This is a big, quite new neo-Art Deco palace-type hotel right behind Hualien Harbor mainly catering to Japanese and Mainland Chinese tourists. It is not perfect - the bellboys are nice, but they do not help you with the luggage. Reception staff only occasionally speaks English. There is only an outside pool (plus a hot tub), and the inside sauna and basins were as much closed for maintenance as they were open. Noise level in the hotel is not low due to tourists with the habit to leave room doors open and use the hallways as common meeting grounds. Food is basically nice, but often it is cold, and not always of the best quality, although freshly-made items are always nice; breakfast is surely the weakest of the meals. The hotel is not in a location where you can just go out and shop, eat or anything.
Why then five stars? First of all, my room, a Japanese/Western one as it was called, essentially a Junior Suite, was really fantastic: Extremely well-designed, great furniture, excellently layouted. The window-side was Japanese with polished floor, low table with four pillows, screens etc. The central part included a really good kingsized canopied bed. And the bathroom had a big bathtub with a large glass-wall window towards the room (yes yes, people are always complaining about it, but there is a roulleau).
But the highlight of the room was the just breathtaking view of the South Pacific, across the harbor (just at the whale watching point, too!) over the sea. As the room was on the 15th floor, that view could be cast really far. The ever-changing sea, the sunrises and sunsets (but especially the sunrises), the waves and currents and also the various boats and ships traveling across it were really beyond description and I never tired of it. The interior designer really knew this well, and so you could observe that panorama, of course, from the Japanese part - but also from the bed (nothing blocking the view; what a way to wake up) and even from the bathtub! More, the big mirror wall over the sink in the bathroom was so staggered with window etc. that even when brushing one's teeth, one would see the ocean.
And all this for a highly competitive price indeed! In fact, I had a package that added, to this very good rate, also vouchers for two dinners and everyday afternoon tea, in addition to breakfast. Afternoon tea looks very tame indeed, it is an extremely reduced buffet, but it includes two highlights: DIY waffles that always worked out great, and the chef, upon request, would make me a fresh club sandwich (sometimes with salmon), with wedgie fries. That, plus the breakfast, was basically enough to eat for a day. Wifi is free anyway and of high quality.
The room was so great that for one day or two, I reduced my outside activities (the leisure ones that is) because the best and most relaxing time was to be had in that room. What better recommendation for a hotel could there be?
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