I will be very honest. Diary of Ximen is not our first choice after it has been confirmed that we are going back to Taipei.
Our heart belongs to City Inn Plus Hotel Ximending, a boutique hotel who captured our loyalty with first class, five star service and personalized approach to guests. However, City Inn Plus was fully booked on the week we were supposed to visit. With our heart set on staying in Ximending district, we had to look for alternatives.
Diary of Ximen, located on the 11th floor of an aging building a block away from the exit 6 of the Ximen MRT station, served as a good alternative.
To get to the hotel from the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, you have two options:
A. Convenient transfer: If you are arriving on a late flight (or God-forsaken early morning) courtesy of Cebu Pacific, you have to arrange for transfers from the hotel. Their transfers rate is 1,500NTD for two persons with two luggages (roughly 2,100 Philippine pesos). A bit expensive but worry free especially since the airport Terminal 2 where Cebu Pacific is assigned is unusually quiet and abandoned by midnight.
B. Cheap transfer: take the KuoKong bus from the airport to the Taipei West Bus Terminal. From the bus terminal, take the MRT ride to the Ximen station. Take exit 6, make a small u-turn to your right, and walk straight heading to the direction of the high way. You will go past 2 Ximending side streets, a Converse and Doc Martens branches. The 12 story building beside the department store is where Diary of Ximen is located. Take elevator to the 12th floor where reception and check in is located.
Diary of Ximen shares the building with two other hotels: Muzik Hotel and Diary of Taipei(which occupies many floors), while Ximen has 10th,11th and 12th floor.
Beyond the reception is an extensive dining floor where the daily breakfast buffet is served:
The meals can be repetitive sometimes (in a course of 4 days) but the selection is strong and varied – there is bread, choice of spreads, various Taiwanese dishes with heavy emphasis on use of fresh veggies, a salad station, wanton noodle station, congee and fruits. There’s also choice of coffee, juices, tea and water at the many vendo dispensers on the beverage section. You get your money’s worth and you will have a full stomach when you go or to sight-see. The hotel will issue you food stamps which you have to present per day during check-in.
- Hotel premises:
Hotel is situated in the fringes of Ximending – exit 6 where most of the crowd are is just a 5 to 10 minute walk away. It’s along the highway so it’s safe – we usually go out even at 2AM for a 711 or a FamilyMart run and it’s safe and quiet.
You have to tap your room access card in the elevator in order to get to your floor. So it’s safe and you still get a certain level of exclusivity even if the hotel shares the building with other establishments.
- Room Specs
The room is big enough for two, with enough space to move around and even for me to lie on the floor to rest my very tired feet after a day of roaming around Taipei and the countryside.
The bed is big and comfy, with enough space for two; pillows are soft and comfy as well as the sheet. Aircon is cold and can be adjusted based on preference.
Bathroom is situated in an elevated area near the bed; encased in frosted glass. The hotel provides free shampoo/conditioner and body wash plus the usual hotel amenities of comb, toothpaste and toothbrush, shower cap, soap, cotton buds and free bottles of water and tea which came in satchet.
- Sound quality
Our room had no windows so we are pretty much isolated from the craziness of Ximending. There are instances when we can hear people talking outside our door but maybe it’s because our room is so near the elevator.
We arranged our hotel transfers through the hotel and found that we were quoted NTD1500 when it was promoted as NTD1000 on the dining floor. Maybe because we arrived very late at night?
- Cost of stay
We paid PHP13,000 for four nights stay – roughly PHP3,200 for two people. This already includes buffet breakfast for four days. Considering we were in Taipei right smack in the midst of the Holiday season, this is already a steal.
Diary of Ximen is a good alternative and good option if you want to stay in the Ximending District. Sure, it sharing a building with other businesses (including an office!), but the safety measures the business has put in place makes up for it.
We were initially taken aback by ads offering three hour stays for a different hotel in the lobby (its proximity to Ximending where people meet must be a factor) but considered it irrelevant to our stay.
Honestly, we had the foremost pleasure of staying in Diary of Ximen and will not hesitate to recommend it to friends.
Disclosure: Nothing to disclose. My stay in Taipei is a personal expense.