Ximending 西門町, Taipei’s answer to Tokyo’s Harajuku district, is a maze of streetwear shops, hawker stalls pandering to more modern tastes, and gimmicky hotels that come by the dozen. It also happens to be the heart of the city, giving you access to all there is to do and see in Taipei. You can travel to the farthest reaches of the city in under 30 minutes by subway. With all the accommodations there is to choose from, the coolest dig of the crop happened to be VIA Hotel Ximen (17號 Section 1, Lane 114, Zhonghua Road, Wanhua District, Taipei City, Taiwan), an unassuming boutique hotel around the corner from the Ximending Starbucks. We ended up loving the property so much that we decided to extend our two day stay to three days! If low-key luxury chic is your thing, this space is the very definition of sophistication without any accompanying pretentiousness.
How to get there from the airport: Take the newly-opened Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport Access MRT or the Airport MRT for short to Taipei Main Station. Transfer to the Blue Line to Dinggu and get off at Ximen Stop. Take Exit M6 and walk straight past the massive H&M to the square. Turn left. You will see the Starbucks across from the UNIQLO a block ahead. Make a left down the alleyway before the Starbucks. You will see the VIA Hotel Ximen sign to your right about 100 meters down.
- Free self-service laundry on the 5th floor
- 24-hour cafe on site
- Complimentary bottles of mineral water, coffee, tea
- Japanese Style bathtub with bath salts
- Daily cleaning service
- Amenities cabinet at the lobby and also rentals such as: mobile wifi, chargers, cable lines, HDMI cords, umbrella, stationery, luggage scale, emergency kit, iron, baby tub, baby bed, washing powder
- High-speed wifi
- Central location
- Sealy posturepedic mattress
- Personal care kit
- Ticket service and tours
The one reason why we chose the Deluxe Double Room instead of the Standard Double Room is because of the Japanese soak bath! If you’re not a fan of bathtubs, opt for the Standard Room, which comes with a stand-up shower, but my full endorsements come with the Deluxe Double. A Japanese-style soak tub are the rectangular baths you see at onsens (Japanese hot springs.) It was practically the same bath tub that was in our private room at Villa 32, a hot spring hotel you can rent by the hour at Xinbeitou Hot Springs. The tub comes with bath salts that are replenished daily, as well as an in-tub ledge for ample chilling. I’ve never seen one of these before in any room before including 5-star hotel properties. The two other hotels we visited on our Taipei trip didn’t have the bathroom space as its own room but this one did, separating the bathing/toilet area from the bedroom. As much as I loved NYS Loft Hotel, our bed was right next to the toilet, separated only by a cold glass wall.
The other thing that were amazing about this room was the space! The room was 23 square meters, which is larger than average in Taipei. It’s true value for your money. It was big enough to accommodate a queen-sized bed and a single-seat recliner and ottoman set. The recliner came with an electric massage seat cushion that sure did the trick after long days of sightseeing. They also have open-space wardrobes sequestered in the corner to free up space in the room but our long coats would spill down onto the desk and there were only two hangers. I kind of like unpacking my clothes when traveling so they don’t crumple so not having a traditional wardrobe was a bit annoying. One thing had trouble with was adjusting the room temperature as I always felt too cold, but it seems like heaters are not really a fixture in hotel rooms in Taipei. There was a dehumidifier in the room, helping to make the room a little less stuffy especially since there are no windows save for a small one in the bathroom. There is also a personal safe and a small refrigerator that never grumbles so I totally forgot it was there but it’s sizeable just in case you need to keep things cool. The desktop area is not meager and you can easily get work done with the ample room. I like wide desk areas because it doubles as more counter space for me to spread out all my gadgets. To take the guesswork out of what facilities are offered, there is a binder with a list of all the amenities on the desk. And thee wifi at this property never drops out so if you’re looking to do some heavy downloading/uploading, you never need to worry about connectivity! It was flawless!
The type of room styles to choose from include:
- Single Room (for 1 person)
- Economy/Standard/Double Deluxe Room (for 2 people – 1 bed)
- Standard/Delux Twin Room (for 2 people – 2 beds)
- Triple Room (for 3 people)
- Quadruple Room (for 4 people)
LOW-KEY LUXURY CHIC
VIA Hotel Ximen is one of four VIA Hotel branches, the others being: Loft, Zhongxiao, and Taipei Main Station. Don’t be deceived by the plain entrance way lined by kitschy clothing stores. Take an elevator to the second floor and you’ll be greeted by a well-lit lobby that doubles as a round-the-clock cafe with a snack bar at the far end of the room. The large windows help to open up the area, creating the illusion of more space. You’ll find a refurbished library catalog to the right of the elevator that has a number of amenities like dental floss and earbuds (just in case you forgot yours,) as well as a public computer and a stack of magazines and travel brochures to help you with trip planning. The lobby is vibrant and provides an air of coziness without being too drab, the bright accents striking a fun balance with the consistent monochromatic color scheme.
WATCH A VIDEO FOR A PERSONAL TOUR OF VIA HOTEL XIMEN!
There is 24-hour snack bar behind the reception counter. There, you’ll find pastries, cookies, crackers, and tea sandwiches to munch on and either coffee or tea that you can whip up either hot or cold. However, as we found out is the case in most Taipei hotels—FYI: we stayed at three different properties on our trip— breakfast in hotels isn’t the norm. Lucky for us, one of the best spots for a Chinese-style breakfast is right around the corner. Yong He Dou Jiang Da Wang 永和豆漿大王 (No. 30 Hankou Street) is a five-minute walk around the block. This is a well-known franchise with outlets all around town, specializing in dou jiang, freshly brewed soy milk, and a number of carby entrees that you can easily eat in the shop or take on the go. My favorite is dan bing, a crepe slash burrito with the consistency of scrambled eggs. The shop only has four tables so a sit-down meal is more of a lucky break around breakfast time.
The staff is small so you’ll find the same friendly faces assisting you day in and day out. In just three days’ time, Tim and I got very close with one of the managers, Stella, who invited us out for Taiwanese hot pot just around the corner of the hotel. It was one of the highlights of our trip! There is no request too great that you won’t be accommodated. They stored our bags for a whole day since our checkout was at 12 p.m. and our flight wasn’t leaving until later that night. But going above and beyond what was required, because we visited during Chinese New Year, there was a fear that all the bus seats would be prebooked to the airport. So Stella tried to pre-book our seats for the bus and when she found out the function was unavailable online, she went with me to the actual bus station after her shift! Talk about Taiwanese hospitality!
Check-In: 3 PM. Check-out: 12 PM.
Deluxe double rooms starting at $71.22 per night. BOOK HERE.
DISCLAIMER: My stay was courtesy of VIA Hotel Ximen. As always, all opinions and graphics are my own, unless otherwise stated.
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