"Recommend me a good hotel in Taipei"
"Got cheap hotel near Ximending?"
I've been to Taipei on leisure trips for 11 times over the past few years, and these are some of the common questions that people often ask me. For most of these travellers, it's their first time to Taiwan, and it can be a pretty awful experience if you happen to stay in a not-so-good hotel.
This blog post was last written in September 2014, and updated 2 years later in September 2016.
XimendingMy first time to Taiwan was with Hubby and we stayed at the highly-recommended Rainbow Hotel (note: it's not called Cai Hong hotel in Mandarin, but Chang Hong Hotel... losing our way in Taipei and having odd stares when we mentioned the hotel name is how we learn this). Read our experience at Rainbow
|Rainbow Hotel 長虹大飯店|
If you ask for my thoughts, skip Rainbow. While it's in the heart of Ximending and only 5 minutes walking distance away from Ximen MRT Station, Rainbow's rooms are tiny and old, and there's better hotels within Ximending, such as the newer Amba which is beside Eslite near the 'movie centre' of Ximending. Amba's slightly longer walking distance from Ximen MRT Station. You may want to check out daprayer's blog for the nicely taken photos of Amba
Personally for me, I like to stay in Ximending as it's always very lively even in the night time. I wouldn't be afraid to walk out to the 24 hour operating Watson's as there's usually some performance in the area in front of Watson's and Taipei is relatively safe and I haven't encountered any petty thefts etc before (even though the Taiwanese news are always scaring tourists with their exaggerated crime stories)
And I usually stay in Good9stay or its sister business inn which are located within business buildings. The rooms are relatively clean but at SGD 50 to 60+ per room, don't expect much. Simple amenities like toothbrush, toothpaste, use-for-everything shower foam etc are provided. There's hot and cold water dispenser in the common areas. And rooms come with relatively quick WIFI (I hate those places where you can only surf WIFI in the common areas, like our accommodation in Alishan and Jeju Island)
Taipei Main StationAnother area I like to stay is Taipei Main Station. For the budget travellers like Hubby and me, it makes perfect sense! Especially the proximity to Taipei Bus Station to ferry us from the city to the airport! Lots of good food places around and lots of cheap bargains at the underground malls (nice clothes and shoes from TWD 100 to 250, don't even need to travel to Shilin Night Market and Wufenpu, and don't need to brave the rain 'cos all sheltered somemore!)
We stayed in a backpacker's inn once, it was so cheap - only SGD 40+ per night (makes good $ sense to me as we were travelling all over Taiwan for 9 nights in that trip). But guess what? There's no elevators and we stayed at the darn 4th floor. Imagine lugging your heavy shopping bags and your tired self up the stairs every day at least twice a day. And not forgetting carrying our luggage down from the narrow stairs too. Luckily for me, Hubby was chivalrous and took over this demanding task (and of course, in exchange I let him maxed out our easycard for more Taiwanese fruity beers) Also, the room was so tiny, it could only squeeze in a (i think smaller-than-)queen size bed and hardly any walking area around. And the toilet was.. never mind. I'm not even going to give you the link to this inn!
One place that friends always recommend for Taipei Main Station is CityInn, which has a few branches in Taipei Main Station, as well as one within Ximending and one in Taichung. I haven't stayed there yet since I always have Good9stay which was more economical (about 2/3 of the price).
But in my last trip in July 2014, I made a very last minute trip. Signed the new employment offer and decided to fly to Taipei without Hubby the very next day... oh well, that happens when you are already super familiar with Taipei and you've been dying to go there for months (oh great, I'm starting to miss the tomato-based hotpot again!) And so my last min trip... I couldn't book Good9stay or its sister inn as they usually need 60-90 day advanced booking. So I decided to try my luck in Agoda and I scored a pretty good bargain!
Stayed at Cosmos Hotel near Taipei Main Station, beside MRT Exit M3 (where the airport bus will drop you off before it turns into the bus terminal). I absolutely loved that it was renovated a few years back and the room came with the perfect bathroom (haha! if you stayed at the places we stayed before in TW, you'll understand!!) - the big sink area to put my toiletries neatly, nice bathtub, and of course the 'Japanese Toilet' (what Hubby and I termed it) that comes with automated bidet function. See photos of my Cosmos Hotel Room 722 I took in the recent trip
|Cosmos Hotel 天成大飯店|
I've planned an upcoming short trip to Taipei in November 2016, and will be trying out CityInn 1 this time round. And the main reason why I chose CityInn this time round instead of Good9stay is its proximity to Taipei Bus Station (I can drag my luggage across the street to the bus station to take the airport bus). I've checked that the location for CityInn 1 is nearer to Xuchang Street where my favorite stores like Guangnan Wholesaler, Daiso, Uniqlo, H&M etc are located. If the weather is good and I'm not tight up for time, I may consider walking to Ximending which is about 15-20 minutes walk away (have tried walking there with Hubby in March 2016). Moreover, it's always good to try out new accommodations so that I have more hotel recommendations for my family and friends who are visiting Taipei.