[Hotel Review] – Humble House (Premier Room), Taipei, Taiwan (4 – 7 Nov 16)

Location

Humble House Taipei is located in Shin Kong Mitsukoshi (新光三越in Xin Yi area (信義區). In fact the mega shopping mall that spreads across a few buildings in the area is just below the hotel, pampering guests with shopping options. Taipei 101 is jut right across the hotel, within five mins walk. There are two MRT stations (from two different lines) nearby the hotel. The closest is the Taipei City Hall Station (市政府站) which is a mere three mins walk away, while the Taipei 101/World Trade Centre Station (台北101/世貿站) is a good eight mins walk from the hotel. From the stations, one can easily get to anywhere in Taipei City via the efficient MRT system. Despite the centralised location, there isn’t any 24-hour convenient shops nor fastfood chains nearby the hotel.
Hotel Signage
Facade of Hotel

The Room

I checked into the Premier Room of the hotel. The design of the 36m Sq Room is very well laid out. The room can be segregated into three main areas, namely the closet area, bedroom and the bathroom. The layout of the contemporary room makes it feel spacious. The clever use of full length mirror, makes the room look even more spacious.

Closet Area

The Closet Area is what one would see when entering the room, stretching the entire width of the room. A wooden theme spreads out the entire area. To the left of the entrance is where one can find the minibar area, housed in a generous cabinet that does not occupy too much space. A Nespresso machine complete with two capsules replenished daily and electric kettle are placed on the countertop of the three-panel cabinet. A small fridge is well hidden in one of the three panels. Cups and wine glasses are also stowed neatly in the other two panels. The closet area is to the right from the entrance of the door to the room. This area, separated by a false wall, doubles up as a walk-in closet (there are door panels to the wardrobes). At the end of the area is a powder table, complete with a chair, for female guests to put on their make-ups. There are two large sized wardrobes in this area, one with drawers and the in-room safe. There are no lack of wardrobe space in this room, capable of taking up weeks of clothing. I find this space very practical and gave me a sense of extra space in the entire room.
Minibar area beside the main entrance to the room
A small fridge is well tucked into one of the cabinets in the minibar area. All contents inside this fridge are chargeable
Wooden based closet area with a powder counter at the end of the corridor
First of the two panels of wardrobe. There are lots of room for guests to hang their clothing
Second panel of the wardrobe. The in-room safe is located here on top of a three-tiered drawer

Bedroom

Pass the false wall, one would find themselves in the bedroom. Entering the bedroom, a large window panel is what caught my eyes. This panel, allowing sufficient light into the room, does make the room look spacious. The blinds to this window is controlled electronically. There is a work desk placed right in front of the window, with a panel comprising of two international power outlets as well as connections to the TV. To the right of the entrance to the bedroom, one can find a large King bed, with bedside tables on either side of the bed. The king bed is very comfortable to sleep, provided me with excellent sleep quality. There is a 2 seater couch placed at the far end of the bedroom, in front of the LED TV. I do find the placing of the TV a tad odd. Most hotels would have the TV placed right smack centre facing the bed, however the TV in the Premier Room in Humble House Taipei is placed to the right side, occupying the wall space to one side of the room. This makes watching TV for guests sleeping on the side nearer to the entrance of the room a tad hard. Perhaps Humble House Taipei compromised the placement of the TV for the large window panel, which is fine by me. The lighting in the bedroom (especially at night) feels very cosy and comfortable, which helped to promote better sleep quality.
Work desk in front of the large window panel, which allowed natural light into the Premier Room  in Humble House Taipei. This is one of the reasons why the room feels spacious
View from the window. The room I was allocated faces an office building
Multi media plugs that connects to the TV and a couple of international power outlets can be found on the work desk
View of the bedroom. The King bed is large and provided me with excellent quality of sleep
A two-seater couch tucked in the far end of the room, which is functional and yet not taking unnecessary space in the Premier Room in Humble House Taipei
40″ LED Sony TV in the room. The placement of the TV is off centre from the bed, but it faces the couch directly
Control panel for lightings and the blinds is located on one of the bedside tables, together with one of three phones in the room

Bathroom

The Bathroom in the Premier Room in Humble Hotel Taipei is large! It is separated from the bedroom by a large two panel sliding doors, with floor to ceiling mirrors on both sides of the door. From the entrance of the bathroom, to the right is where the bathtub is located, placed in front of a large window panel. Again with the same concept with the bedroom, the clever use of large window panel by Humble House Taipei makes the confined space feels spacious. The blinds to this window is also controlled electronically as with that in the bedroom. Facing the entrance to the bathroom, next to the bathtub is where one can find the sink area. The single sink countertop has heaps of space for guests to put their extra toiletries. I like the way Humble House Taipei placed additional toilet amenities. These amenities such as toothbrushes, razors, shower caps, etc. are neatly arranged in a drawer at the sink area. Next to the sink area is where one can find the toilet. The toilet is fully automatic, with a touch of a button on the control panel placed on the wall next to the toilet bowl, the lid is being lifted. The toilet seat is also warmed, guests do not have to sit on a cold toilet seat every time they use the toilet. The toilet also has washlet features. Next to the toilet bowl is a large walk-in shower area, enclosed with glass walls, separating the wet and dry area. Despite using only regular shower head, the pressure for showering is never weak.
The bathtub is to the right, placed in front of a window panel, from the entrance to the bathroom
Sink area in the toilet. The space to place additional toiletries is ample
Wet area and the toilet bowl in the bathroom

Swimming Pool

The swimming pool in Humble House Taipei is located on 7 floor of the hotel. Placed on a raised platform, at one corner of the open area, the pool is large enough for guests to do decent laps in. What I like about the pool is the view. The pool is situated right in front of Taipei 101, guests swimming or tanning by the pool will be treated with a view of the iconic building in Taipei. As there are no buildings or trees by the pool, I find this area great for guests who want to get a tan. However guests using the pool are required to wear swimming caps, which are available for purchase from the staffs at the pool.
Swimming pool with a view of Taipei 101
Access to the swimming pool
Shin Kong Mitsukoshi viewed from the swimming pool
Shower points at the swimming pool
View of action in Shin Kong Mistukoshi from the pool

Gym

The Gym in Humble House Taipei is also located on 7 floor of the hotel. I do find the gym a tad small, with limited number of treadmills and stationery bicycles. Despite the small space, guests can still get a decent workout in the gym.
Small but functional gym next to the swimming pool

Breakfast

Breakfast in Humble House Taipei is served daily from 6.30 to 10.00am at the Terrace Restaurant located on 6 floor. There are sufficient variety for breakfast, catering to most of the guests staying at the hotel. On top of the traditional continental breakfast, there are also local dishes, such as congee and preserved vegetables being served for breakfast. I also find a small area where Japanese soba noodles are made available. There is also a counter where guests can create their own sandwiches. There is also a section serving salads and fruits.
Decor of the Terrace where breakfast is served
DIY sandwich counter during breakfast service
Some of the food on offering for breakfast
Garden outside the Terrace restaurant

Service

The service I received during my stay in Humble House Taipei is impeccable with exceptions to some of the staff at the Terrace Restaurant. The great service started from the moment I stepped into the lift lobby on the ground floor of the hotel (the reception is located on 6 floor). There are no lack of greetings from staffs the moment I walked into the entrance of the hotel. The staffs even pressed the lift button and offered to deliver my luggage to the reception. These friendly staffs never fail to uphold the warmness of the hotel whenever I pass them regardless of the time of the day, making me feel welcomed as a guest. The excellent service continued to the reception, where I was greeted by staffs whom promptly processed my check-in and ensured that I get to my room soonest. There are also no lack of friendly welcomes whenever I walked past the reception regardless of the time of the day. The staffs were also attentive and noted the requests that I have made when I mentioned my room number to them.

The staffs at the gym/pool area were excellent. They would rush to open the door leading to the swimming pool whenever I access the smoking area at the pool. They would also quickly stand up whenever I pass by them. There was an occasion that I wanted to swim in the pool, these staffs would quickly organise themselves and rushed to the pool before I arrived to ensure that towels are made available.

The housekeeping staffs working on 28th floor were amazing as well. They would greet me with a warm smile whenever I walked past them. There is an occasion where I request for extra shower gel with one of the staff, Kelvin, when he was working in one of the room on the floor. Instead of being grumpy and irritated, he responded with a smile.

The service rendered by the staffs in the Terrace Restaurant was a mix. The first day I was greeted by a rather cold staff who seemed interested in only doing her job. There were no smiles given nor did she attempt to strike a conversation. It appears she is not the only one that has this attitude in the restaurant. I bumped into several others with such attitude throughout my stay in Humble House Taipei. There were some others whom were very friendly and acceded to my request for beverages promptly. Despite the mixed service, plates were cleared quickly and there were no instances where I returned to my table with used plates laying around.

Reception area located on 6 floor

Afterthought

I had a pleasant stay in Humble House Taipei. In terms of hardware, the Premier Room in the hotel is well designed with the lay out and I found the room rather spacious for me open up two 28″ luggage on the floor. I particularly like the closet area, where I placed my shopping whilst in Taipei, thus not cluttering the sleeping area. The clever use of large window panels in the bedroom and bathroom plus the use of mirrors makes the room feels larger than it is. Service received in Humble House are mostly positive with staffs making me feel welcomed. There are no lack of smiles and greetings and staffs who are so eager to render help to guests who needs them. The location of the hotel is superb with a large shopping malls right at the doorstep of the hotel. I highly recommend staying in Humble House Taipei and will return to the hotel the next time I visit Taipei.

[Hotel Review] – Taipei Lotty Hotel (Deluxe Double Room), Taipei, Taiwan (6 – 11 Aug 15)

Location

Lotty Hotel Taipei is located in a somewhat residential area of Taipei. The closest landmark is Zhongshan Elementary School, which is a good 5 mins walk from the hotel. This is where one can find the MRT station that is closest to the hotel. There are no lack of convenient stores around the hotel (around 6) and also a couple of 24 hour supermarkets. There is a food street that operates 24 hours around 7 mins walk from the hotel, on top of the 24 hour dim sum restaurant just at the back of the hotel, which stayed open during the attack of typhoon Soudelor. There are also several eateries around the vicinity of the hotel.
Hotel Signage
Hotel Facade
Hotel Signage
Hotel Signage
Along the main street where the hotel is located
Front of the hotel

The Room

The room I have gotten is the Double Deluxe room, it has a total area of 36m². Upon entering the room, I was greeted by a small area for one to put on their shoes, a small latch for one to sit on while putting on their shoes also doubles up for one to stow their luggage. On the wall above this latch are some hook with 4 hangars. These latches is where one can hang their clothing. There are no wardrobes in the room, which makes these hooks the only area where one can hang their clothing. There is another door that leads into the room itself.
Entrance of the room
Small shoe area
Another door that separates the main door and the room

Sleeping Area

Entering the doorway opens up to a very spacious room, the decor of the room is a little dated however some has some sense of cosiness in it. Opposite the second door is a large 2-seater couch, nicely tucked into a corner of the room. The couch is capable of sitting 3 mid-size people comfortably. A coffee table can be found in front of the couch. One can find a study table beside the couch. Turning right into the room when passing the second door, one can find a queen size bed. The bed is very comfortable and provided quality of sleep that allows me to rest very well throughout the night. However the pillows are a tad too soft for my liking. There are however huge cushions on the bed that gives extra support for those who prefer firmer pillows. Right in front of the bed is an ottoman, which provided extra space to stow one’s luggage. Opposite the queen bed is a dresser, which one can put away one’s clothing. The 42 in LED TV is located on top of the dresser, which provided up to 98 channels for guests to watch whilst in the room. There are the standard bedside tables on either side of the bed. The more interesting feature in the room is the mural painted on the ceiling right above the bed. The hotel utilises the oval hollow feature on the ceiling, and painted underwater scenes, which glows in the dark! Right next to the door is where one can find another cabinet where the minibar is nicely tucked away. This is also where one can find the kettle and the fridge. Despite being a 3-star hotel, the hotel provides complementary can drinks (Coke and mineral water), as well as coffee and tea and some small snacks. These complementary items are topped up every day without fail. The hotel even provides reliable complementary wifi, which are chargeable in some 5-star hotels.
2 seater couch and the study table nice tucked into the sides of the room providing more space in the room itself
The couch and the study table
Queen Bed and ottoman in the room. There are also a couple of bedside tables in the room. The whole room is well lited
View of the room from the bathroom
TV opposite the bed
Complementary minibar which is topped up every day
View from the room

Bathroom

Separated by a curtain (yeah that is right, a curtain and not a door) next to the bed is where the bathroom is located. Located to the right of the entrance of the bathroom, half of this space is taken up by a huge jacuzzi tub. The tub is functioning well (something that I would not expect to be found in a 3-star hotel) and soaking in is very refreshing. Beside the tub, in front of the entrance to the bathroom is where one can find the sink on a counter top. The hotel provides full bath amenities including toothbrush set and comb. The bathroom also has a walk in shower area, however only regular shower head can be found. Guests can be assured of having a great hot water shower as it hot water is functioning very well in this room. The walk in shower, however lacks space to put your bath amenities in. The toilet bowl is located next to the walk in shower. There is a small “garden”of some sorts between the bathroom and the sleeping area.
View of the bathroom
Huge jacuzzi tub
Sink area and bath amenities
Toiletries provided by the hotel
Walk-in shower
Toilet bowl
The room overall is functional and the owners took the effort to spruce it up with a sense of cosiness. This is largely attributed to the soft orange lighting that the hotel chose. The location of the powerpoint outlets are however located in weird corners of the room, which takes some time to locate.

Breakfast

Located past the reception is a small area where breakfast is served. The variety of breakfast is rather limited but delicious. The hotel serve the standard Taiwanese breakfast consisting of porridge and some western style breakfast such as toast and sandwich. They even have coffee, tea and orange juice. The staffs took note of certain dietary restrictions and go all way out to prepare food that catered to these restrictions with a smile. Plates are always cleared promptly in the dinning area. Do note that the dinning area is only functional during breakfast service and remains closed at other times of the day.
Dinning area where breakfast is served
Western style breakfast

Service

Despite being a 3-star hotel, the service in the hotel is impeccable and is better than some 5-star hotels. The excellent service started within an hour of booking the hotel even via a third party website. After booking, I received an email from the hotel confirming my booking and giving directions on how to get to the hotel via airport bus. Such a gesture is very thoughtful and is not being accorded even in some 5-star hotels. Since the time I booked the hotel and my arrival, there has been some arrangements that I contacted the hotel. Every time Lotty Hotel took less than 1 hour to respond to my requests.

The staffs in the hotel delivers great service. They are attentive to details and very welcoming. Whenever we walked pass the reception, despite being seated and presumably busy with their work, the staffs will always leave what they are doing and stood up to greet me, asking how was my day and such. The reception staffs are also very responsive. I once complaint the air-conditioning seem to be out of order, within minutes, the staffs got someone to rectify it and even provided me with updates once it was being done. The warmth of the staffs are also apparent whenever we approached them to ask for directions, they are always generous in giving information and recommendations.

The official breakfast time for the hotel is from 7am to 10am. There was a day where we were down late (at around 10.15am), we originally wanted to head out for breakfast, seeing that there are still some activities in the dinning room, we popped by and checked if there are still breakfast available. The staffs at the dinning room, despite starting to clear, the staffs stopped clearing the food and started to serve us food. They even apologise for the lack of variety, instead of turning us down. They even wanted to get the chef to refire the kitchen to cook us some more food. Most hotels, even those 5-star ones would have turned us down.

The housekeeping staffs are also very friendly and responsible. They would diligently clean up our room each day without fail and without lack of standard. They will always smile and greet us whenever we bumped into them along the corridor in the mornings as we were leaving the hotel.

Overall

The hotel does look run down from its facade on the main street, however once entering the hotel entrance it does open up one to surprises. Despite being a 3-star hotel, the basic facilities are well maintained. What surprises me more is the service, one is assured of receiving service that is comparable or even better than what one can find in some 5-star hotels. The staffs provided warmth  service and gave me a sense of familiarity when interacting with the staffs. The staffs took care of their guests very well and are not stingy in providing greetings and information that are valuable. I would recommend one to consider this hotel when visiting Taipei.

[Hotel Review] – The Tango – Xinyi (Eagle Suite), Taipei, Taiwan (30 Apr – 4 May 14)

Location

Tango Xinyi is located near downtown Taipei, within mere minutes walk to YongChun Subway station. The subway station is within a few stops from the main Taipei Subway station. With the subway system in Taipei, the hotel is conveniently located within reach to major parts of Taipei via the subway. There are several banks and 24hour marts around the hotel. The location is rather quiet and seem to be located in a local neighbourhood. There isn’t any mega shopping malls within walking distance from the hotel, however with the subway system, it makes staying in this hotel convenient.
Hotel Logo
Entrance of the hotel
Entrance of the hotel
Facade of the hotel
Hotel lobby

The Suite

The hotel seem to be falling part perhaps due to poor maintenance. We were checked into our suite (having made to pay extra half a day’s rate) and discovered the door to the wardrobe come loose. When my friend and I were getting ready to head out to explore the city, we discover the door was about to give way. When we returned to our suite at the end of the day, the entire wardrobe door was missing. We contacted the hotel reception, whom subsequently changed our suite for us. As we thought this might be a one-off incident, my friend and I were soon being disappointed even with another suite being assigned to us. The hardware of the hotel suite was decent. The decor is contemporary and comfortable to be in. However if you are looking for a window room, do not bother. Even the Eagle suite, though there are windows, those pathetic panels are only good to let sunlight in. It is placed so high that one can’t even see through it. The curtain between the bathroom (Where the only window is located) and the bedroom is only blocked my fairly thin sheets of curtain, which sunlight would still pass through. There a glass door between the bathroom and the bedroom.

Study Area

Once one enters the suite, a couch and a study table welcomes one into the suite. This area is small and there is a TV in this area. Here is where one would find the minibar. We mainly used this area to stow our luggage. There is a translucent glass panel dividing the lounge area and the bedroom. 
Study Desk next to the main door
Couch just beside the study desk
TV in the lounge/study area
Mini bar next to the main door
Overview of the lounge /study area

Sleeping Area

The centrepiece of the bedroom is the king-sized bed. The bed was comfortable for one to rest the night. However I do find the pillows too soft (it is a personal preference). In front of the bed is another huge TV. Beside the TV is a smallish wardrobe, which has little space for storage and is definitely too small for 2 person. 
Second TV in front of the bed
Very small wardrobe
King size bed in the sleeping area
2 TVs side by side
Arm chair beside the bed

Bathroom

Further into the suite is the bathroom. The bathroom is huge and has a small TV in front of the jacuzzi tub, which is rage enough for 2 persons. The jacuzzi tub has a unique feature, where the water will fall from the ceiling. In front of the tub is a sink and behind the sink is the walk in shower area and the toilet bowl. I am impressed with the tub (that is one of the reason why we opted for this hotel over others). However there are a few areas that demonstrated the hotel was poorly maintained. Firstly the wardrobe door in the first room as maintained earlier on. Secondly, the nozzles for the bubbles in the jacuzzi were all gone except for one. Thirdly, metal piece on the taps were all loose. The suites are already in such bad shape, i can’t imagine how the other type of rooms would fair.

Walk-in shower
Toilet area in the bathroom
Oversized jacuzzi tub with a 3rd TV
Sink area

Service

We stayed in one of the top range Eagle Suite. I was initially very excited to stay here and looked forward to a wonderful stay on my first trip to Taipei. I was shortly disappointed by the hotel’s response when my friend tried to arrange a complimentary cake for my birthday. The hotel mentioned that they do not give out complimentary cake, and leave it as that. Given a 4-star rating, the hotel did not bother to do much to impress my friend. As we arrived early in Taipei, we were given the option to leave our luggage at the concierge or pay for early check in. This is the first time i was made to pay for early check in, granted this is a 4-star hotel, however I have stayed in hotels ranging from 3-star to 6-star rating, they did not have such a policy. Nonetheless we paid for the early check in and caught up some rest. 
 
Prior to resting, as we were unpacking, we found one of the doors to the wardrobe came lose. When we were about to head out to the city, the whole of the defective door seem to be coming off. We highlighted to the staff at the front desk, whom assured us that they will have it sorted out by the time of our return. We also requested for make up room while we went out to explore the city. By our return at night around 10pm, we were horrid to discover our room was not made up despite leaving the make up room light on and informing the front desk staff about making up our room. When we returned to our unmade up room, we also discover the defective door to the wardrobe is missing. No one has left any messages nor inform us of what they have done to our room. We called up the front desk and was told that the parts to the defective door is not available and had to be ordered. We were given the option of either staying put, while the hotel get someone to remove the bulb in the wardrobe or to change to another room. Without hesitating, we opted to change room. These series of incidents has further increase the already existing bad impression of this hotel. 
 
The most ridiculous part is the stinginess of the hotel in giving out bathing amenities. I had requested for 4 sets of bathing amenities on the first night, fearing that we might run out of it soon. We used the bath foams for the huge jacuzzi tub and the 2nd day when we returned from our day trip, we found that the bathing amenities was not topped up. I called the reception to request for more amenities, to my horror I was informed that the hotel has given us 4 sets and that’s all they will give. I questioned if the hotel expect their guests to run to the nearby 7-11 to get our own amenities and upon questioning, the reception agreed to replenish a set each day. To think the worst is over, on the 4th day the housekeeping staff did not replenish our bathing amenities again. I called up the reception, again the same excuse is given. I told the staff to check with her colleague about the agreement that I had 2 days ago. After waiting for 5 mins, the reception got her housekeeping counterpart to deliver a set of bathing amenities.
 
On the night before checking out, I was shocked to discover that the hotel did not book my airport transfer. When in my prior communication with them via email, I had booked for return airport transfer on their Mercedes sedan. It was already 3 am when I argued with the staff over the phone regarding airport transfer and we have yet to pack our luggage. When I demanded to speak to their duty manager or supervisor the next day, the staff was still trying to pacify me in accepting his offer of hailing a cab to the airport. Despite my persistence in wanting to leave the issue till the next day when the manager or supervisor is in, the inconsiderate staff still persist on getting me to take a cab instead. I had mentioned to the staff several times that it is already late and I would want to pack my luggage and turn in soon. However these requests (along with my other requests) were turned to deaf ears. I had to scold the staff to get him off my back. 
 
The next day the supervisor called and apologise for all the service hiccups. She assured me that they already has a Mercedes waiting for me. When we were about to leave the room (after packing up all our stuffs, there was a bottle of red wine and a box with all the bathing amenities inside. This was meant to be a gesture of apology from the management of hotel. To think they even dare to pull such a stunt was laughable. We left whatever they have left outside our door in the room and checked out. We did not want to go through the trouble of squeezing the bottle of wine into our already full luggage. The service is NOT up to standard and do not even deserve a 1 star. The apology gesture is insincere and laughable.

Overall

If one to be looking for a great time here, FORGET IT!! This hotel has the cheek to make us pay for early check-in and yet provided service that is not worth the money. I certainly did not expect a hotel who is stingy of bath amenities. The service is below par and the quality of the hotel is ageing. The food selection for breakfast is boring (we only had 2 breakfast out of our 5 days stay). The service level is sub-standard, the rooms are ageing. Do not bother staying here, go elsewhere. I WILL NOT RETURN TO THIS HOTEL FOR MY FUTURE TRIPS TO TAIPEI. They do not even accord guests staying in one of their most expensive suites the status befitting of it.