Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Can you suggest a good love hotel in Busan? I am taking the girlfriend there for the weekend...

Can I suggest a good Love Motel? Of course I can...

The thing is though, it's Busan! Oh Busan, I don't know what your problem is, but your motels are seriously lacking. Even in Haeundae half of them are out of date and commit the deadliest sin of all; being brown.

No one and I mean no one, could seriously want to stay in a motel like this, could they?

People, there is too much brown strangeness in this picture! What the hell is that on the ceiling? This is meant to be a VIP suite!

But anyway, I refuse to allow my friend to stay in a brown motel with his new lady. I may not be able to get him something in his ideal location, but I will find him something worthy of a first weekend away with his girlfriend.

So, first choice...

Hotel View

I like this place and I think it may appeal to my friends design sensibilities, there's something clean and graphic about the styles of the rooms and the prices quoted are very reasonable; 60,000 Won for a VIP suite is fantastic! Check out the VIP suite here...

And what a bathroom!

Even the cheapest rooms seem to have baths, and tasteful pictures of nude women, no less.

An 일반실 (standard room) is quoted at 45,000 Won per night at the weekends.

Hotel View is a fair way out of town and I suspect that will cause it to loose points, but looking at the map it seems to be very, very close to the bus terminal and also the subway, so it shouldn't take you long to get to where you want to go.

View Larger Map

Hotel View is contactable on 051-311-4224

Next up we have Hotel We

I have to say, I really like the look of some of the rooms in this place although the prices are slightly higher, with a VIP suite being quoted at 70,000 Won per night at the weekend. Check out the VIP rooms...

'What's that I spy, through those doors?' Did I hear you say? Well that would be the...

Hot tub!!!

Seriously, I'm getting excited on your behalf right now! A hot tub for god's sake! How much more romantic can you get?

But regardless, some of the deluxe rooms (특실) look pretty nice too. Here's room 603, quoted at 60,000 Won per night...

The bath in room 603 is cute too, kind of like an indoor Swedish style hot tub

The standard or 일반실 rooms don't come with baths in this motel unfortunately, so you'd have to stick with a VIP or deluxe room if you wanted one.

The We Hotel is similarly distanced from the center of Busan as Hotel View is, but again is situated right next to a subway line so you should have no problems traveling.

View Larger Map

My final recommendation comes in the form of the V Motel. I have to admit that sourcing somewhere decent to stay that isn't 80,000 Won and above is tricky in Busan, there are plain or ugly rooms galore but few of them have a decent bath and a room that you'd wish to take a new girlfriend to.

So, that being said, the V Motel is yet again not in the center of Busan, in fact it's fairly close to Hotel View, but slightly further from the subway and bus terminal.

A 특실 (deluxe) room can be as nice looking as this at the V... (room 501)

With a two person bath...

But be careful when you pick your room or you could find yourself sleeping in something very bright...

There's only a 5000 Won difference in price between the standard and deluxe rooms at V Motel so I'd counsel you to choose deluxe as the standards appear to lack a bath. With prices ridiculously cheap at th V with a deluxe room costing 50,000 Won and a standard 45,000 Won it hardly seems worth not going for the best.

View Larger Map

You can contact the V Motel on 051-316-9096

Thursday, 12 November 2009

A motel in Busan, near the station?

Greg, one of Goseong's resident English teachers is sadly departing to sunnier climes and leaving us to struggle through the chilly Korean winter without him. However, Greg needs somewhere to stay in Busan for a few nights next week before he heads to the airport in Gimhae and I offered to give him a hand finding somewhere to stay, or at least make a few suggestions...

Greg has a few simple criteria:
  • The hotel/motel must be near Busan train station
  • No more than 40-50,000 Won per night
This should be simple as motel prices are generally much cheaper during the week and motels tend to cluster around stations and bus terminals.

However, sometimes I love hotel365 and sometimes I feel that it's a bit too Seoul-centric for my liking so I may have to get a bit creative with Google Translate and Naver to find some gems. If you can't stay somewhere fabulous on your last night in Korea, then when can you?

First up though, I have my trusty Busan fall-back, The Arirang Hotel. Granted, the photos don't look all that nice and the site is mostly in Korean, I have stayed at this Hotel a few times though and it's clean and comfortable. I also recall them giving me a morning wake-up call which is always welcome when you have to be somewhere.

Yes, the photo's tiny and I am cheating a little as it's not a Love Motel, but sometimes, when you've a plane to catch you just need reliability and you can't get much more certain that the Airirang.

Simply exit Busan Station and look to your left and you will see this sight:

This is the Arirang Hotel, it doesn't say so in English but you will see 아리랑 호텔 written across the top of the building.

From what I remember, the Arirang has English speaking staff at their front desk and is contactable on this number: (051) 463-5001 ~ 8

I should add that the Arirang doesn't quote any prices on it's website, but I don't remember having a heart attack when I stayed there last, so it can't be expensive.

After a bit of Navering (if you can Google then you can Naver, surely?) I found what appears to be a pretty classy joint, right in the neighborhood which Busan Station in located.

Hotel Fashion, no less.

For 60,000 Won you can get yourself a VIP room like this...

But the standard rooms appear pretty nice too.

And a decent looking bathroom...

A room like the one pictured above will set you back 50,000 Won, or perhaps 45,000, my Korean isn't good enough to work out the finer details I'm afraid!

So, Hotel Fashion is located about 5-10mins walk from the station. Personally, if I had a lot of stuff I'd get a taxi and simply give them this address: 부산 동구 초량3동 1162-3번지 but I'd say it's walkable as this motel is actually listed as being near the station.

If you use 부산 역 (Busan Station) as your starting point then you should see the motel is pretty damn close.

You can also contact Hotel Fashion on 051-463-6171~2, though whether they'll speak English is another story.

I have checked on Google and there are at least twenty love motels clustered around Busan Station so you should be covered for all contingencies, whatever they may be.

I hope you enjoy whichever you end up staying in; keep in touch and let me know how it all went!

Monday, 19 October 2009

R Hotel, Yeongdeungpo-gu, Seoul


I think Love Motels are evolving... They're meant to be seedy stop-outs for lovers, adulterers, or foreigners who like motels with lots of bells and whistles, but the R Hotel is something else entirely, yet the prices are the same.

My husband and I had planned to visit Seoul for Chuseok due to the 4 day holiday and mass closure of all businesses, especially in the rural areas such as Goseong where we live. I figured that Seoul wouldn't close, or while some things would, enough would stay open for us to eat, drink and be merry.

Once Greg and I had agreed on a trip to Seoul I set about finding the perfect place to stay on hotel365 and again found myself wading through fabulous motel after fabulous motel. There was one motel that really caught my eye though. I wanted us to stay in a district of Seoul which was in striking distance of Hongdae, Insadong, and Itaewon. Say what you like about Itaewon, but you can buy foreign food essentials there and get a good curry.

The R Hotel is situated in Yeongdeungpo which in itself is a thriving, neon lit place to visit at night full of clubs and bars and places to eat and perfectly located in order to reach the places I wanted to.

It was a bit of a journey to get to Yeongdeungpo on a late Thursday afternoon, just as the Chuseok holiday began, but Greg and I were up to the task. We took a packed coach from Goseong to Daegu and then the subway across Daegu to Dong Daegu Station before taking the KTX to Seoul Station and then the subway to Yeongdeungpo. It took about 6 hours from start to finish, which I think is pretty good going considering.

The R Motel made up for everything though. These were our first sights of the motel:
I can't tell you how excited we were! It looked better than we could have imagined! But we were still amazed when we went inside...
Above you can see the corridor leading to our room. We stayed 3 nights and changed rooms each night for the full experience. On our first night we stayed in the Rainbow Room...
Our bed in the Rainbow Room was enormous and had the softest most comfortable bedding with plump pillows that gave us a great nights sleep. The room had surround sound that hooked up to both the TV and the PCs and the PCs were also able to be viewed off the wide screen TV which faced our bed.
Every detail had been thought of and the whole room put together immaculately; there wasn't one flaw and you could see that much consideration had been given to creating the best use of space. In the bathroom and above the bed there were special lights which slowly changed colour to make our stay even more relaxing. The shower in the bathroom was powerful and required no fiddling to get the perfect temperature.
Our room had large windows which faced out to the railway track and the park beyond it but due to not double, but quadrupole glazing we could hear nothing of the trains that sped by late into the night and instead could immerse ourselves in the tranquility of our beautiful room.

When we checked in we got the usual little packet of free single serving toiletries, pictured below...

This was one of the more comprehensive toiletry sets we've received at a Love Motel and consisted of: 2 x toothbrushes, 2 x toothpaste, a razor, a sponge, bubble bath, shower cap, hair band, cotton wool pads, cotton buds, vaginal douche (!) and two condoms.
In the rooms themselves they also provided facial wash, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner (called rinse in Korea), moisturizer, hair spray and hair gel.

Before we went out for our first evening in Seoul we explored the rest of the hotel and this is what we found...
This is the dining room, where a complimentary breakfast is served each morning, redeemable with a little voucher they give you when you check in. Again, the decor and the standard and quality of the motel is outstanding, the whole of the R Hotel is like an art installation.

The next morning my husband went off to enquire about us changing rooms, not that our room wasn't lovely but we wanted to see what else this motel had to offer. The guy who worked at front desk advised us that checking in before 6pm would increase the price of our room considerably (this is because Love Motels rent their rooms by the hour as well as overnight, I'm sure you can understand why) but he reserved our chosen room and kept our bags in his office all day so that when we can back in the evening we could go to our new room. Perfect!

My wonderful husband chose me the perfect room for our second night and in a wonderfully selfless act as it was far from his ideal decor. Have a look...
Yes, it's the Hello! Kitty Room! The photos can't do it justice. Again, this room had large windows, this time facing out over the city affording us one of the greatest views...
And then as dusk fell...
I loved the Hello! Kitty room and it's fantastic views. This room had a double shower instead of a bath and only one PC but you still had surround sound and the ability to view the PC on the wide screen TV plus the complimentary soft drinks in the fridge, coffee sachets, green tea bags and hot and cold water.

For our final night at the R Hotel we upgraded to a VIP penthouse suite. While this room wasn't pink and glittery, it was larger and of course, higher up so the views were even better...
As you can see, there was a bath in the room so that you could lay back with the jacuzzi bubbling while you watched the wide screen TV. This really appealed to me and I spent a happy 45 minutes watching Gossip Girl from the comfort of the bath. The room also had a separate shower, 2 PCs, and all the complimentary toiletries and beverages which the other rooms provided. Again, the bed was a large and comfortable as it had been before and the whole room was put together perfectly and professionally.

In addition to the great rooms and the dining area already shown, the R Hotel had a roof garden which we were invited up to each night by the manager to enjoy a complimentary beer. My pictures don't do the roof garden justice but I'll show you anyway...
A roof garden is a great touch and it was wonderful to round off our evenings up there with a beer, looking out over the city.

The manager of the R Hotel went out of his way to make our stay as comfortable as possible and there was always someone on hand if we needed anything. The service at the R Hotel was exceptional and as personal as you'd get even if you payed ten times what we did and stayed at a 4 star hotel. My husband and I are already making plans to return to the R Hotel in a few months time.

Due to staying over the Chuseok period we managed to get discounted prices for the rooms and payed 60,000 each night, even for the VIP suite. According the the R Hotel's page on hotel 365
prices for standard rooms (such as the Rainbow Room or the Hello! Kitty Room) start at 50,000 Won with VIP rooms starting at 80,000.

If you would like to stay at R Hotel then there is a map here. The motel is easily found from Yeongdeungpo subway station; simply come out of the main exit, and turn right onto the main road. Continue for five minutes and turn right just before you reach the large flyover. You should be able to see a short street with a row of large Love Motels of the same size and dimensions, the R Hotel is the most fancy looking one with the rainbow neon lights all over it, as pictured at the top of this blog post. Should you arrive during the day the R Hotel will look like this...
You can contact the R Hotel on 02-2675-4800

DW Motel, Bugok, Gyeongsangnam-do

We'd been back in Korea for about a month when we decided to visit Bugok hot springs. Last time we lived in Korea (4 years ago) we lived very close to Spa Castle in Chungcheongnam-do and I can't begin to tell you how great it was! Before we moved back this time and once we'd found out where we'd be living, I'd poured over the guide books checking out the places that I knew we'd want to visit once we arrived. Bugok, and particularly Bugok Hawaii was high on my list, in my mind it seemed a lot like Spa Castle. Anyway, I'll come back to that later.

We got to Bugok by taking a bus from Masan, we'd had to set off early in the evening as it was a Friday and Greg had been to work, but I was so enthusiastic about the resort that we'd planned to spend two nights there, to pack in as much fun as possible. Due to this we arrived in Bugok at about 9pm and stepped off the bus into a misty rain.

As we'd driven into Bugok all we'd been able to see in the darkness was neon sign after neon sign advertising motels and yeogwans so we'd been optimistic about finding a good place to stay but once we'd left the bus the options seemed less attractive. After wandering the deathly quiet streets of Bugok for 5 minutes we noticed a motel in the distance with rows of rainbow coloured neon lights flashing. In my opinion, while a book should apparently not be judged by it's cover, if a Love Motel looks old and uncared for on the outside, don't bother going in. This Love Motel however, looked extremly well cared for and above all new.
As you can see, the bath was HUGE and also had the obligatory jacuzzi function and the room itself was also big, with a partition in the middle creating sleeping and living areas. In the middle of the partition was a section that swiveled round with a large mirror on one side and a wide-screen TV on the other. That, as far as I'm concerned is class.
It wasn't just the room which was nicely put together, the whole motel was full of cute details and was clearly the best place in town. I'm impressed that such a small town could have such a nice motel and they have my admiration for making such a nice place.

This time, I managed to take a proper photo of the freebies which they give you when you check in:
The flash spoiled the picture somewhat, but you should get the gist. You have two toothbrushes, a razor, some face-whitening soap, some bubble bath and a condom.

We had a good night in the DW Motel but sadly Bugok Hawaii was a real let down, it's faded, falling apart and half of it was closed. The outdoor pools had no water in and some of the buildings had just been left to crumble. I guess it was really something 2o years ago but now it's a faded relic, more seedy than a lot of Love Motels and above all a rip-off.
Greg and I ended up only spending one night in the DW Motel as we'd exhausted Bugok in half a day, but had what we'd gone to visit been better we would have gladly spent another night there.

I'm afraid that the DW Motel has no website of it's own and is not listed online anywhere, nor do I have contact details. However, should you want to visit DW Motel the town is small enough for you to find it armed with my photos of the exterior and and the name alone.