Taiwan, Travel Diaries

Review: Keyman’s Hotel – great location, with really rock-hard beds

Here begins my series of posts for the Taipei trip, which was unfortunately delayed following a death in the family a day after we arrived for Taiwan.

Keyman’s Hotel is a hotel that could have been really great: except for the little hiccups that really add up in the long run. Centrally located in the vicinity of the Taipei Main Railway Station, in a street directly across the Taipei West Bus Station.

To go to this hotel from the Taipei Taoyuan International Airport, you can take the Kuo Kang Bus from the airport going to the bus terminal. Fare is just NTS 135 one-way and will take you 45 minutes to an hour, depending on the traffic. But since my sister and I arrived 12:40 and was able to went out of the airport by 1AM in the morning, we booked transfer services from another hotel. You see, Keyman’s is a last-minute choice since we weren’t able to book the first night with out hotel of choice since all rooms were already fully-booked.

We booked the hotel directly on their website — which is quite fast and efficient, considering that most text are written in Chinese. A confirmation of booking and payment was immediately sent to my email address upon payment and Keyman’s is known to address all email inquiries promptly and efficiently.

The main highway in front of the street where Keyman's is located. Opposite the cab and bus stop is Taipei West Bus Station Terminal A

The main highway in front of the street where Keyman’s is located. Opposite the cab and bus stop is Taipei West Bus Station Terminal A

Keyman’s is the kind of a hotel perfect for those who wanted immediate access to any means of transportation going in and out of Taipei. Directly in front of Huaining Street, where the hotel is located, is the highway as well as the bus stop. A few steps away is the entry to the MRT station which leads to the massive Taipei Main Station where aside from the MRT, you can also board high speed trains for your trip to the Taiwan countryside.

Like I always do, I found this hotel over Trip Advisor and as recommended in other travel forums. Rooms are affordable, starting at NTS1,800 for a “Succint Room” which is I think, their term for a double room. The room rate is already good for two persons, including breakfast served at the hotel’s topmost floor.

In spite the very late arrival (or early morning, depending how you look at it), check in was quick and very efficient. We were given our keys to our room which is located at the 3rd of the eight floor establishment.

The key itself manifests that Keyman’s is a very old establishment. It’s not the typical key cards present now in hotel establishments but a old school key attached to a long plastic key chain. The hallways are wide and pleasant, but you can sense the hotel’s been around for a very long time, judging from the decorations and furnishings adorning the halls and the room itself. Clutching the key, it felt like we were transported to late 1980s Taipei and somewhere around the corner, will come out people dressed for groovy 1980s with their big hair and equally big shoulder pads. In one of the balustrade, a comforter was hanged to dry.

The room, while old, served its purpose well. There was an old television set where many channels can be accessed (yes, there’s CNN) — we flipped through channels serving as background noise while we go about making ourselves comfortable. There was a reusable Japanese-style slippers for our use and a simple coffee and tea making facility on the side.

Keyman's Succint Room -- yours for only NTS1800

Keyman’s Succint Room — yours for only NTS1800

an old lampshade on top of a old-school control panel.

an old lampshade on top of a old-school control panel.

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the window above this love seat leads to nothing -- i.e. the concrete walls of the building beside Keyman's

the window above this love seat leads to nothing — i.e. the concrete walls of the building beside Keyman’s

The lampshade was on top of a very old-school looking console where you can see knobs for turning on the light, controlling the brightness of the lampshade. There were other buttons too, but I was afraid to fiddle with it for fear that I will short-circuit the whole room. Plugs for charging your gadgets are too few and you have to unplug the TV if you want to charge your electronics — that also is a cause of worry since the wirings are quite old. The love seat beside the window is comfortable and the fabric decoration is so spot on 1980s (memories of my grandma’s old sofa set flashed through my eyes). There’s coffee and tea provided and you can get your hot water on the water dispenser located in the hallway.

T&B was dated but spacious

T&B was dated but spacious

Complete bathroom set: shampoo, toothbrush with toothpaste, shower gel, shower cap is also provided

Complete bathroom set: shampoo, toothbrush with toothpaste, shower gel, shower cap is also provided

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The Toilet & Bath was spacious and stocked with complete bathroom amenities. A hair dryer was also provided and which we used liberally in the morning. The bathroom kit (shower gel, shampoo, toothbrush with many toothpaste) was a generic brand but very useful and decent.

In the end, Keyman’s is a good hotel located in a perfect location — albeit one that’s getting on with age and definitely showing it.

And yes, the rock-hard beds.

I would like to believe that my sister and I were used to sleeping on hard surfaces, having our share on sleeping on a thin mat spread to the ground. But the bed at Keyman’s, in spite how nice it looked on picture, was the hardest bed I’ve ever slept on. Doesn’t help really when you are given one small pillow that’s quite a bit thin and hardly useful in keeping your neck comfortable. My sister and I hardly slept at all because the bed was bothering our backs. Though we knew that our stay in Keyman’s was only for about a few hours and we intend to check out early in the morning to proceed to our hotel in Ximending, we ended up waking really early because we hardly slept at all — tossing and turning from 2AM to 8AM due to the unfortunate bed. It was so uncomfortable, I felt like my spine was realigned away from my neck. After having to deal with tossing and turning, we decided to head for the free breakfast and take out our misery on the free food provided on the Restaurant floor of Keyman’s.

free brekkie at Keyman's

free brekkie at Keyman’s

Keyman's "restaurant" at the topmost floor

Keyman’s “restaurant” located at the topmost floor

The breakfast had limited choices but enough to nourish and sustain you for a day of traveling. There were bread, butter and jam for those who prefer western brekkie, and a pot of congee surrounded by traditional chinese toppings (peanut, veggies, chicken or pork floss), sauteed veggie which looked spinach and sunny side eggs for those who want to fill up. Coffee is also provided as well as bottled water.

However, the servers were quick and very efficient and friendly and I noticed them always replenishing the bowls of food to ensure that it’s always filled up.

Frustrated by the need to wake up early due to the hard beds, my sister and I ended up having our fill during breakfast, joking that we are after “getting our money’s worth” since we are due to check out after breakfast and we have been miserable all morning, no thanks to the rock-hard bed.

If you don’t mind sleeping on a hard bed, in exchange for a centrally located, reasonably priced hotel — why don’t you give Keyman’s a try? Service is really good, if only they’d do something about getting more comfortable mattresses.

HOTEL CONTACT INFORMATION:
Keyman’ Hotel
No.1, Huaining St. , Zhongzheng District, Taipei City 100, Taiwan (R.O.C.)  
TEL:+886-2-2311-4811   FAX:+886-2-2311-5212 
http://www.keymans.com.tw/

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