Our ten days in Osaka were a lot of fun, but were tempered by cold weather, and even a little snow. We stayed in a tiny Japanese apartment for the first week, which we outgrew quickly. Then spent two nights at the Sheraton Osaka with one of the worst rooms, and worst service of any Starwood hotel in over a decade of loyalty to the brand. We were a little beat down by the experience when we arrived at the Courtyard Marriott Seoul, Korea, and we were in need of a little love.
The Courtyard Marriott Seoul Times Square delivered, and then some.
This is our third Courtyard Marriott stay in Asia in just a few months. We were left with our jaws dropping at the Courtyard Bali Seminyak, and had a lovely beach break at the Courtyard Bali Nusa Dua. We have been amazed by how enjoyable our stays have been, and how this new version of the Courtyard brand is lightyears away from what we remember the Courtyard brand to be when we were growing up in the States.
An Easy Welcome to Seoul
We took the airport bus the sixty minute ride from Incheon airport to just about the end of the line, where the bus dropped us off at Times Square, a mega mall and entertainment complex. There were plenty of signs that directed us around the corner and into the hotel.
We were greeted by Micky, a young Korean bell man, with dark black hipster glasses and the signature bright orange Courtyard Marriott Seoul dress shirt. He spoke impeccable English and escorted us upstairs. It was the first of many friendly interactions with the staff.
After coming from Osaka, where the English language proficiency had a lot to be desired, we were feeling a little isolated. In ten days in Osaka we had one dinner with the English speaking couple over at Notes of Nomads, but otherwise we were on our own. And, there is nothing worse than when Eric and I are left to entertain each other in a foreign country. Nothing good can come from that.
But at the Courtyard Seoul, we chatted with many of the staff, as they helped us in the executive lounge, helped us to arrange a tour to the DMZ, and just wanted to be friendly. Everywhere we turned there were smiles.
Exploring the City from the Courtyard Marriott Seoul
This was our first trip to Seoul, and we were a little intimated by the idea. Korean food is one of the Asian cuisines we are least familiar with. And, coming in a little run down from Osaka we took it easy getting acclimated into the metropolis that is Seoul. The city of Seoul has 10 million residents, and the sprawl of Seoul includes another 15 million residents. That’s big.
Aside from escaping the hotel to learn how to make kimchi, we kept pretty close to the Courtyard Seoul, which was totally cool with us. We ate several meals in the Times Square Mall, the biggest shopping mall in that part of Seoul and a great place to go shopping in Seoul. Yeah, we even had Taco Bell. Sometimes you just need a run for the border.
We explored the very traditional local market, attempting to get some lunch. Offerings were more along the lines of the nasty bits in a warming soup. We were not ready to dive into that without how we felt. We grabbed a few meals of Korean BBQ in the neighborhood, including at a 24 hour BBQ joint across the street from the Courtyard Seoul. We had everything we needed within a few blocks of the hotel.
Evenings at the Courtyard Seoul
We also relished the opportunity to pretend to be executives for a few days on the 15th-floor lounge. Each evening, with a cocktail in hand, and plates of snacks, we pretended to be productive, while checking out the traveling businessmen. It was interesting as we used to be those people. Although, one night, it got a little too close to home when the guy behind me was talking about tax profit, profit splits, and transfer pricing. I shuddered.
Whereas I used to travel for work, and be one of many traveling business people, now, we became inspirational. We met businessmen from the US, UK, and Australia who thought our lives as digital nomads and travel bloggers were awesome. Yeah, the word awesome was used a lot.
Although we were just above the subway, we never really left the area. We could have explored more. But, instead, we used the Courtyard Seoul to recuperate and recover. We ate breakfast at Momo Cafe in the mornings. We used the gym, we used the executive lounge to get some work done, and we just ate. Of course, no surprise there.
I can’t say enough about the Courtyard Marriott brand overseas. I am not sure when they decided to revamp the brand to become so contemporary and energetic, but we truly enjoyed our stay at the Courtyard Seoul.
We were hosted by the Courtyard Seoul, but as always, my opinions are my own. Rooms at the Courtyard Marriott Seoul start around $150.
Amber Hoffman, food and travel writer behind With Husband In Tow, is a recovering attorney and professional eater, with a passion for finding new food and drink destinations. She lives with her husband, Eric, in Girona, Catalonia, Spain. Together they have traveled to over 70 countries.