Things to Know Before Booking a Hotel in Seoul

Seoul is a ton of fun, but getting a good night’s sleep can be a challenge.

This hotel guide will help you have a quiet and restful stay in Seoul, while being close to all the action.

Lingua Asia Things to Know Before Booking a Hotel in Seoul

Quick Tips

  • Avoid main streets as hotels on main roads are often more expensive, crowded, and noisier.
  • Stay at a place with an air purifier.
  • Get a room away from the elevator.

Hotels, motels, hanoks, pensions, guesthouses, yeogwan, I’ve stayed in every type of accommodation in Korea over the years. Here’s what I’ve found!

1. Location doesn’t matter that much

Lingua Asia Korean Bus in Seoul

Coming from someone who prefers taking taxis on a trip to save energy, Seoul has excellent public transport. Subways run on time and there are dedicated bus lanes. I rarely take taxis in the city because of the traffic.

Most of the main attractions including, the palaces, traditional markets, National Museum, War Memorial, Insadong, Bukchon, Dongdaemun, Hongdae, Sinchon, Itaewon, Namsan, are located in a 3-mile radius.

If you want to hit all the highlights, anywhere west to central Seoul will fit the bill.

Things get more involved when you want to head south of the river as transit times reach an hour.

You can always divide your trip into two hotel stays, one northwest of the river and one southeast if you want to check out COEX, Bongeunsa, Garosugil, Lotteworld, and Gangnam.

In other words, you don’t need to stay in Myeongdong to be near everything.

Lotte City Hotel Mapo is the perfect blend of comfort, convenience, and value. You can get to the main attractions in 20 minutes or less from there.

The hotel provides an LG air purifier upon request, which I cover later.

2. Avoid main streets

Lingua Asia Gwanghwamun Square

I’m all for having fun, and Seoul will have no shortage of that. But, there’s a time to cut loose and a time to sleep it off.

Hotels on main streets are often more expensive, crowded, and noisier than those a block or two in.

Check out smaller boutique hotels in residential areas. Avoid bars, noraebang, and other businesses that thrive at night.


3. Get a room away from the elevator

Things can get lively at night, especially after the traditional 5 rounds of drinking, eating, and noraebang.

The best bet is to stay in a corner room away from the elevator and not facing a big street.

4. Stay at a place with an air purifier

Lingua Asia Air Purifier

Nothing better than a deep sleep with clean air (not always a given in Seoul). You’ll wake up feeling refreshed and ready for adventure.

5. Hotels vs Motels

Lingua Asia Motel

Hotels aren’t always that much more expensive than motels and are better in most ways.

Motels sometimes have smoking floors. There’s no magic barrier between them, so smoke will end up in your room. They also cater to fun-loving types and you’ll be treated to some late night entertainment.

No judgement if these are your thing!

6. Avoid group tours

If you see huge tour buses idling outside of your hotel, you may want to consider other options.

Korea is popular with all types of tourists and some hotels and restaurants have special deals with tour companies.

Good for them but it may get really rowdy for you.

Bonus tips: Check out the apps

Daily Hotel (데일리호텔) and Yanolja (야놀자) have some great deals if you didn’t book a place in advance. Just check the apps the morning of and see what you can find.

Daily Hotel: Android | iOS

Yanolja: Android | iOS


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