We haven’t been doing a lot of adventuring lately. Between Ryan’s deployment, my busy season (which is almost done!), and living abroad while solo parenting, I just haven’t had it in me to navigate the Korean traffic or crowds without my copilot. I’ve definitely been in an emotional rut though lately, and I knew I needed to do something with the kiddos. I’d love to say we did a hike, but we’re saving those for when Daddy comes back. So, instead, we opted for a mini staycation at Dragon Hill Lodge in Seoul. And yes, it was exactly what we needed.
A Staycation at Dragon Hill Lodge in Yongsan, Seoul
If you’ve seen some of my recent posts, you might be thinking, “hey, didn’t you mention Dragon Hill just a couple weeks ago?” Yes! When my parents were heading back to the US from visiting us in South Korea, we stayed at Dragon Hill Lodge. While I knew they had a pool, I didn’t bring the kids’ swimsuits that trip, and they were so bummed. So, this time, I literally booked a staycation at Dragon Hill Lodge – just to swim with the kiddos.
I had zero other intentions. While exploring Seoul remains high on my South Korea bucket list, I wanted a weekend of rest and play; one where I didn’t have to worry about laundry, or dinner, or finding something to do. We literally went to Dragon Hill to swim…and we swam.
Dragon Hill Lodge Pool
Dragon Hill Lodge, affectionately known as the DHL to most military personnel OCONUS here, plays host to The Point Health Club, a proper gym complete with strength training, cardio machines, saunas, and yes, a pool. The pool is free for all Dragon Hill guests, and non-guests can pay a nominal fee to swim and use the pool/hot tub, as well.
So, yes, we literally paid to spend the night so we could swim for “free.” The pool hours go something like this:
- Monday-Friday: 12 PM – 8 PM
- Weekends/Holidays: 8 AM – 8 PM
We arrived at about 2 PM, and we spent the next three hours in the pool. The kids were actually in heaven. Spencer didn’t emerge except for the little 10-minute breaks each hour, and even then, he immediately got in the hot tub. Mieke floated around until her lips were blue. And Porter, bless his little heart, he tried so hard to swim, and his little blue face was so full of joy.
Dragon Hill Lodge Rates
Since Dragon Hill is an Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC), it’s designed to served military and their families. Located on Yongsan Garrison, which is closing, Dragon Hill is like a touch of the US in the middle of Seoul. Dragon Hill’s rates are based on rank and type of travel, so I simply booked at Ryan’s rate for leisure travel, which was honestly cheaper than most US hotels at this point.
What to Do at Dragon Hill Lodge
Honestly, we literally went there to swim. Our friends joined us for their first family trip up to Seoul but they, too, just planned to swim and enjoy a weekend away. We were literally back in the pool by 9:30 AM the next morning and, though Dragon Hill checkout time is at 12 PM, we extended it to 2 PM, and we swam right up until 12:30 PM.
We had dinner at Bentley’s Brew Pub, and we had a buffet breakfast at Greenstreet, two of Dragon Hill Lodge’s restaurants, and you would’ve thought it was the best meal the kids have ever eaten. I think it’s easy to overlook that kids sometimes just need their parents to be there and to be present. Nothing huge. Nothing elaborate. Just there. Relaxed, and happy. That’s what this weekend was all about for us.
What to Know About Staying at Dragon Hill Lodge
Address: Since Yongsan is closing, certain gates are no longer open. For service members and families, use the commissary gate, which is always open: Seoul Yongsan-gu Yongsan-dong 4(sa)-ga 19-2; for the actual Naver pin, use this – https://map.naver.com/v5/?c=14312405.7302462,4283547.1893234,15,0,0,0,dh; the gate for passes for non-DOD ID cardholders is directly across the street from this gate.
From the Hotel: The walk-in gate is right by Dragon Hill Lodge, and DOD ID cardholders can simply use the walk-in/walk-out gate, which leads directly to Seoul proper and right by the War Memorial of Korea.