Stayed here for 2 nights to visit Taroko Gorge and surrounds. We arrived here following touchdown at Taoyuan International Airport. Connection from airport to Taipei Main Station (Taipei's main transport hub) was by bus costing only about NTD140 and from there we bought our tickets and we were then on our way to Hualien. At the Taipei Main Station, we got the tourist information counter to contact Parkview Hotel to organise for their shuttle bus service to pick us up which was complimentary. This is based on the arrival time of our train printed on our ticket. Note these trains' timetable is accessible on the web, and a driver holding up our name on a placard was waiting for us at the front entrance upon exiting the railway station at Hualien.
Check in was straightforward and room provided was spacious and comfortable. Harnn/Thann amenities were excellent in the bathroom. Towels slightly worn out on some of the edges, and shower pressure was adequate. Wifi in the room was complimentary and of good speed without hiccups. Daily complimentary pineapple cakes, water, roasted corn tea and an vitalised dissolvable capsule was provided free of charge. Views from our 15th floor room were pretty.
We had room service on a couple of occasions, but the food was very average, although service was quite prompt and if you order by the number on the menu, and simplified English, we did not have any problems. We were also not too pleased that the dinner tray we had left at the door entry was still there the next morning, 10 hours later was uncleared when we left for breakfast th next morning.
The hotel is built on fairly large grounds with an ourdoor green space, man made waterfall, youth activity centre including indoor rock climbing, pool tables, table tennis, indoor and ourdoor swimming pools, jacuzzi and a Harnn & Thann spa. All these are provided for in an adjacent complex connected to the towel. They also have a fairly large gift/souvenir shop with very well priced/cheap snacks and drinks, as well as small toy shop.
We had the opportunity to experience a massage treatment at the spa. As with most of the hotel, the staff had very little English capacity. However we had a nice treatment at a cost of NTD3200 per person. When we booked two treatments that was the same, we were offered a 5% discount. We chose the 120 mins Swedish massage, of which 30 mins is attributed to consultation, massage preparation and a shower usually before the massage, but we requested to have it after the massage. They provided face cleanser, toner and moisturiser for use within the massage room for use after the treatment. They have 1 dual treatment room that includes a bath tub and a chaise lounge inside. The other rooms are all single, and there are three rooms of such. The therapists were very experienced from the experience of the massage, firm touch, dimmed lighting as requested and light soothing music on the background. A full 90 mins massage was provided for and although not common across all spas, the 30 mins extra time definitely enhanced the take-your-time for the shower experience. This experience is similar to a Thann massage treatment that I had in Bangkok, where the shower and consultation time was included within the price of the treatment, if you are not aware, Harnn & Thann is a luxurious spa brand originating from Thailand made with Asian based essential oils and scents. The shop is the hotel complex sells the products but the spa is actually in the adjacent recreation complex on the 1st floor.
Given the presence of the Harnn and Thann brand and their amenities feature in the room, it would be nice if they utilised the brands to scent their lobby, corridors and common areas because the corridors by the rooms on our levels was a bit dank in scent. It would really lift the sensory experience if the hotel can be nicely scented like a lot of top hotels do these days.
Breakfast spread was mainly Asian-Chinese, with very limited Western options. For what Western options there were, they were not very appetising. They do have an egg station, however and the Chinese food options available was not bad, but nothing to wow about. It was a decent variety though. Duly noted was the provision of 'orange juice' but it really was orange cordial, and only another variety was provided, namely apple vinegar which I did not try. Coffee was served through a machine which seemed popular but I did not use it. Several cereal options were available, but they seem like high glycemic index type cereals. Despite that, I feel that if you don't mind an Asian breakfast, some of the options available are quite good.
They have 3 restaurants in the hotel, the main restaurant where breakfast is served and otherwise provides lunch and dinner buffets, a Japanese and Chinese restaurant. The Chinese and Japanese restaurants appear to serve an all-you-can eat option, with the Japanese option, it seems like shabu-shabu (Japanese hot pot) is the main course, and you can have as much as you like, and as for the Chinese restaurant, you order off the menu, as much as you like, successively. That appeared to be what was on offer, both nights that we were there. We ate at the Chinese restaurant, and the ala carte all you can eat had an excellent selection of food from cold to hot dishes, appetisers to mains, and desserts, including dim sum, rice and noodle dishes. The taste and quality of the food was quite good too, and all for a very reasonable NTD335 per person including taxes. We had roast duck, abalone, fish, tofu, noodles, steamed dim sums amongst others, and so it was excellent value. Again, staff had minimal English capacity.
I found customer service in the hotel to be excellent, if you get through the barriers of language. I can speak a bit of mandarin and that went a long way due to the limits of the staff's English. When they understand you, their customer service is almost impeccable. You can experience it first hand, from the wonderful bell staff that was ever ready to assist, energetic and generous with their greetings and smiles. As for reception staff, they were very prompt and forthcoming with assistance once they know what you are after. For example, one of their receptionists, Sean, that I thought was so switched on that I felt the service was above and beyond expectation. I requested that he help me organise a hotel pick up at my next destination, as well as cancel a hotel booking. With the hotel pick up request, not only did he organised, he found out for me what to expect at arrival, where to go, the car number plate and means of payment I.e. directly to the driver as oppose to the hotel. As for the hotel cancellation, the contact number I had was reportedly disconnected and he looked it up for me without prompting and contacted the hotel and organised a refund for me direct to my credit card. I was very impressed.
Overall I had a very comfortable stay, impressed with the level of customer service, above and beyond expectation and better than a lot of 5 star hotels, genuine hospitality that was warm and welcoming. The room was clean, comfortable and the Harnn & Thann amenities luxurious. It would have been nice if the hotel were slightly scented in the common areas, more English spoken by staff, more Western options in breakfast, or at least for what Western options that they already have, the appearance spruced up to appear more appetising would help, as well as the improvement in room service and tray collection thereafter.
I think this hotel is on the top of the list for consideration if you are to stay in Hualien. Note that the hotel is not in the centre of town but easy enough to catch a taxi anywhere and back. The hotel can assist with organising a private taxi to take you about for NTD2000/four hours or you can joint a group organised tour for less.
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- Also Known As:
- Parkview Hotel Hualien