Review: TS Hotel in Ximending

7 12 2007

On the recommendation of forumers from tripadvisor’s Taiwan message board, we stayed at the Ta Shun Hotel (TS Hotel), a modest hotel located on Hanzhong Street near Changsha Street. We found the rooms to be very clean and equipped with every convenience. Every room came with a flatscreen LCD TV (of course, since this IS Taiwan) with cable, a refrigerator, a hot water heater for tea, and a free high speed internet connection. Best of all, the location one block from the Ximen MRT stop could not be beat.

TS Hotel

The hotel’s decor is modern and quintessentially Asian. I’m not sure why heart pillows are so popular in Taiwanese hotels.

TS Hotel

Can you tell where the bathroom is? Hint: It is on the right side of the picture above.

TS Hotel

When closed, the bathroom door blends right into the wall.

TS Hotel

The bathroom was spotless, and every room has a spa shower. I love figuring out hotel bathrooms in Asia. Many of the newer hotels are equipped with the latest in bathroom technology. The shower was a little complicated to figure out at first, but it was worth it.

Shower

The room charge includes free breakfast every morning in the dining room off the lobby. We only used our vouchers once, since we wanted to eat as many different foods as possible in Taiwan. Breakfast consisted of a small buffet with rice porridge and side dishes, in addition to toast, jam, and butter.

There is a convenience store across the street, and it is literally 1.5 blocks away from the Ximending pedestrian area. About a block away on the way to the Ximen MRT station, there is a 85 degree bakery cafe. Todd from The Daily Bubble Tea translated one of their menus in this fun post.

Treats

Overall, we were pleased with our stay here. The hotel was clean, the staff was helpful and polite, the price was right, and the location was extremely convenient. I am very thankful we found such a good recommendation from the experts on the tripadvisor forum!

Check out other Hotel Reviews I have for Taiwan.

HOTEL DETAILS:

Ta Shun Hotel – TS

No. 170-172, HanZhong St., Taipei, Taiwan

Tel:886-2-2381-8710

reservation@tshotel.com.tw

The hotel is currently running promotional room rates ranging from NT$1,080 for a single room to NT$2,380 for a double room, and there are several types of rooms in between.

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Exploring Ximending

4 12 2007

Since Ximending was our home base while in Taipei, we were able to see a lot of this area. Ximending was actually set up by the Japanese during their occupation of Taiwan as an entertainment and business area. The Red House Theater (pictured below), built in 1908, is one of the few surviving buildings from that era. The theater started as a public market before becoming a venue for storytelling and Chinese opera. Today, the theater hosts art and history exhibits.

Red House Theatre

During the day, Ximending is much quieter and very much like any normal street in Taipei. Small mom-and-pop shops, cafes, and convenience stores line the street level entrances of each building, while residences are stacked on top. The street where our hotel was located had a lot of uniform and performance costume shops (i.e. dance, cheerleading, etc…).

One of our best finds in Ximending was a coffee shop called Fong Da Coffee, located at 42 Chengdu Road. Although there is a Starbucks at every corner in Taipei, we love exploring independent coffee shops and this place did not disappoint. Fong Da Coffee is an old fashioned coffee shop established in 1956 that also serves little Taiwanese treats such as almond brittle, temple sugar squares, and other small baked goods.

The coffee shop displays a variety of old fashioned coffee implements all over the shop, which only adds to the quaint atmosphere.

Fong Da Coffee

The shop roasts its own coffee beans with this old fashioned roaster.

Fong Da Coffee

Fong Da Coffee

The coffee itself was excellent. While in the shop, I had a cappuccino and Charles had an iced coffee. Apparently, Fong Da is well known for its delicious iced coffee.

Fong Da Coffee

We were so impressed with the coffee that we bought two bags to take home with us. Fong Da roasts almost 30 varieties of exotic coffees right in their store, including Peruvian, Panamanian, Ethiopian, Kenyan, Kona, and Mount Everest. We bought the coffee from Mount Everest (I don’t remember the exact name and we finished all of it) and the house roast. The Mount Everest coffee was very mild. My mom got the bag of the house roast and she loved it.





Glamorous Ximending

16 11 2007

Ximending is the Shibuya/Harajuku of Taipei.  Every night, and even more so on the weekends, throngs of young people flock to the pedestrian area right outside the Ximen MRT stop to shop, eat, and socialize.  Giant ads and screens light up the night sky and bursts of pop music fill the air while young men and women browse the boutiques and shops wearing the latest trends. 

Ximending

We decided to stay in the Ximending area because of its convenient location in the Wanhua district.  The hotel in which we stayed, Ta Shun Hotel, was also highly recommended on the Taiwan tripadvisor forums.  I will review the hotel in another post.  But most importantly, we stayed in Ximending because it is very “re nao.”  “Re nao” is a Chinese term that literally means “Hot Noisy” and refers to a place that is exciting, loud, and busy. 

Ximending

Ximending

Although there is a branch of the Eslite bookstore/department store here, the main attractions are the little shops and boutiques selling cute trinkets and clothes.

Ximending

Ximending

Ximending

Food carts line the boulevard, but they are technically illegal.  Every hour of so, a police officer walks down the street, dispersing all the food stands.  The owners of the food stalls quickly wheel away their stands.  Within 2 minutes of the police officer’s departure, the food stands are back selling their edible wares.  You can see the police officer in the picture below.

Ximending

Since this is a trendy, hip area, there are many American fast food joints.  They even had Dunkin Donuts.  This is the largest KFC I have ever seen!

KFC in Ximending

Ximending is less glamorous and more quiet during the daytime.

Ximending








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