When you visit cities like Taipei and Hong Kong, you know the time spent in hotels is mostly for sleeping, bathing and storing your shopping. So when in Taipei, it is important to stay near the battle grounds aka shopping areas like Xi Men Ding. Xi Men Ding is one of the main shopping areas in Taipei just like Myeongdong in Seoul. Other than shopping, you can also find all kinds of cafes, restaurants, street food, night snacks and movie theatre right in the center of Ximending till late at night.
When searching for a hotel in such a prime area, prices are always high and occupancy is always high too so it becomes a game of fastest fingers first once you find the right place. When I found Diary of Taipei Hotel – Wanguo Branch, it was too good to be true; extremely affordable rates, right in the middle of Ximending and reasonable sized rooms so I had to grab it. The only down point of staying in Ximending is that you will need to lug your suitcases as it is a no cars pure pedestrian district and the nearest road drop off is about 5 mins walk away. The hotel is in the same building as this movie theatre which is just next to Uniqlo. You will definitely not miss Uniqlo as it is a huge building. The Ximen MRT exit 6 is just 5 mins walk from the hotel building.
You can see this lighted sign right in front of the movie theatre which can get pretty crowded during weekends as most locals come here for their movie fixes.
The hotel lobby is located on the 12 floor and you can get here using the same lift lobby as the other movie goers. The reception is pretty small but has a water facilities as well as microwave for guests to use. The check in was quite fast with 2 to 3 staff during the day and only 1 staff during late night and early mornings.
The hotel occupies 2 levels of the building and our room was on the 13th floor. To get there, you have to make a transfer at the fire lift which is a 1 min walk down the corridor from the reception.
The fire lift lobby is nicely decorated with wall paper so it doesn’t feel like the fire lift at all. There is also a huge dustbin here for any trash you need to throw. Upon check-in, the staff will bring you all the way here to show you how to get to the 13th floor. As there is only 1 fire lift, it might take some time to get to 13th floor so you can easily take the stairs ( door next to the lift ) to get between 12 and 13 floor.
The room is quite reasonable in size and was able to fit in 3 mid to large luggage and still has enough room for us to walk about and not knock into each other. There is a separate air conditioning controller where you can adjust the room temperature. One of the windows are also unlocked for customers to open for some fresh air although the opening is limited. The air conditioning gets cold in the night but somehow gets a bit hot while you sleep through the night. The carpet in the room looks dated but is generally clean enough for walking. The beds are comfortable enough for a good night rest since it is only a 3 star hotel.
A luggage rack,bar fridge, safe and bedroom slippers are provided.
Basic amenities like water kettle, drinking water ( replaced daily) toothbrush, shower caps, paper cups, tea and coffee is also provided.
The bathroom is quite basic with simple white tiles but the shower booth itself might be small for some customers. The shower booth comes with a shower gel and shampoo dispenser but there was a no hooks in the bathroom for your clean clothes. It was slightly difficult to get the correct temperature for the shower as the hot was too hot and a small adjustment made it too cold. The bathroom also floods so the drainage was not too good.
On a separate note, we changed into a smaller room for the last day so we had a place to rest and shower before our late flight and the things I did not like for the first room was fine in the 2nd room. For example, the air-conditioning was centralised so it was cool and comfortable throughout the stay in the room. The bathroom drainage was also fine with no signs of flooding but the only thing was the shower water pressure was slightly smaller.
So overall, for a 3 star hotel in a great location, I think this is the hotel to stay. I have no major complaints except the ones mentioned which I could live with and as mentioned differs from room to room. Book early as this is an extremely popular hotel and at the room rate, you can save more money for good food and shopping.
Rooms start from : SGD 73
Address: 12F, No. 52, Hanzhong Street, Wanhua District, 108 Taipei