These days in Seoul, it seems like a new hotel pops up every day. Take your search online and you’ll find overwhelming numbers: Agoda has 546, Expedia has 733, and booking.com has 971 results. Naturally, the problem is that it’s not easy to pick just one. With so many accommodations rated 4 to 5 stars, you can‘t simply rely on “star power.” Brand name is another point of reference that travelers use, but following that is the slippery slope of high prices. Many of the hotels built recently in Seoul fall into the category of “upscale business hotel.” In other words, they may not be exactly luxurious but they are still quite nice. You can expect accommodations like quality mattress and equally impressive breakfasts. Not average love motel mattresses, either you’ll generally find that upscale business hotels are priced up to 150,000 won per night.
The first of its kind to come into the Korean market was the Marriott. The Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Times Square first opened in 2009 with 283 suites, a spacious lobby with a contemporary interior, and a young, dedicated staff. Take note of the open kitchen and modern décor in the Marriott‘s MoMo café for affordable fine dining.
On May 1st of this year, Four Points by Sheraton Seoul, Namsan joined the ranks of Korea’s business chains. A convenient stone’s throw away is the transportation hub of Seoul Station. True to its mission, Four Points has several conference rooms, but solo professionals looking for a more casual working space can settle at one of the lobby’s communal tables.
This past March, Hotel Ibis Ambassador opened its doors in Myeongdong. Located in the old movie district of Chungmuro, the Ambassador will make you feel like you’ve just stepped onto a movie set. The Ambassador has styled itself as the most chic of the Ibis hotels, with tasteful color palettes and an artistic touch.
Homegrown brands are getting in the game, too. The Shilla Stay in Seodaemun uses 100% Hungarian goose feather bedding and stocks each room with amenities from Aveda. Following the Seodaemun location, Shilla Stay will open a Mapo hotel in September, and another next year in Gwanghwamun, totaling three Shilla Stays in the country, a hotel line that continues to receive a steady stream of positive reviews. Another popular chain is the Lotte Hotel, which opened Lotte City Hotel Guro last year, and hasthree locations in Seoul. Lotte is planning to open two more locations, including a new hotel line, L7. The new L7 opening up in Myeongdong this coming December is a lifestyle-oriented hotel that emphasizes elements of design and utilitarianism.