Where to stay in Seoul for first time visitors: Best areas, hotels and more

Are you wondering where to stay in Seoul?

South Korea’s capital is a bustling city that offers an irresistible mix of bright lights, appealing architecture, and an electric atmosphere.

But deciding where to stay in Seoul is no easy task as there are dozens of neighborhoods, all with their own unique characteristics and charm.

However, this also means that there’s something for every type of traveler. Whether it’s the glitz and glam of Gangnam or the art and culture scene of Insadong, you’ll find something perfect for you.

If you’re looking for the best places to stay in Seoul, I have you covered!

I lived in Korea for 1.5 years and spent many glorious weekends in the K-pop capital. With every trip I planned, I had the same question: “What are the best areas to stay in Seoul?”.

So, after exploring the city extensively, I’ve crafted this mega Seoul accommodation guide to help you find the perfect place to stay.

Where to stay in Seoul, Korea
Historic palaces in the city of Seoul

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Overview of where to stay in Seoul

Overall best place to stayHotel 28 (Myeongdong)
Best luxury hotel in SeoulSigniel Seoul (Jamsil)
Best mid-range hotelSunbee Hotel (Insadong)
Best budget optionDaeyoung Hotel (Myeongdong)
Best for backpackersBunk Hostel (Hongdae)
Best family hotel in SeoulNine Tree Hotel (Insadong)
Seoul accommodation for first-timers
Climbing Bukhansan Mountain in Seoul

Best areas to stay in seoul

Here are the 7 best areas to stay in Seoul for tourists (or first-time visitors to South Korea).

Myeongdong: Myeongdong is my favorite place to stay in Seoul. It’s the most central district and close to all the main attractions. Whether you want to find the finest shopping or are keen to feast on street food, you can discover it all in Myeongdong.

Hongdae: Hip Hongdae is Seoul’s university district. Here you’ll find lots of cool karaoke bars, chicken restaurants, and gaming venues. The music and arts scene creates a carnival-like atmosphere that attracts backpackers and a younger crowd looking for a party.

Gangnam: Gangnam is Seoul’s upmarket district and the playground of the ultra-wealthy. It’s packed with towering skyscrapers and designer stores. This is where you’ll find some of the best hotels in Seoul.

Insadong: Insadong is an arty and historic part of Seoul. The narrow streets here are lined with traditional homes and antique shops, and there are plenty of places to try authentic South Korean food or buy unique souvenirs.

Jongno-gu: Jongno-gu is the center of old Seoul. It’s famous for historic palaces, traditional Hanok houses, Buddhist temples, museums, and markets. If the historic heart of the city appeals as a place to stay in Seoul, then Jongno-gu is a great choice.

Itaewon: Itaewon is the most diverse neighborhood in Seoul, with a vibrant night scene. You’re never too far from a party and are bound to meet other travelers here as it’s where most expats hang out.

Jamsil: While Jamsil is geographically near to Gangnam, in some ways, it’s a world apart. All the Lotte World attractions in Seoul are located here, as well as a couple of major sports stadiums. Modern Jamsil is a pretty cool neighborhood, and the area retains a local feel since lots of Koreans actually live here.

Myeongdong: best place to stay in seoul for first-timers

View from N Seoul Tower in Seoul
View from N Seoul Tower in Myeongdong, Seoul

Myeongdong is the best area to stay in Seoul, Korea (in my opinion).

It’s my go-to place when visiting the city as there’s plenty to do – day and night!

Wander the colorful streets, dip into the shops, and see the bright lights. But don’t miss out on trying some of the delicious local street food. You’ll soon be coming back for more!

The glittering N-Seoul Tower is also situated within walking distance of Myeongdong. There are amazing views of the city skyline from the top, and it’s popular with those seeking a romantic moment in Seoul.

Visitors can also experience the Nanta Cooking Show in Myeongdong. The show is suitable for all age groups and includes acrobatics and martial arts displays, in addition to food-themed demonstrations.

The shopping in Myeongdong is next level, but if it’s nightlife you’re looking for, Hongdae or Itaewon are the best locations in Seoul to get dressed up for.

Myeongdong also offers easy access to Seoul’s fabulous public transport network, and most day tours from Seoul depart from here.

The highlights of staying in Myeongdong

  • Shop till you drop at Myeongdong Shopping Street
  • Indulge in the delicious street food
  • Watch the Nanta Cooking Show
  • Walk to Namsan Tower (otherwise known as N-Seoul Tower)

The biggest drawbacks

  • Myeongdong is not Seoul’s best party destination, so if you’re backpacking Seoul, you may prefer Hongdae.

Luxury accommodation in Myeongdong: Lotte Hotel Executive Tower

  • What I love: Sprawling views over the city
  • Best for: Couples and travelers seeking luxury accommodation with all the bells and whistles

Lotte Hotel in Myeongdong is one of the best hotels in Seoul.

The lavish rooms offer superb views over Seoul, as well as lots of space and comfort for an elegant stay.

Crystal chandeliers. Grand hallways. Fine furnishes. This new hotel opened its doors in 2018, and it’s easy to see that no expense was spared in its creation.

There is also a triple Michelin-starred restaurant on site, which is overseen by a French chef who is one of the leaders of the fusion cuisine movement.

Lotte Hotel boasts a gym, swimming pool, bar, and lounge in addition to a luxurious spa.

All of this, and the prime location, make Lotte Hotel one of the best places to stay in Seoul (if your budget allows for it).

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Mid-range accommodation in Myeongdong: Hotel 28 Myeongdong

A luxury room at Hotel 28 Myeongdong in Seoul with en suite bathroom
Hotel 28 is artsy and luxurious
  • What I love: Artistic, movie-themed décor throughout
  • Best for: Solo travelers, couples, and families who love boutique-style

Hotel 28 is situated in central Myeongdong and is convenient for accessing all the shops, bars, and restaurants in the area.

The stylish and comfortable rooms offer travelers a luxurious retreat from the hustle and bustle and provide a lovely escape after a hectic day of exploring.

One of the highlights of staying here is the rooftop bar which offers stunning views over the city. Local and movie-themed artworks are found on each floor, as well as in the small gallery.

Hotel 28 was South Korea’s first member of the Small Luxury Hotels of the World group, and deservedly so.

This boutique-style hotel is one of the best places to stay in Seoul and also boasts a library, restaurant, and fitness center.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Budget accommodation in Myeongdong: Daeyoung Hotel Myeongdong

Room at Seoul Daeyoung Hotel Myeongdong
Considering the budget price tag, you get a lot of bang for your buck at Daeyoung Hotel in Myeongdong
  • What I love: Private accommodation at a budget price point
  • Best for: Families and couples who want value for money

Daeyoung Hotel is one of the best places to stay in Seoul if you’re traveling on a budget. The private rooms are furnished in a sleek, modern style and come complete with en-suite bathrooms.

The hotel offers impressive amenities and helpful services such as currency exchange, an airport shuttle, an ATM machine, a 24-hour reception, laundry, and a guest lounge. There is also a tour desk and a garden with a sunny outdoor terrace.

Daeyoung Hotel makes a comfortable base, and the location is ideal for those who want to explore the whole of Seoul.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Hongdae: Where to stay in Seoul for backpackers

Busy street with lots of people in Seoul
I love the vibrant atmosphere of Hongdae and it’s one of my favorite places to stay in Seoul

Home to Hongik University, Hongdae is one of Seoul’s most happening neighborhoods.

It’s where students, backpackers, and a young crowd come to eat chicken, drink beer, and enjoy the vibrant arts and music scene.

Hongdae has a laid-back atmosphere and is one of my favorite places to stay in Seoul.

You don’t have to do much more than wander the streets or hang out in the cafés and bars to enjoy the lively vibe, perhaps dipping into karaoke bars or gaming rooms as the evening wears on.

Hongdae is a serious rival to Itaewon for its nightlife.

K-pop stars often perform in the streets for the crowds who gather here, and many of these are revered by their loyal local fans. The live music also makes you feel like there’s a party going on – one that you’re most definitely invited to.

Hongdae really comes to life after sundown. And during the day, the Trick Eye Museum is one of the most visited attractions in the area.

The highlights of staying in Hongdae

  • Ideal for students, young people, and backpackers in Korea
  • Experience the lively street music and arts scene
  • Visit a cute café

The biggest drawbacks

  • The party atmosphere isn’t for everyone
  • It’s located to the west of Seoul and a bit further from the other Seoul attractions

Luxury accommodation in Hongdae: Ryse Autograph Collection

Funky decor and modern rooms at Ryse Autograph Collection
RYSE Autograph Collection has one of the most prime locations in Hongdae
  • What I love: The stylish furnishings
  • Best for: Couples and travelers wanting upmarket amenities

Outstanding service and luxurious rooms help to make RYSE a lovely place to stay in Seoul.

The hotel is part of Marriott’s prestigious Autograph Collection. The stylish, hip vibe of this property also reflects the Hongdae location.

The spacious rooms boast large comfy beds and come supplied with contemporary technology like Bluetooth speakers and flatscreen TVs. The walk-in rainfall showers in the bathrooms are pretty impressive too.

Yet another drawcard of staying at RYSE Autograph Collection is the prime location. It’s a stone’s throw away from the main streets of Hongdae and a short walk to the subway station.

There are some upmarket amenities at this property, including a rooftop bar and a well-equipped fitness center. They also offer valet parking, a library, and a coffee house.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Mid-range accommodation in Hongdae: Daol Guesthouse

Private bedroom with bathroom
Daol Guesthouse offers everything that you need when traveling on a budget
  • What I love: Great value for money
  • Best for: Solo travelers, backpackers, and couples traveling on a budget

Daol Guesthouse offers a range of comfortable rooms in the heart of Hongdae.

While some are fairly small, they are very clean and well-kept.

The hotel includes a shared lounge and fully equipped kitchen, ideal for travelers looking to save some cash by preparing their own meals.

With a garden and an outdoor terrace, guests can enjoy a tranquil spot to escape if the party atmosphere of Hongdae gets a little too much.

But what makes Daol Guesthouse truly shine is the kind and generous owners who will welcome you in with open arms.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Budget accommodation in Hongdae: Bunk GuestHouse

Where to stay in Seoul for backpackers
Bunk Guesthouse is a backpacker’s dream
  • What I love: Free breakfast
  • Best for: Solo travelers and backpackers

Bunk Guesthouse is one of the best places to stay in Seoul for backpackers.

Located above a pub in Hongdae (yes, you read that correctly), it’s ideal for those who’ve come to Seoul to socialize.

Not only does it attract a young, jovial crowd, but the property has an impressive selection of rooms, from mixed dormitories to female-only spaces, private double rooms, and even family rooms.

Every amenity you could require is here.

There’s a shared kitchen, laundry, rooftop terrace, and tour desk, which make it even more appealing.

While the rooms are simple, there’s not much to fault about this place, especially given the affordable price point, which includes a complimentary breakfast.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Gangnam: Best Seoul location for glitz, glamor, and luxury

Streets of Gangnam, Seoul
Gangnam is known for its tall, modern buildings

Thanks to the K-pop hit that was a global phenomenon, everybody’s now heard of Gangnam (style).

It’s where Seoul’s wealthiest residents and celebrities live and hang out.

The Gangnam neighborhood in Seoul offers visitors a taste of the high life. Not only in terms of luxury but also because of the abundance of shining skyscrapers found here.

For South Koreans who want cosmetic surgery, Gangnam is also the place to go.

If you adore designer boutiques and smart branded stores, then Gangnam is without doubt the best area to stay in Seoul.

The Buddhist Bongeunsa Temple is also tucked away here, hidden among all the tall, shimmering buildings that dominate the skyline.

Gangnam is located on the opposite side of the Han River from Seoul Forest, so it’s easy to escape all those showy shops and structures if you want a change.

If capturing Instagrammable images is your thing, then you’ll love the stunning design of the Starfield COEX Library. With over 50,000 books stocked, it’s also a central part of life in Seoul.

Having your picture taken with the ‘Gangnam Style’ sign is also a must while in the district.

The highlights of staying in Gangnam

  • Gangnam is Seoul’s answer to Beverly Hills
  • Go shopping at the smart boutiques for designer labels
  • Visit the famous Starfield COEX Library
  • Take a photo in front of the ‘Gangnam Style’ sign

The biggest drawbacks

  • This is one of the most expensive places to stay in Seoul
  • Personally, I preferred to stay in the other neighborhoods in Seoul and visit Gangnam as part of a day trip to the area

Luxury accommodation in Gangnam: Grand InterContinental Seoul Parnas

Luxurious bathroom with Seoul neighborhood views
Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas is luxury at its best!
  • What I love: Spectacular views from the floor to ceiling windows
  • Best for: Couples and families

If you want to stay in upmarket Gangnam, then the Grand Intercontinental Seoul Parnas ticks all the right boxes.

It’s a plush property offering a range of restaurants, an indoor pool, and a guest gym.

Everything about this place oozes luxury and 5 stars, from the city views that guests can enjoy while sipping on champagne in the bathtub to the large living spaces and elegant details.

Rooms range from classic doubles right up to a selection of deluxe king suites, and some can sleep up to five guests or more.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Mid-range accommodation in Gangnam: L7 Gangnam by LOTTE

Spacious room with city views and lounge area in Seoul
Stay at the L7 Gangnam by Lotte to experience the glitz and glam of Gangnam
  • What I love: Friendly, helpful staff
  • Best for: Solo travelers and couples who want to experience Gangnam

L7 Gangnam is a four-star hotel that offers sleek, comfortable rooms located just a few minutes walk from the Seolleung Subway station in Seoul.

The accommodation is light and airy thanks to floor-to-ceiling windows. And each room comes with a handy fridge plus a flatscreen TV and coffee machine.

L7 Gangnam has a fitness center, a restaurant, and even a coin-operated launderette. Local cafés are close by, and there is also a cocktail bar at the hotel.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Budget accommodation in Gangnam: Ryu Guest House Gangnam

Family room at Seoul Ryu Guest House
Meet fellow travelers at Ryu Guesthouse
  • What I love: Budget-friendly price
  • Best for: Solo travelers and couples

With a shared kitchen and a communal lounge, Ryu Guest House is a great place to meet other guests while taking advantage of spacious, comfortable rooms. These include both private and dormitory options.

Located in Apgujeong, it’s close to the Han River and just a quick train ride from Gangnam.

The area is quiet at night, which is great for travelers looking to get a peaceful sleep ahead of the day’s activities.

You’ll feel at home here thanks to the kind owner who will go out of his way to ensure that you’re happy.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Insadong: Where to stay in Seoul with family

Old Traditional Korean houses
Walking the streets of Insadong

Insadong is one of Seoul’s best-loved arts and culture districts and is found near Myeongdong.

This area in Seoul combines the traditional and the modern. Expect to see streets packed with traditional Korean houses and antique dealers. You’ll also find more contemporary venues showcasing the dynamic local arts scene.

Insadong is the perfect place to go if you want to taste traditional Korean food. For a lasting memento of your stay, you can also shop for items like chopsticks, pottery, and teapots.

Fans of art also flock to Insadong to wander around its top-class museums.

The Kimchi and Alive Museums are among the most popular places in this part of town.

The highlights of staying in Insadong

  • Eat at a traditional Korean restaurant
  • Visit a museum
  • Experience a mix of modern and traditional buildings
  • Explore Gyeongbukgung Palace, which is nearby

The biggest drawbacks

  • Not as much entertainment as in other areas in Seoul
  • Insadong lies in the historic part of Seoul. If you prefer to stay in the newer, modern district, you might want to consider visiting Insadong instead of staying here

Luxury accommodation in Insadong: Nine Tree Premier Hotel Insadong

Large rooms at Nine Tree Premier Hotel in Insadong
Nine Tree Premier is a great value-for-money option
  • What I love: The prime location
  • Best for: Couples and families looking for value-for-money luxury accommodation

The Nine Tree Premier Hotel in Insadong is a four-star hotel. It’s one of the best family hotels in Seoul and offers a good mix of twin, double, and family rooms.

It’s located right in the heart of Insadong and close to the Gyeongbokgung Palace.

This fabulous hotel has a decent gym, and there is also a bar – ideal for relaxing with a drink at the end of a busy day of exploring Seoul.

Useful facilities include a 24-hour front desk, concierge and currency exchange services, a shared lounge, and even an airport shuttle.

When comparing Nine Tree Premier to other luxury hotels in Seoul, it definitely might not be as extravagant. But it offers more value for money, with guests often coming back time and time again.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Mid-range accommodation in Insadong: Sunbee Hotel Insadong

The entrance of Sunbee Hotel in Seoul
Enjoy the outdoor terrace at Sunbee Hotel Insadong
  • What I love: Value for money
  • Best for: Families and couples looking for a peaceful stay

Given the prime location, comfortable rooms, and affordable price point, you’ll be lucky if there’s still a place available at Sunbee Hotel in Insadong.

The minimalist rooms can sleep 1 to 5 people and include en-suite bathrooms fitted with large bathtubs.

Sunbee Hotel is the perfect place to stay in Seoul for first-timers and offers a quiet escape from the hustle and bustle nearby.

Jonggak subway station is just five minute walk from the property. The hotel also boasts a guest lounge and outdoor terrace.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Budget accommodation in Insadong: Hi Guesthouse Insadong

Beautiful rooftop terrace and flowers at Hi Guesthouse
Great location and great atmosphere at Hi Guesthouse Insadong
  • What I love: Pretty rooftop terrace with BBQ facilities
  • Best for: Solo travelers and backpackers who want to see the city

If you’re looking for accommodation in Seoul with a great atmosphere and a Korean feel, Hi Guesthouse is calling your name.

The awesome rooftop terrace is a real plus (and so is the complimentary breakfast).

There’s also a shared lounge, laundry, and communal kitchen.

Guests can take their pick of private rooms or shared dormitories, both of which offer large, comfortable beds.

Hi Guesthouse offers guests a prime location, which means that you’re never far from a café, restaurant, or bar, and there are many tourist attractions nearby.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Jongno-gu: Best neighborhood for experiencing old Seoul

people smiling in front of a palace in Seoul
Gyeongbokgung Palace is found in the Jongno district of Seoul

Jongno-gu is the beating heart of old Seoul. It’s where the famous Gyeongbokgung and Changdeokgung Palaces are found.

If you want to immerse yourself in historic Seoul, this is the place in which to base yourself.

The area also borders Insadong, which is another popular place to stay in Seoul.

Jogyesa Temple and Bukchon Hanok Village are located in Jongno-gu. The former is a lovely example of a traditional Buddhist temple, while at the latter, visitors can see traditional Korean houses.

Staying in Jongno-gu also means it’s simple to see the Changing of the Guard ceremony that takes place at Gwanghwamun Gate, browse Gwangjang Market for flea market finds, or stop at the street food stalls for a bite to eat.


The highlights of staying in Jongno-gu

  • The heart of historic Seoul
  • Near a popular street food and flea market
  • Lots of palaces, temples, museums, markets, and more

The biggest drawbacks

  • It attracts lots of tourists so it can be too busy for some people
  • This is one of the northern districts in Seoul and not as central as Myeongdong.

Luxury accommodation in Jongno-gu: Four Seasons Hotel Seoul

Hotel room with lavender flooring and large windows
Four Seasons Hotel in Seoul offers breathtaking views and Korean charm
  • What I love: Spa with traditional Korean saunas and day beds
  • Best for: Couples and families who want to live the high life

The Four Seasons name is synonymous with luxury, and Seoul’s Four Seasons Hotel is no exception. The rooms are immaculate and boast floor-to-ceiling windows, giving guests jaw-dropping views over the city.

The location is hard to beat, and if you’re looking for a five-star hotel close to all the attractions, then this hotel is for you.

The Korean feel is amplified by the Asian restaurants and traditional Korean saunas on the property. There are several bars and restaurants to dine and drink in, plus an indoor pool and gym.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Mid-range accommodation in Jongno-gu: Tong Tong Petit Hotel

The rooftop terrace from one of the best places to stay in Seoul
Rooftop views of historic Seoul from Tong Tong Petit Hotel
  • What I love: Rooftop terrace
  • Best for: Singles and couples looking to stay in the center of all the action

The Tong Tong Petit Hotel has a lot going for it – and not only the price tag.

While the rooms are small, they’re beautifully designed and well thought out with minimalist décor.

All the sights of the Jongno-gu area are also within easy reach. The metro station is only a 2-minute walk away.

The gorgeous rooftop terrace is a hit for all travelers staying here.

If you’re looking to stay in the historic part of Seoul on a limited budget, Tong Tong Petit Hotel is a great option.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Budget accommodation in Jongno-gu: Oh My Guesthouse

Room with double bed and workspace
Oh My Guesthouse is one of the best places to stay in Jongno-Gu when traveling on a budget
  • What I love: The kind, friendly owners
  • Best for: Solo travelers and groups seeking affordable accommodation

Oh My Guesthouse is a classic property offering a series of rooms with outdoor patio areas.

With a 9.6 rating on Booking.com, it’s clearly a winner in the eyes of previous guests!

There are single, double, twin, triple, and quad rooms to choose from. While they are basic, they are furnished with comfortable beds.

A superb breakfast is included in the price, and there is also a shared kitchen, lounge, and garden.

Oh My Guesthouse is located in the northern part of Seoul and 1km from Gyeongbukgung Palace and Bukchon Hanok Village.

The area is quiet yet close to many restaurants and shops. While some travelers may enjoy the peaceful and local vibe of Oh My Guesthouse, others may prefer to stay somewhere closer to the action.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Itaewon: Best Seoul neighborhood to meet expats

Karaoke in Korea
Nuraebangs or Karaoke rooms are very popular amongst backpackers in Korea

If you’re heading to South Korea in search of karaoke bars, clubs, and an energetic after-dark vibe, Itaewon is the place to be.

There’s no better place in Seoul to sample an authentic Korean BBQ – all washed down with a few bottles of Soju.

Delicious food, a friendly vibe, and a huge range of places to eat, drink, sing, and dance. What more could you ask for?

Traditionally multicultural Itaewon was backpacker central in Seoul, but now this vibrant district offers all levels of accommodation.

Itaewon is home to an American army base and is Seoul’s most multicultural neighborhood, which is evident in the vast array of eateries here serving delectable dishes from all over the world.

Simply strolling down the streets by night means immersing yourself in the vibrant atmosphere of Itaewon, and you’ll be joined by throngs of like-minded people – young and old – from across the city, the country, and even the world.

There’s never a dull moment in Itaewon, so if you’re the type who’s easily bored, then this area makes the perfect base.


The highlights of staying in Itaewon

  • Enjoy the multicultural area with a great range of eateries
  • Go partying at one of the lively nightlife venues

The biggest drawbacks

  • If the party scene isn’t your thing, you might want to stay elsewhere
  • There are lots of ex-pats here so if you want to experience a more authentic side of the city, rather stay in one of the other areas in Seoul that have a more traditional appeal

Luxury accommodation in Itaewon: Grand Hyatt Seoul

Room at Grand Hyatt in Seoul with Han River views
The Grand Hyatt in Seoul offers just about everything, including an ice rink and shopping arcade
  • What I love: Incredible amenities including an ice rink and three pools
  • Best for: Couples and families who want to spoil themselves

If you’re willing to blow the budget, the Grand Hyatt in Itaewon will not disappoint.

It’s situated at the foot of Namsan Mountain and offers incredible views over the park and the city.

But that’s not all. The Grand Hyatt in Seoul has its own ice rink and shopping arcade, as well as three swimming pools.

There are also several restaurants for guests to dine at during their stay.

On top of all that, this property has a spa and a gym, plus a range of tennis and squash courts.

And I haven’t even got to the rooms – they are stunning! The full-length windows, coupled with luxurious furnishing, ensure that you have the perfect place to rest your head after a busy day of exploring.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Mid-range accommodation in Itaewon: Imperial Palace boutique hotel

Room with murals and mountain views
The quirky décor at Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel is an experience in itself
  • What I love: Spacious beds and cool wall murals
  • Best for: Solo travelers, families, and couples seeking style

If it’s mid-range accommodation in Seoul you’re seeking, it’s hard to beat the Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel.

With a grand entrance and friendly staff, you’ll feel welcomed the moment you step through the front door.

Funky wall murals and large, comfortable beds help to make your stay even better.

It’s easy to access all the attractions of the area on foot, and Itaewon Station is just a three-minute walk away.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Budget accommodation in Itaewon: G Guesthouse Itaewon

The best areas to stay in Seoul
G Guesthouse is ideal for those traveling on a budget
  • What I love: Complimentary breakfast
  • Best for: Backpackers and budget travelers

G Guesthouse is the perfect place to stay if you’re backpacking Seoul.

This budget-friendly property attracts like-minded travelers looking to socialize (and party).

Situated only a minute’s walk from the Itaewon Subway, G Guesthouse Itaewon offers shared dorms and private rooms. The fabulous rooftop terrace boasts BBQ facilities and beautiful views of N-Seoul Tower.

There is a communal kitchen and dining area where a complimentary breakfast is served daily.

Towels and toiletries are provided, and each guest is issued with a personal storage locker.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Jamsil: Best for a local neighborhood feel

Lotte World and Lotte Tower with Cherry Blossoms
Jamsil is a great place to stay in Seoul thanks to the Lotte World Theme Park and Lotte Tower

Jamsil – or Jamsil-dong – is located close to Gangnam but is a more affordable place to spend time in.

Some would say it’s a more fashionable location too.

The name has an intriguing history, as it refers to the fact that silkworms were bred here during the time of the Joseon dynasty.

Like other Seoul neighborhoods, there are lots of skyscrapers in Jamsil, and the district is also home to some major sports stadiums.

Lotte World Tower can also be found in Jamsil. This offers plenty of shopping, sightseeing, and entertainment options at the mall as well as the Seoul Sky observatory, aquarium, Lotte World theme park, and more.

The streets of Jamsil are lined with stylish boutiques, quirky South Korean cafés, and neon-lit bars.

Sports fans, meanwhile, may want to visit the Olympic and baseball stadiums located in this district.

Despite all these structures and the activity, there is an abundance of green space in Jamsil. It’s largely a residential area and retains a cozy neighborhood feel.


The highlights of staying in Jamsil

  • Residential area with a neighborhood vibe
  • Take in the views of Seoul from the Lotte World Tower
  • Visit Seokchon Lake (This is one of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Seoul)
  • Spend the day at Lotte World theme park

The biggest drawbacks

  • Lotte World doesn’t appeal to everyone, and there’s not much going on here besides that

Luxury accommodation in Jamsil: Signiel Seoul

Signiel Seoul is one of the best places to stay in Seoul
You will not be disappointed at the Signiel Seoul! Luxury and service at its best
  • What I love: Top-notch amenities, including a spa and champagne bar
  • Best for: Couples who want five-star service

Signiel Seoul is one of the most luxurious places to stay in Seoul and offers breathtaking panoramic views over the city.

Everything about this hotel speaks of elegance and opulence!

It’s best suited for travelers who appreciate the finer things in life – like Michelin-star restaurants, champagne bars, and soothing spa treatments.

The rooms at Signiel Seoul are next level, with every detail carefully curated and cared for. There is also a direct passage from the hotel to Jamsil subway station, making it really easy to get around the city.

Staying at Signiel Seoul means that you’ll be treated to only the finest experiences with amazing service to top it all off. But it does come at a hefty price point.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

Mid-range accommodation in Jamsil: Hotel Pharos

Hotel Pharos double room in Seoul
Luxury accommodation at an affordable price. Look no further than Hotel Pharos
  • What I love: Cafés and restaurants are so close by
  • Best for: Couples and families who love extra space

Hotel Pharos in Jamsil offers a selection of twin, double, and family rooms and suites – including one with its own private indoor pool.

If you’re looking for a luxury stay at an affordable price point, Hotel Pharos is the perfect place for you.

The beds are super comfy, and the spacious rooms come complete with large private bathrooms.

The location is a big plus, and local street food stalls and restaurants are within a few minutes walk of the property.

Read reviews and compare rates on Agoda | Booking.com.

How many days to stay in seoul

I’d recommend staying in Seoul for a minimum of four nights so you can sample all the delights this city has to offer.

It’s the most fascinating place in Korea (and all of Asia, for that matter), so you don’t want to rush your time here.

Ideally, you want to spend 1 week in Seoul. Even then, you’ll be wishing you had more time!

Women standing in front of a mural in Seoul
Roaming the streets of Seoul

Seoul Accommodation Tips

Most accommodation in Seoul features air conditioning and heating. This is standard in Korea due to the extreme weather. You’ll also find free Wi-Fi almost everywhere.

I highly recommend the Myeongdong area to stay in Seoul for first-timers. Street food, K beauty shopping, prime location – Myeongdong has it all.

No matter how long you stay in Seoul, base yourself in one area for the duration of your trip. The city has an amazing public transportation network, so you can easily visit all the other Seoul locations during your visit.

Speaking of public transport, when looking for where to stay in Seoul, try to find something close to the subway stations.

You should know what to expect when looking for accommodation, especially if you’re on a tight budget. The rooms in Korea are generally very small, the beds are extremely hard, and the bathrooms are wet rooms (This is one of the things I found strange about Korea). This is the norm, so unless you’re spending big dollars on your Seoul accommodation, be prepared for something you may not be used to.

When choosing where to stay in Seoul, decide whether you want to be north or south of the Han River. I mostly stayed north in Myeongdong, Hongdae, and Jongno, as this is the more authentic side of the city. South of the Han River, you’ll find Gangnam and Jamsil, the glitzier and more extravagant neighborhoods in Seoul.


FAQs about the best places to stay in Seoul

Which part of Seoul is best to stay?

Myeongdong is the best place to stay in Seoul for first-time visitors. It’s a central location and only a short walk to all the attractions in Seoul.

Is it better to stay in Hongdae or Myeongdong?

I prefer Myeongdong to Hongdae as it’s more centrally located. Hongdae is a bit further away from the main tourist area, but it’s still worth a visit. If you’re backpacking Seoul and looking for a party, then you should consider staying in Hongdae.

Is it better to stay in Myeongdong or Insadong?

Myeongdong is one of the best areas to stay in Seoul and is my recommendation for first-time visitors. Insadong is the area next to Myeongdong and is also centrally located. My first choice would be Myeongdong but if you find a great hotel in Insadong, you should stay there as it’s a short walk away.


Where to stay in Seoul with family

Myeongdong and its neighboring district, Insadong, are great places to stay in Seoul with Family. Nine Tree Hotel in Insadong offers luxury family rooms, and Hotel Thomas in Myeongdong is a great option if you’re traveling on a mid-range budget with family.

Final thoughts on where to stay in Seoul

I hope this Seoul accommodation guide has helped you make sense of where to stay in Seoul.

From the historic heart to the hippest neighborhoods in town, there’s so much more to the South Korean capital than upmarket Gangnam style.

After numerous visits to Seoul, my recommendation would be to stay at Hotel 28 in Myeongdong. If you’re a solo traveler or backpacker, you’ll love Bunk Guesthouse in Hongdae and if it’s art and culture you’re in search of, Sunbee Hotel Insadong is a great option.

While the best area to stay in Seoul will always be a matter of preference, you can’t go wrong by booking a guesthouse or hotel in any one of these Seoul districts.

Whether you come to see the cute Korean cafés, sing karaoke, or delve into the city’s history and culture, I know that a good time is always guaranteed!

Are you looking for accommodation in Seoul? Drop me a message in the comments section below and I’ll give you as much info as I have.

Looking for more Korea travel inspiration? Check out my other posts!

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Where to stay in Seoul, South Korea
About Carryn

Hi, I'm Carryn. I’m an adventure travel blogger trying to figure out my way through life by traveling and exploring. Join me as I share my travel guides and tips for life abroad. Find out more about me here.

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