Located in the Xinyi district, W Taipei is one of the most iconic hotels in the city of Taipei - it is also just a stroll away from Taipei City Hall Station, making it easily accessible via the Taipei Metro. There are no lack of luxury hotels in Taipei but if you are looking for a property that belongs to an international chain, you will not find any strong contenders from IHG or Hilton. On the other hand, you will find a number of properties from Starwood and Marriott here - hotels like the W Taipei offers a bold and distinctive decor that is not overly done (unlike some W Hotels in the world) but equally memorable.
If you are visiting Taipei, the Royal Laurel class on EVA Air is highly recommended (make sure to drop by the SilverKris Lounge in Terminal 3 before your flight too!) - the seats are much more impressive than the regional business class seats on Singapore Airlines which is operated on the SIN-TPE route and you can easily get a really enjoyable flight for just 27,500 KrisFlyer miles. I arrived at the hotel at 1:00PM which is slightly ahead of the official check-in time and I was told that my room was not ready (apparently the hotel was running at full occupancy the previous night). I then requested for my bags to be stowed away so I can grab lunch outside the hotel in the mean time. Unlike most business hotels that would typically issue you with a luggage tag, I was not given one here at all - the bags are tagged and recorded into the system so no luggage tag is required at all (call me traditional but I still feel a little uneasy about it). I got back to the hotel at approximately 2:30PM and my room was finally ready for check-in at 2:45PM (slightly ahead of the official check-in time of 3:00PM).
I stayed in a lead-in room category (Wonderful Room) at the W Taipei which does not come with a view of the Taipei 101 - if you are looking for a room with a view, make sure you get the Spectacular 101 Room instead! While the room offered only 43 sqm of space (which is slightly smaller than the Grand Suite in Grand Hyatt Taipei where I spent the previous few nights in), the layout of the room effectively optimises the use of space to create a much roomier feeling. The Wonderful Room also comes with a 42" LCD TV by LG and it comes complete with a 2.1 Sound System by Bose so you can enjoy your favourite television programs and movie shows without compromising on sound quality. There is also a large work desk in the room for those of you who have to catch up on work even when you are on holiday.
There is no coffee machine here in the Wonderful Room of the W Taipei (I honestly wish they had a Nespresso machine) but TWG Teabags as well as a French press is provided in the room for all your caffeine needs - I also wish they included a herbal or tisane option (e.g. chamomile) for those who enjoy a cup or two in the evening.
Unlike the W Singapore Sentosa Cove, the W Taipei exudes contemporary charm that emphasises on understated beauty - the floor-to-ceiling windows are great for taking in the city views (even better if you get a room that faces the Taipei 101) and there is even a lounger to help you get comfortable. Each one of these rooms also feature a W-Animal sculpture that is inspired by the Chinese Zodiac characters - my room came with a toy poodle (which is a coincidence since I have a toy poodle at home) which symbolises the 'Dog' Zodiac character.
Do note that some of these rooms face an office building opposite so if you can look out of your window, they can probably look in. I visited Taipei in April 2017 and it was not particularly sunny (I don't think I have actually experienced sunny weather in Taipei) on most days - the view from my Wonderful Room was decent but not quite as impressive as the one I had from my first stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei back in 2015.
The bed here at the W Taipei is a dream to sleep in and even though this is not the first W Hotel that I have ever been to, the bed from my stay at the W Singapore Sentosa Cove did not leave such a lasting impression. In fact, my sleep was so good that I actually checked out W Hotels The Store to find out how much they cost. Unfortunately shipping to Singapore is a pain but if anyone has anyway around it please let me know! The other thing you will definitely notice is the White Noise Machine in your room - choose from a variety of sounds (e.g. rain, thunderstorm, river stream, etc.) that will help you sleep and relax better as you enjoy the amazing bed here in this luxurious hotel. They should probably allow you to rig up this device to the Bose Sound System for a greater and more immersive experience.
Complimentary drinking water is provided throughout the room - Gold and Platinum SPG members will also get to enjoy free Fiji Water which are thoughtfully placed in the fridge (regular member will have to pay for them). There is also a USB charging port and a power outlet located by the side of the bed - perfect for modern travellers who carry a handful of gadgets these days.
The bathroom here in the Wonderful Room of the W Taipei is my personal favourite feature - before I go into why I absolutely love them, I have to tell you explicitly that the design of this room (bathroom included) caters to very close friends and couples only - you can basically peek into the shower area from the bedroom (since there is a section that doesnt close completely) and there are no locks here in the bathroom (there's one for the toilet though, so do not worry). Now that I have gotten that out of the way, the bathrooms are beautiful and I love how open the design is - the colourful play on colours is also a refreshing change from the usual business hotels.
You will find the famous ladder in the bathroom of the Wonderful Room - the sole purpose of this wooden ladder is to hang towels so do not go too crazy with them. The other thing you will realise is that water is freely available - I think I have gotten more bottles of water in this Fabulous Room than my suite over at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. The mirror is also brightly-lit for travellers wanting to put on make up or simply doll up (there is an impressive tri-fold-mirror which is located in front of the bathroom too!).
Consistent to the global brand standards of W Hotel, bath amenities are provided by Bliss and like all the other W Hotels that I have been to, it even includes the fabulous face wash which I personally like.
The shower area is separate from the bathtub and while is usually enough to please me, I love how both the tub and the shower are located in the 'wet area' of the bathroom. One of the problems I face with freestanding tubs (as much as I love them!) is the spillage that occurs when you go from the bathtub to shower. With a design like this, there is simply nothing to worry about. Bathrobes are also available in the room and while they are nowhere near as comfortable as the ones from The St. Regis Bali Resort, they are perfect for lounging around in the room.
As I have mentioned previously, the door to the toilet has a lock (unlike the bathroom) and what is even more impressive is that the lid of the toilet gets lifted automatically as you approach it. There is also a range of cleaning, drying and flushing options on that TOTO toilet seat in your room. The full length tri-fold-mirror (located on the right of the photo above) is located near the entrance and it is perfect for helping you check on your outfit before you head out (it is a W Hotel after all so you definitely should care about how you look).
Since I was no longer an Elite Member with SPG on this stay, I was not expecting welcome amenities but I did receive a small bottle of sparkling water, some snacks and a handwritten note the following day (strange that they did not place it on the first day though). The popcorn was from the previous night's turndown service but I just decided to throw it in to make a slightly better photo.
Buffet breakfast is served at the kitchen table daily from 6:30AM and it runs until 10:00AM and 10:30AM on weekdays and weekends respectively. Breakfast ends reasonably early (since most hotels run breakfast service until 11:00AM on weekends) so make sure you go in early - I got in pretty late since I have decided to sleep in and was therefore seated in the WOOBAR area. Since the WOOBAR is located directly next to the kitchen table, you do not 'lose out' from a smaller spread - diners can still go into the kitchen table if they like to enjoy the full buffet spread. Otherwise, WOOBAR offers a smaller spread as well - remember you can go to both in one seating!
Alternatively, diners may choose to sit in the alfresco dining area instead - I love how beautiful the place looks but the rain discouraged me slightly during my visit. Obviously with more W Hotels, the WET Pool is a place to see and be seen and picking these tables above would be perfect for people-watching (especially in the summer!).
I decided to have my breakfast at WOOBAR instead since I fancy peace over chaos. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the W Hotel brand, there is no such thing as an executive or club lounge. From my understanding, Platinum members are treated to complimentary evening drinks at WOOBAR (or by the WET Pool) but this is not required according to brand standards. Properties like the W Taipei and The St. Regis Singapore goes over and beyond what is required to make their most loyal guests feel welcome and pampered.
Since I traveled to Taipei for the food (as well as the hotel and to check out the Royal Laurel product on EVA Air), I decided to have a little bit of everything from the breakfast spread. The coffees here are delicious and more importantly, you do get to look out to the WET Pool if you sit in WOOBAR by the window.
The W Taipei is also one of the rare few W Hotels in the world to have The Store located physically within the building so checking out this space is definitely a good idea - they also have all the adorable Chinese Zodiac animals (in a smaller version) on sale here and they actually make really good presents for your well-heeled friends.
Some would argue that the WET Pool is where all the excitement is at - W Taipei is home to a 25-meter by 6.5-meter outdoor pool which is heated (perfect for those chilly days during the winter!). The stainless steel water drop sculptures are also carefully designed to capture the entire façade of the property in the reflection of each water droplet. The WET Bar is also located next to the WET Pool and it offers specially-concocted cocktails and titbits - make sure you check out the Tai Chi Garden as well on your way back to the locker rooms.
I did not manage to enjoy the WET Pool during my short stay at the W Taipei and the wet weather (no pun intended) was a bit of a shame - I do love the contrast of colours (especially the green and whites) by the poolside and I am definitely returning in the summer to check out this place in its full glory.
I really do like the W Taipei and to be honest, I did not think I would as much - I have heard quite a bit about the property and I thought it would be 'just another W' but the genuine service, good-looking people and comparatively understated design has won me over. The location of the hotel is great for those of you wanting to stay in the City Hall area and the hard product is equally impressive (that bed is hands-down the best one I have slept in in Taipei). If you are looking for an equally memorable dining experience to go along with your stay, I highly recommend YEN Chinese Restaurant which is located on the top-level of the W Taipei. Not many people know this but the W Taipei is also home to various art pieces (some of which actually requires explanation) and I would highly recommend for you to check with any one of the staff to find out more about them.