This post was quite inevitable. By this I mean every foreigner who lives in Korea and keeps a blog will at some point publish a post about (what foreigners refer to as) Korean "love motels." I recently stayed in one in Seoul. You can see the outside of it in the picture on your left. It says "hotel" but in reality it was a motel. I assure you that in Korea there is a difference between motel and hotel.
I visited my dear friend Haesung in Seoul last Saturday. At the end of the day we parted ways. My destination was Gangnam (yes, THE Gangnam) and I hopped on the subway and when I exited and returned to the surface I only had to walk two blocks to find this motel. Before I give you the details of my stay, I must first explain one thing.
I mentioned to one of my Korean friends that I would likely stay in a "love motel" when I visited Seoul. This friend politely asked me why I called it a "love motel" and not simply a "motel." I asked her forgiveness as I honestly thought they were called "love motels" by foreigners and Koreans alike. In actuality, they are just called motels and from now on I will only refer to them as such.
If you really want to know more about why they are called love motels, just ask and I will tell you. Or just figure it out for yourself.
My stay at this motel was a pleasant one except for the slight stench of cigarette in my room (actually in the whole motel). For $60 (cheap for Gangnam!) I got a nice quiet and clean room that came with all the toiletries you need (no need to bring shampoo, soap, toothpaste, toothbrush, razor, hair gel, ect, ect...). The room also had a mini fridge stocked with two bottles of water, a bottle of gatorade, and a bottle of powerade. Both checkin and checkout was noon.
I've heard of many motels in Korea that you can get for $40 a night. I believe it too, as my first time was Gangnam, which is 'high end' as far as areas of Seoul go. I will likely never stay in a hostel again (that's a post for another time; or never) as for just ten bucks more you can get your own room and bathroom and well-stocked minifridge (as well as peace and quiet). And motels are everywhere. It wasn't until the next morning when I took a stroll down the street the way I had come the night before that I realized there were several motels closer to where I had exited the subway. Also, it wasn't until the next morning that I realized I had walked into a place called a "hotel" on the outside when it was really just a motel.
The Korean for motel is 모텔 which sounds like motel when read. Its an English word put into Korean.
I probably wont stay at Hotel Highland again as I would rather check out the other hotels around, see what I could find for under $60. Part of the fun is opening the door and seeing what sort of goodies are inside. Ha!