Seoul is the heart of South Korea. Korea’s capital expresses all that makes the country so successful and enduringly interesting. So you can definitely bump it to the top of your list of places to visit when vacationing in South Korea.
What makes Seoul so fascinating is its blend of modernity with history and culture. As the capital of South Korea, this city has huge sky-scrapers, high-tech subways, and a huge, thriving technology industry.
But Seoul South Korea also has historic Buddhist temples, palaces, and bustling street markets that haven’t changed much in decades. Add to that the world-renowned pop-culture, K-beauty, and drool-worthy shopping, and you get Seoul. It’s a city like no other.
This list features Seoul boutique hotels with gorgeous views, in-house bars and restaurants, and a general feeling of ease and comfort. Each of these boutique hotels in Seoul is striving to create a great space for their guests to recharge and relax.
⇒ Planning on travelling beyond Seoul in Korea? Check out my posts on the best things to do in Daegu , where to stay in Busan, the best things to do in JeJu Island and plan your trip with my Korea Itinerary, Jeju Itinerary and Busan Itinerary.
- Best Seoul Boutique Hotels
- 1. Glad Live Gangnam
- 2. L7 Hotel Myeongdong
- 3. Walkerhill Douglas House
- 4. Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun
- 5. Boutique Hotel Loft
- 6. JW Marriott Dongdaemun
- 7. Hotel28 Myeongdong
- How to get to Seoul
- Where to Eat in Seoul
- When to Visit Seoul
- Last Words on Seoul’s Best Boutique Hotels
Best Seoul Boutique Hotels
Seoul’s boutique hotels reflect the modernity and style of this fast-paced city. The living spaces are clean, comfortable, and convenient.
Convenience is a big deal in South Korea, and they have endless gadgets and tools to make life as smooth as possible. There are convenience stores on almost every corner in Seoul, with everything you could need. From boiled eggs to socks and alcohol, there’s very little you cannot find at your nearest store.
The same spirit is reflected at Seoul hotels. So you’re sure to find all that you need for a seamless stay at your accommodation. Everything from shampoo to bottled water is stocked in most Seoul South Korea hotels.
But these are the things that you can find at any run-of-the-mill hotel in Seoul. Boutique hotels go above and beyond. The excellent amenities are part of what makes them a fantastic choice if you want to make the most of your Seoul trip.
Keep reading to find out what else makes each of these Seoul boutique hotels right for you. You’ll be spoilt for choice, but you can’t go wrong with any of these options.
1. Glad Live Gangnam
If you’re wanting a swanky Seoul nightlife experience, Glad Live Gangnam is ideal. It’s every party goer’s dream to be able to simply take the elevator to your suite after a night out.
Glad Live Gangnam Seoul is exciting for a number of reasons. The rooms at this hotel are stylish and comfortable. The on-site restaurants and cafes are excellent. But what makes it really stand out, is the on-site lounge bar and nightclub at Glad Live in Gangnam.
Because there are so many things to do in Gangnam, the location of this hotel is perfect. You can walk down the K-star road, and do some seriously stunning Gangnam shopping. You’ll experience what it’s like to be in one of the trendiest neighbourhoods in the world.
2. L7 Hotel Myeongdong
L7 Hotel Myeongdong is warm, comfortable and attractive. The wooden panelling and pops of colour make this industrial design hotel look chic, while still inviting and dynamic.
This trendy Seoul hotel is the perfect place to stay if Myeongdong is part of your Seoul itinerary. You can simply step outside and head to Seoul’s most iconic shopping street.
Which is useful for when you return to the hotel, laden with the Korean cosmetic and skincare products that have taken the world by storm.
The location is definitely the highlight of this Seoul hotel. From the rooftop bar, you can enjoy a view of the mountains with Namsan tower. On the other side, you’ll have Myeongdong city stretching out before you. And with a cocktail in hand, the view looks even better.
3. Walkerhill Douglas House
If you’re looking for celebrity treatment and a super luxurious stay, book into Walkerhill Douglas House. It’s a beautiful boutique hotel, set amongst nature, which is very rare for a Seoul hotel.
This no kids-zone is designed to create a relaxing, recharging experience for every guest at this Seoul South Korea hotel. It features a garden and an indoor pool, as well as a restaurant, bar, and shared lounge.
There’s even a casino at Walkerhill Douglas hotel in Seoul. So there are plenty of opportunities for you to kick back and relax, in whichever way you prefer.
This hotel also has a fitness centre if endorphins are what make you your happiest self. And with a complimentary continental breakfast, the fitness centre might come in handy.
The rooms at the Walkerhill Douglas hotel themselves are warm and attractive. And with a library where you can settle into one of the couches with a book, you’re sure to be comfortable.
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4. Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun
If you’re looking for a prime sightseeing location, Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun is perfect. The hotel has a bare-bones feel and focuses mainly on comfort and excellent amenities. However, the view of the Jogyesa temple really compliments its simplicity.
There are a number of popular tourist attractions within a 1 km radius, including Gyeongbokgyung palace and Lotte Duty-Free Centre (a hugely popular shopping mall). There are also 3 subway stations near the Shilla Stay Gwanghwamun, so it’s easy to get everywhere.
At this hotel in Seoul, there is a fitness centre and buffet restaurant, two fun opposites. So if you’re wanting to fit a lot of sightseeing into your South Korea vacation, and come home to comfort and good food, Shilla Stay Seoul is a great option.
5. Boutique Hotel Loft
If you’re a fan of industrial design and style, check out Boutique Hotel Loft. The exposed brick walls, muted blues and reds, and wood finishings make it lively and interesting. And while you’ll generally find a clean aesthetic in Seoul, this one’s a bit different.
The en-suite bathrooms at the Boutique Hotel Loft Seoul feature a round tub. Some room options have hot tubs if you want to kick it up a notch. The bathrooms also have a dappled glass wall, so the play of light is very interesting.
The location of the Boutique Hotel Loft in Seoul is excellent, at just 5 minutes walk from Dangsan Subway Station, from which you can go anywhere in the city. The vibrant scene around Hongik University is just 3 km away.
So, while the area around this hotel is quiet and non-touristy, you can travel easily to the more bustling areas in Seoul. And if you don’t feel like leaving the hotel, there is an on-site Italian restaurant.
6. JW Marriott Dongdaemun
This Seoul boutique hotel is wonderfully luxurious and beautiful. Rooms feature floor to ceiling windows which give guests sweeping views of the city. And with Dongdaemun Gate right outside JW Marriott Dongdaemun, there’s certainly a lot to appreciate.
The en-suite bathrooms at the JW Marriott Seoul have marble floors and top-quality fixtures. And with room service available from the two fantastic in-house restaurants, you never have to leave the comfortable hotel bed.
But if you do want to leave your cosy room, consider doing so to head to the fantastic rooftop bar, where you’ll have unparalleled views of the city. Or you could visit the indoor pool and fitness centre. There’s plenty to keep you busy.
When you want to do some sightseeing, the subway station is just steps from the hotel. And this neighbourhood is a great place to walk around, with numerous markets and historical landmarks in the area.
Dongdaemun Market is just minutes away, and it’s a very immersive Korean experience to stroll down those streets.
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7. Hotel28 Myeongdong
Let’s end this list with a bang. Designed with a cinematic theme, Hotel28 Myeongdong is a fun, trendy boutique hotel. The location at the heart of the popular Myeongdong Seoul district adds to its charms.
The rooms at Hotel 28 Seoul are spacious and light-filled. They have a free mini-bar and great toiletries, so you have all you need for some pampering. There’s also a free-standing tub to soak in after a day’s adventures. And, since Seoul gets very cold in the winter, this is a real joy.
This Seoul boutique hotel has a rooftop garden where you can relax with a book, while you take in the view. There is also a gallery, where you can see the work of emerging local artists in Seoul.
The in-house restaurant at Hotel28 Myeongdong makes wonderful meals, and there is an espresso machine in your room to fulfil all your coffee needs. There is also a fitness centre and a library, for those with a little extra time on your hands.
The most economic way to travel South Korea by train is the Korea Rail Pass. This pass is only available to foreign travellers. The KR pass covers 600 stations and 80 different high speed routes with unlimited rides. It is available in 3 or 5 consecutive days or flexible 2 and 4 days.
How to get to Seoul
Seoul is the capital of Korea and Incheon International Airport has many options for international flights both in and out of the country. There are also quite a few things to do in Incheon near the airport.
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The other options for getting from the airport to Seoul are the Limousine City Bus which takes 70 minutes or the Express Train (45 mins) or All Stop Train (60 mins). Personally I took the Express train from Incheon Airport to Seoul and this was an excellent option.
Gimpo Airport is only 16kms from Seoul and a taxi will generally take about 25 minutes. The All Stop Train also goes to Gimpo Airport from Seoul Station and only takes 22 minutes. The final option is to take a bus to Gimpo Airport Seoul which takes about 45 minutes.
Do you need a Visa for your Korea Trip?
It can be a real pain trying to figure out if you need a visa for a country and then all the hassle of figuring out how to apply, how long you can go without your passport, when the embassy is open etc.
NB: Citizens of the United States, Great Britain, Australia and Canada do not need a Visa for Korea if they are staying less than 90 days. Do double check that this still holds when you book your airfares.
Getting around Seoul
Seoul is one of the biggest cities in the world and can be quite intimidating. The Seoul subway station system is great but it is not the easiest to understand as I have never seen so many stops on an underground! And the Seoul subway stations are huge!
It is critical to check which is the best station exit for you to use for where you are going or you could get very confused. And very sore feet! But the subway is one of the best ways to discover Seoul.
There are 2 excellent options for tourists wishing to get around Seoul via subway. The first is to purchase an MPass card. This card is exclusively for tourists and offers 20 rides a day for whichever pass duration you choose (passes cover 1, 2, 3, 5 or 7 days).
If you’re visiting Seoul one of the best deals on offer is the Discover Seoul Pass. This pass allows free entrance to 42 Seoul Attractions, discounts on 35 Seoul Attractions and it’s a transit card. There are 24/48/72 hour options available.
Both of these Seoul transport cards can be purchased at subway stations or convenience stores.
Of course, it is possible to take taxis around Seoul. However, if you are planning to do this do make sure you have the name of your destination in Korean and/or an image if possible.
Or even better have your hotel or a Korean person who speaks English let your driver know where you would like to go.
Do note some taxi drivers in Korea don’t read the Korean language and this can make communication in taxis very tricky.
⇒ Check out my posts on the best Seoul Day Trips, 8 fantastic Things to do in Incheon, 13 things to do in Myeongdong, my Seoul Itinerary 5 Days, 7 Fantastic Seoul Boutique Hotels and the best things to do in Gangnam.
Where to Eat in Seoul
When visiting Korea, eating amazing food is always a highlight! Here are some of my favourite places to eat in this city.
Located near Gyeongbokgung Palace, this gem of a restaurants serves up top-notch local food. The soups at Tosokchon Samgyetang are amazing, as is the ginseng chicken stuffed with rice. You can expect hearty, traditional fare at Tosokchon Samgyetang Seoul in a relaxed and friendly environment.
This casual spot is absolutely perfect for winding down after a busy day with a cold beer and some Korean fried chicken – a must eat when in Seoul.
The food at Hanchu is simple and delicious, while the restaurant is always busy. The soju, stuffed fried peppers, and spicy soondubu are all major highlights at Hanchu Seoul.
This hidden gem located in Gangnam-Gu has so much to offer. The interesting menu at Omiga Sinsa is well varied, with meals for all kinds of palates. The food is made with love by the friendly, warm staff.
The restaurant is modern, comfortable and homely. You will love every bite at Omiga Sinsa Seoul and will definitely want to return.
If you are looking for some of the best, authentic Koren food in Seoul, then Gaehwaok is the place to go! This restaurant serves amazing bibimbap and Korean BBQ, with some delicious kimchi on offer as well. Located on Sinsa-Dong, Gaehwaok Seoul is the perfect place to end your busy day in the city.
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Located in Yeonnam-dong, Little Taiwan is an absolute favourite. This restaurant serves up some stellar Taiwanese fried chicken, soups, and noodle dishes. The bubble tea is great too! Little Taiwan is a fun and trendy spot for the great taste of Seoul.
When to Visit Seoul
Seoul summers are long, hot and muggy and Seoul in winter is dry and freezing. Annoyingly summers tend to be cloudy and winters clear so it can be frustrating for photographers!
The ideal times to visit Seoul for comfortable weather are late May to early July and from late August to early October.
Last Words on Seoul’s Best Boutique Hotels
Seoul has so much to see and do. A comfortable, stylish space to head home to enables you to embrace it to the fullest. After all, there’s nothing like a good rest to make you feel like exploring.
These boutique hotels in Seoul aim to create an easy and pleasurable experience for their guests. You’ll be out all day trying new Korean foods, discovering the temples, and shopping until you’re near dropping point. So it’s wonderful to come home to fabulous service and a cosy bed.
The restaurants serve mainly recognizable Western foods, alongside some classic Korean dishes. This can be a great break from the exciting but pretty unrecognizable cuisines that Korea is known for.
The fitness centres, libraries and lounges at these hotels in Seoul add to the feeling of a homey escape. All in all, these spaces create an oasis that recharges guests. So that you can make the most of your Seoul vacation.
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I covered all of the costs involved with writing this post. However, this seoul travel blog post includes affiliate links. That means if you click through and end up making a purchase I will receive a small commission. I wanted to make sure you were aware of this.
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