First of all, let you know about my background a little bit. When you read my review below, you would understand it better why I rate this hotel this way.
I am a Chinese, 65. I was born in Mainland China during WWW II and grew up in Taipei. At 22, I went to US for further education and have lived in US in the past 40 years. As a retired American Chinese, I travel abroad and go to Taipei visiting my elderly parents, 93 and 89, as often as I could. In the past, I always stayed at my parents' place, 10 minutes walking distance from this hotel.
Since 2006, my mom has been diagnosed as a mental patient of alzheimer disease. Dad has lost his hearing completely and his memory is going away slowly too. They are now under the care of my sister-in-law and live their life as simple as possible as their doctors had instructed.
In order to keep their simple life undisturbed, I decided to stay at this hotel during my recent visit (Oct. 29, 2008 to Nov. 6, 2008). Every day, I walked over to my folks' place to spend some time with them.
Before I left US, I have read others' reviews about the hotel and became unsure if I made a right choice. After a week staying at this hotel, I would like to share my pleasant experiences with you.
I rated this hotel as 'above average' for the following reasons:
1) Non-smoking environment in the entire building since 10-01-2007;
2) Quiet room - we were on the 11th floor and our room is backing to the alley. I asked for a quiet room when I checked in.
3) It is true that the hotel wall does not have the noise cancellation feature. We can hear clearly the noise of shower next door at night and people talking loudly. I did complain it to the front desk next day. Luckily, guests next door stayed for one night only. The front desk staff did assure us they would handle it properly if necessary.
4) Truly love the electric boiler & warmer(made by Japanese name brand, Zorjirushi). I have one at home just like that. Like many Chinese, I like to drink hot water as the first thing I do in the morning. This certainly makes me feel at home. Besides, the hotel provides 2 bottled water everyday in the refrigerator.
5) In addition to a small refrig., we have a safe kept in the closet and hair dryer in the bathroom. No iron nor iron board. But, we can ask for one if we do need it.
6) Fresh fruits like tangerines, apples or bananas provided every day
7) Room cleaning services everyday. No mildrew smell or smoking odor in the room
8) The mattress is firm enough for my back. A year ago, I had suffered a sciatica lasted for 6 months. So, I am very picky about the mattress I sleep on. Since I am happy with their mattress, I suppose it should be good enough for others.
9) For sun or rain, we can rent an umbrella for free. The umbrella is kind like golf umbrella, sturdy and big in size. The hotel does provide Internet access. Not sure if there is any fees, because I didn't use it. As for local telephones, they charge 3.00 NTD per minute. But, you can purchase a prepaid phone card at 7-Eleven convenient store and you pay 1.00 per minute. So, you have options to choose.
10) It has a good size swimming pool and jucuzi. There is an exercise room near-by. I didn't get a chance to use it.
11) Breakfast is included. The hotel does offer western style breakfast in another dining area. Since I love the breakfast in Chinese style, I have more than enough to choose from.
12) As for the front desk staff, they are courteous and responsive. I have no problems to deal with them. I do know they can speak English to somewhat degree. Since I can speak Chinese, I have no comment about their English command.
There are few drawbacks about the hotel.
1) No direct airport shuttle bus stop at this hotel. We took the shuttle bus (145.00 NTD) from the airport to its' sister hotel (high-end). Then, we took a taxi to this hotel (100.00 NTD). By the way, the taxi rate starts from 70.00 NTD and increments with the distance to go. Most of those taxi drivers are courteous and trustworthy. If arranged by the front desk going to the airport by taxi, it would cost you 1400.00 NTD. You might find your own taxi driver for less money. The rate between NTD and US was 1 USD equal to 32.90 NTD when we were there.
2) There is no subway station near-by. The closest one is about 15 -20 minutes in walking distance. You can purchase the so-called yo-yo card (good for subway and the city buses) at any Metro station. Front desk should help you with details.
If taking city buses, this hotel is one of the bus stops for many routes. Ask the front desk or check it out with the hotel brochure which lists bus numbers of those routes passing by the hotel several times a day. You should try the subway. It is very clean and very fast. It operates just like the one in DC. It takes you to almost anywhere in the city.
3) There are some mildew stains I found inside the shower wall. I find this same kind of negligence in 5 stars hotels throughout China too. Those stains should be very easily removed.
4) No luggage racks provided, although there are plenty of room space for it in our room.
By the way, we stayed at a room with two twin beds and a living room separated with a sliding door. Two separate AC control units (very quiet). 3500.00 NTD room rate per day. Comparing to hotels in US and CA, I think the fee is reasonable. Remember those bonuses I had mentioned above. This may not be the kind of hotel for younger couples, especially, if they are looking for a night life. It may be good for family with younger kids (use of the swimming pool) and retirees like me. I'll surely go back there when I visit my folks again.
It is inevitable to judge the hotel with our own personal experiences and our predetermined expectations. I had filled up the hotel suggestion sheet with those items I mentioned here as pluses and minuses.
Greatly Appreciate the hotel review web page gives me enough space to write a lengthy review which I have never done before.
Thanks for reading my review.
- Also Known As:
- Howard Civil Service International Hotel Taipei
- Howard International Hotel