A Luxury Resort Town with Stunning Coastal View
If you have followed my blog closely, you might have wondered where I have been lately. I traveled to my home country of South Korea for five weeks! Although I am exhausted and probably can use more rest, I could not wait to share with you everything about beautiful destinations and hot trends in Korea. So stay tuned for more!
As for the first of my #TravelKorea series, I want to write about a luxury resort town, Ananti Cove Busan. I had the pleasure of spending a night at Hilton Busan, which was so much more than a hotel. I will tell you all about it below.
Just so you know, this is an unsponsored post, meaning I was not compensated for my stay or writing this review. It is an honest review based on my personal experience.
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Before visiting Korea, read my other articles about Busan:
Ananti Cove Busan
Ananti Cove Busan is a secluded resort town in Gijang-gun on the outskirts of Busan. It is away from most of Busan attractions, nestled in a remote location along the Northeast coast of Busan. It faces the stunning coastline and is surrounded by 600 acres of forest. This setting provides the utmost privacy and uninterrupted get-away from the city’s hustle and bustle.
This seaside resort consists of Ananti Penthouse, Hilton Busan, Ananti Town, and Water House.
Ananti Penthouse is an exclusive ultra-luxury hotel, open to its members and private residences only. From what I hear, its 90 penthouses and 128 private vacation homes all face the sea and have a terrace with the killer view. Too bad, a commoner like me cannot book a room here.
My visit coincided with the ASEAN summit in Busan. I saw a row of police-escorted black sedans leaving Ananti Cove. The rumor has it, the President of Korea and/or high-level government officials have stayed here a night before.
Ananti Town is a multipurpose complex with 15 lifestyle shops and restaurants that are open to the public. Even if you don’t stay at the hotels here, you can pay to use an infinity outdoor pool, dine at a restaurant or cafe, or shop at lifestyle brand stores. Scroll down for more details.
The Osiria Coastal Walk wraps around Ananti Town. This seashore promenades (and from your hotel rooms) is where you can catch the earliest sunrise in Busan. And both sunrise and sunset here boast a breathtaking view! While anyone can access this 2km path and enjoy the stunning view, it was not crowded at all on the day I stayed there.
Water House is an indoor/outdoor hot spring at Ananti Cove that cater to family vacationers. The modern chic spa combines the Eastern and Western spa culture. We enjoyed Water House very much; however, using this spa comes at a hefty price. I have a detailed review below that includes money-saving tips.
Who would love Ananti Cove?
- Luxury travelers who want to relax in pristine nature without the crowd
- City dwellers who long for a weekend getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle
- Family vacationers who wish to stay in a resort town to accommodate and entertain all ages from children to parents to senior adults
- Resort-goers who enjoy an all-in-one holiday destination without the need to ever get out of the resort
- Couples who want a romantic getaway to celebrate their love and companionship
- Local and international travelers who covet a day trip from Busan
Hilton Busan Review
As we arrived at Hilton Busan (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda), two gentlemen in cream white uniform welcomed us outside of the hotel. The concierge checked our reservation and received luggage. Then, he escorted us into the ground floor lobby behind a giant door.
From the moment that door opened, I felt like I was walking into the Men In Black Headquarters, except that everyone was in a white suit. I walked past the curvy white tunnel (pretty dope!) to reach the elevator.
Interestingly, the reception is on the 10th floor (i.e. top-level) while guest rooms are below the reception. I experienced a similar layout at Park Hyatt Shanghai. Perhaps this is a popular floor plan for luxury hotels?
Premium Room with King Bed
We stayed in the Premium Room with King Bed (compare rates to book: Booking, Agoda). It is a spacious 70-square-meter room featuring a balcony with outdoor furniture, 50-inch TV, two seating areas, and a spacious bathroom.
Before entering the room, I was intrigued by the wooden panels I first saw as I open the door. It doubled as a screen for more privacy in the room and created a bit of room to rest shoes. Perhaps it paid homage to the Korean culture. In a typical Korean high-rise condo, a middle door separates the living space from the entrance. You first pass through an area to take off/store shoes before entering into a home.
The room featured a king bed and a plush blanket. I felt so comfortable in it that I had a great night’s sleep. The older I get, the more critical the bed became when traveling. I used to do okay with guest houses in my 20’s. But my aging body desperately needs more comfort and a night of good sleep to get up the next morning for more walking and exploring. Having a good comfy bed is no longer a luxury but a necessity for me.
Also, I want to mention that the king size is not the Asian standard. (Did you know an Asian king bed is smaller than American king?) It was long enough that there were no dangling feet. And it was wide enough that we probably could have fit in another person between us. As both the Big O and I are tall, we often face tall people’s problem in Asian countries. It was such a nice break in Korea and the first since our stay at this Amsterdam hotel.
The room also featured many details, including Nespresso machine, complimentary mineral water, USB chargers, and cabinet spaces. These are what you would expect from a five-star hotel room, but I still appreciated these small details that make a difference.
Take USB chargers, for example. We carry travel converters for all our electronics from the U.S. Count two laptops, two cell phones, camera, wi-fi device, battery bank, etc. It gets hectic to charge all our electronics at night when the power outlets are different in countries like Korea. Thankfully, the room had enough built-in USB chargers that we did not need to set up our charging station.
Stylish His & Hers Bathroom
The bathroom was my favorite space in the room. This classy bathroom features his and hers vanity, as well as his and hers walk-in closets. (All married couples would understand why this is so important. Ahem.)
I loved the overall look and feel of the design. The earthy tone, along with the stone-tiled floor and wall, feels calming and elegant. The rose gold metal finish gives subtle bling and accentuates the classic look.
The toilet, shower, and bathtub are all an individual unit in a separate chamber. I prefer this way. As my house has the same layout, this made me feel at home.
The toiletry was by Crabtree & Evelyn. For a hotel with a five-star caliber, it was nothing of a surprise. Regardless, I did enjoy lovely citric scents, neither too feminine nor too masculine.
But the crown jewel of the Hilton room is the bathtub. The tub is enclosed by two sliding glass doors – one to the balcony and another to the bathroom – and faces the forest surrounding the property. This creates a perfect atmosphere to soak in and relax while gazing at the greenery through a giant glass window.
The next morning, I walked from inside the bathroom to enjoy the view from the tub. I forgot there was a sliding glass door and hit my head hard. Whoever wiped the glass did a hell of a job. LOL.
By the way, if you prefer to face the ocean while soaking in the bathtub, you can book a room with the ocean view at a premium. I thought facing the forest created a more private and relaxing environment. But if I get another chance to stay at Hilton Busan again, I would love to check out the ocean view. It must be nice to see the sunrise from your room while soaking, eh?
Hilton Busan has a two-story state-of-art fitness center on the 8th and 9th floors. The guests have complimentary access to this 24-hour facility. The Big O worked out at the gym and couldn’t stop talking about all the advanced equipment there. He also gave extra points for the ocean view from the gym. (Sorry, no photo. He forgot to take one for me.)
McQueen’s Pool & Sauna
To my surprise, Hilton does not grant complimentary access to its heated indoor pool and Jacuzzi on the 10th floor. Even the hotel guests had to pay extra 20,000 won (USD 17) to use the pool and sauna without the in-and-out privilege.
Considering it was windy and freezing in November, it would have been nice to dip in the indoor pool. Why are they stingy to their guests? Alternatively, we opted for the Water House and had a wonderful time there. (More on that below.)
McQueen’s Lounge on the 10th floor features a fantastic ocean view. Here, you can grab a bite or drink coffee and cocktails. You can also enjoy afternoon tea (65,000 won for two) between 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. For my time here, the afternoon tea service featured Fauchon macarons, which looked like a limited time special.
Note that there is no view at night. It is pitch dark outside. So make sure to grab a seat during the daylight as you are paying for the view here.
McQueen’s Bar is a rooftop bar on the 10th floor. It is a half-indoor, half-outdoor space, offering beer, wine, and craft cocktails. It also serves lunch and dinner.
The Big O enjoyed Steve McQueen Special, one of their signature cocktails. He said they did it right and that it justified the price (25,000 won). I agreed with him after taking a sip. Unfortunately, I did not get to try another drink because I got there too late after the last order.
Although McQueen’s Bar is a rooftop bar, there was not much of a night view. Simply, nothing much is out there, except a lighted pier with docked fishing boats and some high rises from afar.
Da MOIM is a buffet restaurant at Hilton Busan, serving a variety of Korean, Chinese, Japanese, and Western dishes. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
My room rate did not include breakfast. I almost regretted not adding a breakfast buffet as our taxi driver could not stop talking about the life-changing buffet experience here. But in all honesty, I did not think it was worth to pay 45,000 won per person (22,500 won for children) for breakfast. Maybe for lunch, although I later hear lunch and dinner are much more expensive.
But that’s okay to miss dining options at Hilton. Ananti Town features many excellent restaurants.
Dreaming of a Seaside Escape? Ananti Cove Busan can be your next holiday destination.
Eternal Journey is a concept book store on the ground level of Hilton Busan. This Insta-famous store faces the ocean with all glass windows.
If I may describe this space, it is a library, book store, lifestyle shop, and book cafe, all in one for your intellectual pleasure. The concept is similar to Taiwan’s Eslite. In Taiwan, I often go to Eslite and can spend an entire afternoon there. If it wasn’t for my crazy travel schedule, I probably could’ve done the same here!
This book store invites anyone to grab a book, sit down and read over a cup of java. I particularly liked the way books are categorized and displayed. (Again, similar to Eslite.)
Look at this eye-catching display of magazine-style travel books! They are not ordinary travel books like Lonely Planet or Fodor’s, either.
One complaint I have about watching Korea TV nowadays while living overseas is that there is too much focus on food called meokbang (먹방). Nothing wrong about meokbang. It is just that I cannot eat what I see on TV when I crave it! I always drool all over my iPad. Seriously, it is mean torture.
So what does it have to do with Mokran?
Mokran is a Korean Chinese restaurant by celebrity chef Lee Yeon-bok. He has many TV shows showing off his cooking skills. Do you know how many times I wanted to eat my iPad to taste his food?
Now you know how excited I was to learn about his restaurant at Ananti Town. His Seoul restaurant is so popular that it is hard to book on short notice. The restaurant gets full here, too, but it is much easier to get the table.
His specialty is deep-fried dishes. His famous Menbosha (멘보샤) is a deep-fried toast sandwich with diced shrimps. I had my mind set on it for a long time, and it did not disappoint. It was so crispy without being greasy. If you ever go to Mokran, give it a try.
We also ordered Chili Sauce Fried Shrimps (칠리새우). The spicy, tangy sauce was so tasty. The Big O said it was even better than Menbosha. He ended up dipping Menbosha in this sauce, which also worked great.
Another dish I enjoyed was Spicy Noodle with Abalone (전복해물짬뽕). Holy cow! I have never tasted such an intensely flavored soup. The essence of this flavor comes from wok hei, which is a term to describe the Chinese cooking technique of infusing a chargrilling effect performed on a wok.
Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffè
Sant’ Eustachio Il Caffe is one of the top three Italian coffee houses in Rome. This famous cafe with an 80-year tradition has only one location outside of Rome, and that is in Ananti Cove Busan.
The baristas here use the same coffee beans and roasting techniques of the brand’s Rome location.
The Big O did not know much about this brand and walked in without much expectation. (We split in the morning. He chilled at the cafe, and I went to nearby Haedong Yonggungsa Temple.)
He did like his Americano. However, since no one makes better coffee than Italians, I wish he put their espresso or cappuccino into the test. I don’t know when my next visit to Ananti Cove would be; however, I WILL try their cappuccino one day! I’m leaving so many things for the next time at Ananti Cove, ugh.
The D. Throne S Electric Car is a Korean luxury toy car brand. It designs and produces classic mini cars for children that look real badass for a toy car!
When you walk around Ananti Town, you will see many people – adults or children – are on D. Throne. The shop sells stylish electric cars for children that a parent can ride together and also offers rental for 15 minutes (10,000 won). If you wish to buy your kiddo a fancy ride, it would cost you around USD 3,000.
When all the day-trippers went home after the sunset, CU 24 became the hot place in Ananti Town. It seemed like all hotel guests stopped by this 24-hour convenience store to stock up on late-night snacks. We were no exception. We thought it was a nice touch to have CU there because it would have been too far to travel outside of the resort to find small snacks.
Water House is a unique hot spring spa in a 6,600-square-meter space at Ananti Cove. It uses 1,000 metric tons of pure natural mineral water pumped daily from 600 meters underground. This chloride mineral water supposedly helps alleviate muscle aches, rheumatism, and other ailments.
The hot spring facility has both indoor and outdoor areas. The 4,600-square-meter indoor space highlights multiple heated pools with different lengths and depths, lounging areas, as well as dry and wet saunas. The open-air areas feature an infinity pool with a breathtaking ocean view and spacious jacuzzi pools with water temperature around 40 degrees Celsius.
Water House impressed me with its opulent design and luxury public bath. Although I could not take photos inside men and women’s sauna areas to show you, I can tell you that it was one of the best public baths I ever experienced.
Curvy stone walls divide the individual shower booth, which showcases that privacy was part of the design plan. All standing and seating showers were equipped with shampoo, hair conditioner, and shower gel.
The spacious locker room almost resembles the kind at a private golf club. It has everything girls need after the shower – namely, body lotion, skin toner, moisturizer, cotton pads, cotton tips, sterilized hairbrush, hairdryer, hair essence, and even a fan to cool down your body while drying your hair. And all of these were not the cheap kinds you get at a neighborhood public bath in Korea.
The staff maintains the area at all times. She consistently wiped the floor, tidy up the room, and also helped guests run the swimsuit dryer.
Pro Tip: The only thing you need to bring to the Water House is your swimsuit.
Note that Water House is decidedly a family-friendly spa with shallow pools for kids. The pools were full of kids during the day and even at late-night hours. Despite the luxe, calming design, the spa would not be too quiet.
Hours: Water House opens at 9 a.m. Outdoor pool closes at 6 p.m. and indoor pools close at 9:30 p.m. (Last entrance at 9 p.m.)
Admission: The entry fees vary. When we were there, an all-day pass was 60,000 won (weekdays) or 80,000 won (weekends). A half-day pass (4 hours) was 40,000 won (weekdays) or 60,000 won (weekends). The night-time pass after 5:50 p.m. (4 hours) was 20,000 won (weekdays), and 40,000 won (weekends). The children pay 50% of the adult pass.
Money-saving Tips: We only paid 10,000 won per person. Here is how we got this rate. After dinner, we went to relax at the Water House, taking advantage of the night-time rate. We doubled the discount with a 50% off coupon for one-time use we received when checking in at Hilton.
We spent about 2 1/2 hours, and it was plenty of time. Also, the late-night hours were much more relaxing because there were significantly fewer people and children.
By the way, during our Korea trip, the Big O and I visited numerous traditional Korean spas in Seoul and Busan. I will write more about our Korean jimjilbang experience soon- including the most luxurious jimjilbang in Busan.
How to Get to Ananti Cove
Ananti Cove is about a 5-min drive from Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, 10-min drive from Lotte Premium Outlets East Busan, and a 20-min drive from Haeundae (without traffic).
While the resort’s isolated location on the seaside makes it a perfect getaway from the city’s hustle and bustle, the accessibility is one downfall. Without driving, it will be challenging to get to Ananti Cove. Nevertheless, there are many ways to handle this challenge.
1. Taxi (Recommended)
Besides driving yourself, the next best thing is by Taxi. We took a cab from Busan Station in the afternoon. It took us about 50 minutes and cost 27,000 won (USD 23), including highway tolls. Expect heavier traffic and longer travel time in the evening or weekends. Note that Haeundae traffic is notoriously bad.
2. Subway + Taxi
#1: Hop on a train on Subway Line 1 from Busan Station → Transfer to Subway Line 2 at Seomyeon Station → Take off at Jangsan station. → Take a taxi (20 minutes)
#2: Take Subway Line 1 from Busan Station → Transfer to Donghae Line* at Busan National University of Education Station→ Take off at Osiria station → Take a taxi (15 minutes)
*Note: Donghae Line interval time is 30 minutes.
3. Bus + Taxi
From Busan Station, take Express Bus* #1003 to Haeundae → Take off at Jangsan Post Office → Take a taxi (25 minutes)
*Note: Express Bus can reject a carrier heavier than 10kg or larger than L50cm x H40cm x W20cm.
4. Subway + Shuttle
Take Subway Line 1 from Busan Station → Transfer to Donghae Line* at Busan National University of Education Station → Take off at Osiria station → Take Ananti Cove shuttle**
*Note: Donghae Line interval time is 30 minutes.
**Ananti Cove shuttle bus departs from Hilton Busan every hour, starting from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. From Osiria Station, shuttle runs from 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. See the route below:
Ananti Cove (in front of Hilton Busan) → Haedong Yongnugsa Temple → Lotte Premium Outlets East Busan → Osiria Station (Exit 1) → Ananti Cove
Ananti Cove is a perfect weekend getaway destination from Busan. Any travelers who dream of surrounding themselves in pristine nature away from the crowds in the city center will find their paradise here.
The highlight of Ananti Cove is the breathtaking view. With the stunning Osiria coastline in front and lush forests in the back, your eyes and body will relax from anywhere in the property.
Besides the view that does 80% of the work, this secluded resort town is an all-in-one destination. (Note: It is not all-inclusive.) If you choose to, you do not need to step out of the resort.
Hungry? Dine at one of the finest restaurants in Busan. Thirsty? Grab a world-renowned Italian coffee, or sip a craft cocktail from a rooftop bar. Soul searching? Enrich your soul at the unique concept book store. Tired? Soak in a divine bathtub in your room, or marvel at the luxury hot spring spa on the oceanfront. Got kids? Tire them out at the infinity pool while you appreciate the ocean view with a cocktail in one hand.
Dream vacation? Absolutely. Don’t we all deserve such a break once in a while?
Book your dream vacation at Hilton Busan here. This seaside hotel is a welcoming place providing luxury comfort. You won’t regret it.
Even if you decide not to stay overnight, swing by on the way to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple or Lotte Premium Outlets East Busan. Remember? It’s an excellent place to catch the earliest sunrise in Busan or sunset in the evening, too.
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