It had been over a year since I’ve been out of the city. I needed to breathe the fresh air again and dip my toes in the ocean. I miss the water when I’m surrounded by rocks in Seoul. So, needless to say, a trip to Sokcho was well overdue. It was also a farewell to my good friend Rich. Rich and I have worked together since the beginning. Farewell my friend and good luck in graduate school! Anyway, I stayed at The Class 300 Hotel in Sokcho for two nights and three days. Like so many things in this world, it looked great on the outside, but was a soulless void once you cracked open the shell.
LP’s Description: The guidebook mentions that the Class 300 Hotel is not near central Sokcho (True). It also mentions that they have soft beds (Also true). Finally, they mention the restaurant on the 15th floor has a killer view and everyone speaks English (Kinda true).
First Impressions: I stayed the first night at a love motel near the bus station. I was pretty pooped and didn’t feel like finding the Class 300 Hotel at 2:30am in a city I was unfamiliar with. After a good night’s rest, I was up and ready to climb Seoraksan. I decided to drop my luggage off at the Class 300 Hotel before heading up the mountain. I was satisfied with my first impression of The Class 300 Hotel. The Class 300 Hotel is about 2km from central Sokcho. It is a tall, ominous looking building that sticks out like a sore thumb. Tired looking businessmen, Chinese tourists and the occasional Irishman make the up the residents of Class 300 Hotel. There is a nice scotch display right beside the check in desk. Excellent!
Check in and Rooms: I finally checked in around 6pm after hiking. The clerk was nice enough. She had a big fake smile to help distract you from her tired eyes. Her English was okay. She got me checked in nice and easy. I was in desperate need of a nap and hot shower. First impressions of the rooms were great. They are a clean, and the beds were comfy. Some might find the beds a little too soft. I know Jill probably would have not been comfortable, as she is a hard mattress aficionado. The is a medium-sized bath for Western fat dudes like myself was tight, but would probably comfortably fit a Korean or two. The view was amazing! I opened up my window and could easily see the ocean. It was refreshing and for most of the weekend, the window was wide open to get some of the clean, fresh ocean air.
Oddities and Annoyances: There were three major oddities and annoyances that stuck out with the rooms. First, for some reason, there was a large window in the bathroom, in which a person with a voyeur fetish could probably take advantage of. Although there is a blind, it was still a weird and uncomfortable aspect of the room. Second, the only electrical outlets that seemed to work were in the bathroom. None of the outlets worked in the bedroom. This was also true for PK’s room. We had to charge our phones, IPADs and computers in the bathroom…. WTF. Finally, there was no WIFI. 120,000KRW per night and I can’t access the Internet from my IPAD. Fuck that noise.
The 15th floor buffet breakfast restaurant: I don’t even know if this place had a fucking name. Anyway, if it did, it should be called Ripoff in the Sky. The view was great, but that was really the only part. The food was uninspiring and soggy. The selection was okay. There was Western and Korean-style breakfast. However, the Western breakfast only consisted of a few items. The staff spoke no English. I mean zero. I understand that we are in Korea, but at the same time, when you have an international clientele staying at your hotel, the staff needs to know the basics such as “Hello” and “Water please.” The worst part? This was 18,000KRW PER VISIT! I had my discrepancies about this because I was told that the breakfast would be free. More on that later.
Checking out AKA Derek and PK versus The Class 300 Hotel management: So as I was saying early, the impression I received from the hotel staff and their website that when I booked the room, breakfast would be included. However, there were three separate prices (18,000KRW for an adult, 13,000KRW for a child under 13 and 10,000KRW for a continental breakfast). I assumed that these were for people who were not guests at the hotel. Every time we walked in for breakfast they asked us for our room number. However, I noticed that they did not ask other guests (Take that as you will). Anyway, I assumed they just wanted to make sure we were guests. I’ve experienced this at other hotels and normally it’s all good. Needless to say we were pretty pissed when we were charged 72,000KRW for two shitty breakfasts (2 people X 2 breakfasts). PK and I asked to talk to a manager. The manager didn’t speak much English, but he was not budging from the charge. If I was really pissed, I would just walk away and have them charge it to my card and then have Mastercard reimburse it, but I like to approach disagreements amicably in most cases and come to a solution without storming out. We eventually agreed on paying 10,000KRW for each breakfast (40,000KRW) total. Still a ripoff, but at least we got out of there quick enough to catch our bus back to Seoul.
Value: Both nights booked online cost approximately 250,000KRW. Honestly, had I been with Jill and the kid, I would probably concede that this is good value. All the rooms were clean and it appeared to be pretty children friendly. However, rolling solo, there are so many cheaper options, including some relatively nice love motels near the bus station (40,000KRW/night).
Who Should Stay at The Class 300 Hotel: Guests looking for a great view of the Pacific ocean and a clean, spacious room. This would be a hotel I would recommend to families and businessmen looking for a little more class.
Who Should Avoid The Class 300 Hotel: Budget travelers and anyone who is looking to save a little bit of money. There are tons of cheaper options including what Rich and the gang did by deciding to stay at a jjimjillbang for a measly 9,000KRW a night. Also, please avoid or at least caution going to the restaurant. People with sensitive stomachs may be staying in the hotel for the trip and not the beach.