In search of a retreat outside of Seoul, and somewhere different in South Korea, I came across Hi Class Namhae White 2.1. A pension located west coast of Namhae Island, it offers a select number of rooms that take advantage of the ocean landscape. The centrepiece of Hi Class Namhae is the outdoor pools, unrivalled in the area and by a few within South Korea.
If you happen to stop by on a blazing hot day, the infinity pool or sky pool (where I stayed) is your private paradise. And despite the tired-looking furniture, general wear and need for better upkeep, the peaceful atmosphere and quiet surroundings are perfect for staycation retreats when you need to escape the hustle and bustle of city living.
KNOWN AS 하이클래스 남해 펜션 COUNTRY SOUTH KOREA LOCATION NAMHAE, SOUTH GYEONGSANG ROOM REVIEWED SKYPOOL VILLA (205) FEATURES HEATED JACUZZI, OUTDOOR POOL FOOD BBQ SERVICE ROOMS 15 TYPES, 10 TOTAL ADDRESS 경상남도 남해군 서면 남서대로 1965-54
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The route nearer to Namhae island is cool as it’s far more rural, with plenty of green nature and fresh air. I love heading south because the vibe and surroundings are very different. It’s only when you veer off the main road to reach Hi Class Namhae pension that the path can be quite difficult. It winds in tight angles and is wide enough for one car so pray you don’t have oncoming cars in the way. It’s also fairly downhill so do take caution. Once you arrive at the few blocks of buildings situated off the hillside of the coast though, you’re finally at HiClass Namhae White 2.1.
With around just ten rooms and four-room concepts, this is a hidden getaway that during peak seasons can be very hard to reserve. I’d also add it’s the most convenient driving by car, considering it takes more than five hours from Seoul capital and public transport in rural regions are less frequent. I had an overnight in Jeonju which splits the trip in half (two and a half hours) from Seoul, so if you haven’t been to the city yet, now is a good time since it’s on the way.
sky pool villa room
There’s a standard room, sky pool villa, suite pool villa and platinum pool villa. The highest standard is the suite and platinum pool villa, which have an infinity pool up to 9m and offers a pretty incredible experience. I chose the sky pool villa because I felt it offered better value for money and I preferred the higher floor outdoor pool, but the room spec is probably nicer than the other two. That being said, I was still happy with the sky pool villa. 205 was my room and this was the view inside as soon as you walk in: one double bed, one single bed, a self-service kitchen with a water cooler, fridge, microwave, rice cooker and a few plates.
The air conditioner is very good, with strong circulation and low temperatures for those blazing hot days. A basic sofa with matching bronze trims and a marble table with a matching marble floor create the white concept in the renovated pension, although this is dating back a few years now.
The location of Hi Class Namhae is excellent as you get plenty of natural light from the terrace side. Full-length windows and sliding doors invite natural light during the day, and I like the floor to ceiling glass bedside as it’s a great way to wake up. A pair of robes, good size TV and a marbled bathroom complete with a bidet toilet and showerhead. The place has generous floor space so if you’re coming as a group or taking plenty of luggage, you won’t feel cramped inside.
The terrace with its very wide windows and sliding doors opens a spot where you can have breakfast or coffee looking onto the ocean. An outdoor table and five chairs were tucked underneath the shelter but I moved them towards the doors as the outdoor fresh air and ocean breeze were too inviting to pass up. I was surprised to see from the bathroom it has a glass window and sliding door to walk onto the terrace. There’s plenty of privacy from the facing island, but you can close the shower curtains for peace of mind.
Overall, I like the indoor floor space. The beds are comfortable with excellent natural light inside. The marble floor really upgrades the feel of the place too. Clearly from the terrace, it’s suffered from wear and tear, especially from maybe the weather as the floorboards, railings and glass have rusted or lost the gloss from its renovation, so don’t expect the finest kind of decoration and spec here. Corners are full of cobwebs and dark markings too. The place can definitely benefit from more regular and thorough cleaning but the indoor presentation is a good bar for some touch-ups.
At the night, the outdoor hanging lights turn on over the terrace and the sky pool, making for quite an ambient scene if you fancy staying outside into the night. A few of them weren’t working but besides the pool, I didn’t stay out on the terrace much because of the number of flying insects you find hanging around in the summer.
sky pool and jacuzzi vibes
When you think that’s all, there’s a door next to the fridge which opens up to a twisting staircase. Leading to the upper floor, you’ll find the outdoor heated jacuzzi and private sky pool. The view is incredible from here, as you don’t see the rooms down below or the coastline… just the sweeping panoramic of the South Sea. And since Hi Class Namhae is situated on the west coast, over the shores you can see the island of Yeosu City. It’s a little industrial on that side but it doesn’t detract from the general atmosphere which is quiet and peaceful.
The sky pool is maybe 2m deep and long enough for a few strokes, but the sky pool is meant as a relaxing space to chill. And though the water is not heated, the sun heats the surface water warmly. The jacuzzi works excellently, although I was advised the hot water is only available until the early evening so be sure to fill it up before cutoff if you intend to use it in the evening. The jacuzzi is wide enough for two people and I found myself – after taking a dip and leisurely swimming in the sky pool – relaxing here with a drink in my hand, enjoying the moment. You can lay a blanket beside the jacuzzi and sunbathe here or on the other side of the sky pool. It has a narrow floor area where you can lay down, although a sun lounger would be a nice addition.
I used it again in the evening and preferred it to the sky pool as the evenings can get quite chilly. Something I didn’t know are the underwater lights in the pool. The upper floor experience would be a near-flawless experience if you don’t plan to use it the next morning. Why’s that? Well, there are many flying insects during the night. The next morning, let’s just say a crazy amount of insect eggs were hanging around the side of the pool walls! It’s very off-putting, and unless you have the patience to scoop them out with the fishnet, it can be a real deal-breaker. We shouldn’t have to anyway.
Since I only stayed one night and left in the morning, I didn’t call the staff. But whether they put some stuff to avoid that from happening, I’m not sure. It could be seasonal and may have been a lapse in their usual care and maintenance of the outdoor pools, but it needs to be addressed for guests staying, whether one night or several.
namhae retreat final verdict
Despite that which thankfully didn’t impact my use of the facilities, Hi Class Namhae White 2.1 pension offers a unique retreat spot away from the city life. Being surrounded by nature, away from people, pollution and the usual makes this a great healing spot. The route is long from Seoul but serves well as part of a road trip along the way. You need to drive back to Namhae town or down to the pier to find restaurants so prepare in advance, or pick up stuff before you arrive. There’s the signal for the TV and wifi so you’re not totally disconnected, but the scenery here will make you want to.
In terms of standards, there’s a premium for these outdoor pools (especially the infinity pools). I would expect the rooms to be higher spec considering the price, including the general wear seen throughout. That being said, the room was spacious and clean and I had an absolutely incredible time. This was my first time in Namhae and I’d love to be back in the area again.
I don’t know if I’d stay in Hi Class Namhae for a second time considering everything and possibly other options at these price points, but I enjoyed my first stay here and the unique experience in this area. To finish off, I recommend the sky pool room I stayed in or the other two infinity pool rooms if your budget allows.
There are better hotel room standards for the price range of Hi Class Namhae, but this is a pension that offers a unique private outdoor pool retreat located right by the coastline and ocean matched by very few in Korea. If a unique feel, surrounding and atmosphere is what you're after, this is worth the premium.
skypool is amazing on a sunny day
all the essential facilities work well
great ocean view and natural light
great heated jacuzzi into the night
quite heavy wear and tear, and lack of building maintenance