Review: OneWorld Extravaganza – W Taipei

W Taipei
CX 401 TPE – HKG 77W J
CX 251 HKG – LHR 77W W
Sofitel London Heathrow
BA 572 LHR – MXP 319 Y
Hotel Villa Franceschi Venice
The Style Florence
St. Regis Rome
Le Anfore Lounge Rome
CX 292 FCO – HKG 343 J

Location 5/5 Service 4/5 Modernity 5/5 Little things 3/5 Meals 5/5 Overall 4/5

This review contains completely Jason’s thoughts except for mine at the breakfast spread (which Jason didn’t have a chance to visit, whereas I did). It’s my fault that pictures for this and the next two installments are somewhat limited because I forgot to send the list of what to take pictures of to Jason (forsooth, I just did at 1am this morning…that speaks for my devotion to you guys). Thanks for everyone’s understanding and hope everyone enjoys this installment anyway.

Back in May I asked Alvin if I should try out the brand new Mandarin Oriental Taipei for three nights we had in Taipei or if I should spend them at the W Taipei. Alvin decided I should go with the latter, as he has tried the W Taipei (before the blog) and loved it.

So I decided to give it a try myself, and see if Alvin was hyping it (like I hype Cathay Pacific).

Booking the W Taipei

The W Taipei is a Category 6 property, which means a room costs 20,000 – 25,000 Starpoints. That’s the equivalent to about HK$3720 (US$480) – HK$4650 (US$600), and the hotel was HK$4278 (~US$550), so we decided to book on points due to indecisiveness (I’m not that much of a points hoarder).

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 3.19.14 PM

Starwood Starpoints Category Award Chart

We booked a Fabulous Room (W context wise…oh never mind), and that cost us 25,000 Starpoints. Admittedly it’s HK$370 (US$50) more expensive than paying revenue, but we couldn’t really do anything the points except let them sit there (I don’t stay in hotels five out of seven nights a week), so we used them up.

Screen Shot 2014-07-08 at 4.35.38 PM

W Taipei Fabulous Room Details

My stay at the W Taipei

On the morning of June 28th we went straight from Kaohsiung to Taipei after waving goodbye to my friends (all except lulu) with Taiwan High Speed Rail. The station is fifteen minutes from the hotel, so it was an easy cab ride.

The exterior of the hotel is glitzy without creating excessive light pollution, which is a good thing.


W Taipei exterior

We walked into the secondary lobby (or landing area), which is pretty much an area with (quite nice) seating with lifts up to the lobby.


W Taipei secondary lobby/landing area

The real lobby was quite modern (to rephrase it modestly), and featured the Woobar, four concierge desks, a few fancy sculptures that were there for not much more than decoration, entrances to the Kitchen Table and the pool, lifts to the secondary lobby and lifts to the rooms.


W Taipei lobby


W Taipei lobby


W Taipei concierge (or, rather, Whatever/Whenever) desks


Random W Taipei sculpture


W Taipei lifts to lobby


W Taipei lifts to rooms

Check-in was quick. The concierge welcomed us, upgraded us from a Wonderful Room to a Fabulous Room due to my SPG Lifetime Gold status (you actually have to be told to know that’s an upgrade), and assigned us room 2506. Upgrading us with status at a W is impressive, in my opinion. Unfortunately the intimacy of the check-in process, and the first half of my stay from there, was partially spoiled by a world famous DJ that lulu especially hated.

The lift arrival area was quite nice.


W Taipei lift arrival area

The hallways were reflective of local culture though not overly so, which is a big plus. Compare that to the W Retreat Bali Seminyak, where the only things that hint that you’re in the lobby are the room number signage on stones.


W Taipei room directory


W Taipei hallways

W Taipei
Check-in: Saturday, June 28, 2014
Room Type: Fabulous Room
Room Number: 2506
Stay duration: 3 nights
Check-out: Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The room was a lot smaller than expected. It was still fairly large for my tastes, but smaller than advertised. It featured a little chaise longue, two comfortable signature W beds, a desk suitable for working, some nice glassware and a paying minibar. (Alvin: Interestingly there was a daybed near the window in 2508…)


W Taipei Fabulous Room


W Taipei Fabulous Room Minibar


W Taipei Fabulous Room Spirits and Glassware

The room featured views of Taipei City and the skyline, and were pretty nice during the day (and better, due to the Tokyo-style night lights you get in Taipei, at night). The views were especially spectacular at sunset.


W Taipei Fabulous Room View


W Taipei Fabulous Room View

The bathroom was quite large, and featured a single sink (Alvin: Interestingly the Wonderful Room I had last time had double sinks, but I’m not entirely sure), a separate shower/tub, and “timber fins” to separate the bathroom and the bedroom (it does let natural light into the bathroom, which I like).


W Taipei Fabulous Room bathroom sink


W Taipei Fabulous Room bathroom tub

The toiletries were Bliss branded, as are all W toiletries. Personally I like the brand – it’s nice smelling, and are perfectly nice in terms of texture as well (I mean, they don’t feel like toothpaste nor do they feel like water, but they strike a perfect balance).


W Taipei Fabulous Room bathroom shower

The toilet was in a separate room, and it was one of those Japanese talking automatic toilets. The toilet caught me by surprise every time I opened the door. There were enough buttons on the side to rival a 777 cockpit.


W Taipei Fabulous Room bathroom toilet

Physically I found the room to be modern but not overly so, while still hitting a good mark on luxury, so I’m a fan. It’s worth noting that all you have to do to connect to free WiFi is enter your room number, which makes life soooo much easier (unlike the Toong Mao Kao Shang Ching Hotel, which Alvin had to dig around to find the WiFi password).

In terms of other features, the hotel does have a nice pool with a panoramic view of the city. Should you be at in Taipei anytime soon, take some time to at least check out the pool.


W Taipei pool

The gym isn’t anything special, which in a way is a good thing, since at a gym you’re supposed to work out (and not be transported to the century of Peter Parker upon entrance to the gym).


W Taipei gym


W Taipei gym

On the second day (and all subsequent mornings) we visited the breakfast spread. Wow, it was impressive. I mean, you get ice cream for breakfast…what more could you ask for? (Alvin: Since Jason didn’t take pictures, I’ll pinch some from Lucky…Lucky, if you do not wish to share your pictures, let me know.) The seating was nice as well, modern but not Tron-style.


W Taipei Kitchen Table


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread


W Taipei breakfast spread

While the quantity was truly extensive, the quality was nothing short of impressive as well.

Up until this point (except the DJ mishap) the hotel seems like a nice Taipei choice. That’s true, but there are two flaws (one minor, and one major):

  • The service was nice, but somewhat unpolished. I think they were trying slightly too hard to be “cool”, and as you know that doesn’t really work out.
  • I found it borderline annoying that the employees were called “talent” and the concierge a “Whatever Whenever” desk. I understand it’s brand standard advertisement, but it just annoys me (though it’s nothing I lose sleep over).

Bottom line on W Taipei

Overall I found the W Taipei to be a great (but not necessarily the best) choice for Taipei. I still want to try out the Mandarin Oriental (I’ve done the Le Meridien before), but even though those HK$4000+ rates are abysmal, I’d return in a heartbeat if I got a great value.


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