The Best Budget-Friendly Hotels to Book in Seoul

Small House Big Door is one of many trendy budget hotels in central Seoul
Small House Big Door is one of many trendy budget hotels in central Seoul | © Small House Big Door
Carl Pettit

The capital of South Korea is a hub for culture, art and politics. From the opulent Gyeongbokgung Palace to the bustling shops of Myeongdong, it’s a city well worth exploring. Do it on a budget by staying in one of the best cheap hotels in Seoul.

Seoul N Hotel Dongdaemun


A bedroom with a double bed, wall-mounted TV, wooden flooring and blinds on the window at Seoul N Hotel Dongdaemun
Courtesy of Seoul N Hotel Dongdaemun /

Dongdaemun, in central Seoul, is a district where you can pick up silks, leather goods or a hanbok (Korean traditional dress). It’s also an area overflowing with outdoor food stalls. The no-frills Seoul N Hotel is a clean, hassle-free spot for backpackers who enjoy a communal hostel vibe. With single and double rooms, plus a variety of mixed and women only dorms, this tidy hotel is one of the best places to stay in Seoul on a budget.

Hostel Tommy


Two double beds in a room at Hostel Tommy, with a stool, wall-mounted TV, and green and yellow painted walls
Courtesy of Hostel Tommy /

The simple yet stylish Hostel Tommy is conveniently central, near the Jongmyo Confucian Ancestral Shrine, Gwangjang Market and Chongga Kimchi World. Dorms come with private lockers, while private rooms offer perks such as flat-screen TVs. Meanwhile, if you’re a DIY chef, you’ll be pleased to discover a well-stocked kitchen where you can whip up breakfast or an afternoon snack.

Zibro S Hostel


A white room with a metal-frame bunk bed, a grey sofa with five cushions and air conditioning at Zibro S Hostel
Courtesy of Zibro S Hostel /

Zibro S is a family-operated guest house near the ultra-hip Hongdae Street, which has a thriving club and alternative music scene. Smart touches include heated floors, reliable air conditioning and a no-fee washing machine, plus family-style breakfast options, including waffles. The self-check-in system is quick and convenient. Simply enter the building with a code sent to you beforehand, then find your name on the room allocation board.

The Capsule Myeongdong


A single bed with three pillows and a bedside light in a wooden capsule at the Capsule: Myeongdong
Courtesy of the Capsule: Myeongdong / Expedia

If you like the idea of being swaddled inside a cocoon then the Capsule Myeongdong could be the hotel for you. The stripped-down but smartly designed wooden sleeping capsules come with fresh linens and plenty of private snoozing space. Venture down the capsule’s ladder steps to a shared showering area, then venture out into lively Myeongdong for a taste of life in Seoul.

Seoul Grand Hostel EWHA Univ


A common, kitchen and dining area at Seoul Grand Hostel EWHA Univ, with white walls, tiled floor and two seated dining tables
Courtesy of Seoul Grand Hostel EWHA Univ /

Travelling on a budget but don’t fancy sharing space with strangers? Seoul Grand Hostel EWHA Univ rooms (twin, double and triple) come with private washing facilities. While cosy is the rule here, the large kitchen – where you can chow down on pancakes and waffles – offers plenty of room to roam. The hostel also provides free slippers, soap and shampoo.

Twin Panda Guesthouse


A white bedroom with a pink painted ceiling and light blue double bed at Twin Panda Guesthouse
Courtesy of Twin Panda Guesthouse /

Twin Panda, situated in the arty, cafe-heavy Hongdae district, provides small but tidy rooms with adjoining bathrooms. Electric blankets and heating pads come as standard for chilly nights. Hit the self-serve breakfast nook each morning. This guesthouse is ideal for younger travellers, or anyone who is young at heart, who want to explore the hip side of modern Seoul.

Hotel the Designers Cheongnyangni

Hostel, Hotel

A white bedroom with a double bed and stylish, gold-rimmed mirror at Hotel The Designers Cheongnyangni
Courtesy of Hotel the Designers Cheongnyangni /

Hotel the Designers is a glossy yet affordable 80-room hotel, only a few minutes from Cheongnyangni metro station. Expect chic decor at this stylish budget hotel, where there are no dorms, just private rooms, and even standard doubles come with rainfall showers and coffee machines. Breakfast is free, too. Head out and explore the nearby Dongdaemun’s Gyeongdong Spice Market, which overflows with herbs and exotic spices.

Grid Inn

Inn, Hostel

The restaurant dining area, with wooden bench seating and cushioned chairs by tables, plus olive-painted walls at Grid Inn
Courtesy of Grid Inn /

Holidaymakers who don’t mind small, well-appointed rooms will be right at home at the Grid Inn. This budget locale is close to trendy areas such as Insadong, with its boutiques and tearooms. Rooms range from snug singles to family suites sleeping six. Adjoining bathrooms, complete with slippers and toiletries, make up for the compact rooms, some of which include a kitchen. Head up to the rooftop veranda for stunning views of Namsan Mountain and Tower.

Small House Big Door


A white-painted bedroom with a double bed on a wooden frame at Small House Big Door
Courtesy of Small House Big Door /

Small House Big Door is a trendy hotel in a quiet area of central Seoul, within walking distance of Myeongdong. It’s small, arty and design-led, with a minimalist, industrial-chic style. Although it’s not the cheapest option on this list, it’s still very affordable compared to Seoul’s bigger hotels, and it has an independent vibe, with lots of Korean character. It’s well located for exploring most areas of the city and has a hip little coffee shop attached.

Stay Hotel Gangnam

Budget Hotel, Hotel

A white bedroom with a pink double bed, cushioned chair, chequerboard floor and a bathroom behind at Stay Hotel Gangnam
Courtesy of Hotel Gangnam /

The swanky neighbourhood of Gangnam – immortalised in song – is known for elegance and exclusivity, and price tags to match. Stay Hotel is one of the cheaper hotels in the area, but it isn’t noticeably dialled-down in terms of design, service or location, and it’s a great example of the subtle elegance that Korean design does so well. The hotel is close to Gangnam station and the Express Bus Terminal, making it one of the best places to stay in Seoul for traversing the city.

Hamilton Hotel


A wood-panelled twin room at Hamilton Hotel Seoul, with two white double beds and wooden floor
Courtesy of Hamiton Hotel / Expedia

The red-brick building of Hamilton Hotel is an Itaewon landmark – it’s also right by the metro station, making it easy for even the most directionally challenged traveller to find. The foreigner-friendly neighbourhood is known for its lively nightlife and international restaurants. Rooms are comfortable and modern, ranging from doubles to suites sleeping four. Take a dip in the rooftop pool or make use of the on-site gym. Hamilton Hotel is one of the more upscale options for budget travellers in Seoul, but boy do you get your money’s worth.

Tmark Hotel Myeongdong


A white-painted room at Tmark Hotel Myeongdong with a white double bed and a green armchair, plus city views
Courtesy of Tmark Hotel Myeongdong /

In the heart of Myeongdong shopping district, Tmark Hotel is a solid choice for an affordable hotel. What it lacks in glitz it makes up for in good service, an excellent location and spacious, comfortable rooms. The hotel has a roof deck with a great view over Myeongdong and Seoul, and a good breakfast buffet as an optional extra. There’s a free shuttle bus, too, that runs directly from the hotel to Seoul station.

Bukchon Yujung

Independent Hotel, Apartment, Guesthouse

A cosy lamp-lit dining area with wooden beams and a wooden bench by a small table at Bukchon Yujung, Seoul
Courtesy of Bukchon Yujung /

Head to Bukchon Yujung, right next to Bukchon Hanok Village in Jongno-gu, for something a little different. More of a guesthouse than a hotel, it offers two-bedroom apartments and double rooms in old-school Korean style – expect sliding wood panels, elegant screens and floor futons. Underfloor heating provides comfort in the winter, and there’s a shared kitchen for guests to use, making this one of the city’s most homely places to stay.

Lee Kang Ga Guesthouse

Bed and Breakfast, Guesthouse

Room at Lee Kang Ga Guesthouse with two beds, TV, wooden floor and beams and a bathroom in the foreground
Courtesy of Lee Kang Ga Guesthouse /

Lee Kang Ga Guesthouse is in Mapo-gu, a 15-minute walk from Hongik University station and lively Hongdae. Its beautifully designed rooms merge traditional Korean style with modern elegance, making for a quiet retreat from Seoul’s hustle and bustle. All the rooms come with a kitchenette, and some also have a balcony. There’s a spacious rooftop garden, and a hanbok rental service. Breakfast is included and, unusually for Seoul accommodation, is both delicious and different every day.

This is an updated version of an article originally by Phoebe Taylor.

None of these take your fancy? Here’s our top pick of hotels in Seoul. For more budget-friendly options, discover our guide to the best hostels in Seoul.

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