Itaewon, Seoul’s most international district, is teeming with restaurants, bars and shops. Its buzzing nightlife and lively atmosphere make it a popular destination for visitors to the city – here’s a guide to the best hotels in the area.
Grand Hyatt Seoul
Grand Hyatt Seoul's indoor pool | Courtesy of Hotels.com
The Grand Hyatt Seoul is located a few minutes away from Itaewon, and runs a free shuttle bus to the area until 9pm. It has everything you’d expect from a five-star hotel of this calibre – impeccable service, swanky restaurants and state-of-the-art fitness facilities, including a tennis rink and an outdoor swimming pool that transforms into an ice rink in winter. Itaewon and the Han River are on one side, Namsan Mountain on the other, and the hotel’s hilltop location makes the most of these. Big windows sweep up from floor to ceiling, with particularly good views from the higher floors as well as from the restaurants and bars.
Not to be confused with the Victorian-style Imperial Palace Hotel in Gangnam, Itaewon’s Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel is a funky, modern accommodation option in the heart of this lively area, just three minutes’ walk away from Itaewon station. It’s a great-value hotel that feels a little fancier than its upper mid-range price tag. The staff are well-trained and helpful, and the hotel has some thoughtful extras, such as free use of a mobile phone during your stay. There’s a nightclub at ground level that stays open until the wee hours; ask for a room on a higher floor if you’re a light sleeper.
A great budget option for the centre of Itaewon, Itaewon A One is a 2.5-star hotel with clean, contemporary design and comfortable rooms. It’s set in a quiet street just off the main drag, close to Itaewon station. There are a number of halal restaurants nearby, as well as many other international eateries. Most rooms have a big bathtub, there is a good selection of toiletries, and all rooms are well-soundproofed.
Hamilton Hotel’s brick-front exterior is an Itaewon landmark, so you shouldn’t have any difficulties finding the building. It’s a solid four-star hotel that has been open since 1973. It’s within walking distance of Namsan Park, and all of Itaewon’s shops and nightlife; as some of the nightlife below is audible in the hotel, free earplugs are provided to guests. The hotel has a rooftop pool, which is open in summer (June to August) and has a great panoramic view of the city (although do note that the pool has an extra charge). There’s also a very good fitness suite, which is complimentary for hotel guests.
Mosc might be a guesthouse rather than a hotel, but if you’re on a budget, you’d be remiss to ignore its hip, stylish rooms and excellent service. Mosc is 200 metres from Itaewon station, and its rooms are surprisingly spacious, well-furnished and squeaky clean. It’s right next to a number of halal restaurants and Itaewon’s lively gay area. There’s a chic little sun terrace where you can catch some rays and a view of the city. An Asian-style breakfast is included in the room price.
POP @ Itaewon offers affordable accommodation right in the centre of Itaewon, close to Namsan Mountain. It’s a chilled-out, backpacker-style guesthouse with dorms and private rooms. It has a friendly atmosphere, and there are lots of opportunities for travellers and staff to socialise. There’s a rooftop terrace where guests can hang out. Rooms are small but modern, with hip, funky decoration.
Tucked up on the second floor on one of Itaewon’s many twisting roads, Avocado Guesthouse is a little hard to find. Once you’ve found it, however, its quirky decor and good location make it an excellent budget choice for the area. It’s five minutes’ walk from Itaewon station, on the Namsan Mountain side. The guesthouse offers both dorm and private rooms (including family rooms), all of which are decorated in a retro style.