If I were to pick the most peculiar hotel experience in South Korea, Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht located at Jeongdongjin Beach (정동진 해수욕장) in Gangwon-do would be on the list. It is the world’s first on-land cruise ship — Yes, you read that right. It is a cruise ship built atop a cliff that is overlooking the magnificent East Sea of South Korea.
This beachside hotel & resort takes all the joy of a cruise ship and combines it with the convenience of an on-land seaside resort, so you can enjoy the best of both worlds. We don’t know how exactly the engineers and architect managed to get the 30,000 tons ship up the cliff, some joke that it may be cast ashore like Noah’s Ark after the flood, but it is certainly an interesting sight especially when you’re at the Jeongdongjin Beach.
Looking for an interesting resort experience in Gangneung? Read on further!
Important Note: My stay at Sun Cruise Resort commenced in 2018 and the resort has undergone a renovation. It is now an Instagrammable and very popular resort in Gangneung. This blog is a recollection of my experience back then and some updated features you should know about the hotel.
The resort is located on a cliff along the pristine Jeongdongjin beach & Jeondongjin Train Station (전동진역), the train station closest to the ocean in the world. The beach is known as one of South Korea’s best sunrise spots, attracting thousands of sunrise spectators each year, especially on new year’s day.
I took an overnight Mugunghwa Train from Seoul’s Cheongnyangni station (청량리역) to Gangneung’s Jeongdongjin Station. What welcomes me at Jeongdongjin Train Station in the wee hours of the morning was this spectacular view below —
The resort was basking in the beautiful golden sunlight in the early morning. While the overnight train was tiring, the sight when we arrived at the beach was truly memorable.
The resort is located near Jeongdongjin beach which stretches over 250 meters with 3 swimming spots, it is also very near to the Jeongdongjin Railbike Station. Next to the hotel is Sandglass Park (모래시계공원) and Sculpture Park (정동진 조각공원) so you can wander through bushes of blossoming flowers in spring and autumn.
The resort has two ships that are specially built by the shipyards before moving to the seaside – the older “Sun Cruise” is 165 metres long, and 45 metres high. It has a bakery, a restaurant, a sky lounge, karaoke, banquet halls, a convenience store and an infinity pool.
The new “Beach Cruise” is a ship with exclusive pool villas where guests can enjoy private pools that links to their room. There is also an observation deck with a glass floor suspended above the crashing waves below.
The resort offers a wide variety of room types. The Sun Cruise is made up of Hotel & Apartment styled rooms. All room types in the old wing are either Ocean or Sunrise Half-Ocean facing rooms. There are Standard, Deluxe, Luxury, Junior Suites, Corner Suites and Suncruise Suites to choose from. The Apartment styled room comes with a small pantry where guests can prepare simple dishes in the room.
#Tip: Difference Between Sunrise Half-Ocean View Room Vs Ocean View Room: • Sunrise Half-Ocean View: The room is facing the Sculpture Park. You can see the sunrise from a distance. • Ocean View: The room is facing the sea but the sunrise is not visible.
At the newly built Beach Cruise, guests enjoy the luxury of a private pool right in their pool villas. Various room types come with a pool: The Royal Suite, Superior Suite, Infinity Pool Suite; and the Duplex Suite & Terrace Suite includes a sea-facing jacuzzi within the room.
Breakfast takes place at the Sun Cruise, where guests can enjoy the scenic view of the East Sea and Sculpture Park. During our stay, it was the Typhoon season so we did not get to enjoy the typical blue sky and emerald sea views. However, the strong waves and misty waters of the East Sea during the wet season did leave a strong impression.
From a glace of their recent tags on Instagram, their breakfast variety has greatly improved too!
The hotel has undergone an uplifting refurbishment and has added a few Instagrammable spots you wouldn’t want to miss. These aesthetic spots with clear blue sky, turquoise waters, white sand beaches and bird’s eye views are perfect to satisfy your dreamy vacation needs. Let’s take a look at the photos taken at the resort!
Photo Spot #1: Observation Deck Staircase
You’ll find this “stairway to heaven” right within the hotel premise, where you can climb up the stairs that are leading up to a view of the East Sea. With the perfect weather and some magic hour, your photos would turn out great.
Photo Spot #2: Infinity Pool
Located on the top of the seashore cliff is the resort’s picturesque outdoor infinity pool. You can breathe in the expansive view of the East Sea and enjoy leisure time lounging at the poolside.
Photo Spot #3: Hotel’s Sky Lounge & Restaurant
At the resort’s 360 degrees rotating Sky Lounge, you can enjoy the endlessly stretched view of the East Sea while sipping your coffee. For cocktail and wine aficionados, you’ll be spoilt for choice here.
Photo Spot #4: Room Balcony
Don’t miss the photo opportunity at your room’s balcony once you checked into the room! The emerald sea makes the best background for the perfect holiday shoot! If you are staying in the Infinity Pool Suite, make full use of the magic hours for that dreamy shot in the pool, by the sea!
Writer’s Note: Sun Cruise Resort is a cool resort to stay in while in Gangneung. It is very near to the beach, which makes it the perfect summer holiday resort to wind down and chill. If you have a few more days to spare in Gangneung, it will make perfect sense to spend a leisure 2D1N here at this property and enjoy the resort facilities! After all, you shouldn’t be rushing in & out to complete your tour schedule while leaving the nice pool villa empty throughout your stay.
One thing you might need to take note of is to avoid the summer Monsoon season or occasion Typhoon season as the rain can be rather merciless and worst of all, it can last a few days.
Sun Cruise Resort & Yacht 썬쿠루즈리조트
950-39 Heonhwa-ro, Gangdong-myeon, Gangneung-si, Gangwon-do, South Korea
강원도 강릉시 강동면 헌화로 950-39 ( 정동진리 50-10)