Seoul is the heart and soul of South Korea with many attractions and activities to offer, making it super difficult to decide where to stay in Seoul, South Korea! Don’t worry, here you will find the best tips and tricks to select not only the best area but also the best hotel in the city!
The best place to stay in Seoul for the first time is Hongdae, an incredible neighborhood full of incredible activities, restaurants, and shops – I bet you won’t get bored!
If that does not convince you, in this post I will also talk about another 5 great neighborhoods where to stay in Seoul; Myeongdong, Gangnam, Itaewon, Insadong, and Seocho, each with its own charm and activities whether that is shopping, trying delicious street food, vibrant nightlife or more of a traditional vibe.
I also included 2 bonus sections with the best hotels for families and hotels near the airport,
so I’m sure you will find something perfect for your interest and budget!
As with any popular destination, good hotels sell out very fast in Seoul, so I recommend you book your stay as soon as possible!
Well, enough for now. Let’s begin this adventure!
- If you are in a hurry…
- 1. Hongdae – where to stay in Seoul for first-time visitors
- 2. Myeongdong – best area to stay in Seoul for shopping
- 3. Gangnam – best area to stay in Seoul for luxury
- 4. Itaewon – where to stay in Seoul for foodies
- 5. Insadong – top area to stay in Seoul for a traditional vibe
- 6. Seocho – where to stay in Seoul on a budget
- Best apartments in Seoul
- BONUS 1: Best hotels for families in Seoul
- BONUS 2: best hotels near Seoul Airport
- FAQs about Seoul hotels
If you are in a hurry…
If you don’t have time to read all the information and just want to grab your bags and leave, let me give you the top hotels in Seoul:
- Best luxury hotel: Mercure Ambassador
- Best middle-priced hotel: Metro Hotel
- Best budget hotel: Batwo Stay
Here is a map of the best neighborhoods in Seoul to give you a better overview of the city:
for first timers
a traditional vibe
for budget travelers
1. Hongdae – where to stay in Seoul for first-time visitors
This neighborhood started as being very calm and filled with artistic houses, and it now homes not only four universities and some art studios, but also lots of shops, small clubs, and bars!
The artistic and creative vibe of the area is still found in every corner, through the indie music culture and urban arts.
Stop by the Hongik Children’s Park on Saturdays to find the Hongdae Free Market open from March to November, you will find a great diversity of handmade products worth the “window shopping” and perfect souvenirs! If you are in the area you should also visit the Seoul Tower!
If you need some details for the best activities and attractions in the city, check out my article on things to do in Seoul, there are so many amazing things, and you will have no doubt this is your next destination!
If you are wondering where to stay in Seoul, Hongdae I am here to give you the best-handpicked selection of accommodations to choose from!
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- RYSE, Autograph Collection Marriott – This luxury hotel has an on-site fitness center, a business center, a library, and even a meeting room that can be used. Every room has a private bathroom with a walk-in rain shower, a flat-screen TV, and Bluetooth speakers! What more can you wish for?
- Mercure Ambassador – This 4-star hotel offers accommodations with modern aesthetics, wooden flooring, and furniture. All modern rooms have air-conditioning and a seating area that includes a flat-screen TV. There is free Wi-Fi throughout the property, and it has a central location in Seoul’s city center and near Seoul Tower.
Middle-priced (from US$80 to US$160)
- 9 Brick Hotel – This hotel has warm, elegant, and cozy décor in the rooms. Each room has a flat-screen TV, desk, sofa, and air-conditioning. You can also find free Wi-Fi, a bathrobe, slippers, and free toiletries to complete your comfortable stay!
- Hotel H7 Hongdae by LOTTE – This amazing Seoul accommodation has an outdoor rooftop pool that can be enjoyed for an additional cost, worth the city view! Their amenities include a fitness center, a bar, and all the rooms with air-conditioning, a kettle, a fridge, and a flat-screen satellite TV.
Budget (up to US$80)
- Amanti Seoul Hotel – This accommodation is one of the best options for cheap hotels in Seoul because of the high quality of service but low prices. There is a seasonal outdoor pool on the premises and a fitness center free of cost, and the guests can go along the rooftop garden to enjoy the skyline view.
- Batwo Stay – At this guest house you can feel comfortable and at home with reception speaking English, Japanese, and Korean, so there are no language limitations! The cozy and comfortable rooms have great lighting, air-conditioning, a fridge, and an electric teapot.
2. Myeongdong – best area to stay in Seoul for shopping
If you like shopping in large department stores, don’t think it through; Myeongdong is your neighborhood! This is the main shopping stop for locals and tourists; you can find an impressive mix of Korean and North American brands, even local skincare and beauty shops in the main shopping streets of the area.
Some other things to do in the area include heading to the Korean street food booths, perfect for all taste buds. As for your tourist attractions, you can find the oldest Catholic Cathedral in Korea and the Nanta Theatre, just walking distance from the main malls.
This is also a great place to stay if you want to take trips from Seoul as it is close to Seoul Station. Now let me share my recommendations on where to stay in Seoul, Myeongdong:
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- The Westin Chosun Hotel Seoul – This boutique hotel in Seoul will make you think you are staying in a modern museum while being treated like royalty. All the smoke-free rooms have air-conditioning and a tea/coffee maker. There is also an indoor pool, spa, or sauna room where you can relax!
- Lotte Hotel Seoul – This 5-star hotel awaits you with a fitness center, a spa, an indoor swimming pool, and a sauna. Their modern and spacious rooms have amazing city views, carpeted flooring, a small desk, a minibar, and a bathroom with a shower and slippers.
Middle-priced (from US$100 to US$160)
- Metro Hotel – This excellent hotel is the best option to stay in Seoul! This hotel offers a fitness center and rooms for all the family! Plus, the property has a great location near Seoul Station, perfect for exploring Seoul!
- Royal Hotel Seoul – This hotel is the best option to stay in Seoul. It has a warm and rustic decor that will make you forget you are staying in the city. They have 310 rooms, including 19 suites, and all have a city view, air-conditioning, and a flat-screen TV. Upscale your visit to a suite for an AI speaker that controls room lighting and TV.
Budget (up to US$100)
- Myeongdong Guesthouse Como – At this modern and cozy budget hotel, the staff will greet you with incredible service and clean rooms! The property also has the perfect location, not too close to the busy streets but close enough to the metro station! How convenient, right?
- Seoul City Hotel – This hotel’s rooms are spacious and comfy, perfect to spread out all your shopping bags and suitcases! It is a great Seoul hotel near the subway that includes a flat-screen cable TV, a fridge, and an electric kettle in each room.
3. Gangnam – best area to stay in Seoul for luxury
You probably know the name because of the viral song and video “Gangnam Style” by PSY a few years back, but you most likely knew nothing else about this neighborhood!
This is also one of the busiest areas with exclusive and expensive shops (Starfield COEX Mall is located here!), restaurants, and cafes! Just imagine how many shops there are, considering that some refer to the area as “the Beverly Hills of South Korea”!
This district is an economic hub for companies such as Google and IBM, but it is also a status symbol just to live in it – you can find many Korean actors in their local homes or at fancy nightclubs here! But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t have any green areas, make sure to check out Olympic Park where the 1988 Olympics were held!
Oh! And if you want to know how far Gangnam is from Myeongdong for you to go around and visit both top areas, it is about 7km, so it’s best to take the subway!
These are the best places to stay in Gangnam:
Luxury (US$200 and up)
- AC Hotel – Be ready to feel like a celebrity in one of the best luxury hotels in Seoul! With its fitness center, rooms with a private pool, and great location, just 100m from the nearest subway station!
- Andaz Seoul – You can get world-class service at this accommodation; choose between heading to the indoor pool, the hot tub, the gym, or the spa wellness center. Feel the luxury treatment at this high-class hotel with modern décor and furniture, and enjoy the rooms with lovely city views and free Wi-Fi!
Middle-priced (from US$110 to US$200)
- Hotel NewV – This non-smoking property has a complimentary smartphone, a flat-screen satellite TV, a fridge, a kettle, and free toiletries in every room. You can use their business center to work or ask for an organized sightseeing trip. Other great facilities are the fitness center, sauna, and yoga classes available at the hotel.
- Best Western Premier Gangnam Hotel – This hotel offers free Wi-Fi, a business center with free wired internet, and a fully-equipped fitness center. All rooms are soundproofed and spacious, with warm colors. They also have air-conditioning, a 42-inch flat-screen TV, a minibar, and free bathrobes and slippers!
Budget (up to US$110)
- Stay Hotel Gangnam – This modern hotel offers spacious rooms with air-conditioning, a 48-inch flat-screen TV, a work desk, and a fridge. As part of their facilities, there is free Wi-Fi throughout the property, a currency exchange service at the front desk, and a laundry service at a surcharge.
- Glad Gangnam – Wondering where to stay in Seoul on a budget? This is an excellent budget hotel with amazing amenities like an excellent fitness center, a restaurant with delicious dishes, and rooms with air-conditioning systems. All the areas are soundproofed and smoking-free!
4. Itaewon – where to stay in Seoul for foodies
This is one of the most popular areas for residents among locals, solo travelers, ex-pats, and U.S. military personnel.
Itaewon also has great cuisine not seen in all of Korea, such as traditional dishes from India, Pakistan, Turkey, Germany, Portugal, Mexico, and some more! Because of its variety, some people call it the “Western Town”.
The streets and alleys are full of bars, street food, cafes, street art, and many restaurants, each with its colorful personality and cultural vibe.
If you head to the north of this area you will also find some huge green parks including Namsan park where you will find the Namsan Tower with a revolving restaurant at the top.
Here are the top hotels I recommend in the area:
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- Banyan Tree Club & Spa – Surrounded by greenery, this is one of the best luxury hotels in the city! With modern design and incredible amenities, this hotel also is centrally located near the subway station so you can have the day for exploring the city, and the night to enjoy the city’s views from your room or to have a drink in the on-site bar!
- Mondrian Seoul – With a seasonal rooftop pool you will enjoy a 5-star service! This property offers one of the best luxurious accommodations, but also a great location near Itaewon Station
Middle-priced (from US$55 to US$160)
- G Guesthouse – The entire guest house décor is graffiti-like and has a personality in each room, keeping its modern and fun vibe. The location is just another perk of staying here! It is within walking distance to Itaewon main street and to the subway station!
- Seoul Cube Itaewon – This accommodation is great for flexible travelers that want a private room, or you could go for the dormitory room instead. As for the shared amenities, a terrace, a kitchen, and a luggage storage space are available for all the guests.
Budget (up to US$55)
- Agit Guesthouse – This lovely guesthouse works with a hotel/hostel concept having clean, cozy rooms, free breakfast, and Wi-Fi! On the property, you can also find many shared amenities like a terrace, a kitchen, and a lounge near the Namsan Tower.
- Good Stay Itaewon – This guest house in Seoul runs just like a hostel, having clean and comfortable rooms to share with other travelers while having your privacy in closed bunk beds. The rooms include a flat-screen satellite TV; some come with a kitchenette, microwave, fridge, and toaster.
5. Insadong – top area to stay in Seoul for a traditional vibe
Insadong is an ideal area to find local souvenirs to bring home from your trip!
Just head over to the main street to see the variety of traditional Korean clothing, paper, pottery, souvenir shops, and crafts. But the neighborhood’s main tourist attractions are the lovely tea houses, many local restaurants, and the best galleries of traditional Korean fine art worth visiting.
You can see many traditional buildings here that were built for government officials but are now used by merchants as restaurants or shops.
Insadong is also known because it is close to some of the city’s most popular attractions like Gyeongbokgung Palace, Bukchon Hanok Village, and Changdeokgung Palace!
FUN FACT: About 40% of the nation’s antique shops and art galleries are in this neighborhood!
If you want to stay in Insadong, here are the top hotels I can recommend:
Luxury (US$150 and up)
- Nine Tree Premiere – This modern and cozy hotel will have you feeling at home away from home with its modern décor and furniture. The rooms are soundproof and smoking-free and come with air-conditioning, a heating system, a flat-screen TV, and a tea/coffee-making machine.
- Orakai Insadong – With an incredible location near many tea houses and art galleries, Orakai Insadong offers luxurious self-catering apartments, with facilities like an indoor swimming pool, fitness center, and sauna!
Middle-priced (from US$80 to US$150)
- Centermark Hotel Myeongdong Seoul – This hotel overlooks the city giving each room a great view! The rooms also include air-conditioning and heating systems, a flat-screen TV, a fridge, and a bathroom with a bathtub. As part of the hotel amenities, you have free Wi-Fi, a fitness center, and meeting rooms.
- Moxy Seoul – This property offers air-conditioning and heating systems in each room and a bathroom equipped with a shower. Every room includes free Wi-Fi, a flat-screen satellite TV, and an electric teapot (if you are a tea fan, the Beautiful Tea Museum is within 300 m of the property!). Plus, the decor in the shared areas is extraordinary!
Budget (up to US$80)
- Grid Inn Hotel – This small but modern accommodation has an on-site restaurant and free Wi-Fi throughout the property. All rooms are soundproof, non-smoking, and include a TV, and an electric kettle. If needed, you can use the washer and dryer machines for free; they have umbrellas at your disposal in case it rains!
- Mini Hotel Insa – This hotel has non-smoking and soundproofed rooms, all with a flat-screen TV, air-conditioning, extra-long beds, and a bathroom with a shower. Their amenities include a 24-front desk, a garden, luggage storage space, and business facilities such as fax and photocopying.
6. Seocho – where to stay in Seoul on a budget
This district, located directly south of the Han River, is part of the Greater Gangnam Area and is home to sites such as the Supreme Court, the National Library of Korea, Seoul Art Center, Heonin Tomb, and Citizen Park!
The area also has many fancy and great business zones and a variety of European-style restaurants, desserts, cafes, and amazing wineries on the main street.
This area also includes the famous Lotte World theme park and Lotte World Tower. In fact, the whole area around Lotte World is the perfect place to take your family if you are looking for a fun day out of adventurous activities.
PRO TIP: I recommend you go up the Lotte World Tower just before sunset so you get to see the cityscape during the day, during sunset, and with the night lights!
Below you can find top hotels in one of the best Seoul neighborhoods for your stay:
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- JW Marriott Hotel Seoul – This luxury hotel in Seoul has 7 on-site restaurants, an indoor pool, a basketball court, a scuba diving pool, indoor golf facilities, a squash court, and amazing 24-hour room service. All rooms have modern décor that gracefully combines impressive city and Han River views – plus, it is super close to the subway station perfect for exploring Seoul!
- Hilton Garden Inn – This is a great option to stay in Seoul, with an incredible location close to the metro station and many attractions! The rooms are soundproofed with impressive floor-to-ceiling windows to enjoy the city views, and wooden flooring to highlight the elegant aspects.
Middle-priced (from US$70 to US$160)
- Hotel Peyto Gangnam – This hotel’s décor is inspired by Canada’s Lake Peyto, which means all the rooms and areas have vivid colors with a lot of natural light! The property rooms are soundproofed and have free Wi-Fi, air-conditioning, and heating systems.
- Dormy Inn – This is a nice accommodation with an on-site restaurant, as well as an on-site spa and wellness center to relax after a day exploring the city. Each room has a work desk, a fridge, a flat-screen TV, and a bathroom with a bath and shower!
Budget (up to US$75)
- Upflo Hostel – This hostel in Seoul does not follow the classic concepts of a hostel and only has private rooms, most of them having a shared bathroom. Among the amenities, there is a ping pong table, a small area known as the couple cinema, a shared kitchen, and a shared terrace!
- Toyoko Inn Seoul Gangnam – This hotel has non-smoking units, all equipped with a fridge, a small desk, a flat-screen cable TV, and a private bathroom with a bath and free toiletries. The guests can also use the business center with current newspapers on site!
Best apartments in Seoul
If you are looking for accommodation to stay in Seoul that is more spacious and perfect for your luggage and shopping bags, where you can freely move around, then going for an apartment is your best choice!
These are my recommendations for the best apartments in the best Seoul neighborhoods that you will love:
Luxury (US$160 and up)
- Peaceful Apartment – This is a convenient and comfortable apartment that can fit up to five people in its two bedrooms. The studio has air-conditioning, a kitchenette that includes a microwave and a toaster, a fridge, and a kettle. Part of the amenities includes a satellite flat-screen TV and free Wi-Fi in the entire property.
- Tong-In 155 – This 3-bedroom apartment can house seven people comfortably. The unit has 1 bathroom with free toiletries, and a seating area and the location is amazing; super close to different subway stations and tourist attractions!
Middle-priced (from US$55 to US$160)
- Private House With Garden – This property offers apartments that are perfect for eight people. The units have free Wi-Fi on the property, air-conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a seating area, and a bathroom with a shower and hairdryer if needed. As for the kitchen, it includes a fridge and an electric kettle and there is a small dining area as well!
- Cozy and Light Nest – Stay in this cute apartment full of light and comfort. It has one bedroom, bathroom, and living room with a nice comfy chair and sofa and the TV, Wi-Fi, kitchen with all amenities that you could need, dining table, and your own terrace!
Budget (up to US$55)
- Semi-basement Unit – This is a great and colorful option if you are looking for cheap apartments in Seoul! The size of this unit is a perfect fit for up to two people and has free Wi-Fi, as well as private on-site parking. The property includes air-conditioning, 2 bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a bathroom, and a flat-screen TV.
- Private Tori Hause – This small and fun apartment for four people awaits you with an incredible location near the metro station to keep you well connected to the rest of the city! The unit has one bedroom, one bathroom, and a kitchen with a fridge and stovetop.
|👑 Luxury price:||$280|
|💵 Mid Range:||$140|
|💰 Accommodation prices:||Medium|
|🛎️ Best luxury hotel:||Mercure Ambassador|
|💵 Mid-range hotel:||Metro Hotel|
|👛 Best budget hotel:||Batwo Stay|
BONUS 1: Best hotels for families in Seoul
Seoul can be quite a colorful and diverse city filled with many days and vibrant nightlife, but it is also a family-friendly city with different neighborhoods and hotels that have the peace and relaxation required to fully relax and enjoy your family trip.
If you are asking yourself where to stay in Seoul with family, here are my recommendations grouped by budget:
Luxury (US$220 and up)
- Four Seasons Hotel Seoul – The Four Seasons in Seoul will have you impressed starting with their latest update of fitness facilities that include a personal trainer, and traditional Korean saunas that include dry and wet sauna rooms and baths! As for the rooms, they all have a modern décor and floor-to-ceiling windows that even have remote-controlled drapes.
- The Shilla Seoul – The Shilla Hotel in Seoul is a 5-star accommodation that offers 6 dining options, a full-service spa, a free shuttle to the Duty-Free shop, a gym, an indoor golf range, yoga classes, and a path through a sculptured garden. It is a beautiful and elegant hotel furnished with warm colors where you will feel at home!
Middle-priced (from US$100 to US$220)
- ENA Suite Hotel Namdaemun – All the hotel suites have air-conditioning, a flat-screen satellite TV, a fridge, an electric teapot, a closet, and a bathroom with free toiletries. On the property, you can also find a restaurant, a fully-equipped fitness center, private parking, and even a currency exchange service for the guests!
- G2 Hotel Myeongdong – This hotel is in the popular area of Myeongdong, and as part of the facilities, it offers its guests air-conditioned and soundproofed rooms, an on-site restaurant, and free Wi-Fi. It also has a rooftop bar if you and your travel crew want to head up high for some great city views!
Budget (up to US$100)
- Daol Guesthouse – Every room at this accommodation has air-condition but the most convenient option for families is the room that has a double bed and a bunk bed. As part of the amenities, there is also a fridge and an electric kettle at your disposal, and the location is just fab; centrally located a 3-minute walk from Hongik University Subway Station.
- Stitches House – This is a great option if you are looking for accommodation with family rooms and on a budget! They have a heating system, air-conditioning, a minibar, and a private bathroom in some of the rooms. In short, it has all the facilities you might need for a great stay!
BONUS 2: best hotels near Seoul Airport
For all travelers who will be in Seoul for a short stay or just like to stay close to Seoul Incheon Airport, I suggest booking a stay at a hotel near the airport!
Here are my suggestions for hotels close to the airport area (one per each type of budget):
- Luxury: Days Hotel – This luxury-style accommodation near the airport has a swimming pool, fitness center, sauna, and terrace. All the hotel rooms are carpeted and have a flat-screen TV, and free Wi-Fi, and in the bathroom, there are bathrobes and complimentary toiletries it also offers a free shuttle bus to the airport; how convenient!
- Mid-Priced: TreehouseUnseo GuestHouse – This is a great option for a middle-priced hotel that includes free in-room Wi-Fi and a shuttle to terminals 1 and 2. Every room has a private bathroom, desk, and extra-long bed.
- Budget: Mr. Kim Guesthouse – This budget accommodation has unique decor, each with a different personality and furniture to match your preferences. The rooms are small but have all the amenities needed, from air-conditioning, a seating area, and a flat-screen TV!
Book a hotel near Seoul Airport
FAQs about Seoul hotels
📍 Where is the best place to stay in Seoul for first-time visitors?
The best part of Seoul for first-timers is Hongdae, where you will find everything from interesting art galleries to fun bars and restaurants that serve delicious dishes. Mercure Ambassador and 9 Brick Hotel are great options to stay here!
⏱️ Where should I stay in Seoul for a month?
If you plan to extend your South Korea trip, I recommend staying in Itaewon, where you will find many things to do, and you’ll be near public transportation to move around the city! This is a favorite area among expats!
💰 Which is the best area to stay in Seoul on a budget?
The best part to stay on a budget is Itaewon or Seocho, where you will find accommodation at a cheaper price than in the other areas! Agit Guesthouse and Toyoko Inn Seoul Gangnam are great options, respectively.
📅 How many days are enough in Seoul?
3 days are enough to visit the highlights of this beautiful city in South Korea, from central Seoul to all the small villages and palaces like Gyeongbokgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village!
That was my list of top 6 neighborhood recommendations for Seoul, with carefully selected excellent hotels, all sorted by price. I also suggested some great hotels for families and even some great airport accommodations if you need to go on an early flight!
Seoul has a diversity of activities for all types of tourists, from delicious street food to local temples and beautiful parks. I hope this list of Seoul hotels for all tastes will help you choose the best area and hotel in the city that suits your travel style and personal preferences!
Maybe you need more inspiration and information for your Seoul holiday? No problem, you can go over to my article on things to do in Seoul that will help!
If you are still hesitant about where to stay, let me give you my favorite hotel options, but do not forget to book in advance! Remember, many travelers are looking at the same accommodation options as you:
- Mercure Ambassador – when I was looking at this hotel, it made me want to book a room and just head over to Seoul!
- Moxy Seoul – this is another excellent option, that won’t break your bank account!
If you have any questions, please type those below in the comments section, I am always curious to hear from my readers!
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planning to go to korea this april-may 2020.
im claustrophobic thus, i dont take elevator.
is there a hotel you can recommend that is low rise, with stair access and good for family and senior parent who will travel with me…
Seoul N Hotel Dongdaemun, that’s also described in this article, is, I think, one of the best options for family hotels, that also has its entire unit located on ground floor.
Another hotel that I found that looks really nice and I think would be a good place to stay with the family, with stairs available and located in Insandog, a great neighbourhood with lots of restaurants, art galleries and souvenir shops is Hotel Kuretakeso!
Hope this helps, have a great trip!