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“Beware”
Review of Hotel Yaja Jongno

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Hotel Yaja Jongno
Ranked #338 of 504 Hotels in Seoul
Reviewed November 6, 2011

We booked this hotel through Travelocity. It was an Airfare and Hotel package. After reading some of the reviews AFTER I booked our rooms at this hotel. I wrote Travelocity to ask what "love motel" meant.. and asked about the smoke smell in the rooms. I wrote that I had been planning to take my 71 year old mother back to her homeland for over 3 years and needed to make sure nothing went wrong on accomodations. I was assurred by Travelocity that no one knew what "love motel" was and that all rooms were non smoking. On our arrival to the Hotel Cats.. all kinds of couples kept coming down as I was checking in to turn their room key in..We went to our room that looked NOTHING like the pictures. No drawers for our clothes, no closets to hang anything.. you had room to walk around the bed and that was it. When I went to show my mother and Neice their room.. I turned the TV on.. and Bam.. Korean Porn. And in our rooms which was filthy..instead of coffee packets on the small tv stand.. condoms. I called Travelocity at once, explained my situation and how unhappy I was, went down stairs where no one spoke english to try to explain my situation and displeasure. I checked out of this hotel. I was fortunate to find the Hotel Sunbee out of my Travel guide and Kim from the front desk was able to set us up for the rest of our trip..Trust me guys.. walk across the street over to Insadong and go up to 7 Gil (name of street) and it'll be on your left side of the street. Its like night and day for comparison!! It took me over 2 weeks AFTER getting back home to the states to get my refund from Travelocity. Trust me.. you don't want to be in my situation. I was told later by someone at my new hotel that "love motel" is for people that live at home with their parents and need a place to go with their partners for intimacy.

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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with family
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Thank Kena1966
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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28 - 34 of 56 reviews

Reviewed October 31, 2011

Directions to the Hotel from the Airport (by train)

**BE WARNED - If you have plenty of Luggage, Its advisable to take a cab from Seoul Station to the hotel (cost around 5000won) as its a long walk and there are ALOT of stairs to climb from the train station up to street level.

INCHEON Airport - You can either (1) Take the AREX EXPRESS train non stop to Seoul Station (takes approx. 43mins to reach and leaves on the hour or every half hour) or (2) Take the COMMUTER Train which makes a few stops to several stations before reaching Seoul Station (Takes approx 55mins to reach / Costs 3800won).

GIMPO Airport - Take the AREX COMMUTER Train to Seoul Station

SEOUL STATION – EXIT Airport Express station and walk towards the direction of METRO lines 1-4. Its a busy terminal so ask the information counter to direct you towards the Metro Station. From the Metro Station take Line 1 (Soyosan Line) from Seoul Station – Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station. Its 2 stations away and cost 1000won/person + 500won Deposit for train card and you can get your deposit back when you exit.

Once you reach the station, DO NOT EXIT the station first as there are 9 Lines in Jongno 3(sam)-ga Station and Line 1 is where you first alight the train. Walk towards the direction of LINE 5 (a 5-8mins walk away) and exit. Do not forget to get back your 500won Deposit. Walk straight to the end once you have exited the train station gantry and you should see an escalator on your LEFT. Take the escalator up to street level and you should see Tongi Hotel on your Right. Facing the Tongi Hotel's entrance, you'll see a small lane at the right hand side of the Tongi hotel. Walk in to the lane and you'll see Valentino Club, M&M aka Men & Men club, a barber shop and the entrance of Cats Hotel.

Worst Experience Ever

We booked a Suite room from 27-30Oct 2011 and checked in at around 10pm. Feeling extremely exhausted from having trouble finding the hotel, dragging our 4 big luggage up and down the train station stairs and not being able to get a cab to drive us to the hotel from Jongno sam-ga Line 1 station, the manager delivered the bad news that the Suite rooms are all taken up even though they had my reservation details upon arrival. Great! Then they offered to either give me a deluxe room at 325000won for 3 nights or take the Deluxe Suite at 700000 won for 3 nights (10% discounted Price due to their error). My Suite costs me 527000won which is rather expensive for a Motel Suite but to pay 207usd/night for a motel's Royal Suite due to their mistake, its crazy! The Royal Suite is just a bigger room with a big Jacuzzi and a walk in shower. With that price, I could pay a little more to stay at the Hilton Hotel instead. But there really isn't much choice as it was late at night on a weekend and most hotels are fully booked. Additionally, check out time is 1pm and if you want to extend your checkout time til 5-6pm like what I did, they charge 40000won for the late check out.

We took the deluxe room on the 4th floor and the room was small though quite well decorated. There is barely enough space to put our 2 big check-in bags and 2 small carry on bags. I'm not sure about the other Deluxe rooms but our room was very dim and there are no electrical point to charge your electronics stuff. The only electrical point is used to power up the electrical toilet bowl, however my travel adapter keeps dropping as the power point had a weird angle and a cover that makes it extremely frustrating to charge anything. Only 2 pathetic hooks and hangers are available for your clothes.

There are 2 windows but 1 window is blocked by the wooden blind so even in the morning it still does not brighten the room much unless its a really sunny day. There is a desktop with free internet, a huge flat screen TV in front of the bed and all drinks are free in the mini-bar (2 bottled water, 1 can of Orange Juice and 2 Cider Beers) . We did not have an electrical kettle even though there are some complimentary tea bags and coffee sachets in the room. Bathroom has a Bath tub with no shower curtains so the toilet floor will be wet after bathing and bath tub drainage is slow too. The Bathroom lights have sensors so if you shower half way and find that the lights turn off, its just the sensor and not anything else. About 1/5 of the Bathroom glass door is transparent with the words 'Cats Design hotel' Imprinted on the glass so it might be awkward if you are traveling with friends or people you are not very close to as they can see through the door. The consistent thing about the room is both the room and the toilet are equally dim. There are quite a number of drunkards around the train station area and also the small lane leading to the hotel, so just be careful and try not to go out till too late if you are a girl and alone. Its not exactly the safest area to be in at night.

The only 2 plus point about this hotel is its free internet with Desktop in the room and its location as it is centralized and is easily accessible to the few main shopping areas, Isadong, Dongdaemun and Myeong Dong. But it is rather taxing (especially if you have loads of shopping or just came back from a whole day of sightseeing) to walk from Jongno 3(sam)-ga Line 1 to Line 5 where the hotel is as its a long walk with a lot of stairs. I would advise people who have a lot of shopping stuffs to take a cab if you are around the Numdaemun, Seoul Station, Dongdaemun and Myeong Dong area as its not too expensive. It'll probably cost between 5000 - 8000won (depending on Peak hour traffic Jams or Midnight surcharge) for a journey back to the hotel but remember to carry the hotel card with you and get the hotel staff to write the directions for the cab driver to drop you in Korean as most cab drivers do not know the location of the hotel and it'll be pointless to take a cab if he drops you at Jongno 3(sam)-ga Line 1 as you obviously take a cab to avoid the long walk from Line 1 to Line 5.

Though they call this a Hotel but obviously to everyone its an expensive Motel. Staying in this Motel really spoils the whole holiday experience and going back to the hotel is a drag everyday. Whenever you see the dim lighting in the small cramped room, it feels as though you are staying in some sleazy bar. For the first time during my numerous hotel stays, I really miss my room and am glad that I only have to put up with all this nonsense for 3 nights.

Useful Tips

Book early and you should be able to get a better hotel at this rate. If you have booked this hotel without paying up front, its advisable to call the hotel and inform them about your time of arrival maybe 1 - 2 days before you arrive so that the chances of you getting the room you booked is higher or other plans could at least be made if they do not have the rooms you have booked. A junior suite, suite or royal suite should be good for couples or people with loads of luggage as the deluxe rooms are just too small. Good luck and I hope your stay will be a much better experience then mine.

  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
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    • Cleanliness
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2  Thank Joanna W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 13, 2011

Me and my friend stayed in this hotel for 1 night on recent 3rd october. We actually booked for junior suite with double bed. But when arrived, we asked if they have single bed available. They do and gave us a room on 3rd floor.
Here's the weird experience begin.
We took the lift to 3rd floor. The whole 3rd floor hallway light was dark and dim. Our room is at the end of the hallway. So strange, only that room number light is keep on blinking. We use the room card to scan the lock of the door. Green light on and beep but the door can't open.
We tried several times, then we found out the door was not push open inside but instead need to pull outside.
I put the card on the slot, the light turn on. The room smell stuffy. Then i go to the toilet, hit on the toilet light. Scary and weirdly water came out like water foundtain from the bottom of bath tub. I understand is like jacuzzi. But my question is why turn on the toilet light water came out from bath tub??? I turn off the toilet light immediately, and turn on the light again, water is not coming out anymore.
Following smell badly fill out the toilet. I flush the toilet bowl, but the water from toilet bowl keep coming out until i hit the flush again it stop.
No no no, something is strange and weird about this room.
We went back to the receptionist told them we don't want this room. The receptionist didn't ask us any reason and immediately change us back to junior suite with double bed we previously booked.
The junior suite is much much better. But the light in the room is so dim.
So if you are about to stay in this hotel, good luck to you that you don't get that room on 3rd floor the last room on the hall way ;)

Room Tip: Don't get the last room on 3rd floor :)
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  • Stayed: October 2011, traveled with friends
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1  Thank fwgm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 16, 2011

I lived in Seoul before so I was familiar with the concept of a love motel, and this is one of them although a nice one! In Korea everyone lives at home until they are married so there are tons of places you can go for a short stay and that's what a love motel is. I would not recommend that a family or elderly people stay at this hotel.

My husband and I booked 5 nights in a Suite with agoda and it worked out at about 90 euro a night which was not bad for a suite in a great location. The location is amazing, it's right in Insadong the tourist area but within walking distance of the palaces, samcheongdong, MyeongDong for shopping etc.

On the first night we were put in a regular double room and this was awful. The bathroom had so much mould and it really felt dirty. We complained and said that we booked a suite and they tried to convince us that it was a suite!!! They have TV screens showing the room numbers and the type and we were able to disagree with them by showing them this. We were moved to another room, again a double!! Finally we were moved to a Suite and it was lovely. Large room with a walk in shower and a large Jacuzzi bath. There are PCs in every room with full internet access but Korea is the most wired country on earth so this was no surprise. Water and other soft drinks are free daily.

I would recommend one of the better rooms only at this hotel. The staff don't speak much English at all, but we found them OK to deal with. I would probably stay here again for the location.

Room Tip: Ask to change and you should be accomodated! Make sure that shower is walk in not in bath.
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  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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    • Rooms
    • Service
1  Thank Galway_One
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 6, 2011

The hotel is 3 minutes walk from Jongno 3 ga subway station exit no. 5. Once you get out of exit no. 5, look up slightly to the right and you should be able to see the hotel signboard across the street. Cross the street (small road easy to cross) and walk in between the narrow lane where there is a barber shop sign. You should see a second barber shop sign and the hotel is a few steps on the left.

You may not want to come by subway if you have heavy luggage as there is no escalator to street level. It's about 30 steps to street level. There is an airport limo bus stop along Jongno 3 ga. Once you alight from the limo bus, cross the road at the traffic light (main road with 4 lanes in each direction) and keep walking straight until you see the Jongno 3 ga subway station exit no. 5 sign, about 10 minutes walk.

The hotel is 5 minutes walk from Insa Dong and Fraser Suites. There might be an airport limo bus stop near there but I have not tried. I came by taxi from Lotte Hotel Seoul during the evening peak hours and it only costs 6000 KRW to get to exit no. 5.

Room:
I was on the 6th floor which was supposed to be the business floor. However, room is dark and there is no socket for charging electronics devices unless I unplug the free computer in the room. The computer in my room doesn't work anyway and although the room came with free wired internet, it is too dark and difficult to find the network cable to use it with my own laptop.

There is no wardrobe or iron in the room. There are 2 hooks and hangers in the room for hanging clothes. There are shower gel, shampoo, hair conditioner, toothpaste etc but all in big bottle/tube so you should bring your own if you are particular about sharing toiletries with previous guests. There is a fridge in the room and the hotel provides 2 free bottles of water and 3 free cans of soda everyday. There is also a kettle and some complementary coffee and tea in the room.

There is a bathtub with shower head but no shower curtain so you have to be careful when you shower to prevent wetting the whole bathroom. Towels are a little old but are replaced everyday.

The hotel has all the basics that you need but don't expect anything else. The staff in the day spoke some basic English. I booked through hotelclub.com for about 125,000 KRW per night. For this price, you can get a proper 3 stars hotel some where else if you book early.



There is

  • Stayed: September 2011, traveled solo
    • Value
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Thank CarolS09
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 13, 2011

Hotel Cats is an ok hotel. My fiancee and I stayed in this hotel for 4 nights and overall we were a little disappointed.

The hotel is really just a posh love motel but sell themselves as a hotel. Nothing wrong with that, except the bathroom was rather grubby. Too much black mould in the tile grout and the nice modern surface-mounted sink had obviously been leaking for a few weeks and built up mould all around the base. I cleaned the sink mould myself as it only required a good wipe but makes you wonder what the cleaners do once you've checked out.

We told reception about the leak and they didn't make an effort to understand. It's the little things you expect from hotels which Hotel Cats doesn't deliver. They make the bed everyday and change the towels but failed to replenish the coffee every morning and when we checked in we were welcomed by a half used and wet toilet roll. So nothing major, just the little things.

The rooms themselves are nice except for the clear glass wall between the bedroom and toilet. I love my fiancee but don't wish to see her use the loo. The wall contains nice plastic vines but we did spent 2 minutes in amazement looking for a non-existent blind as the vines don't conceal anything.

On the whole we felt safe and the hotel has a great location but we both agree that it's not great value for money. Next time we'll find the biggest and brightest love motel and save money for more souvenirs or splash out and get a proper hotel, like the Doulos Hotel close by and get proper hotel treatment.

  • Stayed: August 2011
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank RobLovick
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2011

We spent 2 hours searching for this hotel but it was worth it. It was located in one of the alley near to Jongo 3 ga Subway station exit 4. i stayed on the 6th floor which the theme is Business floor. There are computer in the room as well as bath tub. The room was quite spacious too. According to the staff, everything in the room was free including the drinks and tea bag. There are free wifi services and ice cream located at the lobby. The room rate was affordable and im very satisfied with the services. Beside that the staff do not speak english, i do not counter any bad impression with the hotel.

  • Stayed: June 2011, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Thank tsf_tan87
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hotel Yaja Jongno

Address: 9-1, Supyo-ro 28-gil, Jongno-gu, Seoul 03133, South Korea (Formerly Hotel Cats)
Location: South Korea > Seoul > Gwanghwamun / Jongno
Amenities:
Free Parking Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #338 of 504 Hotels in Seoul
Price Range: $61 - $377 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Hotel Yaja Jongno 2.5*
Number of rooms: 51
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