Seoul is a fairly large city and there are so many different areas you can stay in during your trip to Korea. This can be one of the biggest challenges for people visiting Seoul. There are so many different neighborhoods and areas you can be in. I’ve broken down everything by neighborhood and hopefully, you can decide where to stay in Seoul and figure out the best hotels in Seoul for you. This will be the best guide for first-time visitors to Seoul, South Korea.
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Where to stay in Seoul – The best hotels in Seoul
Looking for where to stay in Seoul? These are some of the best accommodations in Seoul.
The best area to stay in Seoul in my opinion is Myeongdong or Hongdae. These locations are easy to get around to all of the major hot spots and food areas. These locations are pretty easy to get to from the airport and the train station. I’ll discuss more of the reasons why below, but if you are looking for a quick answer to the best neighborhood to stay in Seoul, those would be my top 2 choices.
Hongdae and Myeongdong are often the best places to stay if you plan to take some bus tours since most of the bus tours are easily accessible from these locations.
A quick guide on where to stay based on location
Where to stay in Seoul for a short time – Insadong
Where to stay in Seoul with family – Jamsil, Myeongdong, and Insadong
Where to stay in Seoul for first-timers – Myeongdong or Hongdae
Where to stay in Seoul for shopping – Gangnam, Myeongdong, and Hongdae
Where to stay in Seoul for nightlife – Itaewon and Hongdae
Read more about each neighborhood and where to stay in Seoul.
Best Neighborhoods to stay in Seoul
These are my top 6 neighborhoods to stay in Seoul. Hongdae is located in Mapo-gu and Itaewon is located in Yongsan-gu which are smaller city provinces so don’t be confused when looking up these locations on booking websites.
RELATED: 3 Days in Seoul Itinerary
Hongdae – Best place for nightlife and foodies
Hongdae is a popular hot spot and is named after Hongik University. It combines the two hong from hongik and dae which is the Korean word for University. This is my favorite place to stay in mostly because I’ve seen all the traditional palaces, museums, and popular hot spots in Seoul. Hongdae has a great nightlife, tons of shopping areas, a huge art scene, and for my perfect for people who love food.
I really enjoy the food available here because they have a ton of foreign and Korean food options. So if you aren’t as adventurous to try Korean food, there are plenty of hip and cute restaurants in the area. Additionally, if you are looking to find the best cafes in Seoul, they will more than likely be in this area due to their love of art and photography.
Finally, this location is one of the best to stay in because it’s right on Subway line 2 at Hongik University Station which is the line that circles around all of Seoul. It will be the best line to transfer from and be able to get to many of the popular destinations in and around Seoul.
- Cafe Hopping
- Eating and Drinking
- Day Trips from Seoul
Where to stay in Hongdae, Seoul – The best places to stay in Hongdae
This is a new hotel just recently built-in 2020. Budget wise this can be considered to be between the mid to high range in Seoul. It’s located in close proximity to Hongik University Subway Station on line 2. This is the perfect location for those wanting to stay in Hongdae.
This is the perfect location that has a pool. Finding a hotel in Seoul with a pool can be difficult to find. This is located close to Hongik University Subway Station on line 2. I would say this is a mid-range priced hotel in Seoul.
This is an affordable low budget hotel that is perfect for single or young couples. It’s perfectly located in Hongdae and close to the Hongik University line 2 subway station.
Myeongdong – Best place for shopping and modern street food
Myeongdong is a popular destination for tourists and at the moment during COVID, I would say this location is quite dead. When travel beings in South Korea again, this area will be lively with street food vendors that offer a variety of different snacks from tornado potato, hotteok, and so much more. You can read all about my favorite Myeongdong Street Food.
Myeongdong is typically a good location if you are visiting Korea because there are a variety of different places you can shop and find food at. It’s centrally located which makes it a bit easier to get around to other parts of the city. It is fairly close to the entrance of Namsan Tower, easy to grab a bus or transfer by subway to Gyeongbokgung.
Myeongdong is close to Seoul Station which has a quick route to and from Incheon airport but is also the main train station if you plan to travel to Busan, Gyeongju, and other major cities in South Korea.
Recommended Things to do in Myeongdong
Where to stay in Myeongdong, Seoul – The best places to stay in Myeongdong
Millennium Hilton Seoul – One of the Best Hotels in Seoul
This is an expensive 5 star hotel in Seoul to stay in Seoul and is very popular to stay at in Myeongdong. They have a pool, a fitness center, and a rooftop view. There are a lot of great accommodations at this hotel making it a great location to stay at. This hotel is fairly close to Seoul Station which is great if you plan to visit other cities in South Korea like Busan. This is considered to be one of the best hotels in Seoul.
This is a mid-range priced hotel located in Myeongdong. The hotel is fairly close to Gwangjang Market where you can easily purchase traditional Korean street food and also close to the popular Dongdaemun Design Plaza.
This is a budget hotel perfectly located in Myeongdong. It’s really close to public transportation at Myeongdong Subway Station and is easy to get to. If you are looking to save money, this will be a great hotel to stay at. This hotel has access to a rooftop where you can get some of the best city views in Seoul.
Insadong – Where to stay in Seoul to see the palaces and temples
If you are really interested in learning about the history of Seoul, staying in Insadong will be a great location for you. It’s fairly centrally located as well and has easy access to the palaces, temples, Bukchon Hanok Village, and other sites as well.
There are a few restaurants in the area, but a lot you will find are quite traditional. This is also a great location to pick up some traditional Korean souvenirs as well.
Recommended Things to do in Insadong
- Wear a Hanbok
- Visit the Palaces
- Visit Jogyesa Temple
- Drink at a Tea Ceremony
- Shop for Souvenirs
Where to stay in Insadong, Seoul – The best places to stay in Insadong
This is a fancy hotel located in Insadong, it’s for those of you wanting to spend a lot of money on a beautiful hotel. Some of the rooms have a couch and a kitchenette which is perfect for those looking for a long-term stay or people who want to cook and make some food. I would suggest this location for businessmen as well since it will be a great location to have some simple accommodations.
This is the perfect budget hotel in Insadong. There are a lot of great accommodations at this location. It is in close proximity to Anguk Subway station which is close to where the popular palaces in Seoul are located. You will have easy access to Gyeongbokgung, Changdeokgung, and Jogyesa Temple.
Gangnam – Best place for K-Pop and Plastic Surgery
If you are planning to get plastic surgery in Korea, Gangnam will be your favorite place to stay in. You can easily access the top clinic in Korea and there are so many clinics you can visit in one day.
Gangnam is also very popular for brand names or expensive shopping and is typically a popular place for other Asians to stay in. Gangnam is known for the popular COEX and Starfield Library, Rodeo Drive, and is considered to be the expensive part of Seoul.
It’s more modern and up to date unlike any parts of Korea which still have some of their older neighborhoods. You will find more modern cafes, restaurants, hotels, clinics, and more.
There are a lot of popular K-Pop things to do here including taking a K-Pop dance class and I’ve actually ran into crowds surrounding quite a few famous Korean stars. If you plan to take some day trips outside of Seoul, Gangnam is a great location to stay in since it is located on line 2 which circles around the city and has close access to Lotte World, Lotte World Tower, the COEX, and Starfield Library.
Recommended Things to do in Gangnam
- Cafe Hopping
- Plastic Surgery
- COEX Aquarium
- K-Pop Dance Classes and Hallyu Sites
- Starfield Library
Where to stay in Gangnam, Seoul – The best places to stay in Gangnam
Shilla is like the Hilton in South Korea, they are known for luxury and this will be a high range when it comes to hotel prices. Shilla is also known for its Duty-Free and skin care products as well. They are a very popular chain of hotels and any Korean would highly recommend staying at one.
This is a popular mid-range priced hotel located in the heart of Gangnam. You are within walking distance of Yeoksam Subway station and will be surrounded by the big city life. In walking distance of or even by bus, you can walk down to Gangnam Station for some underground shopping, check out some local plastic surgery clinics, and find a street full of delicious food.
This is the perfect budget hotel for you to grab in Gangnam. It’s located near Yeoksam Subway station on line 2 and close to a lot of the restaurant streets as well. You are also surrounded by a lot of coffee shops in this location including Starbucks which is one of the only cafes open early in the morning. This will be an affordable and cheap hotel in Seoul Korea that is perfect for just the basics.
Itaewon – Best place drinking and nightlife
While Itaewon is a great place to stay if you want to party, drink, and eat Western food options, it’s my least favorite and least suggested place to stay in. I only say this because it’s more popular for Western locals to stay and doesn’t give you the most authentic Korean experience. As a local living in Korea, it’s a place I frequent often for some desperately missed American dishes.
However, if having a good cocktail and meal after a long day is important to you, this will be the best location for you to stay in.
- Drinking and Partying
- Art Museum
- War Museum
- Western Food Options
- Namsan Tower
- National Museum of Korea
- Dragon Hill Spa
- Perfume Studio
Where to stay in Itaewon, Seoul – The best places to stay in Itaewon
This is a new hotel just recently built. Honestly, there aren’t that many good hotels located in Itaewon and I’m happy to see this new one. Itaewon is typically an older neighborhood and harder to build newer real estate around. So this gorgeous hotel is worth the stay especially if you want to be in the area with a lot of delicious western food options, drinking culture, close to Namsan, Seoul Station, and more.
Although I wouldn’t say this hotel is easy to get to public transportation other than by bus, car, or taxi. Don’t get me wrong you can easily access it, but it can be difficult to walk up from the subway station at the end of a busy day. However, this hotel provides some of the best city views and the best view of Namsan tower than any other hotel in Seoul.
This is a well-known hotel in Itaewon and in the middle of where the action is. It’s literally in front of Itaewon Subway Station which is perfect access to public transportation. You can easily take a bus from this location up to Namsan Tower. This hotel will be good for families in the area because there is a rooftop pool that provides access to some beautiful city views.
Jamsil – The best place to stay for kids
I highly suggest staying here if you have kids, mostly because there are a lot of kids cafes, open space parks, malls, and the popular Lotte World. Although, it will be further away from a lot of the historical sites so this can be a difficult location to stay in if you plan to travel around frequently.
However, Jamsil is located on the green subway line number 2 which circles around the entire city. Some places, Hongdae to get to for example can take about 45 minutes by subway which can be an inconvenience for some. I would suggest choosing this location carefully after planning what you want to do.
Recommended Things to do in Jamsil
- Lotte World
- Lotte World Tower
Where to stay in Jamsil, Seoul – The best places to stay in Jamsil
SIGNIEL Seoul – Lotte World Tower
Are you looking for where to stay in Seoul? This is one of the most expensive hotels in Seoul to stay at and is easily a 5-star hotel in Seoul. This hotel is located inside of Lotte World Tower which has some of the best city views in Seoul. It is close to Lotte World, Lotte Mall, and more. They have access to a pool, fitness center, and so much more. The reviews are highly recommended for this place, but only if you can afford it.
This is a great mid-range to budget hotel that is in walking distance to Lotte World, Lotte Mall, and Lotte World Tower. It has easy access to public transportation and close to subway line number 2 at Sports Complex. If you are interested in seeing a baseball game in South Korea, you can easily stay here and go to one in walking distance.
This is a budget hotel and perfect for young couples or young travelers who are budget conscious.
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