Friday, September 28, 2012

Love Motel Review

This is the review that will never make it into Trip Advisor. In fact, before I left on my holiday I was searching for reviews for hotels and guesthouses in Guri and couldn't find any. In hindsight this should have been my first warning sign. My second should have been when my son-in-law said it wasn't necessary to make reservations. All I needed to do was show up and pick out the Love Motel I liked best. And, of course, the biggest warning sign of all should have been the fact they were referred to as Love Motels.

The first thing I need to do is correct some information I gave you in a previous post, where I said the name of my motel was the Chanel Motel. As it turns out, the Chanel is actually the brothel next to the motel. The name of my establishment was Motel Gabbana. In case you ever decide to book a room in Guri, South Korea this would be an important distinction to make.

Sometimes in the evenings I would wait in the doorway for Rebekah and Anton to pick me up. What would be important to know about this is the doorway I would wait in was also the doorway to the brothel. If you went straight in and down the stairs, voila, you were in the brothel. A turn to the right would lead you into the motel. It did leave the impression there was a very close business connection between the two establishments. All I can say is never in my wildest imagination would I have believed it if you would have told me there would be a circumstance in my life that would find me standing in the doorway to a brothel in the early evening hours.


Now I will take you on a visual tour of my room. I am sorry I can't include smells with this photo essay, but if you can conjure up memories of a smoke-filled bar back in the days when smoking indoors was allowed, then double the intensity, you will get the idea. Here is my room. Note the window (the only window I might add) with a view onto the street, the security system (why bother with a dead bolt or chain?), and the decorative wallpaper (no extra charge for the stain).


When you have such beautiful pillows why bother covering them all the way up with a full pillow case? And waste not, want not. There is no sense throwing out perfectly good sheets just because they have a few cigarette burns in them.


The fancy handle on the door to the bathroom was its best feature.


It also had a shower that looked quite complicated with all those nozzles and settings, but in reality turned out to be very straightforward since the only thing that actually worked was the dangling spray attachment. The plumbing was rather interesting. The water from the tub/shower combo drained out of hole in the bottom of the tub and onto the bathroom floor. No worries there though, as they provided those lovely pink plastic sandals so you didn't fall and knock yourself out on the slippery floor. And, of course, there were the towels, which had the positive feature of making me thankful I am short every time I used them since they were the size of hand towels.


With so many spectacular features I know it is hard to believe this, but I'm not finished yet. There were multiple complimentary items that came with my room. Note the toothpaste in the bathroom, along with the mould behind the sink. Those drinks? They were all on the house. Hair care products were thoughtfully arranged in a basket, along with hairbrushes that had clearly been used by previous guests. Oh. And the goodie bag I was handed when I checked in. Sort of like kids get at a birthday party, only with adult contents.


Normally this motel would receive a 0 star rating. However, there are several additional things that I have had to take into consideration before giving it a final rating.


  1. The sheer awfulness of the place forced me out the door. Given the choice between being hopelessly lost in the streets of Guri, or sitting in that dismal room all day, getting lost suddenly didn't seem like that big of a deal. First star earned.
  2. I didn't have to worry about wandering into a sketchy area. I mean, how much worse could it get than a brothel next door? Two stars.
  3. The staff were extremely friendly. They didn't speak a word of English and I don't speak Korean, but somehow we made it work. They would chase me down the hall with clean towels and more drinks, smiling as they handed them over. There was one especially memorable time when, at 9:45 PM, there was frantic knocking at my door. At first I refused to open it. Then the phone started ringing, followed by more knocking. Remember, I had no chain or peep hole so I had no way of knowing who was on the other side of the door. I finally got tired of the knocking and shouting, opened the door, and was faced with the grinning cleaning lady handing me towels and drinks. Clearly this motel kept different hours than me. Friendliness counts for a lot. Three stars.
  4. I love to laugh. I really do. The absurdity of the whole situation still cracks me up. Bump to four stars.
  5. This motel had one feature that made it stand out more than any other. It happened to be located a ten minute walk from Rebekah, which was enough to shoot it up to a five star rating all on its own!

I'll close with this personal note I received from the CEO of the Motel Gabbana. Contact info is included just in case you ever need a place to stay in Guri, South Korea.


16 comments:

  1. You are a very brave woman. I'm still laughing. I think I would have been sleeping between Rebekah and Anton whether they liked it or not. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Believe me, I was seriously considering it the first couple of nights! But after that the place started to grow on me in a strange sort of way. :-)

      Delete
  2. On my list of "Things I Will Never See Kristie Do" staying at a Love Motel is surely in the top 5. I still can't believe you did! Congratulations - I'm more impressed than if you told me you'd adopted a snake. I'm just glad the headlines in Kelowna didn't read "Local Woman discovered in questionable circumstances after typhoon." And please - translate "comfortably able to take a break and go without the inconvenience" for me, would you?

    Welcome home! :o)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. What can I say? The price was right! Just 40,000 won a night (less than $40 Canadian). Also, given there were no choices, being a good sport was my only option. Although I still wonder if we should have done it the Korean way and made Anton stay there while I stayed at their apartment. :-)

      As far as the translation your guess is as good as mine. I think it means something along the lines of "you have been our longest staying guest ever, and we hope you return although we have no idea why you would want to."

      Delete
  3. LOL!! 5 stars wowee!! :) Its lucky you have a great sense of humour really!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It took me a couple of days to develop that sense of humour. If you asked Rebekah and Anton they would tell you that I complained bitterly the first two days. It was actually starting to see the funny side of the situation that turned the whole thing around. I am sure there is a life lesson in there somewhere! :-)

      Delete
  4. Oh dear Kirsti, you made me laugh so hard. And I do admire your intrepidness! I am far from high maintenance, but I wonder, given those circumstances, if I would have ever recovered my sense of humour. I think the delicious food would have helped. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The food definitely helped, but so did the fact I was near Rebekah. I have to say there were times in the first couple of days I wasn't so sure i was going to recover my sense of humour! :-)

      Delete
  5. You deserve 5 stars Kristie! I would have run screaming back to the airport - laughing - but seriously, I don't think I could have handled the whole Love Motel situation LOL!!!!

    You had a fabulous visit with your daughter and SIL and that is what matters most - thanks for sharing!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Anne! I did have a fabulous visit with Rebekah and Anton, and that is what mattered. It was nice to get home to Fergus though. You should have seen him when I walked in the door after being away for three weeks. He went crazy!

      Delete
  6. Yikes! Love Motel will conjure up the image of a place so...different...it requires a mother's love to tolerate it for the sake of spending time with family.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I think staying there qualified me for both Mom of the Year and Mother-in-law of the Year awards! :-)

      Delete
  7. Ha! Such a great post! I couldn't imagine staying there!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I can't tell you how nice it was to come home and sleep in clean sheets, surrounded by my books and other familiar things rather than the decor at that place!

      Delete
  8. Very much enjoyed reading your travelogue! I do admire your sense of adventure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Shandy! It was fun thinking of things to share with all of you each day as I headed down to the coffee shop to write another post.

      Delete