enthusiasts! Sadly, on the day of our visit it was really cloudy, so we could not see the sunrise.
Originally Sun Cruise hotel was smaller, but it’s growing popularity led to its extension. Now, the hotel is divided into two different parts – the original Sun Cruise and Beach Cruise. Sun Cruise is actually the yacht shaped part and beach cruise is just its’ extension, which looks similar bus has more of the regular design. Therefore it is located on the lower ground, so it is much easier to reach from the beach! Even though the amenities are getting improved, the hotel is under constant construction works, which we also could not avoid.
Speaking of the construction works – before going there we read some reviews which said that the new building – beach cruise was still under construction, so if we want quiet stay we should rather stay in the original building. We did that and guess what happened? Yeah, they started renovating the old building, lol! Luckily enough, our room was quiet, but I was quite disappointed with the fact that none of the pools was working! Yet, I think construction works should have ended by now. Bad timing, this is what it was.
Despite that, hotel facilities are actually quite good – the rooms are spacious and have the main necessities provided for you. We even got a bath, which is a totally rare sight anywhere in South Korea. Lucky, I guess? In addition, our room window view was totally amazing! Due to coming there off-season we were able to get the room with a full-sized window and a balcony, showing the most beautiful ocean view <3
The room had drinks free of charge as well as the basic toiletries, yet the breakfast was not included. So, if you get hungry you should either get the overpriced breakfast buffet or go to the convenience store downstairs.
As for the location and transportation – if you have a car, it is perfect. Bus as we came to Gangneung with public transportation, it was quite hard coming all the way up to the mountain. The road was not designed to walk and it is assumed that everyone would either have a car or come up by taxi If you stay in Beach cruise, you will have no problem coming in from the beach side but despite both buildings being joined, the only entrance to Sun cruise is on the other side of the hill. Possible solutions: rent a car, get a taxi or stay at the beach cruise.
I seriously did not feel my legs after getting up there with all my bags. So, learn from other’s mistake?
As for the final note, I would need to mention, that the Sun Cruise resort has a long history. The park inside of the resort has some photos of how it looked in the past and apparently, it was a ship shaped cafe which as featured in many old Korean movies and the cruise hotel as of now was built only in 2002 so it is a comparatively new building.
The area is very beautiful and worth going to if you are spending the night, but for the regular visitors, I feel like it is not worth the effort going all the way up and paying the entrance fee just to walk around the park. Of course, the view is magnificent, but being an expat in Korea for almost 3 years have taught me, that there are many similar places that are more budget-friendly.
Conclusion – it is good as a hotel, but not that much of a tourist attraction.
Place: Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht
Adress: 950-39, Heonhwa-ro, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do
Prices: Starting 80$ and above. Prices might vary depending on the season and room type
What to bring: Either a car or comfy shoes. A camera is a MUST!