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Wash away the heat

Mangwon Hangang Park’s swimming pool, one of the several outdoor pools along the Han River operated by the city, is packed with Seoulites trying to escape the heat. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Mangwon Hangang Park’s swimming pool, one of the several outdoor pools along the Han River operated by the city, is packed with Seoulites trying to escape the heat. (Lee Sang-sub/The Korea Herald)
Different types of swimming pools offer entertainment, relief


Although the record-breaking temperatures that gripped the nation have abated somewhat and the heat wave warning was removed early Friday, the weather is still expected to remain warm.

A number of pools in the city offer both cool relief as well as dining and entertainment opportunities for the Seoulites seeking a break from the dog days of summer close to home.

There is an “infinity edge” pool, where swimmers cannot see the edges of the pool, giving the illusion that the water extends to the horizon; the cheap and accessible Hangang Park swimming pools in seven different locations; and a fun, entertaining rooftop pool in Itaewon.

And one of the best reasons to choose these pools over Busan’s Haeundae Beach is that you don’t have to take a day off to be near the water. After spending a busy day at work, you can still enjoy the night breeze and swim outdoors if you visit the right pools.

Stepping into the outdoor pool of Imperial Palace Seoul in southern Seoul at 8 p.m., you could be surprised by the number of people there. Young women relax on the sun loungers, kids swim in the pool, and couples chat and dine at the poolside bar.

Although the pool is rather small, the atmosphere is subtly exotic, reminiscent of a Mediterranean resort. The food menu is also great for both the peckish and the hungry. Its pizzas and pastas make a good dinner, while grilled seafood, including king prawns and scallop skewers, is great as a snack. Korea’s signature frozen dessert, patbingsu, or shaved ice topped with sweet red beans, is also available.

The night pool opens at 7 p.m. and closes at 11 p.m. Admission costs 32,500 won ($28.86) for adults and 16,500 won for children. The pool will only be open during the daytime after Aug. 31. For more information, call (02) 3440-8000.

See below for more options to swim away the heat.

Experience the illusion: Park Hyatt Seoul’s “infinity” swimming pool

Also known as a “negative edge,” or “vanishing edge” pool, an “infinity edge” pool refers to a swimming pool that produces a visual effect of water vanishing, extending to the horizon, or to “infinity.” One of the most famous infinity pools is located in Marina Bay Sands, Singapore. Seoulites can find such a pool on Park Hyatt Seoul’s 24th floor, which offers an exquisite, panoramic view of Seoul. The pool’s vanishing edges create a fascinating illusion that the pool water is falling down to the urban center of the city. The pool is surrounded by glass windows, and swimmers can enjoy romantic sunset as well as the splendid night view in one of the most unforgettable ways. For price and information, call (02) 2016-1176.

Cheap and accessible: Pools at Hangang Park

Easily accessible and affordable, Hangang Park’s outdoor swimming pools ― all seven of them in different parts of Seoul ― are a great getaway from the heat near the Han River. The pools opened for the summer season on June 29, and have attracted more than 300,000 people so far.

Among the seven locations, Ttukseom and Yeouido pools’ extra facilities ― water slides, splash pads and tube rides ― give them the feel of scaled-down water parks.

The Jamsil, Jamwon and Mangwon locations each have an “adult pool,” “youth pool” and “children’s pool,” differing in depths to accommodate different swimmer requirements.

The pool in Gwangnaru Hangang park, which is smaller than other locations, is a great location for couples and small groups of friends, according to the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The pool is relatively quiet, and is recommended for those who would like to enjoy the sun and relax rather than doing too many water activities.

“A lot of people have been visiting the pools because of the heat wave,” said Choi Im-gwang of the Hangang Project Headquarters of the city government.

“The Hangang pools are cheap and accessible. I hope more people enjoy them before the summer ends.”

Admission to the seven locations ranges from 2,000 won to 5,000 won. Children under age 6 enter for free. All of the seven locations are easily accessible by subway. For more information about the pools, visit www.hangang.seoul.go.kr.
People enjoy the sun and the water at Hamilton Hotel’s rooftop swimming pool in Itaewon, Seoul. (Yonhap News)
People enjoy the sun and the water at Hamilton Hotel’s rooftop swimming pool in Itaewon, Seoul. (Yonhap News)
Enjoy the rooftop pool party in Itaewon: Hamilton Hotel’s rooftop pool

If you’d like to enjoy a rooftop pool party, Hamilton Hotel in Itaewon is the place to be. The pool, located on the hotel roof, offers fun DJ beats as well as a great rooftop-view of Itaewon. It is also known as the place to spot young people with well-toned tanned bodies in Seoul. The pool opens at 10 a.m. and closes at 6 p.m. One must be 18 years old or older to enter. For more information, call (02) 6393-1247. 
Visitors enjoy the night view through the open ceiling of Novotel Ambassador Gangnam’s semi-outdoor swimming pool.(Novotel Ambassador Gangnam)
Visitors enjoy the night view through the open ceiling of Novotel Ambassador Gangnam’s semi-outdoor swimming pool.(Novotel Ambassador Gangnam)

Enjoy sky view in a semi-outdoor pool at Novotel Ambassador Gangnam
 

Novotel Ambassador Gangnam’s indoor swimming pool, located in the property’s In-Balance Wellness fitness club, transforms into a semi-outdoor pool during the summer season. The pool’s ceiling, usually closed throughout the year, opens up during the summer, allowing the swimmers to see the open sky view while having fun in the water. The open ceiling offers a one-of-a-kind atmosphere and lighting, especially during sunset and when the lights illuminate the city at night. According to the Novotel Ambassador Gangnam, the pool is also ideal for a romantic date, as the property includes a Jacuzzi as well. For more information and reservations, call (02) 531-6532.

By Claire Lee (dyc@heraldcorp.com)
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