[Lifehacks] The Ins and Outs of Korean Motels and Lodging

Motel Stage 79, located in Seoul’s southern Gangnam District, features a private outdoor bath. [YEOGI EOTTAE]

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Motels in Korea

More and more, motels are becoming more than just a cheap place to sleep. Aside from the more modest associations, motels have now become a popular option for people who don’t have a lot of space at home and want a place to hang out and party with friends without breaking the bank. .

Of course, this has not always been the case. Until about a decade ago, motels in Korea carried the same stigma as in many countries – a generally not very nice place that offered some level of privacy for couples who wanted to keep their relationship a secret.

What got rid of the stigma?

A lot has changed over the years, with apps like Yanolja and Yeogi Eottae opening up the motel market with their online reservation systems. This shift has also prompted motel owners to start designing nicer accommodations for people who genuinely want a cheaper vacation or time with friends. The trend of hanging out in motels grew in popularity during the pandemic, when people in their 20s and 30s were desperate to find safe, secluded places where they could hang out with friends while avoiding crowds. As a result, motels are now often used for events such as birthday parties, bridal showers, and baby showers.

Some motels offer a large indoor tub, as many guests seek out places with features they don't have at home. [YEOGI EOTTAE]

Some motels offer a large indoor tub, as many guests seek out places with features they don’t have at home. [YEOGI EOTTAE]

What does mean daesil mean?

Korean motels have a system called daesil, which stands for day use, and is used to reserve a room for just three to four hours rather than staying overnight, which usually costs around half the price of a night’s stay. Usually, 50,000 won ($40) can cover a daesil stay in a motel, though prices vary depending on room and facilities. Some prefer to use motels as the checkout process is easier than in hotels. You can simply drop the room key in a basket inside the elevator or near the check-in counter, without having to wait.

What options are available?

To attract customers from the countless accommodation options available across the city, many motels will brighten up their facilities with features unusual in average Korean homes, such as a large jacuzzi in the bathroom, a TV near the bathtub, a skylight ceiling to watch the sky from the bed, or two computer screens with which you can play games side by side.

Some motels feature unique bedroom themes and furnishings, such as round or heart-shaped beds with bright, colorful bedding. The rooms have mirrors of different sizes, and some even cover an entire wall. Still other places offer prepaid video streaming services, such as Netflix or Disney Plus.

One of the most sought-after features is a large bathtub. Some have a portable bathtub in a large bathroom, others are installed near a window, options rarely available in individual houses. Some motels even set up a private balcony attached to the room with a Jacuzzi.

Particularly spacious rooms are suitable for people hosting birthday parties or bridal showers, and many people will decorate a blank wall with balloons and garlands to create their own picture area.

Some <a class=motel rooms have floor-to-ceiling mirrors. [SCREEN CAPTURE]” src=””/>

Some motel rooms have floor-to-ceiling mirrors. [SCREEN CAPTURE]

How can I book a motel?

Agoda offers a "Daily use" tab to offer rooms available for reservation for a few hours. [SCREEN SCAPTURE]

Agoda offers a “Day Use” tab to offer rooms available for booking for a few hours. [SCREEN SCAPTURE]

There are two main Korean motel booking platforms: Yanolja and Yeogi Eottae. These apps have separate tabs for motels, hotels, bed and breakfasts, and campsites. Under the motels, they show both daesil and overnight options, as well as any current promotions. Both apps currently only offer services in Korean.

For those looking for an English option, global booking platforms like Agoda also offer Korean motels, although the range of options may not be as extensive and may require a little more research – without a specific motel tab, look the pictures and prices will probably be the best way to distinguish motels from hotels.

To accommodate motel parties, Agoda has had a “Day Use” tab since August 2020. Motels and hotels that fall under this tab offer similar dasil prices for typically around three to six hours, rather than all day.

Do branded hotels also offer daesil services?

Hotels often use the term “Day Use” to offer their rooms for a shorter stay. Some business-class hotel chains run by companies that run luxury hotels have jumped on the bandwagon and now offer options for a shorter stay. Shilla Stay, a business hotel at the five-star The Shilla Seoul, and L7, a more casual hotel chain at the five-star Lotte Hotel Seoul, offer day-use services. Although the prices to stay at these places are higher than at more generic motels, some believe that paying a little more is worth it to enjoy the best service.

Although not available at all times, some of the more upscale five-star hotels like Conrad Seoul, The Escape Hotel, and InterContinental Seoul Coex occasionally offer day use. Their target consumer is generally those working from home due to the pandemic, as it is also possible to use hotel facilities to hold in-person meetings. Room prices for a short stay in a business or luxury hotel range from 70,000 won to 150,000 won.

BY LEE SUN-MIN [[email protected]]