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Where to Stay in Seoul: The Best Hotels & Neighborhoods for 2019 ✈



Where to Stay in Seoul: The Best Hotels & Neighborhoods for 2019 ✈ 1

Getting ready to explore the capital of South Korea? While it’s easy to fill your days plying through ancient palaces, eating delicious Korean street food or filtering through the latest fashions, there’s one thing that always presents a challenge: choosing where to stay in Seoul.

Simply looking at the endless sprawl in this megapolis can send even the most grounded of travellers into panic. Fortunately, it doesn’t have to be this hard!

To help you pick out your perfect accommodations , we’ve whipped up this complete guide to best places to stay in Seoul. In it, we’ve included both the best areas & neighbourhoods for travellers and the top hotels at every budget.

Let’s see what’s in store for your trip to Seoul…

Where to stay in Seoul: A complete guide to the best neighbourhoods & areas for travellers

Like most big cities, Seoul’s an eclectic mix of unique neighbourhoods. From the artistic beat of Hongdae to the traditional shops & galleries of Insadong, whichever area you choose to stay in Seoul during your visit will shape your perception of the city.

With the city’s incredibly efficient—if, at times, horribly crowded!—public transportation, there aren’t many places within central Seoul that are off-limits for your stay.

In any case, we’ve rooted out the following 9 popular neighbourhoods and districts as the top places to stay in Seoul for travellers. All of these areas are central enough to hustle you easily through all the top Seoul attractions—either by foot or with public transportation.

Even within many of these areas themselves, you’ll discover opportunities to get hopelessly lost within the backstreets to get a little taste of Seoul off-the-beaten-path…

✔ Best area to stay for traditional Korean culture & food

As more and more of Seoul’s traditional heart disappears in a wave of development, neighbourhoods like Insadong only seem to grow in appeal. Sure, the Insadong area has become a bit more touristy lately. But don’t let that sway you from making it the base of your operations.

Exploring the traditional backstreets of Insadong is as rewarding a cultural experience as any here. Weaving in and out of the alleyways forking away from Insadong-gil sets you in front of traditional teahouses, antique stores, souvenir shops and food stalls that will keep you endlessly busy.

On top of all that, Insadong, set in Jongno-gu district, is close to some of the Korean capital’s biggest must-sees including Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Changdeokgung Palace making it the perfect area for culture seekers to stay.

Attractions in Insadong: Jogyesa Temple, Ssamziegil, Shin Old Teahouse, Kyung-in Museum of Fine Art, Dawon

Where to stay: The best hotels in Insadong

With its traditional façade, Insadong unsurprisingly focuses more on budget and mid-range guesthouse-style accommodations than those of the gleaming luxury skyscraper variety. Even then, expect to pay a little more for the convenience of staying in the beautiful and highly-central Insadong area, easily one of the top neighbourhoods to stay in Seoul.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Insadong:

  • Insadong Hostel: A full-featured hostel serving up everything from shared dorms to cheap private rooms with private bathrooms. Located directly on Insadong Cultural Street.
  • | Agoda
  • Sunbee Hotel Insadong Seoul: A stylish 3-star hotel featuring spacious modern rooms and an excellent location on Insadong’s main strip.
  • | Agoda
  • Centermark Hotel Insadong Myeongdong: A centrally-located 4-star hotel that’s wedged into a perfect location between Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung. Both the centre of Insadong and Myeongdong are within a 10-minute walk. Rooms are cozy and modern with top-notch service.
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  • Orakai Insadong Suites: A hip and contemporary aparthotel showcasing luxurious self-catering apartments that are a home-away-from-home in the Insadong area. Besides the incredible location, the suites offer use of an indoor pool, sauna, and fitness centre for the duration of your stay.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area for shopaholics & for experiencing Asian urban modernity on your stay

If you need more of a buzz when choosing where to stay in Seoul, set your sights on the central neighbourhood of Myeongdong. Shopping addicts will especially love the bustle of this area where you’ll find all the latest fashions and cosmetics—at surprisingly reasonable prices, too!

Staying in the area, there’s a little something in store for the foodies, too. Myeongdong has some of the city’s best street food, and some of its most popular restaurants, cafes and eateries. Everything from the tastiest Korean delights to Japanese street snacks grace the menus as you eat your way through one of Seoul’s top districts for travellers.

With Seoul Station just a couple subway stops away, this neighbourhood is also the perfect place to stay for day-trippers who want to escape the capital on a day trip.

Attractions in Myeongdong: Myeong-dong Shopping Street, Myeongdong Cathedral, Namdaemun Market, Lotte Department Store, NANTA Theatre

Where to stay: The best hotels in Myeongdong

One of the reasons that Myeongdong’s one of the best areas to stay in Seoul is for its wide selection of accommodations. You’ll find everything from budget guesthouses to 4- and 5-star luxury hotels. Most properties fall in the mid-range. Like Insadong, you should prepare to spend a tad more in this area than elsewhere in the city.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Myeongdong including some of the best hotels near Seoul Station:

  • Aloft Seoul Myeongdong: A contemporary 4-star luxury hotel with a style that’s a step above your usual chain hotel. Superb central location in the centre of the buzzing neighbourhood.
  • | Agoda
  • K-Guesthouse Seoul City: One of the best value budget hotels in the area. Rooms are fairly no-frills but are super clean and modern.
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  • Bodeum Guesthouse Seoul Tower: A unique property with an interesting mix of modern and classical Korean elements. Excellent quiet location in the shadow of Namsan and N Seoul Tower.
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  • The Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul: One of the top luxury hotels in Seoul, featuring everything a top-tier five-star should including an indoor pool, spa, and several top-notch restaurants.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area to stay for budget travellers & hipsters

Want to stay in Seoul’s hippest neighbourhood? Look no further than Hongdae.

Located in Mapo-gu in the western area of central Seoul, Hongdae is a youthful and energetic neighbourhood with a zestful arts and entertainment scene. In many ways, this neighbourhood, named after Hongik University, is the bi-polar opposite of Insadong; it’s at the forefront of Korean culture, rather than riding on the traditional coattails of it.

Simply dip into its trendy cafes, art galleries, fashion boutiques or nightclubs and you’ll see what makes the Hongdae area a great place when picking where to stay in Seoul.

The energy here is infectious, if at times (more than) a little eccentric. While wandering in the streets around your digs, you’ll be bombarded by street performances, art displays, and trend-setting food options. All in a day’s work when you decide to stay in Hongdae during your Korea trip.

Attractions in Hongdae: Hongdae Mural Street, Hongdae Free Market, Hongdae Walking Street,  Trickeye Museum, Hongdae NANTA Theatre, Love Museum

Where to stay: The best hotels in Hongdae

Once you recognize the youthful exuberance of Hongdae, it won’t come as a surprise that the area specializes in cheaper guesthouses often with shared facilities. For a bigger selection of mid-range and luxury accommodations, you’ll, unfortunately, need to look elsewhere.

Here’s some of our top picks for the best hotels in Hongdae:

  • L7 Hongdae: A brand-new 4-star hotel from Lotte that’s stylish, hip & perfectly located to take on the area’s buzz .
  • | Agoda
  • Gateway Korea Guesthouse: A small property that feels more like a homestay than a hotel. The centre of Hongdae is just 5 minutes away by metro.
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  • Lian Guesthouse: Another small owner-run guesthouse that strives for a homey feel. Guestrooms all feature city views with some offering a balcony for relaxation.
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  • Hao Guesthouse: A clean and comfortable guesthouse featuring both shared dorms and private accommodations with private bathrooms. Best location among our favourite hotels here.
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  • RYSE, Autograph Collection Seoul: A stunning 5-star luxury hotel filling a long-neglected high-end gap in the Hongdae accommodations scene. The whole experience at RYSE exudes an elegant modernism from the moment you step in the door. You don’t want to miss this one.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area to experience nightlife on your stay & get a taste of the city’s most modern side

There’s much more to Gangnam than the style that Psy so cryptically introduced us to in the West. Gangnam is the city’s modern soul, featuring the Korean capital’s most impressive skyscrapers, most upscale shopping boutiques, and its most raucous nightclubs. (Not to mention some of Seoul’s top hotels.)

By day, Gangnam is much like Hong Kong’s Central, an area where deals are made and you’re forever on the clock. When the sun sets, Gangnam is a different story. It’s here where Seoul’s crazy party scene truly rips open, filling the streets and clubs with electricity and highlighting Korea’s lesser-known love for the nightlife and consuming beverages of the alcoholic persuasion.

Attractions in Gangnam: Starfield COEX Mall, COEX Aquarium, Seonjeongneung, Bongeunsa Temple, Seoul Arts Centre

Where to stay: The best hotels in Gangnam

With its preoccupation for business, it shouldn’t be shocking that Gangnam is home to a great selection of mid-range & luxury accommodations options. It’s a great place to base yourself for your trip if you’ve got a few won to spare and need something a little more luxurious.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Gangnam:

  • Big John’s Place Guesthouse: Although it sounds more like a hostel in Texas, Big John (actually Korean!) will make your stay as memorable as any host could. All rooms are clean and comfortable. Facilities are shared with other guests.
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  • Ryu Guest House Gangnam: A clean and modern guesthouse located close to Apgujeong Subway Station in Gangnam. Unlike many other small local accommodations, rooms offer private baths and city views.
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  • Dormy Inn Premium Seoul Garosugil: A stylish 4-star hotel that’s the best luxury value in the Gangnam area. Rooms feature floor-to-ceiling windows with views out to the city. Hotel includes an on-site spa, sauna, and restaurant.
  • | Agoda
  • Park Hyatt Seoul: A luxurious 5-star hotel whose sleek & modern guest rooms truly bring the Gangnam style to life. Floor-to-ceiling windows glint breathtaking views of the Gangnam skyline. With three superb restaurants on-site, serving international cuisine and Asian favourites, as well as a gym & pool that peer precipitously onto the city, the Park Hyatt is easily one of the top places to stay in Seoul and one that you don’t want to miss.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area for traditional sightseeing & to stay in good quality mid-range accommodations

Although Insadong is the most famous corner of Jongno-gu, staying almost anywhere in this central district puts you front and centre for tackling the city, whether you have just one day in Seoul or a week.

Jongno-gu is home to some of Seoul’s best tourist attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gwanghwamun Gate, Changdeokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village and Jogyesa Temple. If there’s anywhere to uncover the magic of old Korea, it’s here.

What makes the Jongno-gu area so interesting as a choice for where to stay in Seoul is that it mixes its traditional side (much of it dating back to the Joseon Dynasty) so seamlessly with Seoul’s modern face.

You’re as likely to glimpse a gleaming glass office building or trendy restaurant in Jongno-gu as an ancient palace or temple. Add on top of that its central location and a selection of some of the city’s top hotels, and it’s no wonder why Jongno-gu is a favourite for travellers passing through capital of South Korea.

Attractions in Jongno-gu: Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, Gwanghwamun Gate, Jogyesa Temple, Bukchon Hanok Village

Where to stay: The best hotels in Jongno-gu

As an area that stretches far and wide across central Seoul, there’s a huge selection of everything from hostels and cheap guesthouses to some of the city’s top 5-star hotspots.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Jongno-gu:

  • Hostel Tommy: A newly-renovated hostel with both shared and private accommodations. Run by a gracious host who always makes guests feel at home.
  • | Agoda
  • Sky Guesthouse: One of the most unique places to stay in Seoul. Located in Bukchon Hanok Village, these accommodations features traditional Korean-style accommodations with heated floors and mats. Unlike in most other hanok, bathroom facilities are private.
  • | Agoda
  • Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun: An elegant 4-star boutique hotel that’s located steps away from some of Seoul’s best tourist attractions. Rooms exude a warm ambiance and are outfitted with contemporary furnishings and fixtures. Excellent value for staying in the centre of town.
  • | Agoda
  • Four Seasons Hotel Seoul: Quite possibly the best luxury hotel in Seoul. Besides its picture-perfect views and setting, this 5-star property features 4 on-site restaurants, dry & wet saunas, and world-class fitness facilities including a 3D golfing simulation.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area for younger travellers & partier to stay on a budget

A favourite for foreigners, Itaewon showcases Seoul’s grittier side more than any other central neighbourhood in the city. Itaewon sits near the main American army base in the city, perhaps explaining its familiarity among expats, many of whom spend their evenings plying through Itaewon’s restaurants and drinking in its edgy nightclubs.

There’s a slice of just about everything when you decide to stay in this area, but Itaewon’s reputation and less central location might leave you preferring to hang your hat elsewhere. It’s perfect for younger travellers looking to deep dive into Seoul’s party culture while finding some of the cheapest places to stay.

Attractions in Itaewon: War Memorial of Korea, Namsan, Central Masjid

Where to stay: The best hotels in Itaewon

Itaewon’s accommodation scene has long appealed to budget travellers. Much of the selection includes budget guesthouses that make it a tad cheaper here than elsewhere in the city. In the mid-range, there’s minimal inventory, and, as far as luxury goes, your choice is next to nil.

Nonetheless, here are a few of the best hotels in Itaewon:

  • Amazon Guesthouse: A clean and modern hostel close to Itaewon Station. Both shared dorms and private rooms with kitchenettes are offered.
  • | Agoda
  • MOSC Guesthouse: A newer property that features clean private rooms with both shared and private facilities. Located close to Central Masjid (Mosque).
  • | Agoda
  • G Guesthouse Itaewon In Seoul: A super central Itaewon choice outfitting guests with a choice of shared dorms or private rooms with private en-suites. A flashy artistic style gives this place cool vibe that’s often missing in the budget accommodations market. (The rooftop terrace with views of N Seoul Tower helps, too.)
  • | Agoda
  • Hamilton Hotel: A landmark place to stay that’s recently been freshened up and modernized to take on a new century. Rooms at the Hamilton Hotel are clean & contemporary, and the seasonal outdoor pool is a nice touch for travellers looking to cool down in the dead heat of summer.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area for a stay close to great food, shopping & even a little nature

Along with Jongno-gu to the north, Jung-gu forms Seoul’s city centre. Jung-gu is, on the whole, the quieter of the two alternatives with pockets of tranquil residential areas set among the bustle of its crazier corners like Myeongdong and Dongdaemun.

There’s a little more variety here, too. Whereas Jongno-gu leans heavily towards the historical, Jung-gu is an area that’s got a little of everything. The shopping and foodie trail in Jung-gu is one of the city’s best. And with the towering heights of Namsan to the south, nature makes an unexpected urban call to adventurers sleeping in its shadows in Jung-gu.

Attractions in Jung-gu: N Seoul Tower, Namsan, Myeong-dong, Seoullo 7017, Deoksugung Palace, Namdaemun Market, Namsangol Hanok Village, Sungnyemun Gate

Where to stay: The best hotels in Jung-gu

Like Jongno-gu, Jung-gu stretches through half of the city centre. There’s a wide variety of places to stay here, everything from cheap hostels & small pensions to Seoul’s most luxurious digs.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Jung-gu:

  • Courtyard by Marriott Seoul Namdaemun: A delightfully contemporary hotel perfectly situated to take on the best of Jung-gu. Rooms are decked out with rich wood grains and feature spectacular views of the city including Namsan, N Seoul Tower and Namdaemun Gate. Get the best price guaranteed and collect Marriott Rewards by booking directly on
  • Marriott | | Agoda
  • Gloryinn: A simple hotel offering excellent value for private accommodations in central Seoul. Located within close walking distance of several markets include Dongdaemun Market.
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  • Hotel Skypark Kingstown Dongdaemun: A modern 4-star hotel that’s surprisingly budget-friendly for its central location just steps from Dongdaemun. Terrace offers amazing views onto the cityscape including Namsan and N Seoul Tower.
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  • The Shilla Seoul: A top contender for one of the best luxury hotels in Asia. Everything—from the decor and views to the spa & fitness facilities—is simply divine. Don’t miss out on one of the world’s finest Korean meals at the on-site La Yeon, a rare triple Michelin star restaurant.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area for a quieter urban experience with good value accommodations

Outside of its expat-friendly enclave of Itaewon, Yongsan-gu isn’t necessarily on top of most lists of where to stay in Seoul. The district is snuggled between glitzy Gangnam area to the south and the one-two punch of Jung-gu & Jongno-gu to the north.

Although it gets less attention among travellers than either option, Yongsan-gu appears to be on the up-and-up with some major development projects that promise to put this area on the map. If you’re looking for a district for your trip that’s (at least for the meantime) more traditional and relatively quieter (Itaewon excluded) than other central areas, Yongsan-gu is a good choice. What you’ll get here will offer fairly good value.

Attractions in Yongsan-gu: War Memorial of Korea, Itaewon, Yongsan Electronics Market, National Museum of Korea, Leeum Samsung Museum of Art

Where to stay: The best hotels in Yongsan-gu

Like the smaller Itaewon area within it, Yongsan-gu caters more towards the budget end of accommodations in Seoul. There’s only a small handful of mid-range and luxury options in Yongsan-gu, which don’t necessarily offer much better value than other in a more central area.

Here are a few of the best hotels in Yongsan-gu.

  • Haha Guesthouse Itaewon: A small inn run by a passionate owner who loves to make her guests feel at home. The beautiful garden and terrace feel miles away from the bustle of the city nearby.
  • | Agoda
  • Majung Haus Seoul Station: A hip and colourful little guesthouse sporting an excellent location in Yongsan-gu. Fifth floor terrace with views of N Seoul Tower sets this one apart.
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  • 24 Guesthouse Seoul Station Premier: A simple and clean pension that’s located within steps of the main train station. Reservations include a free breakfast.
  • | Agoda
  • Four Points by Sheraton Namsan: A brilliant 4-star hotel conveniently located at Seoul Station. Rooms are clean and modern, and feature all the amenities you need for a comfortable stay.
  • | Agoda

✔ Best area for a quieter stay slightly outside of the tourist centre

Although it’s a little less central than other areas like Jung-gu and Jongno-gu, Mapo-gu offers some of the widest selection of places to stay in Seoul. Mapo-gu’s biggest claim to fame is Hongdae, a cool neighbourhood centred around Hongik University with a strong alternative vibe.

Outside of getting close to Hongdae, consider staying in Mapo-gu for good value accommodation in a relatively quiet district. Transportation connections to the core of the city are great, too. All of Seoul’s best tourist attractions are a short metro ride away making Mapo-gu a great choice for where to stay in Seoul.

Attractions in Mapo-gu: Hongdae, World Cup Stadium, Modern Design Museum, Love Museum, Trickeye Museum, Sky Park

Where to stay: The best hotels in Mapo-gu

Only Jung-gu has a better selection of accommodation than Mapo-gu. A large percentage of these properties are in and around Hongdae, possibly the chillest area in the city. Most fall within the budget to mid-range with little offered in the luxury segment.

Here are some of the best hotels in Mapo-gu:

  • Best Western Premier Seoul Garden Hotel: A modern 4-star hotel with some of the most luxurious accommodations and facilities in Mapo-gu.
  • | Agoda
  • UWA Guesthouse: A simple no-frills inn that provides comfortable dorms and private rooms with shared facilities. Located a short walk from Hongdae, the most popular area in Mapo-gu.
  • | Agoda
  • Cocoa Guesthouse: A bright and clean property in the centre of Mapo-gu. An endless variety of rooms are available from shared dorms to private rooms with en-suite bathrooms.
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  • Lotte City Hotel Mapo: A contemporary 4-star hotel conveniently attached to a shopping centre and located next to a metro station (Gongdeok). Accommodations are well-appointed with contemporary fixtures and large windows featuring excellent city views.
  • | Agoda

The best hotels in Seoul: 15 top choices for every budget

Address: 28-7, Changsin-gil, Jongno-gu, 03106

With a central location and incredibly cozy rooms combining elegance with technology, Hostel Vanilla 1 Dongdaemun succeeds in staying abreast with the futuristic vibes of Seoul. This newly-built, family-run accommodation is perfect for solo travellers and couples wishing to experience the feel of a comfortable home.

About 700 meters away from Hostel Vanilla 1 Dongdaemun is one of Korea’s top fashion destinations, Dongdaemun Street, where you can score branded clothing at surprisingly low rates. And don’t worry about appeasing your taste buds either. There are plenty of snack bars, restaurants, and eateries nearby serving delicious Korean food and other Oriental fare. Locating the hotel the first time around may be difficult as the streets here are rather weirdly organized. But the sight of the smiling staff waiting to welcome you is sure to lift your spirits!

Address: 33, Donhwamun-ro 11-gil, Jongno-gu, 03139

Among a cacophony of hotels jostling to make a mark in one of the most economically fulfilled cities of Asia, Makers Hotel is budget-friendly accommodation that lives up to its claims. Rooms are comfortable and stylish, equipped with all the essentials—whether you’re a solo backpacker or travelling to Seoul for work.

Perhaps the best part of staying at Makers Hotel though is its prime spot in Jongno-gu, Seoul’s most exciting area for sightseeing and easily one of the best choices for where to stay in Seoul. In early mornings, the street appears dull and routine while in the evenings, it takes on a life of its own. Head out the door to watch nearby local street vendors whip up Korean delicacies to appease the hungry stomachs of weary travellers stopping for a bite after a tiring day of touring the city.

K-Guesthouse Seoul City

Address: 241, Chungmu-ro 9 gil, Jung-gu, 04543

Situated in the heart of Jung-gu, K-Guesthouse Seoul City combines the convenience of a excellent location with clean & comfortable rooms that don’t stretch your travel budget too far. Unlike many guesthouses in the area, all the accommodations are equipped with newly-renovated private bathrooms.

K-Guesthouse includes an excellent breakfast in its price, but don’t stuff yourself too much before tackling your day. The property is sandwiched almost equally between the culinary goodness of Insadong to the north and Myeongdong to the south; there’s plenty of Korean food around to keep your tastebuds guessing what’s coming next!

Address: 26, Insadong 14-gil, Jongno-gu, 03146

With an ultra-convenient location and cozy rooms refurbished in a rural Oriental style, Mini Hotel Insa wins the hearts of locals and foreign travelers alike. Tucked away in a by-lane of Jongno-gu, this hotel features property-wide WiFi, laundry facilities, and an in-house café where guests can kick back in leisure and imbibe the aura of the city.

When you’re in the mood for some tourist action, simply head out the door of Mini Hotel Insa and saunter down to nearby Changdeokgung Palace to capture some Instagram-worthy shots or visit the Jogyesa Temple to revel in the glow of the lanterns in the evening.

Address: 66, Donhwamun-ro, Jongno-gu, 03134

Daring to earn a unique name for itself with dormitory-style guestrooms and an enviable location, Hostel Tommy is perfect for travellers looking to cut accommodation costs without compromising quality or comfort. Located in the Jongno district, this hostel is a stone’s throw away from the Jongno 3-ga Subway offering easy access to the city.

One of the main reasons why you’ll love Hostel Tommy is that it’s within easy reach of many of the city’s top attractions. Jongmyo Shrine, Jogyesa Temple, Gyeongbokgung Palace, and Changdeokgung Palace are all within walking distance. Additionally, it’s just a few minutes away from some of the major art galleries and cookie-cutter Korean restaurants that line Insadong Street.

Address: 2-8, Toegye-ro 20na-gil, Jung-gu, 04631

We’re not sure if YOLO has the same meaning in Korea, but the YOLO Guesthouse sure makes you feel like it. Located in close proximity to the most happenin’ shopping malls and recreation centres in the capital, this hotel offers warm and cozy rooms that exude a Southeast-Asian aura.

One of the main reasons to love YOLO Guesthouse is that some of Seoul’s major tourist hotspots are located within quick walking distance from it. Whether you want to shop and snack in Myeong-dong or relax in Namsan before hiking up to N Seoul Tower for dinner, you’re in the right place to do it.

Address: 56, Bukchon-ro 15-gil, Jongno-gu, 03052

Looking to enjoy the best of Seoul in a classic setting without draining your wallet? Sky Guesthouse is one of the city’s best choices. Set in Jongno-gu within the atmospheric Bukchon Hanok Village area, this classic Korean accommodation impresses with inspired Asian architecture and decor that transports you back to simpler times.

Rooms at Sky Guesthouse display traditional Korean style (heated floors and mat bedding) and are, unlike many hanok guesthouses, fitted with private bathrooms. Even the location itself is noteworthy, set upon a lovely historical street that reminds us of times increasingly lost in the chaos and upward movement of Korea capital.

Address: 8-12, Yanghwa-ro 12-gil, Mapo-gu, 04043

If you’ve grown weary of busy street-side hotels, the calming charms of Naru Guesthouse rejuvenates like none other in Seoul. Spectacular cherry- and rose-blossoms greet you as you approach your home-away-from-home in Korea’s capital.

Besides the lush garden that transports your mind miles from the city, Naru Guesthouse feels more like staying at a friend’s than in a small inn amidst one of the world’s biggest cities, from its cozy rooms to its bright and spacious common areas. A prime setting in the funky Hongdae neighbourhood, Korea’s unofficial capital of weird, only adds to this hotel’s undeniable appeal.

Address: 9-6, Jong-ro 18-gil, Jongno-gu, 03192

A majestic, high-rise hotel situated in the heart of Seoul, Grid Inn Hotel charms visitors with an decidedly urban, yet peaceful, atmosphere. Rooms feature tasteful contemporary stylings and soundproofing to keep the bustle of the city from disturbing your rest.

Besides chowing down at the on-site GRID INN cafe & pub, the prime Jongno-gu location of Grid Inn Hotel puts mind-blowing local delicacies inches away from your mouth at Bangsan Market or the alleyways of Insadong, both within a short walking distance.

Lee Kang Ga Guesthouse Hongdae

Address: 4F, 39-3, Seongsan-dong, Mapo-gu, 121-843

There’s nothing overly grand about Lee Kang Ga Guesthouse Hongdae. Yet with its ultra-convenient location, Korean-style rooms and hospitable staff, this small property is guaranteed to bowl you over.

The rooms at Lee Kang Ga Guesthouse Hongdae are minimalist and tasteful, but the real kicker is the stunning rooftop garden. Filled with wispy trees and colourful flowers, the space makes it hard to believe you’re staying in the city. What’s particularly amazing is that it’s remarkably quiet here—all while still chillin’ out just a few steps away from exciting buzz of Hongdae.

Address: 56, Namdaemunro, Jung-gu, 04535

Coming from a chain that’s at the forefront of the hotel industry, it’s hardly a surprise that the Aloft Seoul Myeongdong is one of hippest places to hang your hat in the city and slots in among the best hotels to stay in Seoul. Located in lively Myeong-dong, this top-notch 4-star hotel brings the area’s urban vibrance into its midst, reflected in the trendy design of its rooms and common areas.

Besides the thoughtful & edgy contemporary detailing at the Aloft, the on-site W XYZ bar & lounge is the perfect place to mingle after a long day of sightseeing. There’s even a fitness centre to shake off that extra soju-induced holiday weight before sauntering off to the beaches elsewhere in Korea.

Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

Address: 97, Saemunan-ro, Jongno-gu, 03183

A luxurious, high-rise hotel set in the heart of the Gwanghwamun neighbourhood, Four Seasons Hotel Seoul combines old oriental charm with the vibrant mood of the 21st century. Enclosed within this glamorous five-star space are luxury suites and rooms, each featuring floor-to-ceiling windows and vivid Korean motifs that create an aura that’s equal parts contemporary and traditional.

It’s the top-notch amenities of the Four Seasons that set it apart among the city’s 5-star picks though. Whether you want to revel in a personal sanctuary of calmness at the sauna, enjoy a world-class meal at one of the four delightful on-site restaurants or tee off at the world’s finest courses at the on-site 3D golf simulator during your stay, the Four Seasons goes above and beyond all expectations.

Address: 249, Dongho-ro, Jung-gu, 04605

Named after the prosperous Shilla dynasty, the luxurious The Shilla Seoul is the perfect amalgamation of trend-setting luxury and ancient Oriental heritage. The interiors of all 464 rooms at this top-notch 5-star hotel are inspired by the East-meets-West concept, featuring contemporary European-style furnishings with thoughtful Asian accents.

Outside of its well-appointed rooms, The Shilla truly puts itself on the Asian hospitality map with its on-site restaurant, La Yeon. Awarded a prestigious three Michelin stars, this fine dining restaurant serves up some of the best Korean fare in the country. Round that off with its complete fitness centre (including an indoor golf range) and near-perfect setting in the Jung-gu area, and it’s not hard to see why this gem gets ranked among the best 5-star hotels in Asia.

Address: 24, Supyo-ro, Jung-gu, 04555

Greeting guests with a brightly-lit contemporary lobby, G2 Hotel Myeongdong pushes forward a strong first impression. And the feeling only continues throughout this elegant 4-star hotel as you settle into its well-designed contemporary rooms.

Although the G2 Hotel showcases a small restaurant on-site (Lejiu Collection), it would be a shame to not take advantage of the hotel’s supreme location. In just 5 minutes by foot, you’ll hit the centre of Myeong-dong, one of the hippest areas to stay in Seoul, to eat yourself into a Korean food buzz or shop for the latest fashions until all your won is completely gone.

Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel Seoul Myeongdong

Address: 27, Myeong-dong 8-gil, Jung-gu, 04536

Designed like a futuristic resort, the Solaria Nishitetsu Hotel in Myeongdong promises a tranquil stay away from the hustle-bustle of city life. The atrium-style ceiling, dotted with pendant lights, grabs your attention as you usher in. But it’s the 21st-floor lobby, a wonderful spot to enjoy panoramic views of the cityscape, that truly steals all the brownie points.

The rooms at the Solaria Nishitetsu are designed to exude a warm and welcoming feel, with metallic shades used in abundance to highlight soft undertones. And let’s not forget the superb setting. The hotel lies adjacent to lots of popular shops, restaurants, pubs and even department stores, for your shopping, dining and touring pleasure. The subway is just a stone’s throw away, letting  you access the heart of the city from this 4-star hotel in a jiffy.

Summary: The best places to stay in Seoul

Still can’t figure out where to stay? Here’s a quick summary of our top picks:

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