|Seoraksan Tourist Hotel|
Unfortunately, there aren't a lot hotels to choose from that are near Seoraksan National Park. Sokcho City 속초 (束草), a 30 minute bus drive away, has more selections but you have to think about how tired you'll be after a day of hiking and whether you'd want to take a bus or taxi just to get back to your hotel.
Even though I had to kill a wasp in my room and squash a beetle on the window, I would still stay at Seoraksan Tourist Hotel the next time I visit.
* * *
For me, convenience was the number one reason I chose this hotel over The Kensington Stars Hotel and The Hotel Sorak Park. It's really not that clean, but Seoraksan Tourist Hotel is the only hotel that's actually inside Seoraksan National Park.
I didn't appreciate the greatness of this hotel's location until after my first day of hiking in the mountains. I was tired and my feet hurt, but the good news was, I didn't even have to exit the park to get to my hotel. It was just right there. No extra bus rides necessary and no extra time wasted. When you have been walking on rocks the whole day, not having to walk any further to get to your hotel really is a great thing.
For the location, I thought the prices at Seoraksan Tourist Hotel were reasonable. My double room with a heated floor cost 121,000 won a night, including tax, in the peak season of October. During off seasons, you can most likely score a much cheaper price. Another money advantage to staying at this hotel is that you only have to pay the park entrance fee once, regardless of how many times you enter the park. You also save on bus fare that you would have had to pay had you stayed in a hotel outside the park.
I made my reservation over the phone and the girl who worked at the front desk spoke decent English. I was a little concerned that she didn't take my credit card to hold my room, but everything worked out fine in the end. It's probably a good idea to call a few days before you arrive just to make sure you actually have a room.
The rooms were actually quite small and I could definitely tell that I was really close to nature because of all the bugs! But, to be fair, the bugs most likely got in because the door to the balcony of my room was left open when I arrived. After I closed the door, there were no more new bugs. I thought maybe the cleaning people would open the door again the next day while I was out hiking, but they didn't do that, which was a relief. Even though the view was great (I could see the cable car for Gwongeumseong Fortress 권금성 (權金城)), I never once stepped out onto the balcony because there were always wasps there and I am deathly terrified of those buzzing monstrosities.
|View from my room at Seoraksan Tourist Hotel|
The beds were really springy and sunk in quite a bit when I sat down. When I checked in, I thought I would be itchy after sleeping in them, but after a day of hiking when you're all tired, you just don't care anymore. For the record, I was not itchy at all.
|Double room inside Seoraksan Tourist Hotel|
I'm so used to those magnetic hotel keys that I was surprised when the lady at the front desk gave me an actual key with the room number attached as a key chain. It's a little bulky to take with you while you're out hiking, but at least the door locks automatically when it's closed.
The room at Seoraksan Tourist Hotel had a window A/C unit that took awhile to work. I suggest turning it on and letting it run to air out the room while you go hiking. The bathroom was also okay. The light was really dim, but nothing was super dirty or anything. There were shower slippers and towels (look high up if you don't see them at first), along with a bar of soap and big bottles of shampoo and conditioner. The amenities were very generic things, so I was glad I brought my own travel pack.
Inside the room you will find a small TV and mini-refrigerator (no safe). There was also a narrow desk in front of a large mirror with a comb (a rather suspicious looking one I might add), some hair products, and a blow dryer. Two chairs sandwiched a small table beside the desk, with a bowl of coffee and tea packets. There was no ice bucket, but in the hallway near the stairs, there was a water filler with hot and cold water. This came in handy a lot because when you're doing a lot of physical activity, you tend to drink more water. I was glad I didn't have to go out to buy some.
|Hallway in Seoraksan Tourist Hotel|
The more sucky aspects of staying at Seoraksan Tourist hotel include the lack of elevators and internet connection. If you don't have a lot of luggage, taking the stairs is no big deal, but if you have lots of things to carry, it can get pretty tiring. First you have to climb up a flight of stairs just to get inside the hotel lobby and then you have to climb 2 or 3 more floors depending on where your room is at. It's not that big of a deal, but it was slightly inconvenient.
As far as internet goes, there is internet connection, but just not in every room. The hotel website said internet was available, which I assumed meant available in each room as an ethernet cable or something, but this is essentially the internet for Seoraksan Tourist hotel:
|Internet at Seoraksan Tourist Hotel|
Yep, that's it. Just one small, old computer in the lobby for everyone to share.
To get to the Seoraksan Tourist Hotel from the Sokcho Express Bus Terminal 속초고속버스터미널, you have to take the local Sokcho bus number 7 or 7-1 to Seoraksan National Park (detailed instructions here). After you get off the bus, there will be signs like these that point you to the right direction:
|Sign to Seoraksan Tourist Hotel|
Follow the signs to the main entrance of the national park and keep walking. You should see the hotel on your right.
|Seoraksan Tourist Hotel inside Seoraksan National Park|
Food-wise, there is no complimentary breakfast. However, there are two restaurants right next to the hotel. One serves more Western foods like pizza:
|Seoraksan Tourist Hotel restaurant for western food|
And the other serves Korean food:
|Seoraksan Tourist Hotel Korean Restaurant|
I would advise going to the Korean restaurant because it was busy all the time. Hotel guests and even non-hotel guests would go there for some hot food. The Western restaurant, on the other hand, was always empty and closed really early at night. The prices at the Korean restaurant ranged from 7,000 won to 15,000 won. However, if you don't eat at the hotel restaurants, there are several food stands outside the hotel and inside the Seoraksan National Park.
Seoraksan Tourist Hotel isn't the most luxurious or anything, but it will get the job done.
For more information:
Seoraksan Tourist Hotel 설악산관광호텔
Phone: 82-33-636-7101 (~05)
Address: 151 Seorakdong Sokcho Kangwondo 강원도 속초시 설악동 151번지
Check in: 12-2pm
Check out: 12pm