On one sunny Saturday morning a month ago…
Hubby and I were talking about our personal schedules over breakfast; and we were so glad to know that we were both free the whole weekend. No appointments, no work. Yey! It may sound so cheesy and cheap, but it’s something we celebrate because we’re usually busy on weekends. We don’t always get to spend the whole weekend together, but when we do, it’s always fun and worthwhile.
We were suddenly in the mood for some adventure. We quickly packed some clothes and headed out to the highway for a random, totally unplanned out-of-town trip. The theme of our escapade was Spontaneous Serendipity. Haha! We relied only on our phone apps in searching for ‘matjib’ (popular local restaurants) and accommodations near our location. Oh, I thank God for GPS and advanced internet technology that allow travelers to be more spontaneous than they’ve ever been before. I never thought I could go on a trip without advance planning/reservations and a well-structured itinerary.
We headed north and reached Cheorwon, a county in Gangwon Province which is located right next to the border with North Korea. We spent the day driving around, sightseeing, walking along the rice paddy field, watching families having picnic along the river, eating delicious countryside food, sharing our childhood stories and laughing a lot. It was so therapeutic to be away from all the hustle and bustle of city life even just for a while.
On the first night…
While having dinner in Pocheon (a city in Gyeonggi Province), we searched for the nearest accommodation through an app and found a cozy and pretty clean drive-in motel with discounted price. Since it was already late and we were too exhausted and heavy-eyed, we decided to stay there for the night.
Getting the best motel accommodation available was part of our adventure but unfortunately, VIP rooms were fully occupied since it was a Saturday. So I booked a “special room” which was the second best. The distance didn’t look that far on the navigation system but it took us 40 minutes to get there. Gosh! We were in the middle of nowhere! Without the headlamps, it was total darkness. Some scenes from a horror movie like a white lady crossing the street and a manananggal flying above kept popping in my head. Hahaha!
Finally, we arrived at the motel but we didn’t see any human being there. Hubby commented that it was like a deserted building in a zombie movie. Haha! Just kidding. I really liked how fast the mobile transaction was. Booking a room with just a few taps less than an hour before you check in is just aweeesssoommme! We immediately got the confirmation message but to our surprise, there was no room number! We went driving around the motel for few minutes trying to find the special room.
This type of motel is called a “mu-in-tel” (literally means manless/unmanned motel), where you never see the staff and they never see you. Privacy is paramount at these establishments but funnily enough, we asked the staff to meet us and show the room. Haha! He was uncomfortable with the idea, so he directed us to our room by phone. Hmmmm… we don’t really mind being seen by anyone. Haha!
Actually, it was our first time together in a love motel in Korea. ㅋㅋㅋ Every time we stayed overnight out of town, we always slept in a regular hotel, pension house or resort. We never had an unplanned overnight stay at a motel in the past. Hihihi!
This place has a pretty good management control system. Each room has a private parking area. Since it is a motel, guests are expected to come without reservations. There are signs along the pathway leading to different room types: VIP, special and standard. Outside each garage, there is a monitor showing what the room looks like. You’ll know it’s vacant if the garage is open. There is also an automatic cash machine inside so you can make payment (cash or credit card) without a face-to-face encounter with a clerk. Once you are in the room, the door won’t open unless you press the “Go Out” or “Check Out” button which automatically prompts the management.
Welcome to the Korean love motel! LOL. I wasn’t able to take many photos because I was really tired and sleepy. Hubby was exhausted because he was driving the whole day. We also had to wake up early the next day to go to our next destination.
Okay, let’s see what we got here…
Robe, instant coffee, green tea, computer set
Oh, there’s a vending machine inside the room and look what’s inside! Hubby laughed when he saw me staring at these things for few minutes trying to figure out how they’re actually used. Gosh! Do people really need these? Hahaha!
Hubby was already sleeping (and snoring) while I was still busy with my night skin care routine. Hmmm.. Good night,Yeobo! Jaljayo!
Oh, by the way, each room has a private outdoor space where you can get some fresh air and sun or enjoy a relaxing aqua massage.
On the second night…
After exploring other places, we headed to Uijeongbu City in Gyeonggi Province. We went to a grill restaurant for dinner and checked in at a nearby motel. It’s also a ‘mu-in-tel’ but unlike the first motel, it doesn’t have private parking service. It’s just the single-building type of motel that is common in urban areas.
Once you enter the main building, you can see a terminal, much like the ATM which acts the dummy receptionist. Room selection and payment are done through this machine. It will allot a room number with a keycard through a dispensing tray. Coffee, candies, fruits and snacks are also provided. You can eat to your heart’s desire.
Toilet with bidet system
Aqua massage whirlpool system
Ajushi ❤ Ajumma
Although I had hesitations at first, I didn’t regret staying at a motel. It was a practical decision since we were constantly moving from one place to another and since we only needed a comfortable room to sleep. Motels are rented for a minimum of 1-3 hours during the day or an overnight stay (which requires late check in). They are a cheaper and better option if you just want to rest or sleep for few hours, especially if you are not comfortable sleeping in the jjimjilbang. However, it is not a suitable accommodation for a family unless you are all adults. Don’t dismiss them right away just because they’re usually rented by the hour. Hotels and motels have different systems. If you don’t mind seeing condoms inside your complimentary amenity kit and having to bring your food or eat out (since there is no restaurant inside), motels in Korea can be a much better option than the expensive regular tourist hotels. Just go to modern ones though. Hehe!
I am glad that our first love motel experience was a great one. The rooms were very clean and the beds were comfortable. The television sets were huge and of course, the relaxing spa system was awesome! From now on, I think I will consider a motel accommodation whenever we plan a trip somewhere in Korea. Aside from cheaper rates and amenities that aren’t available in a regular tourist hotel, a lot of Korean love motels come with many unique and artistic themes. Isn’t it more fun to explore life on the quirky side? Hehe!
While other couples go to a motel to do this all night…
we are like….