I’ve been to South Korea 4 times prior to this trip, but never had the chance to visit Busan. So when I made up my mind to visit the 2nd largest city & largest seaport of the country, it took me quite a while before I could decide which area to stay in the city for my 4 days 3 nights’ solo trip.
Why did I end up with Hotel Foret Busan Station (호텔 포레 부산역점)?
The most important reasons had to be its location & price. Since I would be travelling around the country & need to take the KTX in & out of the city, an accommodation near to Busan Station would be the most convenient for me. At 1st, I tried looking for Airbnb accommodation in this area, but there was none. Then I realised that boutique hotels (3 or 4 stars) near Busan Station were all out of my budget of S$60/night. 😦 & then I chanced upon Hotel Foret Busan Station that was near Choryang Station (Line 1 exit 12), just 1 stop away from Busan Station. The hotel website said from Busan Station, it only takes 7 min for a straightforward walk to the hotel. & best part, the price per night fitted my budget nicely, thanks to a Zuji credit card promotion!
Just a note that the 7-min walk as indicated on the website only applies if you aren’t carrying any luggage (at least that’s the case for me). It’s kinda impossible to reach the hotel within 7 min from Busan Station, especially if you have big & heavy luggage in tow, because it isn’t exactly a smooth flat path. Sometimes you will need to walk up (or down) a few steps if you are on the narrow pedestrian path. There were times I gave up walking on the uneven pedestrian path & got on the road instead. It may sound dangerous but this street leading to the hotel isn’t a busy street so there’s not much traffic. At least it’s easier to maneuver my big luggage on flat terrain… I walked for about 15 min for both times to & fro Busan Station with luggage in tow.
Hotel Foret may be located in a quieter part of Choryang-dong, but there is 1 convenience store (GS25) just beside the hotel. There are also a handful of Korean restaurants on the other side of the street, but they seemed to close quite early around 8pm. It’s a quick 3-min walk to Choryang Station exit 12 though. Just turn left upon leaving the building, within 1 minute you’ll see a supermarket diagonally across the junction. Cross over to the supermarket & walk up the gentle slope on its right. Within the next minute you will see the exit 12 signage right ahead. Do note that you have to climb the stairs if you use exit 12. If you need the elevator, just walk a little further ahead along the road where exit 12 is & you will be able to see the elevator (think it is exit 8). I love the convenience of having Choryang Station so near to the hotel!
Besides location & price, the quality of the hotel room is also an important consideration too. Based on online research, the hotel looks cosy & it was last renovated in Oct 2014. Online reviews by other travellers also gave it high positive ratings. If you know me personally, you would know that new hotels, or at least recently renovated hotels excite me. 😛 Furthermore, this hotel has rooms that look bigger than those nearer to Busan Station, e.g. the Toyoko Inn Busan Station 1. So this was definitely a plus point in deciding to book a room here. Check out photos of the room I stayed in.
I was mentally prepared that the room won’t be too big but still OK for 1 person as I had booked a standard single room with an area of 5 pyong (about 16.5 square meters). But what a pleasant surprise I got when I entered my room on level 2. It looked so spacious that I couldn’t believe it’s just 16.5 sq.m! In front of the double bed was a large 42-inch flat-screen smart TV & a wardrobe next to it. There was plenty of space to roam around in the room. The bed was also very comfortable to sleep on, & I had 3 nights of good rest on it. 🙂
To the right of the bed was a washing basin cum dressing table with hair dryer mounted to the wall. Next to this basin was the work corner with a small round table & 2 chairs. It was kind of my favourite corner for the entire stay as I liked to relax there after a long day of tour, enjoy some food & beverage while planning the next day’s itinerary, watching Korean dramas & variety shows at the same time. The free Wi-Fi was also very stable & strong in the room, & I guess that’s because each room has its own unique Wi-Fi to tag to.
In between my favourite corner & the room entrance is the long spacious bathroom. The water power of the shower was great, & I love the big bottles of complimentary toiletries provided too, especially the hair conditioner that really made my easily tangled hair quite smooth. 🙂 I must say, nothing much to complain about the room, with all the amenities any guest would need.
If I had to complain, it would be more of the customer service. I’m not sure was I unlucky or what, based on reviews I read, the hotel staff speak English & Mandarin. But out of my 4 days, most of the time, the reception was manned by a young lady whom I had problems communicating to. Often, she couldn’t catch what I was saying in English (is my pronunciation that bad?). When I tried to talk in Korean (limited vocabulary though), she probably couldn’t understand me well too. But yet the times when I encountered some problems in the room (couldn’t open wardrobe door & toilet was choked), she was the one on duty. The few times I tried to call the front desk, the line would always be busy & I could never get through. Fortunately I was staying on level 2 so I walked down instead to inform the staff of my problem. I only saw another male staff on duty once, he was much friendlier & easier to talk to as he spoke fluent Mandarin.
Despite my grouses on the service level, overall, I still find this to be the best accommodation I had throughout my holiday in South Korea. It’s a value-for-money choice & I wouldn’t mind staying here again next time. 🙂