According to various news reports, this has been one of the hottest summers ever recorded in Korea. It certainly felt that way here in Daegu, which received additional bonus points for being notorious as one of the hottest cities in Korea. We tend to avoid traveling in the summer (too hot, too many people, too expensive), which meant we spent most of our time either standing in tank tops and shorts in front of our blowing A/C unit, or looking for ways to get out of the house to escape the heat.
During the summer months, everyone flocks to one of the seasonal outdoor pools. While the admission price to the public pools are really cheap, they are also super crowded…and loud…and yes, I realize I sound like an old lady. In search of a more chill, laid back, experience (and honestly, one without too many kids), I discovered the pool at the Inter-burgo Hotel, which held weekend pool parties throughout the summer. Located in a somewhat industrial part of town, the Interburgo hotel glimmered like an oasis in an otherwise nondescript area comprised of squat gray warehouse and mysterious stores selling things like pipes and electrical cords.
We were looking for an escape. From the blistering heat. From the pitter patter of tiny feet on slick concrete. From city life. We were looking for a day of sun and relaxation, a mini vacation without having to leave the city.
The outdoor kitchen served up massive plates of made-to-order fried chicken and platters of fresh fruit and cheese. The poolside bar offered everything from draft beer to ice-cold cocktails and bottles of champagne.
It took us less than 20 minutes to drive to the hotel from our house, and once there, it felt as if we had been instantly transported a thousand of miles away to some place much more exotic. Or at least that’s what I told myself when I stared into the faded, slightly Russian Constructivist, sun wall mural. It wasn’t a Vegas, or even an L.A. level of pool party, but that was a huge plus in my book. We rented a couple sun loungers and spent the entire day baking in the sun, which despite all my complaints about it being so hot, felt somehow perfectly acceptable once a pool entered the picture. Every so often, we abandoned our chairs and slipped into the pool to cool off. Then back to our chairs. Then to the pool. Repeat about a billion times.
By late afternoon, a younger adult crowd began replacing the groups of families, while a DJ started spinning in his tented booth at the end of the pool. The cool, younger part of me wanted to stay until early evening to watch the sunset over the mountains and dance all night beneath the strings of light flickering above our heads. The grandma side of me, the one that spent the entire day in the sun and was now exhausted from doing absolutely nothing, was more than ready to call it a day. We relinquished our coveted lounge chairs and said goodbye to our weekend oasis.
Now, less than a month later, the weather has finally started cooling down and fall feels so close that it’s practically palpable. Literally overnight, the weather dropped from 90+ degrees to upper 70s and it feels as if this sweltering hot summer has finally come to an end. Our windows are open once again. School has just begun. My friends back in the States have reported seeing Halloween items at Target. Just a few days ago I bemoaned sweating my ass off during an early morning hike, and now I find myself wistfully longing for those hot summer days. Or maybe it’s just my ever-nostalgic heart, woken up once more by the inevitable change in seasons, preparing for its tearful gooodbyes to yet another summer.
Hotel Inter-Burgo Exco | LOCATION: As the name implies, the hotel is right across the street from the EXCO center | COST: ₩18,000 / adult, ₩15,000 / children, ₩22,000 / during pool party days (Friday and Saturday). Groups of 15 or more receive 30% off. ₩10,000, lounge chair rentals (includes towel service). Parking is free. Pick up a wrist band when you check in – all extra charges will be added to this wristband number. | DESCRIPTION: Family-friendly outdoor hotel pool and lounge with poolside restaurant and bar. The adult crowd is somewhat younger than what you would find at a public pool with plenty of people wearing two-piece swimsuits! There is a shallow side for kids, a lap pool side, and at the back, a kiddie pool. Floaties, balls, and water guns are allowed! At night there is more of a club/lounge atmosphere with djs, poolside concerts, and events such as “beach ball dating” and “water gun parties.” The pool parties only run from July to end of August, but the pool and sauna may be open at other times of the year. Arrive early if you want to snag a table. Facilities include: locker room, showers, bathrooms, poolside food and drink (click here for menu), air compressor, sauna (extra charge). It also looked as if you could bring in your own food and drink, but I’m not 100% certain. Note: you do not have to wear swim caps like at other Korean pools, but girls have to keep their hair back. | VERDICT: It’s definitely pricier than the public pools around town (which are something like ~$2 pp) but its waaaaaay less crowded, especially during the weekend. We really liked the laid back vibe, chill music, and access to massive platters of Korean fried chicken (and booze). We wouldn’t necessarily go every weekend, but we will definitely return next summer.