Seoul is a haven of back alleys and hard-to-find side streets where the love motels gather. After a year of motel hunting I thought i'd share a few decent places to save someone else some time!
Come out of Exit 1 on the Gangnam subway and on your right is a huge glass building. Just past it is a little alleyway with a garden area near the street. Down this alley are 4-5 clean and safe love motels. Our regular is the first on your right- go through the arches (it looks a little dark but the rooms are fine!). Costs 30,000 on weekdays and 35-40 weekends (bargain with cash not card!).
Namdaemun: (the Shisengae/Myeongdong side).
If you're planning on shopping in Korea, Myeongdong is one of the best places to go, especially as a foreigner!
To find a place to stay in the area for under 100,000 you need to head past the Westin Chosun towards Namdaemun Markets. To get to the Westin Chosun- cross under from where Zara and Krispy Kreme are towards Lotte Young and Shisengae Malls. Walk up the road between the two malls towards the Chosun (it is a large orange brick hotel). From the Westin you will see a block diagonally left across the road- there are more than 20 motels (often Korean ondol style) and great restaurants in here!
Jimjilbang- Come out of exit 6/9 at Myeongdong and on the same side of the road is "Hurst" Sauna. From the middle of Myeongdong head for Prince Hotel but stay on the same side of the road as Myeongdong shopping.
Head out the back entrance of Seoul station- not the one where the subway is, and cross over the road.
There's a great jimjilbang here " Shilloam Sauna". It's up a steep driveway and the sleeping cost is 8,000. It's a little hard to give exact directions but anyone on the street on in a mart should be able to direct you!
Motels in Hongdae are few and far between- I've walked for 30 minutes to find one in the past! If you're going out in Hongdae I recommend staying in one of the hostels/guesthouses right by the subway exit. You can book them on hostelworld.com or hostlebookers.com.
Sinchon is also a pretty close place to stay if you're out in Hongdae, and has a nightlife of it's own. There are at least 10 motels and a small jimjilbang in the middle of town. The main road is 'Yonsei- Ro" after the uni- on one side is the Hyundai Dept., on the other, behind a few shops and bars, you will find the motels (walk up the steps to find more!). *If you're out in Sinchon, check out a bar there called Mike's Cabin. On the way to Yonsei Uni is a huge brick Church, Mike's Cabin is down the little road opposite this- walk for at least 400m and it'll be on your left.
Avoid love motels in:
The love motels here are generally over priced for what they are (and compared to others) and grotty. They also tend to be super noisy with people coming home from town. Taxi's are cheap in Korea so you can stay 5 mins drive away (Chungmuro and Eujiro are close, have nice motels and are walking distance to Insadong for the next day) and get a much better deal.
Love motels can be found by their sign: It looks a bit like a steaming cup of coffee...
Or by the word 'motel' in Korean- 모텔
And just to help you find these places...a Seoul subway map: