The youthful, lively area of Hongdae in Seoul is known for its shopping, nightlife, and arts scene. There’s lots to do at any time – night or day – but eventually you’ll have to get some rest. Here are the best places to stay, right in the heart of Seoul’s party hotspot.
RYSE offers effortless contemporary elegance and five-star service, delivered in a sleek, modern package. It’s just 300 metres from Hongik University metro station, and many of the rooms have great views over the city. Rooms are spacious and beautifully designed. The hotel has a well-equipped fitness centre and library which are free for guests’ use. Don’t forget to pop into the Side Note Club for music and cocktails.
Exposed brick walls and sweeping arches give this boutique hotel a rather European feel, and it’s extremely convenient at six minutes’ walk from Hongik University metro station. Rooms aren’t the biggest, but this is more than made up for by their stylish, monochromatic design. Its elegant dining areas are illuminated by chandeliers at night, and big, airy windows during the day.
As the name suggests, this guesthouse is heavily themed around k-pop. Music constantly plays on the TVs in common areas, and walls are adorned with photographs and doodles of band members. But even if you couldn’t care less about Korea’s representative music style, Kpopstay is a fabulous budget option. Its design-led dorms are cosy, clean, and feature sleeping-pod style bunks which offer lots of privacy, while twin and family rooms are also available. It has friendly staff, a small garden, and is located just a few minutes’ walk from the centre of Hongdae.
Find your home away from home at Wow Factor Stay. This upmarket guesthouse has rooms and studio-style apartments, which come with an en-suite bathroom, dining table and small kitchenette. While it’s on the pricier side, each apartment can sleep up to five people, so it’s a great option if you’re travelling in a group. Rooms are decorated in a contemporary, cosy style, and include complimentary Korean-style breakfast. Basic cooking equipment and kitchenware is provided in studios, but you can also add breakfast for an extra fee. The rooftop terrace has great views over the city, and Wow Factor Stay even offers a hanbok rental and photography service, where guests can have their picture taken in traditional Korean costume.
Orbit Cafe & Guesthouse is a trendy, highly photogenic guesthouse. Both its exterior and interior are spotless, and beautifully decorated in sleek white and millennial pink. Its complimentary breakfast is excellent and varied. The menu changes each day, but always includes fruit, vegetables, and their own freshly baked bread. The guesthouse offers dorms (which consist of only two beds, hugely minimising your chances of being stuck with a snorer), twin rooms and family rooms. It’s five minutes’ walk from Hongik University subway station.
This cool, chilled-out guesthouse is a perfect choice for solo travellers. Its friendly staff create a warm, welcoming atmosphere, and there are regular social events (including a weekly Friday night barbecue outing) where like-minded travellers can mingle. The common area is filled with books, giving it a homey feel, and there’s a garden to catch the sun in. There are trick-eye paintings scattered all around the building – see how many you can spot. Time Traveler Relax offers both dorms and private rooms. It also has a sister hostel with more of a party vibe nearby.
Dream House is a great place to relax after a long day of shopping in Hongdae’s crowded streets. White walls and bare wood create a calm, restful atmosphere, and it’s set in a quieter location than other Hongdae hotels. Rooms are spacious, and great value for money, while beds are comfortable, and some rooms come with Korean-style futons. Complimentary breakfast is available each morning, and the hotel has a roof terrace with seating and several tiny trees.
Urbanwood Guesthouse | Courtesy of Urbanwood Guesthouse / Booking.com
This guesthouse is a comfortable, bohemian enclave set a few minutes’ walk from Hongik University subway station. Its roof terrace is overflowing with plants, and the interior feels like a cool private apartment. The owner’s love for nature shines through in the decor – lots of greens, bright colours, and pot plants perched precariously on the stairs – and vibrant art adorns the walls. Squishy beanbags and plenty of books add to the homey feel, and breakfast includes freshly brewed coffee and bagels.