Stumped on where to base yourself on your trip to Seoul? Many first-time visitors to South Korea’s capital will find themselves at home at one of the best hotels in Itaewon. Located in Yongsan-gu to the south of Namsan, this foreigner-friendly neighborhood offers an array of accommodations for every budget and travel style. From budget guesthouses to luxury hotels, squeeze yourself into some of Itaewon’s top-rated lodgings with this quick & easy guide!
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Where to stay in Itaewon
Celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2023, the legendary Hamilton Hotel continues to be one of the best places to stay in Itaewon year after year. The hotel’s distinctive functionalist brown brick architecture remains one of the most recognizable faces of Itaewon’s post-war skyline.
Beyond the clean and newly renovated rooms, what makes the Hamilton Hotel so special is its facilities. For guests wanting to spend their evenings relaxing, there’s a seasonal rooftop pool and a sauna for sweating out the soju. A fitness center also joins the health and wellness trio, offering a large selection of resistance and cardio machines for guests.
Itaewon’s popularity as a diverse Seoul dining destination also drifts into the massive Hamilton Hotel block, where you’ll find a handful of excellent restaurants to tackle your cravings. Among the best are the Korean BBQ goodness of Maple Tree House and the delectable American-style Chinese of Ho Lee Chow.
Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel
From inside to out, the ultra-funky Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel stands out as the most energetic accommodations in the Itaewon scene. Nearly everywhere you wander in this hotel, you’re met by a splash of color or a unique design frill. The sights range from the hanging swings and travel-trunk wall in the lobby to the pop-art-inspired murals in the room.
Besides the quirky, comfortable rooms with delightfully modern bathrooms, the Imperial Palace Boutique Hotel occupies a near-perfect location in Itaewon. The district’s main subway station, Itaewon Station, is three minutes away by foot. The whole area around the hotel also teems with bars, restaurants & shops should you want to indulge in some of Itaewon’s finest pleasures.
Itaewon A One Hotel
Hip, modern stylings breeze through the Itaewon A One Hotel. One of the most budget-friendly hotels in Itaewon, this family-run property impresses with large, comfortable rooms and an attentive staff who go out of their way to attend to your travel needs.
Besides the rooms, what really draws travelers to Itaewon A One Hotel is the location. The main drag of Itaewon is steps away, yet far enough that the bulk of the noise from the area’s famous rowdy crowds is shut out. To zip around Seoul, Itaewon Station is just 200 meters from the hotel.
Grand Hyatt Seoul
For the ultimate in Itaewon luxury, there’s only one choice: Grand Hyatt Seoul. Like its sister properties elsewhere in East Asia, Grand Hyatt Seoul is one of the finest 5-star hotels in Seoul, doling out everything you’d ever want for your stay.
The amenity-rich rooms at the Grand Hyatt Seoul stun with incredible views of the city and Namsan through wide picture windows, whether you’ve chosen a standard or deluxe room. The real kicker, though, is what you’ll find elsewhere on the property.
Set in the shadow of Namsan, the Grand Hyatt Seoul is surrounded by a gorgeous nature preserve that flaunts its beauty at every turn. In winter, an ice skating rink adds a little romance to your trip; in the summertime, an outdoor pool provides respite from the heat & dense humidity of Seoul.
Elsewhere at the Grand Hyatt Seoul, world-class fitness & wellness facilities await. Get your game face on at one of the three on-site tennis courts, two squash courts, and a fitness center. For a more relaxing day, chill out at the sauna or spa. Lett go of your travel frustrations with a traditional Korean massage and aromatherapy.
Mondrian Seoul Itaewon
Opened in 2020, the Mondrian Seoul Itaewon is the neighborhood’s second 5-star hotel—and it’s a wonderful addition to the scene! Walking in, guests are greeted by a colorful modern lobby that hints at what awaits. The rooms show off bright and cheery art and decor. Many offer spectacular city views through wide picture windows.
Aside from the rooms, the Mondrian is packed with luxurious amenities. In summer, escape the Seoul heat in the seasonal outdoor pool. Throughout the year, you can also take a dip in the indoor pool or ditch the holiday stress with a workout in the fitness center.
For an unexpected dining experience, ditch the Korean street food for a night and enjoy the delicious Mediterranean cuisine at CLEO, the hotel’s on-site restaurant. Or enjoy a glass wine or a cocktail with the twinkling city lights at the Mondrian’s rooftop bar, Privilege.
H HOSTEL Itaewon
If sticking to your travel budget is your main concern, book a night at the H HOSTEL Itaewon. This budget-friendly hostel & guesthouse offers everything from dorms with shared bathrooms to deluxe triple rooms with private bathrooms.
Start your day with a continental breakfast in the shared lounge before visiting nearby attractions like the Leeum Samsung Museum of Art and Namsan Botanical Gardens. Itaewon Station is also a quick walk away to explore the rest of the city.
Seoul Cube Itaewon
Another budget-friendly alternative, Seoul Cube Itaewon dishes out both dorms and family rooms with private bathrooms for price-conscious travelers. The rooms are clean and comfortable with balconies and offer access to a small outdoor patio for some fresh air.
Shared facilities at Seoul Cube include a kitchen, terrace, and laundry room. To continue your sightseeing adventure, the hostel is just 150 meters from the area’s main station, with plenty of popular cafes, restaurants, and bars within walking distance.
As simple as Itaewon accommodations come, the budget-friendly Amazon Guesthouse is a superb choice for single travelers and families looking to save money on their room. Although you shouldn’t expect many frills here, the rooms are clean and comfortable. Reservations also include use of the shared kitchen and a large terrace overlooking Yongsan.
Even better is the location. Amazon Guesthouse is central, just a couple blocks southwest of Itaewon Station and a mere five-minute walk. With some of the area’s tastiest restaurants and trendiest bars at your fingertips, there’ll never be a dull moment if you decide to choose this guesthouse as your temporary Seoul home.
Why stay in Itaewon?
No place in Seoul has a more storied reputation than Itaewon. With the American military headquarters situated at the nearby Yongsan Garrison, Itaewon has a long history of catering to foreigners living in Korea. The result? Itaewon has become a highly diverse neighborhood that’s among the top options for where to stay in Seoul.
There’s a good and a bad side to that. On the one hand, Itaewon is one of the easiest introductions to Seoul for visitors. Getting around with just English (or even Japanese) isn’t as difficult as elsewhere in the city. And since the neighborhood is so popular with expats and other foreigners, you’ll never be alone in looking for a travel companion who speaks your language.
On the other hand, Itaewon is one of the least representative neighborhoods of Seoul as a whole. If you stick to the Itaewon bubble, you’re unlikely to experience what the city’s all about. You’ll need to hop elsewhere to dig into the many cool things to do in Seoul.
Itaewon is also one of Seoul’s edgier and grittier corners. It’s not necessarily a neighborhood that bestows an excellent reputation on the city. (That’s changing quickly, though, as more upscale restaurants & bars move in.)
That said, you won’t be bored in Itaewon. The district is a fantastic shopping destination featuring world-renowned brands. Itaewon is also a wonderful place to feed your appetite. The area’s restaurants cater to any taste. You’ll find cuisines from all over the world here—Turkish, Mexican, American, South African, Thai, Indian, etc.—in addition to the usual Korean favorites.
And for getting a little rowdy, there aren’t many places in Seoul that rival Itaewon. Here, you’ll get face-to-face with some of the best nightlife in Seoul, including the city’s most LGBT-friendly venues.
- Looking to save money? The clean and comfortable H HOSTEL Itaewon is centrally located and an excellent option for budget-conscious travelers.
- Got a little more to spend on a mid-range room? Give the recently renovated rooms at the legendary Hamilton Hotel a go. The central location, steps from Itaewon Station, can hardly be beat.
- Want to experience the ultimate in Itaewon luxury? The impeccable stylings and world-class facilities of the Grand Hyatt Seoul are just one subway stop from the heart of Itaewon.
Other Seoul districts
- Myeongdong: It’s one of Seoul’s most popular districts for a reason. Get under the skin of the city’s commercial heart with this guide to the best Myeongdong hotels.
- Hongdae: A more hipster alternative to Itaewon, this quirky student district in Mapo-gu delivers a Korean urban cultural experience like none other in Seoul. Find a place to hang your beret with this guide for where to stay in Hongdae.
- Insadong: Among Seoul’s more interesting cultural corners, this older traditional district teems like teahouses, art galleries, and antique stores that peer back into simpler times in the capital. Get started finding your perfect accommodations with this guide to the top-rated hotels in Insadong.