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“Better than I had expected!”

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Howard Civil Service International House
Ranked #176 of 575 Hotels in Taipei
Certificate of Excellence
Michigan
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 27 helpful votes
“Better than I had expected!”
Reviewed November 8, 2008

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.

Double L

  • Liked — 10 minutes in walking distance to my parents' place
  • Disliked — mildrew stains on the shower wall
  • Stayed November 2008, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
21 Thank DoubleLane
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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121 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
  • Location
  • Rooms
  • Service
  • Value
  • Cleanliness
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Seattle
Level 5 Contributor
44 reviews
29 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 76 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2008

This was the hotel for participants in a conference organized by National Taiwan University, which right across the street. It was a pleasant, but unexceptional hotel.

Stayed October 2008
Helpful?
1 Thank Ysolde_voyages
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Augsburg, Germany
Level 3 Contributor
18 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
Reviewed June 22, 2008

We spent two nights at the Howard International in mid-June. On our way into Taipei, we had a couple of nights at the Delight, which I heartily recommend. Stayed here on our way out. It was fine, if unremarkable: the room was very large, suite-sized, if sparsely furnished (with a partner desk!) and the bathroom, though miniscule, came with helpful toiletries. Buffet breakfast was unremarkable, and all of us (traveling for work) had to wait until 3pm to be checked in as there were apparently never rooms ready at the time we arrived, which was sometime between 10 and noon over several days. Staff wasn't rude, but not helpful at all. Wheelchair accessibility is a prominent feature of the hotel and shouldn't be overlooked. Also, hotel is very close to Daan Park and not far from two universities, so the eating establishments in the area are varied, moderately priced and good.

  • Stayed June 2008
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank zuari
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Bergen aan Zee, The Netherlands
Level 3 Contributor
10 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed January 11, 2008

We stayed at the Howard International House in Taipei for 2 weeks, certainly long enough to form an opinion. We booked a wheelchair accessible room, and I was very happy with the accommodation and the attention to detail. The bathroom was exactly what we needed (roll in shower with chair, safety bars in shower and both sides of toilet, accessible sink, and hand-held shower head). A small thing that I appreciated and enjoyed was the daily newspaper, The Taiwan News, slipped under our door each morning. Breakfast offered a buffet selection of Western or Asian food, and the coffee was great! The few times we had dinner at the hotel a hearty buffet was offered and included a vegetarian section. The staff of the hotel were very professional, always helpful, and responded to any request quickly and efficiently. Housekeeping staff did an excellent job each day, and we always enjoyed coming "home" to a clean and tidy room (when we didn't always leave it that way).
We welcomed our Taiwanese family on several occasions, using the dining room or the small and cozy cafe looking out on a lush garden with fish pond. While we didn't use the swimming pool and sport facility, I toured them and found them clean and well managed. What I did use was the laundry facilities, and it was very convienent to be able to toss in a couple of loads of laundry one rainy evening!
Our two weeks at the Howard International House stretched over Christmas and New Year. The hotel was decorated nicely for the holidays, a small touch that meant a lot to folks like us who were away from home. The New Year firework display at the 101 building from the hotel's 14th floor balcony was a sight we'll always remember.
I would recommend the Howard House to anyone visiting Taipei, and I hope to return there one day, myself!

  • Liked — accessibility for wheelchair
  • Disliked — noise in the corridors (solved with earplugs).
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank khsinjungd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Rugby, United Kingdom
Level 2 Contributor
6 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 14 helpful votes
Reviewed February 25, 2007

When I'm on busness, there are really only three things i look for in a hotel:
1)Good shower
2)Good breakfast
3)Decent nights sleep

Thank God the shower worked.

As has been stated the sound proofing is substandard and noise from the adjoining rooms/hallways is unacceptable. I complained about the noise and was moved to a "quieter room" without much of an inprovement.

A colleague has stayed there recently and, on my advice, splashed out on a suite rather than a single room which ensured a decent nights sleep.

Breakfast is the same bland affair every morning but the evening buffet is much better and good value for money.
There is no bar at this hotel, there is a cafe which serves drinks but that closes at 10:30PM and as has been mentioned its a 15 minute walk to gongang but there are some cool cafe bars on the side streets near the hotel.

The staff were not rude in my experience but are not strong English speakers and the hotel while calling itself "international" is really set up to deal to cater for asian clientele.

On the plus side there's a laundromat in the basement which is cheep unlike other hotels in Taipei which have a more expensive laundry service.

So if you have a choice take my advice and stay elsewhere, either the Howard Plaza(expensive but much better) or the Leader (much cheeper)which is my prefered hotel in Taipei.

  • Liked — Evening buffet, laundromat, small pool
  • Disliked — sound proofing, distance from MRT stations, bland breakfast
  • Stayed February 2007, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank Master_Ohm
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
County Durham, UK
Level 4 Contributor
35 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2006

I am staying at this hotel for three nights while attending a conference. My advice is, briefly, find somewhere else if you can. The desk staff are remarkably unhelpful and unfriendly. The layout of the hotel is grim. The rooms are really, really tiny and are old and shabby. The noise insulation is dreadful, so that I can hear the televisions in adjacent rooms. The bathrooms are distinctly tired, and the breakfast is incredibly bland. My room had just one pillow - thanks very much - and lights that buzzed irritatingly.

UNfortunately, the hotel is not saved by its location (it is miles from anything, and 15 mins just to the MRT).

Overall, a very disappointing experience, and one that I would not commend. You can do so much better in Taipei (try the Caesar Park!)

  • Liked — The thought of leaving!
  • Disliked — The room!
  • Tips/Secrets — Just don't...
  • Stayed November 2006, traveled on business
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank DrDave2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Howard Civil Service International House

Property: Howard Civil Service International House
Address: No.30, Section 3, Hsinsheng South Road, Daan Dist, Taipei 106, Taiwan
Location: Taiwan > Taipei
Amenities:
Fitness Center with Gym / Workout Room Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
#69 Luxury Hotel in Taipei
#70 Business Hotel in Taipei
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — Howard Civil Service International House 5*
Number of rooms: 275
Also Known As:
Howard Civil Service International Hotel Taipei
Howard International Hotel

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