We arrived back in South Korea one late afternoon in August 2009. Having landed at Korea's international airport in Incheon we quickly boarded an express coach destined for Jong-no Gu in Seoul.
Jong-no is situated north of the River Han and amongst other places, comprises of the Insadong and Anguk districts which are popular tourist destinations due to their traditional architecture, traditional craft shops and traditional restaurants. Insadong has a great atmosphere that feels almost separate from the city of Seoul and the many winding alleys lined with places to eat makes the area a wonderful place to wander around and explore.
I had chosen the Sheel Motel to stay in for our first night in Korea. After many hours of browsing www.hotel365.co.kr armed only with Google Translate and my very slow Hangul reading abilities I had been massively overwhelmed with options. The Jong-no district of Seoul is full of Love Motels and many of them looked amazing but what really swung it for me was the themed nature of the rooms at the Sheel Motel. Along with the amazingly plush Royal Suite there are a number of gorgeous looking Japanese rooms full of pale wood and bamboo, a European room, an Indo room (which is hard to place really, it doesn't look Indian at all) and several Korean rooms. Of course I had my heart set on the Korean room before I'd even left the UK!
Finding the Sheel Motel was fairly easy, all things considered. After disembarking the express bus we hailed a taxi and I showed the driver a map and directions to the m
otel (all in Korean) which I'd printed from here. Koreans don't seem to favour maps particularly but after a few minutes of the taxi driver telling us there was no such motel he finally fixed on the written directions and changed his mind. Moments later we drove down a side street and there we were, the Sheel Motel!
Since this was our first night back in Korea and also our honeymoon, Greg and I chose to stay in the Korean VIP suite, room 103 and the hotel365 page. It cost us about 120,000 Won which is around £60 in English money and we were not disappointed!
As you can see, the suite was lovely. Amongst other things this room comes with two televisions, one a huge projector screen in the bedroom and the other in the lounge hooked up to a Nintendo Wii. Other perks included a steam shower, a PC with free internet access which worked remarkably well considering how many people will have used it, a DVD player, an enormous bath and ample hot water to fill it and a selection of free beverages and instant coffee sachets in the fridge.
This motel is up there as one of my favourite places I've ever stayed, Insadong is a great area to stay in if you want an authentic Korean feel to your experiences and the Sheel Motel is well situated with range of different rooms in different price ranges. As with all Love Motels, the price increases at weekends with the Royal suite quoted as being 200,00 Won, the VIP suite being 150,000 Won and smaller rooms being between 60-75,000 Won but all rooms appear to have baths and PCs in them and they are all nicely decorated.
If you would like to stay at the Sheel Motel here is the map detailing where it is in Jong-no, if you're taking a taxi then show this to the driver 서울 종로구 관수동 137. It is also worth taking the phone number of the motel you wish to stay in as the taxi driver may want to phone the motel himself to clarify. The phone number for the Sheel Motel is 02-2278-9993.
Generally Love Motels don't take bookings and even if they do, it's unlikely that whoever answers the phone is going to be able to speak sufficient English to take your details so it's best to just turn up. In most cases and definitely in the Sheel's case there are other motels down the same street so you should always be able to get a room somewhere.