April 20-23, 2016
I was Japan for a business trip when I had to head to Taiwan for some meetings and found out my office was close to the W Taipei (no complaints here).
I landed in Taipei on a cloudy Sunday in April from Tokyo (NRT). The city is about an hour away from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (TPE), and Taipei Songshan Airport (TSA) is much closer, but I found far more flights coming into TPE so opted for that instead.Jump to the Takeaway
Got to the W at around 4 pm as they were wrapping up what looked like a mini snack carnival in the lobby. I was too busy checking in to indulge in the cotton candy machine, and by the time I had wrapped up, all the stalls had packed up and cleared out!
The warm greeting I received at check-in was well worth it however. The front desk associate was friendly and thanked me for being an SPG member. After a pleasant exchange, the experience manager walked over to personally introduce himself and to let me know that he was available if I had any needs while I was on-site. He also saw to it that I was upgraded to a Cool Corner Room which I was thrilled about. He walked me to the elevators and let me know about all the upcoming events and hotel highlights.
Now, I’ve stayed in a Cool Corner Room before, but this one may just be my favorite room at a W property ever.
I entered the room through a short hallway (if that’s the right word?), and to my immediate right was one of two entrances to the bathroom – which was easily larger than my bedroom back in New York.
The hallway opens up to the sitting room and bedroom area – complimented by the natural light bursting in through the floor to ceiling windows. Just. Stunning.
The second entrance to the bathroom leads to the bedroom area. Loved the easy access to the bathroom through basically all parts of the room.
The bathroom was decked out with a tub and shower (always nice having options), garnished with the usual Bliss product lineup of products, and a few extras that I don’t always find at W hotels (lint roller, anyone?).
Having come in from Japan, I’d certainly had my fair share of high-tech toilets – toilets with bidet options, toilets with seat warmers, toilets that made white noise when you sat down to offer privacy. But admittedly none quite like this one – motion sensor toilet. The lid opened up for you WHEN YOU WALKED BY. I’ll admit I didn’t notice it right away (not sure how), but I was OBSESSED. Wished I could bring this gadget home with me. How did I ever walk half-awake to the toilet at night without the lid opening automatically? My life was forever changed.
And for those curious – here are the fun buttons you can tinker with in the toilet room.
Enough about the bathroom – the bedroom was incredibly comfortable, firm but soft pillows, spacious size, modern, sleek furniture, and the aesthetics were pleasing – everything I could have asked for in a hotel room.
The room had a great view of the city – it did not face Taipei 101 (though this is a quick 5 minute walk away), but I’m certainly not complaining. City views with mountains in the background? I’ll take it.
The property has Kitchen Table, a restaurant on the same floor as the lobby. The restaurant serves breakfast and dishes out meals throughout the day, but I didn’t have the chance to dine there as I was traveling with a colleague and we had opted to grab breakfast on our way to the office (in retrospect I would have much preferred to eat at the hotel). For those who paid for breakfast out of pocket, this would have run about $20 (USD – as are all prices noted) or so – not outrageous for a hotel breakfast buffet, but quite a hefty charge considering the cost of living in Taipei – I spent less buying lunch (and ordering too much food might I add) for my colleague and I later that day just to put things in perspective. That being said, I would have no doubt the spread would have been impressive. Will definitely have to try this on my next stay.
I did manage to grab a drink at the restaurant/bar upstairs – Yen. As we arrived at an odd hour (too late for lunch, too early for dinner), the menu was limited to drinks and appetizers (though from the signage I could tell they offered much more during meal time). The south side of the restaurant offers views of Taipei 101 – with nice private-ish seats for two lined against the wall. For two drinks and two appetizers my colleague and I spent around $30. Not terrible, but again, you will likely find something comparable (or better) elsewhere in Taipei.
On one of my late nights working at the hotel, I did opt to order room service instead of dining out. I typically try to avoid room service if I can help it, only because I know I could easily find something better if I tried, but it was 7:30pm and I was nowhere near done with work for the day. I ordered the fish dish and prepared myself to be underwhelmed. However, my meal arrived and i was pleasantly surprised – it was delicious! Soft, cooked just right, seasoned perfectly – and lots of it. I couldn’t quite finish my meal, and when the room service attendant came to collect my cart, she asked if everything was okay, as there were leftovers. Not sure how I hadn’t managed to inhale the whole plate to be honest, but I appreciated her concern. No, no, I assured her – the meal was fantastic, but I simply could not eat a piece of fish the size of three fists. The meal cost around $35, which, while pricey for Taipei standards, I think was well worth it for the quality of this dish, combined with consideration for the standard eye-popping mark up for room service. Would order again.
As I mentioned, the hotel is walking distance from the famed Taipei 101 tower, the world’s tallest tower from 2004-2009. The area otherwise, (from what I gathered in my brief stay) appeared to be mostly offices and malls. Malls were everywhere.
The hotel itself is connected to a mall – there’s an entrance on the first floor of the property that opens up right to the mall next door. The mall next door is connected by underground tunnel to the mall across the street. I didn’t get to do much exploring past that, but I can only imagine that the shopping centers are mostly (if not all) connected somehow, to allow for easy access, even when the weather isn’t agreeable.
In the (surprise!) mall across the street is Din Tai Fung location – a restaurant recommended to me by locals and tourists alike, known for their world-famous soup dumplings. The chain may have made its way to the United States, but it’s always worth stopping by where it all started. The location in Taipei 101 is busy round the clock, so visiting a less popular location will ensure a shorter wait.
In terms of public transportation, there is an MRT stop around the corner from the hotel (about a 3 minute walk), but Ubers are plentiful and cheap. If you’re traveling with at least one other person, Ubers may price out the same as taking the subway, if not cheaper.
Make a Green Choice Option: No
Pool: Yes (Open 24 hours a day)
Check In: 10/10 – friendly and polite
Elite Recognition: 10/10 – Booked a Wonderful Room, upgraded to Cool Corner Room. SPG recognition noted at check in, granted free WiFi and was able to select platinum amenity at check in
Room: 10/10 – Large and beautifully designed
In-Room Technology & Entertainment: 9/10 – Generally standard, but thoughtful placement of outlets, large TV, Free WiFi
Staff: 10/10 – Courteous, thoughtful
Location: 9/10 – Convenient location, near tourist spots, but area felt very corporate
On-Site Dining: 10/10 – Good quality food, excellent locations.
On-Site Amenities: 10/10 – 24 hour pool, pool-side bar, lobby bar, large gym, business center two restaurants on-site, free WiFi in lobby
Hospitality Services: 10/10 – Concierge is friendly and helpful. Lots of guest activities appeared to be going on during visit
Hotel Appearance: 10/10 – Modern, well designed
Overall Rating: 98/100 (98%) ★★★★★
All in all, a fantastic property, and one I hope to return to very soon, at least to take a dip in the pool, which is open 24 hours a day to hotel guests. If you’re visiting this property on holiday, don’t forget to pack a swim suit so you don’t miss out!