A looking into hotels in Korea; top 3 awesome hotels recommendation.


Hotels in Korea

Korea is not that popular, famous tourist destination. Tokyo, Bangkok, Shanghai, Hong Kong, Singapore and other cities which you just recall now are more typical, traditional tourist destinations.

But following waves of K-culture, Korean tourism industry is getting bigger while a lot of hotels are built. One unique factor of Korean hotel industry is staycation of locals. It’s called as Hocance (Hotel + Vacance), people spend their holiday in a hotel whether luxury or not.

During the pandemic period which is the hardest time for most tourism industry, hocance was reliever for hotel industry. hotels which claimed themselves for tourist, business are mostly closed while luxury hotels turned to surplus through providing luxury experience for domestic customers.

Now, hocance is unique culture of Korea. 90% of customers of hotels are domestic, so hotels are sticking to their domestic customers more and more.


Reasons why you shouldn’t stay hotels in Korea.

Korea has weird labor market structure, customer ratio of hotels. These make Korean hotels difference from international hotels. You will be surprised with these facts. Let figure it out details.

Problems

  • Hard to book on weekends
    It’s normal for all hotels, but it’s more strongly found in Korean hotels. People usually spend their weekends in hotels. Price on weekends go double, but weekends are going to be fully booked mostly.
  • Extra charges
    Generally, amenities such as sauna, swimming pool are free to use for staying guests. It’s very common sense in hotel industry, but Korea isn’t. Most Hotels charge extra fees for using sauna, swimming pool and something else. The price ranged $20 – $40 per person.
  • Cleanliness
    It is biggest disappointment for most fans of Korea. Most hotels are lacking of cleanliness, you can feel uncomfortable. I found used stocking in closet, opened shampoo, empty body wash in bathroom. It was 5-star hotel which costs $500 per night. It happened in not only one hotel, but also several luxury hotels. In affordable price range, it must be worse. You should choose a brand carefully.
  • Service
    English skills of staff are not great no matter how luxury hotel is. It doesn’t mean you must get inconvenience to communicate, but still could be. Only few staffs can speak foreign language fluently, you should not expect English from all staffs. Their services are not professional even for domestic customers. They don’t meet global standard what you expected for its grade. I also surprised about their weird system, I never expect much for hotels in Korea.
  • Expensive
    Hotels in Korea have smaller room for the price following Tokyo. Restaurants in hotels, in-room dining are more expensive than Tokyo. It’s around 1.5 – 2 times of the price of Bangkok. Also mentioned above, there’s a lot of extra charges you should pay. Comprehensively, most hotels in Korea are overpriced. If you are looking for other cities in Korea, price for value will be greatly decreased. Koreans don’t like domestic travel because of ripping off.

Club lounge never satisfy you.

You will see how strange is Korean hotels system in this part. You have to book club lounge prior even you are staying in a club room including club lounge access. And you can use the lounge only limited time. Usually it’s capped by 1.5 – 2 hours per day. Some hotels don’t have a reservation system for the lounge, then you should wait in line front of lounge.

I won’t recommend you to use club lounge unless you got special reason for that. It’s also quite overpriced, you better reserve cheapest room in the hotel.

Views also cannot satisfy you.

If you are not living in a high population density city, you may expect breathtaking cityscape in Seoul. But Seoul’s skyline isn’t best, even for riverside. There was restrictions for building tall buildings along the riverside for last decade. So there’s only poor-looking relic apartments. One more crucial thing, air quality and smogs are ruining your clear view. It also make your shots unclear. Air quality is bad in more than half of a year.

If still you want to see cityscape, I can recommend some.


Best view hotels in Seoul
Signiel Seoul

Signiel Seoul is placed in tallest building in Korea, Lotte Tower. This hotel has city view, river view, partial river view. My favorite is west that can see Gangnam skyline and Han River in one window.

A view of three bridges cross Han river, bridges are illuminating lights.
View of Han river from the bathtub, Signiel Seoul.

https://www.lottehotel.com/seoul-signiel/ko.html

Four Seasons Seoul

Four Seasons Seoul is placed in Gwanghwamun, center of Seoul. Gwanghwamun is surrounded by historical places, a popular tourist destination. Four Seasons Seoul has palace view suite, you can see whole Gyeongbokgung palace through your window. It is most iconic view in Korea.

Bugak mountain, Gyeongbokgung palace through the window from the room of Four Seasons Seoul.
View from Four Seasons Seoul. You can see Gyeongbokgung palace and Bugak mountain.

https://www.fourseasons.com/en/seoul/

Park Hyatt Seoul

Park Hyatt Seoul is watchtower of COEX. Looking down COEX intersection, the view is so starry, energetic. COEX is heart of Gangnam area, you can enjoy shopping, dining, entertainments, everything in one place. Park Hyatt Seoul has best view in competitors.

View of Intercontinental Parnas, Parnas Tower, Trade Tower, COEX intersection.
Trade Tower, Parnas Tower, COEX intersection. Source – blog.naver.com/atelier_sucre/222983455087

https://www.hyatt.com/en-US/hotel/south-korea/park-hyatt-seoul/selph

Conclusion

Hotels should meet tourists’ expectation, following global standard. But Korean hotels are not good as global standard. They gave me weird experience many time, I disappointed a lot. I advise you to lower your expectation, don’t spend a lot of money on hotels. If you are satisfied with hotels in Korea, I’m happy to hear that.


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