South Korea

Hotels in South Korea

As you’d expect from a country of more than 50 million, hotels in South Korea run the gamut from international luxury chains to small boutiques, and from small hostels to large budget accommodations. Where you stay depends on your budget as well as your needs, but you can’t go wrong with the Ritz Carlton, Seoul. It’s definitely pricey, but the Ritz easily tops the list of the best hotels in South Korea. It’s one of the few hotels in the city which offers its guests spacious balconies (a must for travelers who want to experience one of the world’s great skylines from above), the service is without parallel, and the only major knock against it – namely, that it’s south of the river and therefore an additional 15 to 20 minutes from major area sites – is now mitigated by the rapid growth of the fashionable Gangnam district in which the Ritz is located. Book with extreme confidence.

In terms of overall value, the Koreana Hotel reigns supreme. While this luxury option doesn’t excel in any one area, its combination of good service, prime central location, clean rooms, and affordable prices make it ideal for travelers looking to get the most for their money. For travelers looking for something outside the typical South Korea hotels experience, consider the Hanok system. Hanoks are traditional South Korean homes that have been converted into small hotels, similar to the American bed and breakfast or the European pension. If you’re looking for a more “authentic” South Korean travel experience, this is the way to go. Check online to find a hanok where you’re traveling. Our final South Korea hotels suggestion is also a little off the beaten path. Many Buddhist hotels accept visitors for a nominal fee, and for the spiritually inquisitive, offer an ideal way to see this vibrant country. Again, check online for more information.

The hippest hotel in town (as all W’s aim to be) occupies an angular, 14-story glass building overlooking the Han River, 30 minutes east of downtown Seoul.

This 24-story glass tower, set south of the Han River near the COEX convention and shopping center, caters to Seoul’s nouveaux riches and visiting business travelers. The sleek, minimalist interiors—in both the common areas and the 185 rooms—are airy and punctuated by Korean antiques.

History buffs and captains of industry choose this centrally located hotel, which is walking distance from Korea’s political and corporate halls of power (both modern and ancient).

If hotel design were an Olympic sport, the Shilla would be the Michael Phelps of Seoul properties.

Opened in 1996 as one of the first luxury hotels south of the Han River—when the Korean economy was flush with parvenu cash—the semi-pyramid-shaped Ritz-Carlton has an ostentatious vibe that seems a little dated by today’s standards.