Review: W Taipei

Introduction
The Qantas Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Cabin Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Wing Business Lounge Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Bridge Lounge Hong Kong
W Taipei
Plaza Premium Airport Experience Zone Taipei Taoyuan
Cathay Pacific 405 A330-300 Business Class Taipei to Hong Kong
Cathay Pacific The Arrival Lounge Hong Kong


While the Mandarin Oriental was a great choice in Taipei last time and came at a similar price point, I wanted to try something different this time round. One hotel I’d been dying to review was the W Taipei – while I’d stayed here before, it was before I started the blog, and I remember the experience being really “fun” in a nice way.

I was curious to know if the hotel would be as good under working standards, now that I’m spending 75% of my time in Taipei in a hotel room working. I know that universally W hotels aren’t amazing when it comes to design, so I was excited to give the W Taipei a revisit to see if my opinions changed at all after a second stay.

The exterior of the hotel is modern – it looks better at night, while looking rather industrial during the day, but it’s definitely easy to spot.

img_2497 W Taipei Exterior

img_2498W Taipei Exterior

The bellmen immediately helped us with our bags once we pulled in the entryway. The bellmen at this hotel are awesome – especially one of the Malay bellmen that we met in 2013, who spoke Cantonese and continued to banter with us over the course of our stay.

img_2267W Taipei Entryway

The W Taipei features a concierge area on the ground floor, and a separate reception area on the 20th floor. The ground floor area is quite nice, and features a few round couches and chairs that were nice for a short wait.

img_2268 W Taipei Concierge

img_2269 W Taipei Concierge

The actual concierge was helpful, and helped us keep important deliveries coming at inconvenient times, birthday cakes, etc.

img_2270 W Taipei Concierge

img_2272 W Taipei Concierge

There was a “moon beam ignite” festival going on due to our stay colliding with the mid-autumn festival. We didn’t attend, but it explained the huge pool of people hanging around the lobby on our first night.

img_2271W Taipei Concierge

We took one of the six lifts up to the 20th floor, and made our way to the reception for check-in. The check-in counter was rather muddled with our choice of rooms, and with the WiFi passwords corresponding to our last names she had a hard time figuring out the right combinations. It wasn’t a hard job, but it seemed like a hectic day so I won’t blame her.

img_2273W Taipei Lobby

img_2380W Taipei Lobby

As you can see from the below picture, the lobby was rather packed on our first night there during check-in, presumably due to what was the Moon Beam Light Festival.

img_2275W Taipei Lobby

We were eventually assigned rooms 2110, 2111, 2116 and 2117, the latter two of which belonged to our family. As for me, I was situated with my dad in room 2117, which was a Wonderful Twin room (not sure if “Wonderful” is supposed to be inferior to “Fabulous” or anything else, but okay).

img_2277
W Taipei Elevator Buttons

img_2320W Taipei Lift Lobby

The hallways at the hotel are rather futuristic – they’re softly toned and distinctly Taiwanese with hints of the borderline obnoxious red used in the lift lobby.

img_2278 W Taipei Hallways

img_2490 W Taipei Hallways

img_2494 W Taipei Hallways

img_2491 W Taipei Hallway Signage

Our room was located in a little partitioned area, presumably so the room would merge with suite 2118 as a two-bedroom suite.

img_2493 W Taipei Wonderful Twin Entrance

img_2492W Taipei Wonderful Twin Entrance

img_2281
W Taipei Floorplan

W Taipei
Check-in: Thursday, September 15, 2016
Room Type: Wonderful Room
Room Number: 2117
Stay duration: 3 nights
Check-out: Sunday, September 18, 2016

The room featured an entryway, which forked right into the rather open bathroom and forward into the rest of the room.

img_2280W Taipei Wonderful Room Entryway

The room was a decent size, though I still can’t get over how beautiful it was. The room featured two extremely comfortable W Beds, a chaise longue and a “normal” chair, a comfortable desk for working as well as a flatscreen TV.

img_2293 W Taipei Wonderful Room

img_2294 W Taipei Wonderful Room

img_2301 W Taipei Wonderful Room W Beds

The desk was well lit up, and was one of the better designed desks I’ve had at a hotel thus far.

img_2296 W Taipei Wonderful Room Desk

The desk also featured a plethora of helpful power ports which aided my convenience working during the stay (not really, as I ended up working near the chaise longue most of the time anyway).

img_2312W Taipei Wonderful Room Power Ports

The rest of the room was chocked full of universal power ports as well, so kudos to the hotel for that.

The flatscreen TV has a lot of TV channels, though it’s technically one of the features I find least important, as you can easily catch up on your devices if there’s WiFi (which, by the way, was free and fast at the hotel).

img_2297 W Taipei Wonderful Room Flatscreen TV

I particularly liked how comfortable the chaise longue was…though I felt like it was missing an ottoman of sorts. This was quickly rectified with a push away of the useless coffee table and a push-together of the two chairs, so I could rest my feet on the shorter chaise longue.

img_2303 W Taipei Wonderful Room Chaise Longue

img_2300W Taipei Wonderful Room Chairs

The finishing touches didn’t stop there. The bedside lamp also looked really nice, and to be honest I prefer this to an adjustable lamp, which usually only illuminates one part of whatever document you’re trying to read and thus isn’t very helpful.

img_2302W Taipei Wonderful Room Bedside Lamp

There was lots of free water available in the room, which I always appreciate.

img_2295W Taipei Wonderful Room Free Water

I liked the hotel’s marketing – a bottle of water labelled “Drink Up” had a rather insignificant price of 260 TWD (HK$63).

img_2489W Taipei Wonderful Room Water

There were also wine glasses by the wall, as well as (paid) bottles of wine and ice buckets.

img_2298W Taipei Wonderful Room Side Bar

Furthermore, there was wall art to add to the hotel’s modern touches, as if there weren’t already enough…

img_2304W Taipei Wonderful Room Wall Art

In addition to that, I liked the tree-style lamps by the window.

img_2305W Taipei Wonderful Room Lamps

And finally, speaking of the window, I really liked the views. The views overlooked Taipei and while they were obstructed, it sure made for cool time lapses.

img_2472W Taipei Wonderful Room View

img_2342W Taipei Wonderful Room View

img_2306W Taipei Wonderful Room View

There was signage telling us to close our drapes when renovation work was going outside, though I didn’t see any of that happening.

img_2471W Taipei Wonderful Room View Signage

The toilet consisted of a really open design – the shower was caved in, but you got a little bit of natural light from the sink area, which featured a sink and a closet. The toilet was separately enclosed.

img_2292 W Taipei Wonderful Room Bathroom

The toilet just felt “boxy”, but was aesthetically pleasing and ergonomic at the same time, so it’s something I’ve loved about the hotel and continue to really like.

img_2291 W Taipei Wonderful Room Bathroom Sink

There was also a rack for hanging towels. It didn’t look like it was heated, though, so that’s a missed opportunity there.

img_2309 W Taipei Wonderful Room Towel Rack

The separate bathroom featured a massive shower, as well as a separate tub.

img_2285 W Taipei Wonderful Room Bathroom Tub

I appreciated that the shower controls were on the other side so that I didn’t get showered with cold water every time the shower was turned on. I don’t usually have that gripe as that’s the way my shower works at home, but it sure is convenient.

img_2287 W Taipei Wonderful Room Shower Controls

img_2288W Taipei Wonderful Room Shower Controls

The shower featured a handheld shower and an overhead rainforest shower (not pictured), both of which had impressive water pressure.

img_2286 W Taipei Wonderful Room Shower Head

The separate enclosed shower featured a Japanese toilet which opened every time you got in the room, which caught me by surprise (especially when it randomly closed whenever I forgot to and was doing something else).

img_2282 W Taipei Wonderful Room Toilet

The toilet also featured lots of flush and bidet options which could rival a cockpit.

img_2283W Taipei Wonderful Room Toilet Controls

The entire bathroom featured Bliss amenities, which were, to be honest, rather subpar. They smelled meh and felt weird on the skin.

img_2290W Taipei Wonderful Room Bathroom Toiletries

The minibar was located in a fridge labelled “Surprise Me”, but I’m not sure I’m surprised – I mean, everything was paid, apart from the water.

img_2310 W Taipei Wonderful Room Minibar Signage

img_2314W Taipei Wonderful Room Minibar

I did like the packages where they put ground instant coffee in – it sure gave a Wham! to my mornings.

img_2307W Taipei Wonderful Room Coffee Signage

Lastly there was a white noise machine which had quite a few choices of sound. I don’t sleep with white noise, but I know some people do, so it was appreciated.

img_2340 W Taipei Wonderful Room White Noise Machine

The room also looked nice “turned down”,  even if it was just the wooden mattresses taken down. That’s mainly to say that the colour tones of the room didn’t rely on what was on the bed, which is always a good thing.

img_2507W Taipei Wonderful Room

I love when I’m doing something that helps the environment, so I love it when hotels have cards you can put on the bed if you want a new set of bedsheets.

img_2502W Taipei Wonderful Room Environmental Card

Overall, I loved the room, and despite spending copious amounts of time in the room I don’t think I ever got tired of it.

Another of my friends actually got an upgrade to a Fabulous Room at the hotel. Too bad they’d already unpacked when I went and snapped a few pictures, but hopefully you kind of get the idea.

img_2516 W Taipei Fabulous Room

img_2515 W Taipei Fabulous Room

img_2511 W Taipei Fabulous Room

img_2510 W Taipei Fabulous Room

img_2513 W Taipei Fabulous Room

img_2512 W Taipei Fabulous Room

img_2514W Taipei Fabulous Room

img_2517W Taipei Fabulous Room

As for the rest of the hotel, our package included breakfast at The Kitchen Table, what I remember to be a highlight of the hotel. The Kitchen Table is a gorgeous restaurant with lots of table seating, in many different varieties.

img_2318 W Taipei The Kitchen Table

The restaurant’s colours are really vibrant, which I really like.

img_2344 W Taipei The Kitchen Table

img_2345 W Taipei The Kitchen Table

The food spread is amazing – it’s extensive, and really high quality. The spread has a huge variety of sweet and savoury, and even has ice cream, which is saying enough.

img_2346 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2347 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2348 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2349 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2350 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2351 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2352 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2353 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2354 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2355 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2356 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2357 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2358 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2359 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2360 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2361 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

Two flavours of ice cream at a breakfast spread is already insane…what about ten flavours? I went insane with the ice cream, which was actually really, really good.

img_2362 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

There was also yoghurt and fruit…

img_2363 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2364 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2365 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

…as well as some freshly baked bread, including some nice garlic bread…

img_2366 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2367 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2368 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2369 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

…different types of cereal, in case one wasn’t enough…

img_2370 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

…different juices…

img_2371 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

…cold soba noodles and other Japanese selections…

img_2372 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

img_2373 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

…as well as an entire juicing bar, with quite a few fruits to choose from.

img_2374 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread

I was especially crazy about the chowan mushi and pancakes with their strawberry basil with a little dab of ricotta I added on top, which was orgasmically delicious.

img_2375 W Taipei The Kitchen Table Breakfast

Oh, did I forget about the carved char siu they have by the side?

img_2376W Taipei The Kitchen Table Food Spread Breakfast

Overall, the breakfast spread continues to be one of the most impressive aspects of the hotel. The service by the tables matched – everyone was friendly, helpful and greeted us each morning. The only rather underwhelming aspect was the guy working the juice bar, who seemed rather disorganised – but again, when there’s a juice bar to start with, I can’t complain.

Another impressive aspect of the hotel would be the “FIT” gym, which was technically only open from 7 AM to 10 PM, though I guess they got a few complaints, so I had no problem accessing the gym at 1 AM in the morning.

img_2321 W Taipei Gym

img_2322 W Taipei Gym

img_2323 W Taipei Gym

img_2337 W Taipei Gym

The gym featured extensive equipment, by far the best gym of any hotel I’d been to this year. There were many treadmills, elliptical machines, and also a range of machines and dumbbells. There was even a barbell for use, which was really useful and the first time I’d seen that a hotel.

img_2324 W Taipei Gym

img_2325 W Taipei Gym

img_2327 W Taipei Gym

img_2328 W Taipei Gym

img_2329 W Taipei Gym

img_2330 W Taipei Gym

img_2331 W Taipei Gym

img_2332 W Taipei Gym

img_2333 W Taipei Gym

img_2334 W Taipei Gym

img_2335 W Taipei Gym

There were bathrooms available, which were really nice and really appreciated.

img_2336 W Taipei Gym Bathroom

Bottled water, however, was only provided during the gym’s “open hours”. While that is kind of petty, the gym also sells Fiji water and Red Bull, so they have to lock up the fridge when no one’s looking after it. There was still water from a water cooler available 24/7, though, which I appreciated.

img_2338W Taipei Gym Drink Selection

If you need an energy boost and it’s 1 AM in the morning and you’re for some reason at the gym (like I was), there were apples. I’m guessing they were out all day, but if you really need something…

img_2339W Taipei Gym Free Apples

Service at the hotel was considerably better than our previous stay in 2013. The staff I all interacted with weren’t exactly polished, but very friendly. There was popcorn for us every night, which I really appreciated.

img_2473W Taipei Popcorn

There was a letter apologising that the WET pool and bar would be closed for the duration of our stay due to the typhoon that had just trampled Taipei before our stay (fun times, I know), which was well written for a generic guest letter.

img_2475
W Taipei WET Pool Closed Apology

Speaking of the pool, I did get a glimpse of it from the lobby bar, which looked like a good place to hang out in on a nice day.

img_2495W Taipei “WET” Pool

On one of the days we were staying, we went down for breakfast a little too late, so the entire Kitchen Table restaurant was packed. We were therefore invited to eat at the Lobby Bar, which was a comfortable, inviting space that seemed good for some drinks. The tables were a little low for breakfast, though it was technically peak season when we were there, so I’ll let the hotel slide for that.

img_2377 W Taipei Lobby Bar

img_2378 W Taipei Lobby Bar

img_2379W Taipei Lobby Bar

It was nice to be back in Taipei for a while, though for the most part due to how busy I was, I spent my time in the hotel room working. I didn’t mind that, however – I still got to visit the “highlight” of the trip, Shifen, and it was a pretty nice day that day. Whereas the days I stayed in were all gloomy and rainy. 🙂

Bottom Line

The W Taipei isn’t nearly as defined and luxurious as the Mandarin Oriental, but in a twisted way I kind of actually prefer this hotel. The beds are really comfortable with conveniently situated power ports, the gym is substantially bigger and the treadmills are easier to use, and the breakfast buffet beats that of the Mandarin Oriental Taipei. While the Mandarin Oriental is newer and thus more immaculate, and had slightly bigger entry level rooms, it’ll be hard for me to give up the vibe I felt at this hotel.

I’d return in a heartbeat, though I still would like to check out the other options at Taipei, such as the Grand Hyatt, which seems nice after its renovation.

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