During this past Christmas break, Seoul instituted a ban on private gatherings of five or more people. Korea has been dealing with another wave of outbreaks this winter. While we have appreciated Korea’s overall response to the pandemic, for better or worse these restrictions have proven to be a bit isolating to this family of four.
During a recent trip to see the Christmas lights at Garden of the Morning Calm, I saw a huge sign on the side of a building that said “Mango Kids Pool Villa.” Out of curiosity and with a possible trip in mind, I checked out their website and Leah and I decided to give them a try.
Mango Kids Pool Villa is about a 5–10 minute drive from the Garden of the Morning Calm in Gapyeong-gun. Over the last couple of years, we have grown to love the Gapyeong area as there is much to do and it is only about a 1.5–2 hour trip outside of Seoul.
We stayed in Villa C, which is one of the more basic villas.
The main living area had all sorts of toy sets, costumes, and things to jump and climb on.
There was a tiny room the girls called the “clubhouse” at the top of the padded stairs. The orange door below led to a 노래방 (no-rae-bang) or “karaoke room” complete with a disco ball and thousands of songs to choose from in Korean and English. This doubled as a bedroom for the girls in the evenings. We brought a Pack-n-Play for our almost 2-year-old, and the almost 4-year-old slept on a yo (Korean floor mattress).
The pool section was great for our young girls. It was heated and was a decent depth to wade around in.
Though not thoroughly ventilated and a bit humid, the girls loved playing in the water, going down the slide, and the “rainbow’ and “donut” floaties. They also included life jackets. Only one was the right size for our girls, but the floaties worked great since we were in the pool with them.
The bathroom was no-frills and a standard “shower on a floor” seen in many apartments in Korea. The bathroom did have a kid-sized toilet, high quality kids’ soap, and full sized towels!
The master bedroom included a queen size bed, an adjoining twin size bed, and a monstrous tv.
We were most impressed by how this hotel thought of everything for families with children. The kitchen came with all of the kids dishes and utensils guests could need, two Trip-Trapp style high chairs, and a Nespresso machine for the tired and weary parent. They also had bottle-cleaning supplies, pots & pans, and a basket of breakfast delivered to your door the night before.
If you choose, you can also pay an additional small fee to use the BBQ feature on the kitchen table and cook your own meat.
So we could maximize time with the play equipment, I picked up pizzas and ice cream in a nearby town and we ate dinner in. (There is not much in the direct area outside of Korean bbq… it’s best to bring your own food and snacks unless you want to drive 20 minutes to a restaurant.)
This hotel does not skimp on quality of supplies and preparation. Most of the toys are HAPE brand and had no missing pieces, stains, or damage. We did not feel worried about cleanliness as everything from the toys, appliances, and play equipment appeared to be regularly cleaned and sanitized.
Overall Review and Cost:
It is obvious the owners of Mango Kids have put much time and intentionality into preparing a comfortable and exciting space for families. In addition to all of the supplies in the room, the villas also have a store in the office where you can borrow board games and buy supplies (including swim diapers). The facilities and toys are well maintained and cleaned regularly. While the price is rather steep (>500,000 KRW a night), the rooms are well supplied for a stress free visit, allowing parents and kids alike to enjoy the amenities. It also seems there are many more options available during the summer, including outdoor train rides, electric car rentals, and porches/decks with a bbq on some of the villas. I highly recommend this hotel for the occasional fun family trip.
To book a pool villa, you may go to the Mango Kids website or you can call them directly (010‑8899-9059) after browsing through the different room options. There are staff members who speak English if needed. One booking tip that I’ve found on Korean hotel websites is to go to the 실시간예약 or “real-time reservation” page and you can see which rooms are available on your desired dates.