|Standard room at the Relax Motel, Busan|
|Bathroom from a 'themed' love motel|
To date, these are the love motels that I've stayed at this year that I can still remember the names of and a quick rundown of where they are and what they were like:
- Busan, Haeundae
The Relax Motel (은하수 모텔): A 'luxury' motel at Haeundae Beach, about five minutes walk from the waterfront. I don't know why they decided to translate the name of the motel as 'Relax' when I've always thought '은하수' meant 'Milky Way', but there you go. I've only ever stayed there on the weekends (Friday and Saturday night), and rates are usually a bit higher then but still reasonable - 50 000 for a normal room, 60 000 for an 'executive', which means you get a bigger room and a nicer bathroom with a hot tub (I think). I believe the rates are 40 000 and 50 000 won respectively during the week, which is bordering on amazing for nice rooms, clean everything and somewhere that doesn't even have a hint of cigarette smoke, desperation and regret. However, because this motel is right on the beach, it does mean that prices skyrocket during the high season (think the second week of July through until August) as I found out after rocking up at 11pm on a Friday night expecting to find a room and being told that a standard room was now 160 000 won and an executive room was 200 000. If you do go to Busan during the summer, you're better off looking for cheap accomodation around KSU or somewhere not on one of the beaches, but unfortunately I can't remember the name of the motel I stayed in there.
Directions: go out of Haeundae Station, exit 5, walk down and take the second road on the left. You should see a big parking tower with a 'P' on it close by.
- Seoul, Sinchon (신촌)
Q Motel (큐 모텔): This is a pretty average motel, 50 000 a night per room (w/e rate) which will be about the size of a standard (Australian) dorm room. Still, it's not too bad, and although the floor space is pretty minimal and they are shower + toilet only bathrooms (I don't like bathing in a bathtub anyway so I don't have a problem with this), it has all the rest of the regular facilities, including a huge range of porn channels - beware, Japanese porn is not for the conservative, easily frightened or slow on the uptake. You may find yourself slightly aghast, confused and disgusted if you aren't quick to change the channel, unless of course that's what you're after. Someone crying and looking frightened on tv? Nope, it's not a horror movie, it's Japanese porn.
For those of you not familiar with Seoul or Korean, I wrote Sinchon in hangul because there are two very similarly spelled - one is this one, which is near Ewha, Yonsei, Hongdae and Sogang Universities, the other (신천) is over near Jamsil Stadium on the other side of the river. Unfortunately I can't find this motel exactly on a map, but here's an approximation:
Directions: Go out of Sinchon St exit 7, walk past Grandmart, away from Sinchon Rotary (the intersection). Walk down until you pass a Hana Bank and get to a pedestrian crossing. Cross the road, turn left and then take the first right. This road should go up a hill which will be pretty steep at first and then level out. The Q Motel is on the 3rd block with a red 'Q' on a green sign.
- Seoul, Gangnam:
BNN Motel (바나나 모텔): A fairly nice hotel, but with an awful curling brush to which I almost lost a sizeable chunk of hair! I now realise why brushes in hotels are always full of hair - it's because idiots like me think they can use them (don't worry, this one had been cleaned and was in a sealed packet) and then get them stuck in their hair and have to yank out half their scalp to get free. If it weren't for my friend Chauntee and a lot of patience I'd probably still be wearing it. Now Gangnam does tend to be a little more expensive since it's where the rich kids play, but it's not necessarily that much pricier than the rest of Seoul by Western standards, and even then it's usually worth it. BNN/Banana had good sized rooms, about the size of my current five person office, and a really nice bathroom complete with bathtub if you are that way inclined, as well as all the rest, and best of all was clean. Also, it's really close to the subway (the hotel is represented by my demented picture of a bunch of bananas on the map), and most of the bars and clubs are over at exits 6 and 7, so it's very handy. Also also! Now that I've found some decent and affordable places, I've found that Gangnam is a good place to stay because it's where the inter-city Express Bus Terminal is, which is handy for us out-of-towners. Seriously, after a big night out when you suspect that you're still drunk on the after effects of the soju you had the night before, the last thing you need is a 40 minute subway ride across town with a bunch of tutting ajummas and ajosshis coming back from church.