Seoul, Korea is one of Asia’s top modern cities and a prime destination for sightseeing, shopping, cuisine, and nightlife. Right in the middle of the action is the Dragon Hill Lodge (DHL), a resort-style hotel for use by members of the U.S. military community.
One of four Armed Forces Recreation Centers (AFRCs) worldwide, DHL is the perfect mix of luxury, convenience, and affordability.
DHL offers all of the amenities and services of a resort, including numerous restaurants, a large swimming pool and fitness facility, and an excellent concierge service that will arrange your tours and activities.
Ready to plan a getaway and treat yourself to the excitement of Seoul? Here’s what you can expect at Dragon Hill Lodge!
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Where is Dragon Hill Lodge?
Dragon Hill Lodge is located on U.S. Army Garrison Yongsan-Casey in downtown Seoul. It’s surrounded by some of the city’s best neighborhoods, known for unique shops, trendy bars, and top-notch restaurants.
In response to the frequently asked question, “Is Dragon Hill Lodge closing?” The answer is no.
Although USAG Yongsan-Casey is closed most facilities and services in Seoul, DHL will remain open. You still need proper identification to enter the base, just as you would on any military installation.
Our Stay at Dragon Hill Lodge
In January 2019, we traveled from our home in Fukuoka, Japan to visit Seoul and enjoy a long weekend at DHL. The resort was the perfect base from which to explore the city.
We had a large room with a King-size bed and a panoramic view of Seoul Tower, an especially beautiful backdrop at night.
DHL frequently offers specials, and on this trip, we received a $100 meal credit for a 3-night stay. The credit was good at any of DHL’s restaurants, so it effectively knocked $33/day off our room rate.
We got our daily workouts in at DHL’s well-equipped fitness center in the POiNT Health Club, which is free for DHL guests. The club has a 24/hour gym, a large lap pool, a hot tub, and a sauna.
We also stopped by the massage therapist located in DHL’s Market Square shopping center. Pricing was very reasonable and the massage was on point!
During our stay, we indulged in the fantastic dining options and simply enjoyed the American-style luxury of the resort. It was a welcome contrast to our small Japanese-style apartment in Fukuoka.
DHL has a detailed summary of eligibility on their website. Eligible patrons include active duty, reserve, and retired members of the military community and their family members. Honorably-discharged veterans with a 100% service-connected disability are also eligible. Check the DHL website to see a list of all eligible patrons.
Dragon Hill Lodge Rates, Rooms, and Package Deals
DHL offers four types of guestrooms: Standard Rooms, Family Suites, Junior Suites, and Deluxe Suites. Rates vary by rank.
While you can book rooms individually, DHL’s special offers and packages are a much better deal.
As mentioned, one of the special offers at the time of our visit was a $100 meal credit for a 3-night stay. More recently, a 3-night stay came with free daily breakfast at their generous buffet.
If you have more time, DHL offers fantastic packages, many of which are designed with retirees in mind. Here are a few highlights of packages they’ve offered in the past:
- A 6-day/5-night package that includes three popular tours and your choice of performance.
- A 17-night Tokyo/Seoul package offered in partnership with the New Sanno Hotel, a military resort in Tokyo.
- Their Retiree Escapes package, which treats you to the best of Seoul in 10 days.
Those are just a few examples, and the specials/packages change frequently, so check the DHL website to see their latest offers!
Dining at Dragon Hill Lodge
DHL has a total of six eateries to suit every taste and occasion.
Greenstreet, the primary casual dining option, is famous for their buffet, and their Sunday brunch was voted Best in the Pacific by Stripes Pacific in 2018.
Make sure you stop by the Bakery/Deli for coffee and homemade sweets! The bakery makes all of the desserts, breads, and other baked goods for DHL’s restaurants, and you will see locals who come in just to buy the bread.
Pro tip: Don’t leave DHL without trying a donut; they are delicious!
Things to Do and See in Seoul
The Discover Seoul concierge service, located in the lobby, will book your tours in and around the city of Seoul.
The tour of the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) and the Joint Security Area is their most popular option. They also offer day and night tours of Seoul, visits to traditional Korean villages, and numerous other cultural tours, just to name a few.
Whatever you want to do in Seoul, ask them, and they can arrange it for you!
Another must-see place in Seoul is Gwangjang Food Market, which was our first outing after arriving at DHL. My husband, who is a huge fan of Korean cuisine, had seen Gwangjang on a cooking show and wanted to experience it for himself.
Wow! The sights, sounds, and smells of this market are intense! We tried many different foods, and got a real taste of Korea. Bibimbap, kimchee and seafood pancakes, cucumber kimchee, and the delicious soups were full of flavor.
Search for Gwangjang on Youtube, and you will get a view of this incredible spot.
We also visited another famous area in Seoul called Dongdaemun Market. This area of 26 malls and 30,000 shops is open 24 hours/day. Many of the vendors offer wholesale prices, so if you are in the market for clothes, shoes, kitschy gifts, household items, or practically anything else you can think of, then Dongdaemun Market is for you!
If you’re a war buff, the War Memorial of Korea is a must-see. It is full of military equipment and weapons from the Korean War. The exhibits are also in English, and the entire museum is easy to navigate. Go there to understand the war that took nearly 40,000 American lives and left more than 100,000 wounded.
The city has so much to offer, but it has four distinct seasons, so your options vary according to the weather. The best time to visit Seoul depends on what you want to experience while you’re there!
Getting to Dragon Hill Lodge
DHL has comprehensive information on their website that explains several ways to get there.
We arrived at Seoul Incheon Airport. We purchased tickets for an airport limousine bus, which cost 28,000 won (about $25) and took approximately 80 minutes. It stopped at several hotels in Seoul before dropping us at the Crown Hotel, the closest stop to DHL.
From there, we took a short cab ride for less than $5 to DHL.
As described on the DHL website, you can also take an AAFES taxi all the way from the airport, but it will run you about $65.
For local travel within Seoul, cabs are very inexpensive. A taxi from DHL to one of the neighborhoods surrounding the base is generally $5 or less. In our experience, most drivers spoke English and knew where Yongsan was located.
Pro tip: have the DHL staff write in Korean the name of the base and hotel on a piece of paper. Show this to the taxi driver when you get in the cab, just in case.
Ready for a Trip to Seoul?
Staying at Dragon Hill Lodge makes a trip to Seoul easy, affordable, and fun for military travelers! Use the benefits you earned to enjoy a stay at one of the premier AFRC destinations and experience the sights, sounds, and tastes of South Korea!