Tag Archives: Jeju Dream Tower

Year in Photos 2021

A tradition I start years ago on the SOL challenge was to reflect on the past year through photos (no captions, in chronological order). The idea came from Jeeyoung, a fellow slicer, and once I saw hers, I was hooked on the idea! You can have a look at the past years here- 2020, 2019, 2018, 2017, 2016, and 2015.

As an international school educator, I often travel to different countries several times a year, which is reflected in my Year in Photos. Due to the pandemic, 2021 will be my first year in photos with only two places represented- South Korea and United States. I was lucky to be able to get home for a few days this Christmas break, after a year and a half away from family. Despite not being able to travel as I normally do, I am blessed to live on a wonderful and safe island, Jeju-do, and have come away relatively unscathed from the pandemic. With that, here is my year in photos.

The Dream Tower is My Happy Place

Everyone who knows me here in Jeju knows that I love the Dream Tower. I’m such a regular there, that I’m frequently greeted by name whenever I visit. I love staying overnight, but I also enjoy just spending a few hours there, too. For those of you not in Jeju, the Dream Tower is the name of Grand Hyatt in Jeju City, which opened a little over a year ago. It’s a beautiful hotel in the heart of the city and the tallest building on the entire island by far at 38 floors (but I think it’s got to be actually taller than that since many of the lower levels have incredibly high ceilings). There are 14 food and beverage outlets, which gives me plenty of options, plus an incredible spa.

If you’ve read my slices this week, you’ll know I’ve been rather stressed with the Covid situation at my school, as more and more teachers and students are testing positive. After such a hectic week, I knew I needed to find a way to relax today and take some time to recharge my batteries. The Dream Tower to the rescue!

Bec and Michelle were already going to the city for a check up at the doctor, so we made plans to meet up for lunch. After a few back and forth texts, we finally settled on Yumeyama, the Japanese restaurant. It’s great at lunchtime, as they have several lunch sets to choose from, with lots of little side dishes, tea, and dessert included. Each of us chose a different set, but we all loved our choices. I, of course, had the tempura rice bowl, and it was delish! Being able to catch up on life, tell stories, and laugh was good for the soul. So often at school, we pass one another quickly and only really get to chat about work, so it was lovely to be able to have a leisurely lunch together.

After lunch, they left to go shopping at E-Mart for the week’s groceries, while I stayed at the Dream Tower in relaxation mode. Needing to kill an hour before my massage, I hung out in the lobby cafe, where I sipped on Jeju tangerine tea and read my book club book that I’m behind on (we are meeting this Wednesday, so I need to read a lot this weekend).

One of my favorite indulgences is a foot massage. Since they aren’t really a ‘thing’ in the US, I didn’t fall in love with them until living in Shanghai. Now, I love a body massage just as much as the next girl, but getting a foot massage is a totally different experience. When you get a body massage, you can’t really do anything else except lay there while the masseuse works out the kinks in your muscles, but during a foot massage, they are only working on your feet and legs, so as you relax in the recliner, you can read and sip tea. It’s heavenly! They begin by soaking your feet in really warm water, followed by a foot scrub. After that, they massage your feet and legs with oil, focusing on pressure points. After the massage, they wrap your legs in hot towels, cleaning off the excess oil. If you haven’t had one, I highly recommend it!

Following my foot massage, I headed up to the lounge on the 38th floor, where I had the most gorgeous view of the sea overlooking the city and the airport. I enjoyed a hot chocolate while taking in the view and watching a movie on Netflix on my iPad.

A few hours later I was feeling peckish, so I headed across the hall to the steakhouse, where literally everyone knows my name (I obviously go there the most) for dinner. As a vegetarian, you might think it’s strange that I love the steakhouse so much, but they have killer salads and sides, plus their fresh baked dinner rolls with salted butter can’t be beat. I ordered up my usual, the iceberg wedge salad and sweet potato gratin, and must have been so hungry that I forgot to take a picture.

On the way home, I had to pull over and snap this picture of the gorgeous sunset. What a relaxing, perfect day!

What a Difference a Change of Scenery Makes

Weekends are always a time of respite from the workweek just gone and a time to catch up on the one coming. While I always take some time to myself on the weekends, usually Saturdays being my “no-work” days, there’s always that little voice in the back of my head reminding me of all I have to do, all I didn’t get done, and all the people I need to reply to, prepare something for, or support. I can push it down, but it never really goes away.

This weekend Frances and I came to Jeju City, a mere 45-minute drive away from home, to stay in the poshest hotel around, the Grand Hyatt called the Jeju Dream Tower. The hotel, which opened in December of last year, will eventually have 1,600 rooms open, but for now, there are around 500 open to the public. With 14 dining options, a spa, pool, and the most incredible customer service, it lives up to its name of being a dream.

There’s something about sleeping in a different bed that makes all the difference. The act of taking a purposeful break away from everyday life, stopping to pause and relish the luxury afforded to you in a place such as this, is good for the soul. As I sit here in the lobby cafe, sipping my iced chocolate, writing this slice of life as I wait for my massage appointment, I am content. I know that I have work to do later this evening to prepare me for the week ahead, but I’m completely at ease, the staycation having done its job.

In the past 24 hours, I’ve eaten at the Italian restaurant on the 8th floor, with a beautiful view of the bustling city below, where I enjoyed a spicy aglio e olio pasta with delicious ribbons of fresh parmesan cheese straight from Italy; taken two relaxing baths in the largest bathtub ever; caught up on my shows and slice reading/commenting that I didn’t get to this week; dined at the Steakhouse on the 38th floor, literally in the clouds as the fog settled in around us, where I indulged with two Moscow Mules, crusty bread with salty butter, a burrata salad, and some roasted asparagus and smooth, creamy mashed potatoes; had a lazy morning, sleeping until I woke naturally at 9:00am, feeling well rested and refreshed; ordered and enjoyed my first-ever room service breakfast, something I will definitely do again, as eating a delicious meal in my pajamas overlooking the city is so much better than hurriedly elbowing my way through a buffet; had a late checkout and a leisurely break at the cafe, listening to the sounds of the music playing, coffee brewing, and the adorable toddler wandering, laughing, and exploring.

As I leave you to enjoy my final indulgence, an hour-long foot treatment massage, I am quietly at ease, ready to tackle the next two weeks before Spring Break. I hope you were able to rest and recharge this weekend, too.