9pm on a snowy Saturday night. I'm surrounded by love motels. They're been re-branded as "design hotels" and are not half as sketchy as you may assume. That is not to say every "design hotel" is 100% safe for solo female tourists to stay in. Do your research beforehand. Check out photos and reviews online. I decided to stay at Hotel Pop near Insadong. I called to make a reservation, but was told there will be spare rooms if I come around 9pm.
Little did I know there were three Hotel Pops. What were the differences? Were they the same but expanded into three buildings due to the success of the first establishment? Or copycats? Later I learned each Hotel Pop had a different owner.
I passed by Hotel Pop 3 first. Photos of their hotel rooms were displayed on the street. Each room had an unique theme and came with a TV, free Wi-Fi, iPod dock, etc. Sounded promising. Before making any decisions I walked to the other Hotel Pops to see their room menu.
It's common for "design hotels" to have mop-like curtains for their parking entrance. They serve as privacy screens for their customers.
Hotel Pop 2 also had some fun-themed rooms. I was tempted to stay in the Black Castle room, however headed over to Hotel Pop 1 to see what they had to offer.
A big TV. Two computers. Perfect unbroken Wi-Fi. Air-conditioning. Hot tub. 24-hour room service. All this for 80,000 won for a night? Not too bad. I've stayed in boring and dusty hotel rooms for the same price before.
The tub and shower were separate. The toilet had its own separate partition as well.
Considering that many individuals continue to use "design hotels" as love motels, I didn't see or hear anything naughty. My room was quiet and dark; it was the most restful sleep I've had in Korea. Who knew you could clock in some serious beauty sleep at a love motel?
There were other love motels, however the Hotel Pop threesome were the most welcoming as they displayed photos of their rooms outside. Unless you're in an emergency situation, I don't recommend staying at a love motel that doesn't show their photos.
Next time I visit Seoul, I'll be trying out another "design hotel." If I could stay at Hotel Pop for my entire trip, it'd be a beauty sleep dream come true.
Street lined with love motels. Excuse me, I mean design hotels.
Hotel Pop 1
Address: 186,Nakwon-dong,Jongru-gu, Jongro (Insadong, Seoul, South Korea)
Directions: Exit 1 at Jongno 3-ga Station. Walk straight then turn right at Supyo-ro. Turn right again after passing the hair salon. Walk straight and Hotel Pop will be on your right.