When I travel to a country, I’ve three criteria for picking a hotel:
(1) it must be near public transport (See Getting Around Seoul),
(2) it should be near to tourist attractions,
(3) cheap hotel. Sorry lah, not a millionaire yet, so have to be thrifty.
This is my second time in Seoul, so I roughly know where to stay. For first-timers who want a bit of everything—sightseeing, shopping, clubbing—it is best to stay along Lines 1 & 4 of the metro. (Line 4 is nice and quiet and you can get a seat at most times.) Along Lines 1 & 4, the most convenient and accessible stations are Seoul Station (lines 1 & 4), Myeong-dong Station (line 4), or Chungmuro Station (lines 3 & 4). Try to pick hotels around these stations.
The first time I was at Seoul, I stayed at Namsan Guest House at Myeong-dong Station (see my review of the hostel) and at Hotel New World at Sookmyung Women University Station (see my review of the 3-star hotel). Since this was the second time I visited Seoul, I wanted to try a new location. Both Namsan Guest House and Hotel New World are at the north part of Seoul, and Mercure Hotel is at Gangnam, which is the south part.
I searched a few websites to get the best deal for the hotel: xpedia, Agoda, etc. The best bargain is through Traveloka, which can book cheap flights and cheap hotels. I was not familiar with the website Traveloka, so I googled for more information. Apparently, Traveloka is the #1 flight and hotel booking platform in Indonesia. It displays the final price upfront, with no hidden charges.
Back to Mercure Hotel at Gangnam. It satisfies my first criteria: 2-minute walk from Yeoksam Station, Line 2, exit 4. The hotel is situated in the Gangnam district, so there are many business travellers here. The room is no-frills, very comfortable, and is rather new. Good service. There is a good gym.
There are some things that can be improved: the shower switch is cranky; there is no privacy as the next building consists of offices (nothing can be done here, but I just want to inform you to be thorough); no pool; and no complimentary toothbrush and toothpaste.
Mercure doesn’t satisfy my second criteria, to be near tourist attractions, but this is my second trip and I didn’t want or need to see any attractions. I wanted to be near restaurants, and Gangnam has world-class restaurants. I reviewed Ryunique, Gae Wha Ok, and Byeokjae Galbi, all three fantastic restaurants at Gangnam. Too bad I couldn’t get a reservation at Jungsik, also at Gangnam, although I called several times (they are pretty rude) and even went to the restaurant to see if there was a seat. Anyway, Jungsik is near to Mercure, so I didn’t mind the detour.
As for my third criteria of booking a cheap hotel, Mercure is pretty affordable at about S$170-$200/night through Traveloka. Quite a good deal at a 4-star hotel.
On a whole, Mercure is a practical business hotel that is near fancy and delicious restaurants; and is also a 2-minute walk from the metro. Nothing to complain about.
Mercure Ambassador Seoul Gangnam Sodowe
10 Teheran-ro 25-gil, Gangnam-gu, Seoul 06132
T: +82 2 2050 6000
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.