Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cambodia April 2012 - Courtyard Seoul Times Square

***This post is part 16 of a full trip report. The index can be found here***

Incheon International Airport is approximately 30 miles west of Seoul, but with traffic, it can take more than an hour to get into downtown by bus or taxi. The relatively new AREX airport railroad connecting Incheon International Airport and Seoul Station is a quick and affordable way to get into the heart of Seoul in less than 45 minutes. Fares for the express service is set at 13,800 KRW, which translates to approximately $13 USD.

Following the signs inside the airport, I headed down to the AREX station and bought my express ticket. Everything was fairly simple and straightforward. Incheon International Airport, by the way, has some really cool architecture. I kept stopping every five minutes to take pictures of strange building features. The train ride into the city also offers some spectacular views of the rural and suburban landscape outside of Seoul.

AREX station

On the way to Seoul

Once you arrive at Seoul Station (one of the major railway hubs in the city), you can connect to multiple metro lines. It does take a few minutes to adjust to the massive crowds and frantic pace, but it is fairly simple to follow the English signs to the correct platform. Line 1 eventually hits Yeongdeungpo Station, where you should get off and look for Exit #3. The gigantic Times Square mall complex is just two blocks north.

Courtyard Seoul Times Square is located within the complex, and the hotel entrance is only a few feet away from the mall entrance. Once inside, you take an elevator up to the actual lobby on the 5th floor. I had used my free night e-certificate earned from the Chase Marriott Rewards Premier credit card to book my stay, and the friendly receptionist acknowledged that fact as well as my Silver Elite status. Since it was already late in the evening, I didn't bother taking any pictures of the lobby area until the following morning.

The hotel is still fairly new, and everything about it reflects that. My room on the 12th floor was slightly on the smaller side, but very modern and well-designed. Most importantly, the king bed and high-quality sheets were very comfortable. Free in-room WiFi was also available for Marriott Rewards members.

The bathroom wasn't very big, but I liked the layout and generous use of marble. Following the trend with newer hotels, there was absolutely no privacy inside since the wall facing the bedroom was completely made of glass. However, there was a window shade that could be lowered to block the view, making it slightly less uncomfortable to stay with friends. And while the shower was quite spacious, it was not fully enclosed, so water did start to pool on the bathroom floor.

Later in the evening, I took the metro to Itaewon for some drinks with friends. Unfortunately, the metro doesn't run past midnight, so I had to grab a taxi back to the hotel. The next morning, I was able to take some pictures of the city view from my room, as well as the lobby and MoMo Café downstairs. Since I only had a one-night stay, I didn't bother checking out the fitness center.

MoMo Café


The Courtyard Seoul Times Square is located just around the corner from the pick-up point for Airport Bus 6008. I paid for the one-way ticket (approximately $10 USD) to Incheon International Airport while checking out and the charge was conveniently included in my hotel bill. The wait for the bus wasn't long, but the actual trip to the airport ended up taking almost an hour and a half, since there were multiple stops along the way, including one at Gimpo International Airport. Still, this was a cheap and convenient way to get to the airport, and I didn't have to lug my bags through the metro! Just be sure to budget enough time so you can make your flight.

Entrance to Times Square mall

Airport Bus 6008 stop around the corner

The Courtyard Seoul Times Square is modern, clean, and well-equipped. In my opinion, it is a far better option than the Renaissance Seoul in Gangnam-gu, where I stayed the last time I visited. Despite being in a less touristy area, the convenience of the vast metro system makes it less of a disadvantage. I would highly recommend this hotel for anyone visiting Seoul.

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