When I had decided on Seoul as my first solo trip and bought my plane tickets, the next most important decision was figuring out accommodation – where to stay in Seoul. I didn’t need a fancy room with bells and whistles since I would be out of the room most of the day, somewhere convenient and safe and clean was all I really asked for.
My friend P recommended me to check out a place that she stayed at – Seoul Tower Ville, a guesthouse located in downtown Myeongdong/Namsan area. I stayed in a single room for 4 nights and because of availability, I switched to a double room for 2 nights.
STV is located in Myeongdong (Line 4, Myeongdong Station), a pretty central shopping area in Seoul. It’s quite happening and busy at nights, so I usually spent my evenings winding down by walking the streets and doing a little shopping, just soaking up the vibe.
However, STV itself is located on Namsan, which is on the hill side. There’s a back door short cut that cuts up from Myeongdong Station Exit #3, but it’s uphill all the way and at one point, you’re navigating a bunch of uneven steps in a narrow up-sloping alley.
It is cooler because it’s on a hill – I never needed the air-conditioning at night, the weather was just perfect. There are some insects from time to time though – I had a mosquito keep me up one night, but it might have been because I didn’t close my screen window properly. It’s also supposed to be quieter as its away from the crowded Myeongdong area, but there was some construction going on next door so there was some banging and clanging around in the mornings.
Getting there from the airport is easy – you just take Bus #6015 from the airport (buy a ticket from the counter when you exit the arrival hall for 10,000 won) at bus bay 5B/12A. The bus comes quite frequently – 10-15min intervals. It’s a loop bus ride that takes about 70mins to reach downtown Seoul, and you’re looking to drop at Sejong Hotel.
From there or from the airport before you catch the bus, give the owner a call and he’ll come pick you up from there. (The doorman at Sejong Hotel kindly called STV for me using his cellphone when I was trying to look around Sejong Hotel for a phone – now there are detailed instructions on their website as to how to contact them!) I don’t recommend you trying to find STV on your own for the first time, especially if you have luggage, because that back stairway is no joke!
Detailed information on travel from the airport can be found here, but the rates might be a little outdated so check them up first.
The rooms are plain and pretty simple, there’s a live-in homey feel to the furniture, not the newest but in good working condition. Everything you could possibly need can be found in the room, even the little single room that I was in: Washing machine, stove, fridge, microwave oven, air conditioning, TV… plus your own water dispenser and attached toilet. Simple amenities like toothbrushes, shampoo and tissue paper are provided as well and they clean up your room every day too!
The single room I stayed in was pretty small – it reminded me of my hostel room, where there was a bit of floor room in the middle but pretty much the only place to sit was on the bed. It was located on the 4th floor (Blk D) and while quite strenuous when you include the climb up to STV, it did have a pretty good view of the Myeongdong/Namsan area. I could see Hotel Sejong on one side, and N Seoul Tower on top of Namsan on the other!
My double room (Blk B) was on the 2nd level, and while less of a climb, its windows were about a metre or so from the neighbouring brick wall, so there was no view to speak of. Still was cooling when you cracked open the window though. The room layout was different from the single room, but all the same amenities were there, and there was much more space to walk around.
Pretty reasonable – the single room cost 45,000 won per night, which works out to about S$50. Most of the hotels that I checked out are about S$80 per night at least. Hostels are cheaper of course, but I didn’t want to share a room/toilet.
You’re pretty much left to yourself after checking in – payment is usually upfront upon arrival and in cash to the owner after he showed me to my room.
There is a little lounge area where there are some brochures (not very useful), but no good maps of Seoul so you either need to take one from the airport or have a guidebook with you. Also, I hardly saw the owners there, so if you’re the sort who likes to get tips/advice on travel, you’re not going to get that much here.
Also, it’s not like your typical hostel with a main room where people get to meet each other and hang out, so if you’re the sociable, you’re better off at an actual hostel!
Here are some other places I was considering: