Renamed from the “Riviera Hotel” this facility is simple, clean, functional and affordable, and is centrally located is downtown Cheong-Ju City, a major industrial center about two hours south of Seoul. As near as I can tell, there is no reason for a tourist to come to Cheong-Ju City, but in terms of business it's all right.
Adjacent to an all-night 7-11 style store and across the street from the bus station, the location is very convenient. The hotel is set back off the street a little bit, so my driver actually had some trouble finding it the first time. Then we realized it was right outside of the night-club district in Cheong Ju City, an area filled with neon, restaurants and so-called “office clubs” for late-evening entertainment. Don’t be alarmed at the row of “love motels” along the street. The Newvera is an honest hotel, despite its neighbors.
The facility is plain, but functional. All the desk clerks spoke English to some degree or another, and the hotel accepts all major credit cards. The elevator was clean, air conditioned and large enough for my two giant suitcases. The upstairs hallways are decorated in a traditional, Korean style with tree trunks lining parts of the hallway, and handsome blonde wood work.
My room was adequate in size, with the traditional Korean entrance vestibule for changing your shoes. The bed was large and comfortable and I had no trouble sleeping, although I could hear toilets flushing from time to time through the night. The room was equipped with a large flat-screen TV but only Korean broadcasting; no BBC or CNN to wind down your day. The internet worked fine and was free. Plumbing was fully operational, lots of hot water, and they provide soaps and shampoos, unlike most lower-priced Korean hotels. The desk was tiny but that’s a small complaint, considering the price.
The only real complaint is the remote control in the room. It controls the room lights and the TV (Fortunately, the air conditioner gets its own remote.) This complicated piece of electronics looked like it came from the Space Shuttle, with more buttons and knobs than I’ve ever seen on a piece of consumer electronics, all labeled in Korean. (Even the desk clerk warned me not to push anything south of the volume control button!) It worked, but it's far too complex a solution. What’s wrong with a simple light switch? They work. I can find them in the dark. They don’t move around the room.
Back down in the lobby, breakfast was included in the room rate, and it featured a simple but tasty abbreviated menu. I enjoyed an American-style breakfast and some of the better coffee that I have had in Korea.
Overall, a simple but cost-effective choice if you’re ever in Cheong-Ju City.