In Korea they celebrate 설날 (Lunar New Year). This year it was a 5 day weekend early in February. I made plans on different days with friends and decided to save myself the stress of traveling back and forth to Seoul
and to make up for a sad birthday so I booked myself a stay at the Hotel Vella Suite near Myeongdong. I decided it didn’t matter to me that much about where exactly the hotel was as long as it wasn’t too expensive and had a bath tub. Bath tubs aren’t really a thing in South Korea. I had decided I’d find a Lush and buy a bath bomb and just relax. I ended up finding a really cool 2 story one in Myeongdong.
The plus to staying in Seoul during 설날 Seollal is that a lot of the hotels have sales, which means you can stay at a nicer hotel than you normally would/could. So when the Vella Suite Hotel came up a lot lower in price than the other hotel’s I was looking at I was pretty happy, especially when it said they had baths.
The first thing I loved about the Vella Suite Hotel was it’s location. Located within walking distance from Myeongdong and right outside Chungmuro exit 1 made getting around super easy. Across the street is an airport bus stop and it’s right next to a movie theater. There’s plenty of chain restaurants nearby which meant that even though everything else was closed for the holiday I could go downstairs and munch on some cheesy fries at the 24 hour Burger King right underneath the hotel, or go next door to the Starbucks attached to the movie theater.
When I checked in I hadn’t been aware they needed a 100,000 won deposit that I’d get back when I left and thus a need for a credit card. I didn’t have a Korean credit card and I tend to pay for things online (like hotels and flights) through paypal that’s hooked up to my American debit card. And it’s slowly been becoming more and more of a hassle. How do you get by without a card in Korea? (or how did this happen?) Well Korea has these bank books that the ATM’s can read to withdrawal money, and when I was setting up my account we had a huge misunderstanding and when I thought I was getting a debit card ended up with this little booklet. Oh but surely you’ve been there almost a year, why haven’t you fixed this yet? Well here’s the thing, banks in Korea are only open for a shorter period of time than I actually work. So that means I have to hike across the river to the bank if I need to say, pay bills or do any bank related things during school hours. They’re not really open on the weekends or say, after 4/4:40pm. And since my Korean isn’t fluent or anywhere close this means I have to hunt down my Co-teacher and talk them into taking the time off to go with me, and explain why this has been a problem since they took me to set up my account. So, kinda a lot of factors have made it less than desirable and difficult to orchestrate. But hopefully soon
maybe by when this goes up, I’ll have a Korean card. (I do! Yay! except getting it to work online is a whole other mess)
-Anyway- I went into panic mode when they typed out the amount of money they needed for the deposit since while I had my bankbook I only had about 40,000 won on my person. Luckily they understood my pain when I showed them the bankbook and went ahead and checked me in. Then as soon as possible I went and took care of the deposit.
The room is kinda small but also big. For one person it’s nice size. It’s cozy and I don’t need a huge space. For one night two friends stayed with me and it was a bit cramped, but still worked. Like everywhere else the power is activated by a keycard. There’s a nice extra door that gives a seperation from the entrance where all the shoes are housed. I like it a lot because Korea has this automatic motion sensor detecting light in the entryways, which means whenever anyone goes to the bathroom (or kitchen for my home) the light turns on and stays on for a couple minutes. But this way not everyone got blinded if someone went to the bathroom in the midst of the night. The bathroom is the biggest part of the room with a bath tub (yes!) and a moveable shower head and one of those waterfall showers. There’s three different ways you can bathe. There isn’t a shower curtain, which is kinda normal in Korea. The disconcerting part of the bathroom is that the doors are sliding glass doors with only a slight frosting of the glass. Which means if you’re sharing your room there’s no privacy. Thankfully the bathroom faces the wall, so everyone just has to stay in the bedroom section.
There’s a small closet, a safe, and a mini fridge stocked with two complimentary water bottles every day, tea, coffee, an electric water kettle and the worlds most cramp dark desk. The desk houses everything. The information binder, tissues, the two remote controls for the AC/lights/TV, the serving tray for mugs, coffee bags, tea bags, sugar and stirring sticks, and the electric tea kettle. There’s not many other surfaces to put your stuff. The end table has a large lamp and a huge phone. The other plus/downfall is the lighting. It’s dim. And there’s no light over the desk unless you’ve got the TV on. (The plus is because it’s not painfully bright lights when you wake up or turn them on in the middle of the night)
I did however like the amount of outlets. There are 3 converter plugs in the wall and one usb charger, which means no matter where you’re from your home countries’s plug will work in the outlet. And then under the desk there were 4 more Korean outlets.
There’s one sleek black elevator with shinny walls and a strong diffuser in the corner that keeps it smelling nice. This wasn’t a problem for most of my trip, except when I went to check out and the single elevator was packed so I ended up taking the stairs. The hallways have soft classical musical playing and are quiet. The floors of the hotel room are heated by ondul (floor heating) which is controlled by the hotel. Which is really nice and cozy when it’s so cold out but at night after a hot shower or burying in your bed that’s been heated from sitting on a ondul all day can get a bit sweltering. So I had to turn the A/C on at night. (Who’d have thought needing A/C in February in Seoul?)
I really liked staying at the Vella Suite. I liked it’s location, it’s warmth and cozyness mixed with a sleek modern feel. And of course, I loved the bath.
Ammenities or things that come with the room so you don’t need to bring them:
- toothbrushes (2)
- small sample toothpaste (mint)
- Usual stuff: shampoo/conditioner/hand soap/lotion/body wash
- shower caps
- a body sponge that expands once it hits water.
- hair straightener
- 2 bottles of water per day
- also hair bands and cotton cloth for removing a little bit of make up and q-tips