Seeing as I’m already on my ultra favorite topic–hotels and accommodations– I’ll continue before posting my Part II to Finding Love in a Korean Love Motel: The Digs & Dives (*heh heh)…
When you think of staying in an international city like Seoul, there are few hotels you think you’ll get for under $100/night and if you do, people might caution you to it being a Korean Love motel. So when my sister found an awesome deal on Orbitz and booked my family into a hotel which didn’t have a website (only the Korea Google search pops it up), for $89/night ( 1/3 its listed website price), I had all the reason to be a little reluctant. Worried, really… The good news is this– remarkable gems in cities like Seoul, doesn’t always have to come with remarkably high price tags and you don’t have to be a king in order to stay in a palace!
PJ Hotel is good example of how online price searches can lead you to some hidden treasures. I cannot give this chic boutique hotel more 4-5 star praises or thumbs up for what it offers in princely palaces. Stepping off the subway, Euljiro 3 subway station, the hotel is tricky to find; and by the end of a 5 minute walk down a grungy side alley to get there, you might be wondering “What the hell kind of hotel did I book?“
But when you see the hotel, it shines like a blue jewel of innovative architecture and design. The friendly bell boys waiting outside, sport well-cut suit uniforms and urban cowboy hats, which give the hotel a unique flavor of western comfort and youthful sophistication (in fact, they were so great that when we arrived, they came out in the street to stop the traffic for us so we could cross!) The lobby is raised above street level– you’ll need to ascend the large stairway– almost as if to say- your entrance and departure will not be overlooked as anything less than grand. And after having performed a short Stairmaster routine, your luggage will be waiting for you at the top (the hotel sports a luggage conveyor belt!)unless you wish the bell boy to bring it up.
Once inside, the lobby is tastefully simple and minimalistic. The staff there is friendly and speaks a basic English, enough to get you around town; and the hotel desk wrote in Korean for us, all the places we needed to have the cab drivers take us. The rooms are perfect for business travelers, DJ rock stars and tourists alike. If you’re a young flash-packing tourist type, then you’ll love this hotel, as the rooms are perfectly outfitted with large screen computers and wide-screen HDTVs . If you want to conduct your work with friends, then there is a main lounge on your floor with several computer cubicles.
The hotel has western style bathrooms and state of the art toilet seat controls which aim to heat your cold tush or give you a little extra wash. The shower/bathtub even has a soap dispenser for soap and shampoo/conditioner (which totally makes up for the lame hotel soap and shampoo they give)
Our family took the twin rooms. By U.S. standards the rooms in this hotel can run a tad smaller, but they’re nevertheless comfortable and certainly not a deal-breaker. For a city like Seoul (which I consider a twin sister of NYC) I imagine the real estate is limited. The rooms open to a small balcony (which looks a little aged & less maintained) overlooking the crowded neighborhood of Myeongdong and a not too distant Namsan Seoul Tower. It’s easy to feel like a bit of a rock star –with the vibe of the urban jungle of Seoul so close to your fingertips!
PJ Hotel offers a free shuttle from its hotel, which runs a small course to main landmark points and Seoul station. Airport shuttle drop-offs are within walking distance of the hotel as well as, the MTV and Nickelodeon offices reside nearby (*sigh* one of my old work spots)
Unfortunately, the next hotel we stayed at in Daegu (Daegu Grand Hotel), was not only more expensive but didn’t carry as much grandeur to what we experienced in PJ Hotel (*pouting*).
Did we love spending our weekend in PJ Hotel? Hell yeah! Would we go back again? If I could live there at the price we got it at, I would.
PJ Hotel (Seoul, Myeongdong)
73-1 2-Ka, Inhyun-Dong Jung-gu | Kyonggi-Do, Seoul