“Metro Hotel in Autumn. Mostly excellent.”
RESERVATION AND BOOKING: When I inquired about booking a premium (or deluxe room) via Metro Hotel's website in late July, I was politely told the following morning via email that they only had a deluxe room free...but for a maximum of 2-3 days only...I pretty much started looking for another place immediately afterwards...but amazingly, a couple of hours later, I got another email from Sue of Metro Hotel, advising me that there had been a cancellation for a Deluxe room for the same dates, and if I wanted to continue with my reservation. Good job!
GETTING THERE: Stayed for 7 days in late October. Since it was our first time in Seoul, we had to rely on directions available online re how to get to the hotel from the airport (namely: Korean Airline Limousine (KAL) Bus, Bus 6015 or the AREX/train). With a late flight, and having brought bigger-than-usual luggage (which took the AREX/subway out of the equation), we took the KAL Bus simply because it sounded more convenient. Well, it was indeed much more spacious than the 6015...but it drops you off at the Lotte Hotel...which is not as near as some people describe it online...(and unknown to us at the time, is actually across the street from the Metro Hotel area) Since one can't simply cross the street, we ended up having to use a underground walkway just to get across to Metro Hotel...bigger-than-usual luggage and all...down and up significant flights of stairs...close to midnight...in an unfamiliar place. Haha. If I could get a do-over, I'd take the 6015 instead. Might be more basic than the KAL bus but the 6015 drops you off at the IBIS Ambassador Hotel station, which is on the same side of the street as Metro Hotel...barely a 2 minute walk.
CHECK-IN: Once we found the hotel, everything else was a breeze. Signed some forms, paid for our stay in full via credit card, received our breakfast stubs, 2 room key cards plus our WIFI router password, and we were in our room within 5-10 mins of arriving...(via the one elavator, which we never had to wait long for throughout our entire stay...which is amazing.)
We were on the 3rd floor, deluxe room 315. (the room has one window, and it faces the wall of the adjacent building...so if you are picky with the view from your window, ask for a higher floor, either at the back, or at the front of the hotel.)
- Inadequate in-room ventilation (the room can potentially get stuffy...probably more so for people who smoke, since besides the window, there was only a tiny exhaust fan in the bath. Keeping the window open at night in late October will make your room temp fall to 10-12 degrees Celsius room. Brrr.)
- Limited closet storage space (not enough clothes hangers provided...and no separate drawers in the closet...will get difficult if you have a lot of clothes)
- Tiny waste baskets.
But all in all, we were happy with the room, as the space was decent enough for 2 people (might be a squeeze for three though). Large, comfy bed, (plus another single bed beside it), a couch for 2 in front of the TV, a clean tub (although a bit narrow), amazing water pressure, plus a heated toilet seat (Don't leave the toilet seat heater on "high" when you go to bed. You might get surprised how warm it gets when you use it the first time the next day. =P) Basic toiletries provided, save for toothbrushes, toothpaste and floss. Wireless internet access was stable enough to check emails and basic surfing.
BREAKFAST: The daily breakfast buffet is more than enough to get you going in the morning: Fresh coffee, fresh bread (must-try: the addictive chocolate mini "croissant" and a "mentos" bread (crunchy, almost biscuit-like on the outside, and very chewy on the inside...its really hard to describe but is so fun to eat), butter and jam. Changes everyday, but basically a choice of dimsum, sausages or bacon, eggs (scrambled, boiled or fried), asian porridge, random fresh fruits (oranges, pineapples, persimmons etc), canned fruits, a simple salad and cereals (frosted flakes and cocoa puffs). And grape (yum!) and orange drinks in juice boxes.
The Laundry Room has a vending machine for detergents and fabric softeners, KRW500 each, washer and dryer, KRW2000 per load each, if I remember correctly. There is no gym/fitness center in the hotel, but Seoul equals walking...so you will get your daily dose of exercise whether you want to or not. =)
No in-room dining, but the hotel is surrounded by places to eat. You will never go hungry in this area. We found a quaint Korean restaurant still open at around 2AM around the corner from the hotel the night we arrived.
CHECK-OUT: Had a very late flight out, and with a prescribed check-out time of 12:00 PM, we requested for a late check-out at 4:00 PM the night before our departure, which was promptly approved (we wanted to watch Nanta at the MyeongDong Theatre...buy your tickets online for discounts). Went back to the hotel after the show and checkout took around 15 seconds. No kidding.
Will stay at Metro Hotel again when I go back to Seoul. Can't wait. =)
FYI: Temps in Myeongdong during our stay (Oct 23-30) ranged from 8-12 degrees Celsius (late night, early morning) to 14-18 degrees (early afternoon til early evening). Warmest time was around 1 PM, and then temps start dropping sharply over the next few hours as the sun set. Anything below 13-14 degrees will probably require a sweater. Anything above that was usually manageable without one, unless the wind picks up. Gloves and bonnets are not necessary yet, but it really depends on your resistance to cold. During sub-10 degree temps, my girlfriend had 3-4 jackets on at the same time, while I was ok with one.
Guided tours (from the pamphlets at the lobby, relatively expensive though) may be booked for you by the Hotel, but final payments at the end of the tour are given directly to the tour guide (they accept credit cards) and will not be charged against your hotel bill. If you are willing to try doing it on your own, almost all tourist spots appear to be accessible via train and/or bus, usually for much less than the price of a guided tour.
Gained 10 lbs in 7 days. Must-try: Marinated chicken galbi fried rice with mozzarella cheese (Yoogane Restaurant, several branches in Myeong-Dong), Dragon's beard candy (made fresh by a street vendor in Myeong-Dong), foot-tall soft-serve ice cream cone, plus anything deep-fried on a stick that you put hot sauce on. =)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.