My husband and I have been working like crazy since we arrived in Korea two weeks ago, but we made time to visit Seoul last weekend for a friend’s wedding, and to see other friends we’ve been missing since my first stay in Korea a year ago. We were only there for one night, so we didn’t need much in amenities (though we still wanted to stay somewhere nice enough, clean, and comfortable). After scrolling through the Hotels.com app, we decided to stay at the D.H Sinchon Guesthouse.
First, a quick overview about Korean hotels: For the most part, you can find a nice place for much less than $50 a night. There are even places for as low as $10 a night, but it will be a shared space with Korean-style mats instead of beds (which may still fit many travelers’ needs). International hotel chains like Best Western or Marriott will be on the $60+ side, but if you want to spend $30-$40 a night, you should look into guesthouses. Guesthouses are almost like a combination of boutique hotels in the U.S. and hostels–there are usually just 20 or fewer rooms, breakfast provided (home-cooked by the owners or self-serve), different sized/style rooms (shared bathroom vs. private bathroom, multiple beds per room vs. private bedroom with one bed), and the employees usually know English and are happy to meet a new foreigner. Korea as a whole offers exceptional (and free) wifi, security key pads vs. just a lock and key, most places have modern appliances, and areusually very clean. So, finding an affordable, comfortable spot isn’t tricky at all.
Back to the hotel–we chose it because it was close to where the wedding festivities would be, and was in a college area, meaning cheap and easily accessible food where ever you turn. We paid a little less than $50, including taxes, for a Saturday night. After we booked on Hotels.com, the guesthouse sent us an email with their address, phone number, and a video with very detailed and easy-to-follow directions about how to get to the guesthouse from the nearest subway station (Sinchon Station, Line 2). Very helpful!
Thanks to the video, we easily found the hotel, which was not far from the subway station at all. The D in the sign does look like an N, though (I guess it’s an “artistic, modern” sideways N?) so look out for that.
The first (minor) setback for us was that there were So. Many. Stairs! Seoul is huge and extremely populated, so everything is built upwards, but from the sidewalk you have to walk up 10-12 steep concrete stairs to the hotel’s level, and even from there you have another 10-12 (more shallow) steps to get to the front door. I had one large suitcase because I was collecting some things I had in storage from my last year in Seoul that I needed to pick up, so I was a bit concerned. Luckily, our luggage wasn’t too heavy or numerous, but beware if you have a lot of cargo!
We weren’t sure how we would get our bags up to the room because of Setback #2: No elevator. To be fair, I think it’s rare for these smaller guesthouses to have elevators, but when you’re hosting travelers with luggage, it seems kind of important. However, we were saved when the front desk attendant met us outside. He took our luggage to a neat little luggage lift–like an elevator just for your luggage. We didn’t even need to carry it inside, so that was actually a plus.
The guy at the front was very nice and helpful and spoke decent English. He explained the security code to get in the building after hours, how to get wifi, when breakfast was, and then ushered us to our room.
We knew from the pictures online that it would be small, and there really isn’t any escaping that. But, it was actually pretty cozy as opposed to cramped.
Koreans take off their “outdoor” shoes whenever they are in a building, so hotels usually provide indoor slippers as well as shower slippers for guests. Also, most bathrooms include a shower, but no tub, just a drain. I’ve gotten used to this and sometimes prefer it over a tub–it’s easier to clean. Soap and shampoo were provided, the water was nice and hot, and pressure was good. I guess my one qualm with the bathroom (and room) was that there really wasn’t a good light source if you’re trying to put on makeup haha. If you care about that kind of thing 😉
The room itself had a queen-size bed that was very much on the firm side, even for me, the Firm Bed Queen. There was a flat screen TV that included English channels; a safe; a mini-fridge; and strong wifi. There was a window, but I can’t say if it got much light or not–we arrived in the evening and the next day was cloudy, so I’m not sure.
Overall, the hotel was quiet at night. In the morning, we went up to the 4th floor for breakfast, which was being made by the guesthouse owner, a nice ajusshi (older man). He fried eggs, and prepared some salad, fruit, cereal, soup, and juice. A pretty healthy breakfast!
Checkout was at 11, and all we had to do was turn in our key to the desk. The front desk attendants helped send down our luggage via the lift, and that was it!
Overall, it was clean and comfortable and a good price. I think we would need a bit more space if we were staying more than one night, but for a solo traveler with less luggage it would do the job well. I give it a 4/5!