Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Feeling Orangey - Staying at Orange Hotel, Ximen Taipei courtesy of Forte Hotel Group!

I have always wanted to travel out of Southeast Asia. Like dying to. But I always thought that it'll be quite a while before I can do that, travelling to a faraway place is never cheap. I hope they would invent a teleportation machine soon to replace air travel.

As luck would turn out however, the folks at Forte Hotel Group was really kind to have offered me a accommodation sponsorship at one of their hotels, thus giving me a reason to buy myself that air ticket and fly to Taiwan. One of the more established hotel chains in Taiwan, Forte has 10 hotels across the country, each with their own unique design and architecture.

The one that I was straying at is located in Ximending, one of the busiest districts in Taipei, which is also known as the Shibuya of Taiwan.


front view of the hotel


Nestled amongst the different shophouses near one of the most popular tourist spots in Taipei, the Orange Hotel is unlike most hotels that I've been to. It is certainly not big, due to the space constraint of the location it was at, but it has a very unique and hipsterish feel to it. The design of the hotel itself reminded me of a guest house rather than a full fledged hotel. Like a blend between the two. On one hand you have the chic design and friendliness that you would normally expect from a guest house, while on the other the professionalism of a well established hotel chain.


the lobby of the hotel


One of the features that I really liked was the design of the rooms, in how furniture was arranged and the decoration that was used to beautify the room. Ours had the bed next to the window, which gave us a good view of the busy street down below. It had also a TV hung right in front of the bed, accompanied with a few cute artwork and designer shelves.


how often do you get to see a bed like that :p

another view of the bed

the view from further away


Quaint and cozy, the room is quite a welcoming sight to the weary traveler after a packed day of exploring the city. You can just lie and chill on the bed while watching TV, enjoying the quietness the room offers from the busier city life down below.


the view from the bed is quite amazing, though I must say those are not my feet


But if you are not the type who enjoys staying in the room for long, the hotel offers a common dining area too, where you can sit and talk with your friends, or maybe eat the snacks that you have bought from earlier at the night market. Located at the basement level, it's quite a cool place to hang out, and best of all, it's opened for 24 hours as well. Perfect haunt for late sleepers like me.


staircase leading down to the basement level

who knew there was a gem like this hidden at the basement

our friendly tour guide planning the our itinerary for the next day accompanied with a cup of milk and cookies


The staff at the hotel were friendly too, because when they spotted me and my friend headed to the dining area, they offered us biscuits to keep us company for the night. Homemade biscuits which were quite delicious, in my opinion. I guess there's nothing that's not delicious in Taiwan. Except the smelly tofu, that is. There was also free milk available too, which I gladly helped myself to.


free yoghurt and milk up for grabs!


And when morning comes, the place also offers a selection of light food for breakfast as well. Kinda gives you the homely feeling as there were two lovely ladies who helped to serve the food. The type of food that were offered ranges from the usual cereals to something a little more special, such as their raisin bread and bacon. Fruits and boiled eggs were also available as well.


le breakfast!


But I guess one of the strongest selling point of the hotel was the accessibility of the place as well. Like I said, it's located just a few minutes walk away from the busy district of Ximending, the which is the the Times Square in New York or Shibuya in Japan. The MRT is also only nearby, with the main station that connects to the rest of the MRT network just one stop away.

The strategic location of the hotel made travelling around the city much easier, as we had easy access to most places that we wanted to visit. From the calm and quiet mountains of Jiufen to the nightclub Luxy to the hot springs of Beitou, everything was just within a few MRT stops away. Many of my friends wondered how on earth did I managed to cover so many places in just 3 days. I guess staying in an easily accessible place helped a lot.

But sadly the stay was too short to get the best of of Hotel Orange or even Taiwan, but I had fun. Certainly going to go back Taiwan again, and perhaps try out another one of Forte's 10 hotels.


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