This was a fantastic hotel and I would love to come again. Before I get into the review, two quick summary points:
1) It is excellent, you must stay here.
2) If so, book the hotel as a package from the hotel website – much better value. Read below.
I had read all the great reviews on TripAdvisor and was convinced about staying here. We were previously disappointed by Sun Moon Lake in Taiwan and trusted that this would be a more exclusive, tasteful and truly awe inspiring experience to appreciate nature in Taiwan. It did not disappoint. In fact, I wished we could have stayed an extra day.
The hotel is basically located within the park and in the middle of nowhere. With this in mind, everything you need to do is on the hotel property and if you don’t buy it as a package, you need to buy everything separately which would be very expensive. I was originally going to book via Bookings.com and the price for two nights would have been about the same as the hotel’s 2 Night and 3 Day package. The package includes, however: return shuttle transfer from airport or Hualien train station; 2 dinners; 2 breakfast; 2 lunch; 1 half day tour; 1000 TWD certificate for the spa. The food inclusion alone is worth it as the only other food options are some dodgy Chinese places at the end of the parking lot. Or, paying for the hotel food out of pocket – worth it, but expensive. Best way to book is to check out the hotel website and they are very responsive via email and didn’t take a deposit.
Another tip re planning and timing – go during the weekdays. 1) it is much quieter; 2) the prices are cheaper and the touristy spots/look out areas are not crowded. I hear it becomes a zoo over the weekend.
We were picked up from Hualien Train station, about 2 hours from Taipei or about 5 hours from Kaohsiung. You need to book the shuttle. The van was very comfortable and the driver (DiDi) was very professional and gave us a lot of confidence as we went to the hotel around curving, mountainous roads. The trip takes almost an hour and it takes a lot of time to go through the roads. I’d have to say that the infrastructure and quality of the roads is excellent but there is quite a bit of tourist traffic going up there.
On the way up, I had a great feeling we made a good choice from the views we were getting just from the van. We arrived at the property around dinner and were super impressed by the modern reception area and overall décor. It felt like arriving at a spa retreat. They did a great job renovating this building. Dark woods, plants, low level lighting, the smell of citronella, it was great.
The room was very good and overlooked the interior courtyard. Bed was very, very firm but we got a great night sleep. Washroom was oversized and while clearly the ‘original’ bathroom, it was very good. Décor was simple, lots of room, very good tv with English language choices, etc.
As part of the package, you can have dinner either in the Chinese restaurant (set tasting menu) or their western buffet. We had the western buffet twice and the Chinese set menu for lunch. The set menu was fantastic and just an endless amount of food – all terrific dishes. The western buffet was a real treat after weeks of Taiwanese street food. The food quality was excellent and ordering mains (beef short rib or fish) off the menu to accompany the buffet was a treat. Criticism about the buffet was that they were the same items each night and they were still really ‘asian’ despite being the ‘western’ buffet. All were fine and I really can’t fault it. Big array of salad greens and desserts as well. Breakfast buffet was really good as well.
Staff were professional and really terrific, special thanks to Zoe.
Day trips were organized like clockwork and a great way to see the highlights of the gorge. Day trips and full day trips really consisted of a lot of regimented, structured dropping on and off of the van to see the highlights of the gorge and then leaving. If we were staying longer, I would have liked to simply been dropped off and picked up hours later after doing an independent hike. However, not sure if the gorge is really doable like this – would inquire more next time. Half day trips are around 150 TWD if not part of the package.
Fantastic pool and three hot tubs. Great yoga studio and a decent gym with just some free weights, some aging resistance equipment and a couple of treadmills.
Do see the pagoda, temple, monastery site immediately beside the hotel by crossing the bridge. There was a lot there that I wasn’t expecting and easily doable independently as it’s right beside the hotel.
Overall, fantastic facilities and quality of experience. The staff were excellent and really made us feel at home. Spa facility was also great and we had two treatments.
Suggestion to management is to provide helmets for day tours around the gorge. Falling rock signs are throughout the gorge and I understand this to be a real risk. All other tour groups we encountered (bus loads of them) all had helmets and these are also provided for free by the park itself. I really enjoyed the gorge but often felt ill at ease with the threat of rock falls, especially as you could often see them scattered on the road itself.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Silks Place Taroko is part of the FIH Regent Group, under the Silks Hotel brand. Away from the city center, this mountainside hotel, located in Hualien County, is the only 5-star hotel within the Taroko National Park. Silks Place Taroko is designed with Modern Chinese style, combining Taroko's cultural and environmental characteristics, creating "elegant and sophisticated resort life style" with exclusive services. ... more less
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- Also Known As:
- Silks Place Taroko Hotel Hualien
- Grand Formosa Taroko Hualien
- Grand Formosa Taroko Hotel