Since we wanted to hit the slopes at Welli Hilli Snow Park the night before Christmas Eve, we started hunting for a place to crash. It was a bit tricky since it’s such a busy time with both the holidays and ski season in full swing. We weren’t after anything super fancy, mainly because we’d be out on the slopes most of the time. Our main criterion was affordability, aiming for around 100,000 KRW for the night, given the peak winter demand. Fortunately, we came across Pine Bell Pension, which met our requirements excellently. In this post, I’ll detail our experience at Pine Bell Pension and offer insights on staying at a Korean pension. Let’s delve into it!
Pine Bell Pension’s Ideal Location:
Situated just opposite the main entrance of Welli Hilli Snow Park in Hoengseong-gun, Gangwon-do, Pine Bell Pension (파인벨펜션) is roughly a 2.5-hour drive from central Seoul. Its close proximity to the ski resort was the main draw for our choice. Additionally, with convenience stores and dining options just a short walk away, it further enhanced the appeal of staying here. If you’re considering a ski trip to Welli Hilli Snow Park and find the resort accommodations booked, I highly suggest looking into Pine Bell Pension or other nearby lodges. They’re conveniently located just a two-minute drive from the resort’s ticket offices and slopes!
Accommodations and Amenities:
During our stay, Pine Bell Pension offered seven guest houses for booking. One was conveniently located near the parking area by the pool, while the others were positioned along an extended wooden terrace that stretched uphill from the reception area. Each guest house is set apart, ensuring guests enjoy their own private and secluded space. Adding to the serene atmosphere, the hillside is dotted with large pine trees that complement the surroundings beautifully. Booking a stay in this section feels almost like enjoying a tranquil retreat in a charming treehouse. That’s precisely how it felt for us, given that we chose one of the rooms in this picturesque area.
Our chosen room was Solbang-uldul (솔방울둘), one of two houses designed for two guests, while the other rooms accommodate larger groups of 4 to 5 people. Upon reviewing their Naver Smart Place page, I discovered that each room boasts a distinct interior theme. Our room showcased a vibrant reddish hue throughout its design. The white walls were accentuated with crimson artworks and red-tinted windows, creating a playful and distinctive ambiance the moment you step inside. Many of the furnishings, from the plush sofa and beddings to the kitchen table and stools, were deliberately selected in bold red. And here’s a unique touch: right in front of the TV stands a bathtub, providing a relaxing soak option in every room.
The room offered a comforting warmth that exceeded my expectations. I once had a chilly stay in a remote caravan during winter, so I was initially concerned about a repeat experience. However, the Solbang-uldul room at Pine Bell Pension is thoughtfully fitted with ondol, a traditional Korean underfloor heating system, ensuring guests remain snug and warm.
Additionally, each room boasts a private bathroom. Ours was notably spacious, with a separate shower enclosure distinct from the toilet area. While essential toiletries are provided, toothbrushes are not included, so remember to pack your own.
Understanding Korean Pension Practices and Courtesies:
Staying at a Korean pension is somewhat akin to a bed and breakfast experience. However, there are nuances, particularly in how meals and cooking amenities are provided. If you’re thinking about booking a room at a Korean pension, here are a few key points to keep in mind:
Koreans often indulge in samgyeopsal (grilled pork belly) barbecue during their pension stays. Recognizing this preference, many pensions, including Pine Bell, offer designated barbecue areas. Some even provide rental equipment like charcoal grills and briquette sets or offer comprehensive barbecue meal packages with meats and sides. To truly savor the experience, consider bringing barbecue ingredients from local supermarkets or opting for the pension’s barbecue service. It’s a culinary treat you won’t want to overlook!
Comprehensive Kitchen Amenities:
Understanding guests’ preferences for cooking, whether it’s barbecuing or preparing a hot pot of ramyeon, pensions are well-equipped with essentials like utensils, dishes, pots, pans, and cleaning tools. Establishments like Pine Bell Pension go the extra mile, offering additional conveniences such as rice cookers, alongside standard appliances like microwaves and electric kettles. Their attention to guest comfort is truly commendable!
Cleaning Up After Cooking:
Though it’s common for pensions to expect guests to clean up after themselves, it’s largely an etiquette visitors are familiar with. Prior to departure, ensure you wash any dishes or utensils you’ve used. Additionally, be aware that certain pensions may impose fines for leaving kitchenware unwashed upon checkout.
Proper Waste Disposal:
In addition to cleaning dishes and utensils, it’s essential to manage your trash before leaving. Ensure you gather all your waste and place it in the designated disposal bins, typically found outside the accommodation in a central waste collection area.
Booking Information and Rates:
During our visit to Pine Bell Pension over the Christmas weekend, we booked a night for around 120,000KRW. Compared to neighboring accommodations, where rates exceeded 150,000KRW, it was a favorable deal given the peak season. For current availability and pricing, you can refer to the following links:
In summary, our experience at Pine Bell Pension was truly delightful. The ambiance was welcoming, the accommodations and amenities were well-maintained and charming. To top it off, we were treated to a beautiful snowfall on our departure morning, making it a memorable farewell. I wholeheartedly recommend this spot for anyone seeking lodging near Welli Hilli Snow Park!
Gallery: Winter Shots of Pine Bell Pension
Quick Info About Pine Bell Pension:
Address: 강원 횡성군 둔내면 고원로 425
Naver Map: Link
Hours: Check-in 3:00PM, Check-out 11:00AM
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