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Hotel Kaya Review in Seoul South Korea
Budget travelers seeking an affordable place to stay in Seoul will have a lot of choices because Seoul does have many budget hotels to select. Hotel Kaya, also referred to as Kaya Hotel is a decent budget hotel in greater downtown Seoul in the bustling neighborhood of Yongsan, South Korea. Just a short 5 minute walk to Namyeong subway Metro station and a 10 minute walk to an airport bus stop, Hotel Kaya is an excellent hotel choice in one of Asia's most lively city filled with culture, history and the friendliest people.
There are lots of budget hotels in Seoul South Korea in the $50 USD to $70 USD range throughout the city. But I particularly chose Hotel Kaya because it was really close to the USO Tours office which I had booked a one day tour to the DMZ bordering North and South Korea.
The closest must see attraction to Kaya Hotel is the Korean War Museum which is about a 20 minute walk south. Or you can hop on the subway train at nearby Namyeong station and take a short ride to Samgakji station which is only one stop away.
Another noteworthy area is a massive electronics district called Yongsan Electronics Market. There you can find computers, computer games, cameras and anything that is made in South Korea that runs on electricity at lower prices than you can find home.
Since Nameyeong subway station is so close to Hotel Kaya you can quite easily visit all the historical palaces, shopping districts, serene green parks, night markets and nightlife that makes Seoul unique and special.
There are many restaurants surrounding the Kaya Hotel too. Many affordable and traditional Korean meals are dotted throughout the neighborhood. And since Seoul is such an international city you can find lots of Koreanized style Western fast food chains.
This is the discount hotel reservation website I went to get lower rates for Hotel Kaya in Seoul, South Korea.
Hotel Kaya is not a new property and a bit of refurbishment will certainly help to freshen up the hotel. However, it is very well maintained and serves the purpose of budget travelers who only need a clean place to shower and sleep after a long day of exploring.
My room had a queen sized bed which was really firm and quote common for budget hotels in Seoul. But after a full day of walking around and exploring Seoul it is adequate for a good nights rest. And since it is a short building with only 5 floors don't expect much of a view.
2 complimentary bottles of water are offered every day and there is no mini-bar. However there is a tiny 7 Eleven right next door so you can easily stock up on snacks. Hair gel and spray is also provided if you need it but something tells me that no one actually uses it and has been sitting there since the hotel opened. If you are using 120 voltage electrical products such as an electric shaver they do provide an adapter.
Kaya Hotel is a no frill budget hotel. The hotel reception staff are friendly, helpful and can converse in basic English. And from my experience they will do their best to address your concerns.
A few things to point out is that the hotel has a strict 3PM check in policy. And if you arrive before then they do allow guests to leave their luggage at the lobby. They also do not distinguish between smoking and non smoking rooms. For me it was a big problem since I do not smoke and I'm not fond of inhaling second hand smoke lingering on the furniture either. But all of the rooms come equipped with an air purifier which I found very effective. So during my entire 4 night stay I was not at all bothered by residual smoke.
Where to Find Lower Prices for Rooms at Hotel Kaya
As of writing (September 2011) Hotel Kaya's walk in rates were $69 USD on Mondays through Thursdays. Fridays though Sundays their rates go up to $75 USD.
I found better rates on Agoda.com and only paid $55 USD per night including taxes which also included weekend stays. So I save quite a bit of cash thanks to Agoda. Keep in mind hotel rates do fluctuate seasonally. So you might get a better price or you might be paying a little bit more. No matter what I found that I always get better discounts from Agoda rather then book directly with any hotels.
Hotel Kaya is a very popular hotel with families from the US because there is an army base close by. So you should book in advance to make sure that you get a room and the best deal.
How to Get to Hotel Kaya from Incheon and Gimpo Airport
A taxi to Hotel Kaya from Incheon and Gimpo cost around 70,000 KRW and 60,000 KRW respectively. Passengers are of course responsible for highway tolls.
There are 2 types of trains. The high speed Korean Train Express (KTX) and the less expensive commuter trains. The big difference besides the price of the fares is that the KTX does not stop at Namyeong subway station in which the commuter train does. You can transfer to the commuter line from Seoul station though, which is only 2 stops to Namyeong station. Keep in mind if you are towing a lot of luggage you may have difficulty navigating the long and winding subway stations of Seoul. And there are many stairs. Also the rush hour crowd of Koreans will certainly create an extra obstacle.
The best travel option to get to Hotel Kaya in my opinion is the airport bus. It only cost 14,000 KRW from Incheon airport. Make sure to look for bus #6001 once you exit the airport. Just look for the signs or have someone at the airport information desk point you to the right way direction.
Airport buses are frequent and have space to hold your luggage. You pay your fare to the driver and change is given. Make sure that you inform the bus driver that you are stopping at Namyeong Station (though on certain airport bus maps you will see Sookmyung Women's University, either way the driver will know where to drop you off). This is critical because if the driver is not aware he will drive past the stop and you will not have another chance to get off until he makes a long loop back to the airport. If you sit on the left side of the bus you will see Hotel Kaya right before the Namyeong bus stop. The bus ride to Hotel Kaya from Incheon airport takes around 45 minutes to an hour depending on the time of day. The bus stop is about a 10 minute walk to Hotel Kaya.