Review: IP Boutique Hotel Seoul
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First, a little background on the (very special) IP Boutique Hotel in Seoul...
As you will remember, we chose to stay at the Park Hyatt in Tokyo. By we, I mean Chris. He was dead set on staying at the Park Hyatt, but I was just not willing to pay for half of the stay (it's exorbitantly expensive). Unfazed, Chris decided that since we had three nights in Tokyo and three in Seoul, I could pay for the Seoul hotel and he would pay for Tokyo. As long as he could stay at the Park Hyatt, I was free to choose literally any hotel in Seoul. Even a hostel. I accepted the challenge and found the best hotel I could under $200 a night - enter: the IP Boutique Hotel.
Online, the hotel looked quirky and kind of fun. The rooms are decorated in a very interesting way. Admittedly, the design wasn't quite what we were used to, but I thought it could be fun. After combing through Trip Advisor and Hotels.com reviews, I decided it was at least decent, so I booked it. After finding a 15% off coupon for Hotels.com (seriously, always Google for a coupon code before booking ANYTHING), I ended up paying $158/night for 3 nights. I was satisfied.
We arrived at the hotel around 8 PM after our flight in to GMP. Traffic was absolutely insane and it took almost two hours for us to get from the airport (which is much closer to the heart of Seoul than ICN) to the hotel. The hotel is located in Itaewon, which is an area of Seoul known for having a lot of expats, which we figured meant we could find some different food and some English speakers. We actually liked the area a lot. It was lively and had a ton of choices for restaurants, bars, and shops. The hotel was also about a 5-10 minute walk from Itaewon Station, which was super convenient for getting around the city.
Your first impression (and your last impression) of the hotel will be almost an assault of color and odd design choices. Coming from the Park Hyatt, we literally could not have found something more different. Gone was understated, muted luxury. It was replaced with rainbow colors, white leather, and glass and mirrors. So much glass and so many mirrors.
The lobby was something. It had several hanging swings along the side of one wall, a lot of mirrors, and various pieces of funky artwork. After such a long taxi ride from the airport, we were pleased that check in was very easy. The front desk agents spoke English and processed us quickly. Somehow (I have no idea how), we had even been upgraded to a suite.
We took the elevator up to the third floor (which had a bit of a funny smell) and were greeted with a dark hallway. We made it to our room and were met with some combination of sterile, yet rainbow decor (if that exists). The furniture was all completely white. The chair and sofa in the living room were white leather. All of the furniture in the bedroom was white. The color was on the floor and in the accents around the room. Bright red carpet, a giant strawberry decal on the wall over the bed, a rainbow comforter.
It was really quite something.
After getting over the initial shock of the decor, the hotel really is completely functional and wasn't bad at all. For the price, you really couldn't beat it and it had everything we needed. The hotel offers free wifi, which is awesome, and the room has everything you would need. We had a safe, two TVs, a closet, a desk, a nice bathroom and there was also a coffee maker, free water bottles, and a minibar.
The bathroom was one for the books. It's just glass and mirrors. Luckily, the glass is frosted, but not all the way up or down. The glass also doesn't extend all the way to the ceiling. This means that the bathroom is not enclosed. At all. This means that "bathroom sounds" can be heard with absolutely no effort whatsoever by anyone sitting in the bedroom.
You'll want to be very secure with the person you're staying in this room with. The bathroom leaves almost nothing to the imagination and I was certainly not prepared for it.
That being said, it was still nice. We had a large tub, the shower had a nice rain shower head, and the toilet was Japanese, so it had all the bells and whistles you could ever need.
At the end of the day, we had a decent place to stay and it was cheap. Would I stay here again? Probably not. It was a bit too weird for my taste and I probably would just bite the bullet and spend a bit more if I ever find myself back in Seoul. However, it honestly wasn't bad and if you're okay with funky decor and an exposed bathroom experience, go for it - the location was great, the hotel was clean and the wifi was free.
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