Add dignity to you or stay in a love motel?

So my sister was getting a hotel room in Jinju for her upcoming visit. I recommended a love motel. She opted for the Dongbang hotel – pretty much the only “tourist hotel” in Jinju. She found a very special room on their website with some great copy:

The luxurious interior design of the Junior Suite will add dignity to you.

If you don’t care about dignity, staying in a love motel can be a unique experience and a good value. Normally love motels do business an hour or two at a time (or so I hear) but many are willing to let you stay the night if you negotiate a price. It’s a slightly different experience than normal hotels – you’ve got your condom machine and your dirty movie collection, you might do business through a little window at waist level so you never see the front desk person’s face, the hallways tend to be dark, and so on.

But in Jinju you get a much nicer room for a much lower price. For example when my parents came to visit they stayed in a love motel that we picked out for them (named Versace as I recall). The room was nicer than what you get at the Dongbang hotel and half the price. The bed was much fancier – I don’t remember exactly but different themes are not uncommon (heart-shaped beds, decorations on the ceiling above the bed, etc.). There’s a TV with DVD/VCR (though I think the love motel’s supply of non-dirty movies is pretty limited), a computer with internet access, and a much fancier shower / bath (this place had some sort of cool-looking massage shower head deal – much better than any other shower I’ve seen).

There is one major drawback besides the weird atmosphere. There is no staff in the traditional hotel sense. They still have someone clean the room and give you towels or whatever but probably no one will speak English. My parents just called us whenever they had a question because they couldn’t communicate with the hotel people (person?). Maybe my wife checked up to make sure the love motel was giving them fresh towels or whatever – I don’t remember. But I guess that’s the trade off – you give up some convenience and some atmosphere to save money and get a nicer room.

So imagine you were coming to Jinju. Would you want a room in the Dongbang tourist hotel or would you prefer the love motel (assuming you had someone to set it up for you)?

Personally, I am pretty cheap and am usually willing to spend less. Or maybe I’m just looking for maximum value and spending more for a room that’s not as nice just seems wrong to me. The atmosphere thing is a non-issue for me. Not that I want to live in a love motel but for a few days? Just another travel experience. In fact when my wife and I were living in Jinju and visiting Seoul back in 2001 we stayed in a love motel in Seoul. It was nice and we could afford it. I remember they had rooms with different themes like a space scene above the bed and stuff like that. I thought it was kind of cool – like staying there was an authentic travel experience.

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  1. Julie says:

    Well, I’ve not booked anything yet, so you may still persuade me! The Dongbang is 115,000 won per night. I like seeing the faces of the hotel staff and not feeling like I should avert my eyes if I see another guest. I’ve stayed at the Dongbang before, but I have also stayed at love motel in Jinju. And yes, the themed rooms are cool. And my husband might get a kick out of them. But the dirty videos on a table just outside the elevator kind of gross me out. So I am interested to see what others have to say. 115,000 won seems perfectly reasonable to me, especially since we only expect to have to spend money on a hotel 3-4 nights out of our 10 nights in Seoul. But if a love motel is significantly cheaper and we can get a cool space or palace themed room or something like that it could be fun. But one other benefit of the Dongbang (as Jim mentioned) is that we have a better chance of communicating with the staff there. I’ve been taking Korean, but unless I want to tell someone that I like apples or want a discount my Korean is pretty limited.

  2. Sharon says:

    I’d have to go with the hotel, simply because I want to have more personalized contact and access to things like room service, a restaurant, gift shop, etc. Of course, I’m single, so it might be different for couples or when traveling with a companion. Otherwise, I would feel odd and out of place, and probably not feel safe, at a love motel. I’d rather pay more (or have him pay more) for the hotel atmosphere, staff, amenities, etc.

  3. Julie says:

    Why don’t we stay at both? We have enough time to do that. I’ll email you about details, since I expect we’ll need your help to arrange the love motel.

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