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“Decent Hotel But Could Use Some Upgrades”
Review of Saerim Hotel

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Saerim Hotel
Ranked #159 of 522 Hotels in Seoul
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed January 8, 2013

OVERVIEW: Saerim Hotel is a pretty decent hotel as long as you have realistic expectations. I was put off by the place on my first night since the location was hard to find and some aspects of the hotel were a little shabbier than I imagined. But the next two nights I stayed improved my overall attitude when I considered the price and friendly staff.

LOCATION: In my experience, I had to find the hotel at night when there were record cold temperatures in Seoul. So it was terrible trying to find it. But I believe if you arrived during the day and/or during warmer months, your experience would be significantly better. While trying to find the place, nobody I asked had ever heard of the hotel, including the taxi driver I eventually took there. But once you do find the hotel, it’s simple enough. Very near the hotel is Insadong, a very traditional street filled with lots of small shops and some art galleries. There’s a famous Zen Buddhist temple very nearby too that’s worth seeing. A little farther from the hotel are some more temple/palace areas and further more you can start to really get into the main city areas like Myeong-dong. These farther areas are walkable if you’re up for it but also easy to access by subway or bus. Lastly, if you want to be near the best nightlife and younger crowds, I recommend staying in the Gangdam area instead. It’s very quite at night near the hotel and very boring unless you go to the other areas of the city.

HOTEL STAFF: During my stay I talked with a variety of hotel employees. They aren’t the most outgoing people but they are nice if you ask them something. Also there was a few small issues in my room and the woman I spoke with was very willing to help me out. The staff’s English ability was quite varied, some spoke almost no English (but this didn’t bother me, being in Korea and at a budget hotel).

ROOMS: The room was okay. On the positive side, the floors were heated, the TV was huge and with many channels, there was a computer with internet (free access), and a refrigerator with complimentary juice (2) and bottled water (2) that’s refilled daily. On the negative side, the bathroom was old (but clean) and the shower pressure was weak. The bed was incredibly hard and there was only the fitted sheet on the bed, a pillow, and a comforter. The lock on the door seemed cheap and not the most sturdy, so that’s something to keep in mind. But at the same time, Korea is generally a very safe country and I never felt concerned about my safety.

RECOMMENDATION: I think it just depends on what you’re looking for. For me personally, the biggest two problems I had with the place was the general location (boring for my tastes) and the super hard bed. But it wasn’t a terrible experience. Once I got back at night I was able to relax, drink the free juice, and do some research on the computer for my next day’s activities.

*** If the hotel staff see this, here's my recommendation for you: (1) invest in high quality doors and locks, (2) softer beds, (4) better/bigger hotel signage, and (3) fix the minor details like the paint fading in the bathroom walls and the bed heating pad that didn't work. These little differences will greatly improve the experience of guests.

Room Tip: I'm not sure if all rooms are equipped with a computer, so it might be worth confirming beforeha...
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  • Stayed: January 2013, traveled solo
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5  Thank bluesky95
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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31 - 37 of 92 reviews

Reviewed December 19, 2012 via mobile

This hotel is situated in in-sadong hence the good location. It is close to the subway and its super clean. The room provides you with a computer and high speed internet which is very convenient to get updates and information on places. Worth every penny you pay for.

  • Stayed: March 2012
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1  Thank cwansin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 12, 2012

I booked this hotel for my extended stay in Seoul after an official seminar.

When I first booked Sae Rim, I was afraid I could not easily find it since it said so in a 2009 review which i wasn't able to read first before booking. So I really did not expect much.

But I was in for a nice surprise.

Location is perfect. Unlike the prior review, there was a small red sign just along Insadong at the corner of the alley where it is located. There was also a money changer conveniently located. It is about 300 meters to Angguk station and distance isn't really a problem since you can do sightseeing at the same time.

The linens and towels smelled fresh and the room was cleaned everyday. Big LCD TV with 2 English movie channels. Everything was provided. There were free bottled water and juice in the fridge, a telephone for oustside calls and a working desktop to communicate. Rooms size were not so big but enough for us couple. Wifi is available at the receiving area.


If you are heading to Incheon International airport, there is a bus stop at the Angguk station. The trip was worth W10,000. Bus is available at 5:30 am and arrives every 15 minutes. Quite a good deal compared with the W80,000 taxi-ride. Also, if you wanna get around through the sub, try getting their money card. I got mine for W2,500 at a convenience store and just reloaded when needed.


Gyeongbukdong, the largest palace, and 'Stream' (sort of park) were just walking distance from Insadong / Angguk. (Around 10-15 mins walk). Great opportunity for sightseeing. Also, there was a tourist center near the hotel where you can borrow Hanbok and take pictures for free.

Sure, it isn't five star but the price i paid was all worth it.

  • Stayed: November 2012, traveled as a couple
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4  Thank Shel B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 11, 2012

The main reason I chose this hotel is because the location. It's located in insadong, the most attractive cultural street in seoul. So dont worry about souvenir-shopping and the food, you can find easily here. And its just few steps from bukchon hanok village and one of the biggest palace in korea, Changdeokgung Palace.
the design is kinda oldish, and the room is quite comfortable. The bed is too hard so I can't sleep well. A bit overpriced for its facilities, but considering the location, I think its quite reasonable.

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled solo
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3  Thank Tachta E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 5, 2012

Have just returned from 5 days staying in this hotel and everything everyone says about it is true!The location is superb - just down the road from Insadong-gil which is full of wonderful little shops and galleries - we always found something different to look at. Within walking distance of the palaces and the Tea shops in the area are to die for! The rooms are small - we had two rooms which were great as we we each had our own room - might be a bit squashy for a couple but for the price and the amenities (fridge, tea and coffee making facilities, computer if no internet connection) it doesnt disappoint. Very clean and well run

Room Tip: Level 4 has computer in room because hotel wifi doesnt work
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  • Stayed: June 2012, traveled on business
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Thank Cath B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 23, 2012

Date: 19 - 21 May 2012
Room: Double bed with private bathroom

If you're accustomed to the shoddy hotels of Europe, the Saerim Hotels will give you no bad surprises. Yes, space in the rooms is rather limited. Yes, the bathroom is a wet room. Yes, the wallpaper is peeling off in places (which, considering their dated garish prints, MAY be a good thing...!).
However, for me these negatives were greatly outweighed by the positives. It's in Insadong - an arty district away from the noisy buzz and frying smells of places like Myeongdong - and has pretty good connections to the underground (Line 5 goes directly from Gimpo Airport to Jungno 3 Ga, a short enough walk away from the hotel). Insadong goes really chilled and friendly in the evening with buskers playing the guitar or violin and I had no problems sleeping at night even with the window open.
Also, the free two bottles of fruit juice and free two bottles of mineral water were much appreciated!

So, if you're after a hotel which offers a great price, great location and no frills, the Saerim Hotel is the place. Hope you like it as much as I did!

Room Tip: The rooms ending ..01 (301, 701etc) are on the corner ands so you only have one neighbor.
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  • Stayed: May 2012, traveled solo
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Thank ukorokM
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 30, 2012

it may not look inviting, and inside may look even scary, but it is definitely a gem. its location to all that is convenient like shops, places to eat, metro stations and airport limousine is one major advantage. sure the rooms are small and old, but that is part of its character. for the affordable price you get a huge flat screen tv with english channels and internet. plus juice and water! the staff are very helpful and friendly making the stay even more pleasant.

  • Stayed: January 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank grillinandchillin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Saerim Hotel

Address: 37-11, Insadong-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03149, South Korea
Location: South Korea > Seoul > Insadong
Amenities:
Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #159 of 522 Hotels in Seoul
Price Range: $41 - $56 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2 star — Saerim Hotel 2*
Number of rooms: 31
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