Without further ado, I’ll introduce some of the digs and dives from my Korean Love Motel Tour.
Apologies in advance for the shoddy photos. Much of my instances were low-lit/dark and I wanted to be quick in taking them (guess the only real shady thing about the love motels was me!). Here’s a brief look at some gems we found:
If you don’t have advance reservations or ideas of where to stay when you arrive into Gunsan’s bus terminal, the love motels will be your first go-to choice. There are a good handful of motels to choose from nearby, as the station’s neighborhood doesn’t inspire much residential or hotel competition.
Getting there from Daegu: Take the bus to Gunsan from Seobu Bus Terminal.
1. Sharp Motel, Gunsan
Gauging from the enthusiastic and genial personality of the office manager at the Sharp Motel, we gals joked how we were certain there’d eventually be naked pictures of us floating around on the internet after this night. Still, this was our third try at a motel, it was late and we knew the manager was just honored to have foreigners stay. From my first impression of the building and lobby design, I smelled a possible Korean Sheraton. Much to our delight, we weren’t far off. The room was clean, elegant and provided ample amenities and furnishings for our comfort. A separate bed was not available, but considering how Korean accommodations originally used yo (floor mattresses) bedding, the motel manager offered a floor bed which was equally comfortable. At 40,000W/night, Sharp Motel was our slice of heaven.
Main Attractions: Wide screen HDTV, Computer, Refrigerator with some juice, Hot/cold water filter tank, Sofa/living space
Off-hand, the love motels near the Jeonju Express & Domestic Bus Terminals (both within a couple of blocks of each other) sported the most luxurious love pads by far, that I could imagine. Perhaps its the fact Jeonju’s artsy flavor hosts the annual Jeonju International Film Festival or maybe, Jeonju likes its digs a bit more snazzy and modish.
Getting there from Gunsan: The buses leave several times throughout the day in Gunsan, so there shouldn’t be any worries on this level. The tix are under 10,000W.
2. Show’s Drive IN Motel
If you don’t want to be seen walking into a motel, this one allows you to not even have to leave your car (in fact, it doesn’t even have a lobby)! Drive-IN lives up to its theme and that code word is Privacy. You get your own parking stall, garage door and exclusive access to your room. How does the transaction work? Well, it’s all quite vending machine style. You park your car in an available garage, walk up the stairs to your room’s entrance and look at the pictures of your room/apartment. If you like what you see, slide your cash into the machine and the room is yours. There’s no viewings of the room but its pictures boast chic styling, trendy furnishings and 2 levels (living room and bedroom)! This was my favorite. Cost 75,000W/night (which still has me kicking myself over- it’s not much, especially split 3 ways)!
Main attractions: Well-styled contemporary room themes; Separate living room quarters; 2 levels- Spacious rooms (like having your own apartment); Private garage and exclusive entrance. Cons: no “live” room viewings
3. Sky/Show Motel
Across the street of Show’s Drive IN Motel is Sky/Show’s Motel. The Hilton or Lotte of motels is what I want to call this one. Why? Sky & Show (both, well-known telecom companies in Korea) make no secret of owning this motel and the rooms in it look pretty grand. Private viewing of the rooms is not allowed, but there outdoor pictures advertised on the building and a lobby computer kiosk which gives you a fair peek. For 70,000W/night (the cost of an average mid-range family hotel) this place was a gem and a steal!
Main attractions: Spacious beds/rooms, Well-styled contemporary room themes. Cons: no room viewings
photos of the room advertised outside and purchase on the inside via computer machine.
4. Blue One Motel
After just having seen one of the motels nearby (the Tiffany Motel) we were less enamored in thinking that Jeonju might offer us something equal to our stay in Gunsan. From the outside, Blue One Motel didn’t shout enthusiasm. Little did we expect it would be our first introduction to flashy mod boutique motels.
Entering this residence, we didn’t want to leave. The hip and trendy design of this motel hits you the moment you set foot through the door and the rooms don’t disappoint either! Chi-chi, funky, swish, glam… stepping into a Blue One room, will make any flashpacking cosmopolitan girl want to squeal with delight. The furnishings in this joint were fly! Sexy pad? Yes, but “sex”? As a guy, you’d be hard-earned to get far- the eye candy of the room is pretty tough competition! Cost: 65,000W/night
Main attractions: Funky cosmopolitan design and room themes; Small living room space, complete with widescreen HDTV and 2 computers. ; Controls for mood lighting; Lobby offers free continental breakfasts and refreshments. Cons: no extra bed for a 3rd person, no refrigerator.
5. Beauty & the Beast Motel
I fell in love with its name before I even saw its face. So what if the motel is still sorting out confusion of whether wants to look like Caesar’s Palace or an astrological constellation of forces. The motel is still fairly new (upon our arrival the lobby was decorated with congratulatory wreaths, a standard Korean gift for celebratory openings). The splashy Las Vegas entrance hits you over the head with its forthright nature of gold trimming, Greek ionic columns and winged horses (I almost expected Elvis to pop out!) and the neon-lit hallways to rooms tempt the idea of wanting rave glow sticks! However, the motel earns its dual name when you cross the threshold of your room. The room design defies its outer pretensions, with a sober Sheraton minimalism… and it packed a room-full of amenities!
You’re provided a purse of toiletries with facial masks, lube and condoms, to name a few. And to add sparkle to your beauty-or beastiness– the room’s jacuzzi has color lights in the tub and overhead to add mood to your bath! Our stay wasn’t a Disney storybook, but was it was a story I would recommend.
Cost: 45,000@/night for 3ppl.
Main attractions: Widescreen HDTV and 2 computers; Purse of toilettries (toothbrush, condom, facial masks, etc..) Hot/Cold Water Filter; Refrigerator w/ Juice; Jaccuzi bath tub (with colorful ambient lights in the tub and overhead) and separate shower; A heat/douche controlled toilet; Sofa/table; One of the few motels which met our requirement of a twin bed accompaniment for a third person. Cons: no door to the shower/jacuzzi room (toilet had its separate room)
The lobby was so dark and neon red, I didn’t know what to make of it at first. Jungle plants, glitter, an aquarium with plastic fishes, …definitely a red-light vibe, if it weren’t for the vacant child’s tricycle in the middle of the room. Was it part of the decor or did it belong to the manager’s child who was playing behind the counter? Sometimes, you can’t tell. The rooms had the kind of L.A. film noir character an artist might be drawn to, but not necessarily beg to stay in. If the other motels sported chic pads, this was certainly more of a den. It styled used furniture with a bit of kitsch and the Greco-Roman peek-a-boo bath window looked lifted straight out of a film set. A jacuzzi, massage table and microwave added toys to the palette, but no computer. Cost: 40,000W/night
Interesting film noir design; Jacuzzi w/ Massage table; Microwave & Refrig; Hot/Cold Water Filter; Coffee table/chair set; Extra bed. Cons: Low light, no computer
7. Tiffany Motel
Not much to say here. Tiffany Motel offers pretty simple and basic amenities. The sheets looked clean and the bathroom boasted a jacuzzi… still, much was left to be desired. At 40,000W we felt Sharp Motel in Gunsan had left us with a reasonable standard to gauge other by.
Main Attractions: Twin beds; Jacuzzi. Cons: Dungeon like, no computer, too basic
Stumble upon any cool motels, feel free to share them in the comments section!