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Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Where We Stayed in Seoul: Lotte City Hotel Mapo

The place we stayed at was a gold mine.  We don't know much about Korea, but we know that one of the most famous Korean brands is Lotte (yes, the chocolates and gum).  Lotte Co., Ltd. is a South Korean conglomerate.  It is one of the largest food and shopping groups in South Korea and Japan.  Lotte Group consists of over 60 business units engaged in diverse industries such as candy manufacturing, beverages, retail, publishing, entertainment, hotels, etc.  Such a big company that they even have their own duty free called Lotte Duty Free. 

Before I moved on to telling you about where we stayed at, let share with you this Lotte Duty Free video.  When we arrived at the Lotte City Hotel, I saw this catchy and entertaining advertisement playing non-stop on their Lotte channel, I was in awe because they are endorsed by the hottest actors, singers and Kpop group in South Korea.  Everytime I see this ad, and I mean always, I can never take my eyes off the tube.  As in I feel-- "Ahhhhhh, I'm inlove." LOL.   If you like watching Koreanovelas, have found a Korean actor cute or like a Kpop group, please WATCH THIS!  I'm sure you will like it too.  This is not cheesy.  You might even like the Lotte Duty Free song.  It's so catchy, it made me want to dance haha.


Did you like it?

Anyway, back to my post.  Let me tell you first how we ended up staying at Lotte City Hotel Mapo.  Please note that all our preparations were mostly done online.  We researched, planned and organized everything thru the use of the internet.

One's accommodation in South Korea need not be expensive.  You have the option of staying in a Guest House (their version of Bed and Breakfast) or in a Hotel.  Guest Houses are definitely cheaper and you can easily find them by making a search online.

My Husband and I are quite particular when it comes to accommodation.  Although we know that we're mostly spending our time outdoors because we will be exploring all day, we still want to be comfortable during our time of rest.  So we ruled out staying at a Guest House.

In choosing a place to stay during travel, we take note of the following:
(1) Travel time to and from the Airport
(2) Access to public transport
(3) Safety and security
(4) Establishments in the area such as restaurants, malls, etc.
(5) Convenient location (should be near places will plan to go to)
(6) Clean rooms with basic amenities

Given these basic considerations, we studied about 4-6 hotels/apartments we can find online.  We've had bad experiences with a hotel or two before so choosing a place for lodging is a process for us.  It takes us a week to decide because we do a lot of research when it comes to things like this (I know, we're such geeks!).

For our Seoul accommodation, we initially had five hotels, then it narrowed it to three.  In the end we chose Lotte City Hotel Mapo because:
(1) it's Lotte and a 4-star hotel (so we had a bit of high expectations)
(2) if there's no traffic, the airport is about 45 minutes away
(3) it's conveniently located nearby popular places like Myeong-dong, Seoul Station, Hongdae and Yeouido (the places where we plan to go!)
(4) it's accessible to public transport: the bus stops are right infront of the hotel and Gongdeok train station is just underneath the hotel.
(5) there are cafes and restaurants that surrounds the hotel

Now for some photos.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

Check-in is at 2pm but since we arrived early in the morning and would like to rest, we informed the hotel that we will check-in at 7:30AM.  We arrived at almost 8:00AM and they let us checked-in.  No questions asked.

They don't have bellboys or porters so be ready to carry your luggage to your room.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

Upon entrance to our room, there was a glass that works as a divider and decor.
_MG_3519Lotte City Hotel Mapo

Our room is minimalist and modern with a bit of zen.  
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

An office in the corner.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

The bathroom in white.  The usual toiletries and bathrobes are available for guests.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

The clear sink.  Stylish (I like!).
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

They have bidets!
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

And a hairdryer which I believe every hotel should have in every room.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

On my bedside table is the all-in-one controller for lights, clock, aircon, etc and even an emergency button (if you are too stressed to pick up the phone and dial a number).
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

Each room has two pairs of slippers.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

Safety is a big deal for the Koreans, hence each room has this...
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

and this.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

Our view is not spectacular because we are in one of the business districts of Seoul but that was fine by us.  We enjoyed watching the cars and buses passing by.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

The street infront of us has 10 lanes!!!!!  They have wide roads here.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

Our coffee table by the window.  Here I was spending a few minutes journaling what transpired during our day.
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

We don't have internet connection inside our room.  We didn't asked to be connected because we wanted to just relax and watch Korean TV (although we can't understand and there was no subtitles LOL) before we sleep.  If we needed the use of the internet, we can always go down to the Business Center where WIFI is free.  

Can you see our reflections on the Business Center divider?
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

The basement area of Lotte City Hotel Mapo has a supermarket (where we bought lots of Lotte chocolates), cafes and a bank (where we had the rest of our money changed).  The basement is also connected to the Gongdeok Train Station.  Very convenient for tourists like us. 
Lotte City Hotel Mapo

We loved our stay at the Lotte City Hotel Mapo.  The rates were reasonable and staff were very accommodating.  Check-out time was 12:00noon but since our return flight was schedule at night, they safekept our luggage until it was time for us to go.

Gongdeok-Dong, 467 Mapo-Gu
Seoul, South Korea 121805

UP NEXT: Exploring the streets of HONGDAE

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