- If you need to try a W Hotel in the city for the first time, this is a good choice
- Small but very comfortable rooms by W’s standard
- Great proximity to shopping areas at City Hall and Zhongxiao Road
- Full spa facilities, including jacuzzis, steam rooms, sauna and even a cold plunge pool
- Small pool surrounded by Kitchen Table and Woobar, not a fantastic location
- On-property signature restaurant serving up Chinese cuisine
Over the weekend that I was in Taipei, I took advantage of W Taipei’s Super Sunday special offer to bag another stay, in order to requalify for my SPG Gold next year.
A little more about the promotion: This is not listed on Starwood’s website, but instead have to found on W Taipei’s offer page itself. When I reserved, the going rate was about NT$5,800 for a night’s stay with breakfast, which is arguably one of the cheapest rate you can get a W hotel stay at. Definitely worth the splurge even if you are usually a budget traveller.
W Taipei is located at the City Hall station along the Taipei metro, in the same building as the Hankyu President departmental store.
The entrance of the hotel is a little hard to find though. If you are arriving from the metro station (a la budget traveller), you will have to get out of the mall and walk around it to get to the main entrance. Otherwise, there is a little side entrance from the mall to the hotel ground floor lobby, but this is only accessible during the mall hours.
W Taipei technically does not have its own building – it occupies a significant number of floors, including the top floor that houses the signature Yen restaurant and bar. The check-in desks, as well as Woobar, Dining Table and the WET pool are all located on the 8th floor.
The moment you arrive by foot or by car, the friendly front of house guests will offer to take your bags for you and send it straight to your room, while you head up to the lobby to handle your check-in.
As I was an SPG Gold member, I was upgraded to a room with a premium view – the Taipei 101. Note that the room is still a Wonderful Room, just that the Taipei 101 view comes at a higher price than those on the other side of the floor. The front desk also noted that my birthday was around the corner, and offered me a cake to be sent to my room at my preferred time. How thoughtful!
Upon entering the room, I realise this must be one of the smallest W rooms I’ve ever stayed in. The separation between the bed and the desk against the wall was nominal, and with a couch beside the window there was hardly any space to move around.
The décor remains consistent with the W theme, with its wacky designs and vibrant colours. The bathroom is an open concept one, with hints of Chinese elements such as the wooden stool and the bamboo ladder that serves as a towel rack.
One good thing I love about the room: there were plenty of bottled water around the room. I feel this is a small but often overlooked detail, so that drinking water is always within reach anywhere in the room. While some people argue that this leads to a higher wastage, but I feel that is the responsibility of the guest rather than the hotel to ensure minimal wastage.
There were its usual plethora of in-room merchandise and F&B creative packages (which I thought was clever marketing but incredibly annoying), but also several nice touches such as the white noise machine that aids with falling asleep. The bath came with the standard W amenities, including my all-time favourite lemon scented body wash.
After spending some time in the room, I went to check out the gym and the spa, both of which were incredibly delightful. The gym was spacious and well-equipped, and also has a separate room for classes. There were plenty of treadmills (although Taipei city is a great city to run in), as well as barbells and even a smith machine.
If you are living in Taiwan and have a lot of money to spare, the FIT gym is also opened for public membership at NT$150,000 (that’s right, 150 grand) a year. The membership comes with a free night’s stay at W Taipei, 5000 starpoints, a range of discounts, complimentary parking and other perks. There are also group and multi-year discounts as well, check them out here.
Over at the AWAY Spa, there was a full suite of spa facilities in the changing room, including two jacuzzi pools, a cool dip pool, a sauna and a steam room, which was a far cry from what W Bangkok offered.
Beyond that, what’s amazing is that there were even lounge chairs for guests to lie on, each complete with its own TV screen if they need a little entertainment.
The WET Pool is located on the 8th floor as well, right next to Woobar and adjacent to the WET bar. The pool is rather large by a city hotel standard, although it can look rather intimidating with deck chairs all around the pool, as well as the Kitchen Table and Woobar overlooking it as well.
During my stay, it was the WET Pool’s monthly pool party (happens every
As an SPG Gold member, the hotel also serves up complimentary cocktail hours at both Woobar and the Yen Bar on the top floor, from 5pm to 7pm daily. What’s available on the menu (which are the same at both venues) include prosecco, wines, housepour spirits and soft drinks.
Along with the drinks, Woobar also serves up free snacks for you to nibble on. However, I personally recommend heading up to the Yen Bar – I can’t describe the view enough, you just have to enjoy a drink while watching the sun goes down, a very pretty sight.
Next morning’s breakfast was at the Kitchen Table, serving up a good mix of local fare and the usual western breakfast offerings. One thing I always love about hotel breakfasts in Asia is the availability of Chinese staples, such as soup noodles or rice and soup.
Today, I had a bowl of cooked-to-order soup noodles with braised meat and shrimps, a good start to a cold morning. Other asian offerings such as dumplings and scallion pancakes were also on the table, which happen to be some of my favourite Taiwanese fares. What was disappointing though was that I could not find luroufan, or braised pork rice. I swear I saw someone in the restaurant having it, but I just couldn’t find it anywhere on the buffet line.
What was also interesting was the availability of ice cream for breakfast, which I gamely took. (Well, if you can have champagne for breakfast, I don’t see why you can’t have ice cream for breakfast too.) The ice cream proved to be disappointing on scooping, as it was half melted, so I took a bite and threw the rest away.
Overall, the breakfast was decent but I wouldn’t pay the door rate for the breakfast, as affordable options around the area can be found very easily since this is Taipei.
Even without the promotion, W Taipei turned out to be rather outstanding, packing a lot of punch into the floors that it occupies. The unobstructed view of Taipei 101 also makes it a premier choice for Taipei’s well-known year end countdown parties, given its first class view of the fireworks from the iconic building at the stroke of midnight. All in all, the great Taiwanese service, W design philosophy infused with local flair and premium location adds up to a memorable premium stay on your holiday in Taipei.