Seoul is often described as a city that never sleeps. But for those who wish to sleep, the city has some amazing, extraordinary places for a restful retreat in the middle of the day.
In the busy financial district of Yeouido, multiplex cinema chain CGV offers its sofas to dozy office workers during the lunch hour, a win-win for both the cinema and office workers nearby.
CGV's Yeouido branch makes its sofas available for workers who need a mid-day snooze as part of the Siesta Program. (CGV)
The “Siesta Program,” available only in Yeouido, runs from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Thursday. For 10,000 won ($8.65), guests are provided with a cup of herb tea, a pair of slippers and a blanket. Seats lie flat and light classical music is played in the dimly-lit cinema room, creating that peaceful moment of rest.
“Yeouido has many offices and many tired workers who want a quiet place to recharge themselves,” said Hwang Jae-hyun, head of public relations at CGV. It is part of the country’s largest movie franchise’s efforts to reposition cinema as a multifunctional destination, more than just a place for movies, he added.
In Yeouido and other Seoul districts filled with offices, nap cafes are luring the weary with not just lie-flat sofas, but actual beds -- for a price of 5,000 won to over 10,000 per hour. Some provide coffee, food and massage chairs, not to mention the basics -- blankets, sandals, eye masks and phone charging stations.
A sleeping room inside the Best Sleep Healing Cafe in Gangnam, southern Seoul. (Best Sleep)
Best Sleep Healing Cafe, one of such businesses operating at 50 locations across the country, bills itself as a place where you can get a five-star sleeping experience. Owned by local mattress maker Amos Bed, the place provides private rooms equipped with its own top-class, sleep-conducive mattress in a shared space, separated by curtains.
Best Sleep’s branch in Seoul’s Myeong-dong can accommodate up to 50 guests, but during the peak lunch hours, its beds are quickly booked up, the company said.
“I have some time before my next work schedule. Rather than killing time at a cafe over a cup of coffee, I wanted to lie down at a sleep cafe,” said a customer in her 20s. “I feel more energy now to go through the rest of the day,” she said.
Sleeping capsules at KEB Hana Bank's headquarters in Seoul. (KEB Hana)
Somnus manufactures sleeping capsules and also runs sleep cafes at two locations in Incheon, west of Seoul. The company promotes a “fast healing” experience with its sleeping bunks, equipped with sleep-conducive lamps and oxygen concentrators.
In the startup world, more companies are equipping workplaces with napping rooms amid global talk about the benefits of napping on productivity. From the slow-to-change banking sector, KEB Hana Bank is the first to embrace the idea, with 10 sleeping capsules installed at its headquarters in Seoul.
By Lee Sun-young (email@example.com