Gapyeong Kids Pool Villa in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do

Gapyeong Kids Pool Villa in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do

by Diana Lee
haps Magazine Korea

Korea constructed its very first pool villa (luxury accommodations with an indoor swimming pool reminiscent of resorts in Southeast Asia) on Jeju Island in 2009.

Since then, the market has exploded with numerous variations catering to all types of travelers. There are “pool villas” specific to people with dogs, with views of the sea, views of mountains, spring water pool villas, standalone villas, luxury, budget, those made for kids and so much more.

This is Korea’s answer to a domestic resort vacation and we chose a kids’ pool villa located about a 2-hour drive from Seoul.

Deep in the mountainous region of Gapyeong, Gyeonggi-do province, you’ll see apple orchards and country homes on the drive up. You will also notice the sheer number of villas, pensions, hotels, and lodgings for rent along the way.

The reasons we chose this particular accommodation were the proximity to Seoul, the price point (being on average more budget-friendly for the amenities offered than those by the ocean), and the eye-pleasing interiors (some kid-friendly villas seem to think using as many primary colors as possible is a design feature).

We had a week’s holiday but the room we wanted for the duration was already booked so we room-hopped our stay and were able to get a good sense of what this place had to offer.

Tour Gapyeong Kids Pool Villa is a 3-story building which was a surprise because, from the pictures of the spacious interiors, we expected a detached house. Each floor is a story and a half, placing bedrooms upstairs with a ceiling at a lower-than-normal height and opening up the main floor to vaulted ceilings. All bedrooms are furnished with extra-large “family beds” consisting of two King sized mattresses.

ROOM 301
We began our stay on the 3rd floor, also called the Standard Studio. This was one large room with two family beds in the living area facing a jungle gym. There is a large kitchen in the corner where the bar table is equipped with two indoor grills. The pool faces the kitchen and living area with a small seating area in front but is enclosed on all sides so you’ll have to get in or be close by to watch the kids when swimming.

Due to unforeseen circumstances, my grandparents decided to change the days they’d be coming and joined our family of 4 in this room. Even though the number of beds was generous enough for their stay, the lack of privacy made it feel a bit crowded. No bedrooms and 1 bathroom.

The kids were excited to see the jungle gym but didn’t use it as much as hoped creating doubts about the 2+ hr drive to get there. The swimming pool is very large for toddlers — it’s actually long enough to do some laps! We didn’t request heated water as we were only staying for one night and the kids complained it was cold, but I think it’s because we didn’t get in with them to play as it felt lukewarm to the touch.

The play area has a toy kitchen and other small toys but the arcade gaming machine was the draw of the night. This unit is the only one to have a large patio area. It was too cold to eat outside but we enjoyed a cup of coffee in the morning and there were small riding and inflatable toys for the kids to play with.

ROOM 201
This is the star attraction of this resort and the main reason we chose this location. It definitely has a wow factor as soon as you walk in and you see the big blue and white slide. This room accommodates up to 12 people and it was definitely generous enough for our family with 2 toddlers and the grandparents. There are two bedrooms upstairs with two family beds each as well as a more conventional bedroom with a Queen sized bed on the main floor.

The entire second floor is this one apartment and you can feel the spaciousness, especially with the vaulted ceiling and the tall windows facing the mountains. The jungle gym takes up a large area and leads up to the bedrooms. The slide also leads upstairs to a second play area with a toy kitchen and other small toys. This play area also separates the bedrooms upstairs and allows for more privacy.

The pool is the same length as in 301 and also fully enclosed so the kids can splash to their hearts’ content. There is a patio set right by the pool to watch the kids swimming.

The kitchen is open to the living area and also equipped with two grills. We did pay the premium to use them as we had bought some meat to grill for Korean BBQ at the grocery store.

This time, with the adults in the pool, the kids enjoyed the pool much more. We again didn’t opt to have heated water and because of all the windows facing the sun, found the water a bit colder than lukewarm but once we started swimming, it was just fine.

Although the arcade games were still a draw, the kids got into the jungle gym much more because it led upstairs. It was charming to see them sliding down the slide from bed to breakfast every morning.

ROOM 102
There are two units on the first floor but unlike the third floor, the bedrooms are located upstairs. So although it is much smaller compared to 201, it still felt larger than 301 with a separate living room.

We thought this room was the perfect fit for our small family; It still had a 2-level jungle gym leading upstairs to the bedrooms but was small enough to feel cozy. There are two bedrooms and two bathrooms.

The pool is by far the smallest, but still big enough for toddlers to enjoy. It’s a square shape rather than a long rectangle.

The kitchen faced the living area but has an awkward step leading up to the dining table and the seating is cramped. The kitchen counter is smaller and the overall configuration much tighter.

By the end of our stay, the kids had finally tired of the arcade machine and spent most of their time in the jungle gym and play area.

We didn’t pay to use the indoor grill as we’d found a fabulous Hanu restaurant and weren’t eating in much by this point.

One caveat with booking a pool villa is the possible extra costs associated with using BBQ grills and requesting heated water for the swimming pool. We went in early October and found heated water unnecessary but if you do want it, make sure to ask them in advance so it’s ready when you arrive.

The only thing we would have wished for was that all these marvels of amenities were offered in detached housing. If you stay on the first floor, be prepared to hear thumping from the upper floors well into the night.

Kid’s pool villas are like private amusement parks for kids! We found city life with toddlers either in apartments or hotels to be challenging because of the noise. We were constantly needing to caution them not to jump or to quiet their excited little shrieks and coming here was a true vacation from all that.

Search for pool villas in Korea because there is sure to be one near you, they’re located all over the country. They can get very pricey, but be on the lookout for sales or promotions, or if you can, go during weekdays (you’ll also save driving through heavy traffic!). It also helps if you have a Korean phone number so you can easily call to confirm your booking or to make requests.

Tour Gapyeong Kids Pool Villa

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