As mentioned earlier, visiting Taitung was the focus of my Taiwan trip this year, where we would spend more days exploring the huge county. As the third largest county in Taiwan, the east coast county (as its Chinese name indicates) is nicknamed as Houshan by locals, which means behind the mountains. The 3,515 km2 large county is divided into 1 city, 2 urban townships, 8 rural townships and 5 mountain indigenous townships. Hence it took me quite some time to decide where to stay in Taitung County for the best connectivity, & finally decided on Inn By The Village in Taitung City. Why?
1. Location 位置
Taitung City is 1 of the major cities on Taiwan’s east coast, sprawling across the southwestern part of Taitung County. As the most populous subdivision of Taitung County, infrastructure & commercial development can be considered to be the most developed in this part of the county. Furthermore, with its strategic central location, it is the gateway to other parts of the county which we want to venture out to. Having said that, Inn By The Village’s ideal location in the heart of Taitung City is a big plus point. The boutique hotel is surrounded by shops & eateries, as well as notable tourist attractions. These include a 2-min walk to Taitung Railway Art Village, 6-min walk to Tiehua Village, 25-min walk to Taitung Seashore Park etc. It is also just a 4-min walk to Taitung Bus Station (the old Taitung Railway Station), where the Taiwan Tourist Shuttle can be found; & a 10-minute drive from Taitung Train Station. Even for those who hire private transport to tour around (like what we did), it is close to the 2 major highways (Provincial Highway 9 & Provincial Highway 11) so moving around is certainly convenient.
2. Hotel room 饭店客房
With the location of my would-be accommodation being narrowed to Taitung City centre, next was to shortlist accommodations that look nice & have many good guest reviews. As you may already know, the newer the accommodation was built/ renovated, the more likely I would decide to book. So Inn By The Village fitted my bill as it was opened only on 29 July 2016, the second hotel established under the NanFeng International Corp. There was actually another accommodation that was shortlisted with the same price range, but it lost out because it was a B&B aka minsu with no elevators. We couldn’t imagine ourselves having to lug our heavy luggages up the stairs, so the hotel won haha.
Online, the rooms offered at Inn By The Village look spacious & comfortable. As we entered our room after check-in, we found that it looked exactly the same like what we saw online.
We had booked a standard twin room of 25 sqm (S$118.16/night via Agoda), & boy, it was really spacious. There was plenty of space to move about in the room & place our luggages. Every inch of space was carefully designed with functionality, style and comfort in mind. It was good to see that there are many international electrical outlets placed throughout the room, & we didn’t have to use adapter to charge our electronic devices. Maybe a slight complaint was the position of the chic grey sofa, which was a little too near the flat screen TV for us to be able to sit there & watch TV programs without straining our necks. But I appreciate the long work-table beside the sofa, the small table-top in between the sofa, as well as the bedside drawers.
I also like the idea of separate shower & toilet cubicles, with 2 individual wash basins. I have been to other hotels where they separate the toilet & shower, but usually there is just 1 wash basin. But here, it is really convenient as you really don’t need to fight with your roommate over who gets to wash face/ brush teeth first hehe. We almost couldn’t find the toilet at first, as it was concealed behind the sliding door. We had initially thought that was a wardrobe (although the wardrobe is actually behind the basin in the open combined with luggage storage area). 😛 Another little grouse was the shower door. It looked as if the middle area (where sensitive body parts may be seen) was opaque, but it wasn’t. As long as you switch on the light in the shower, you could definitely see what the one inside is doing from outside. Consolation is we are both females, but still, we hope for more privacy here!
In addition, as we were given a room on the highest guest room floor (level 7), the view out from our room’s large window was pretty cool. We could see the ocean on the far left, & the mountain range on the far right, particularly beautiful & clear on a sunny day. 🙂
3. Service & facilities 服务及设施
As mentioned above, Taitung is a large county. Public transport options are limited due to Taiwan’s Central Mountain Range. So you can see plenty of bicycle rental shops in the city since it will be more convenient to explore on bike. If you stay at Inn By The Village, you don’t even need to worry about where to rent a bicycle, as it’s free for guests to use. Unfortunately we both don’t know how to cycle so couldn’t make use of the free facility. But the free umbrellas provided beside the entrance came in handy too, especially since we were caught in the unexpected plum rain season this trip.
Furthermore, on level 2 of the hotel, guests could use the 2 coin-operated washing machines & dryer in the laundry room, workout at the gym, or even do nothing & just relax in the cool lounge while waiting for the laundry to be done (in about 45 min). The cost of doing laundry, be it to wash or to dry, was really cheap, at just 30 TWD (~S$1.40) per load. The reception staff also supplied us with detergent to wash our clothes.
Besides the above much-appreciated facilities, the service provided by all hotel staff were warm & friendly. Not sure if it was partly due to me approaching the hotel PR prior to the trip, that I could write a review of the hotel on Trip101 about my experience though haha. Free shuttle service from Taitung Train Station could be arranged by hotel as long as you inform them in advance of your arrival time. The driver that picked us up was very chatty & responsive too throughout the 10-min drive.
除了以上提供的设施，饭店所有职员也很热情友善，虽然不晓得向饭店公关提议我能在 Trip101 为南豐写篇评论的事情是否让他们更注意服务品质，哈哈。还有，只要事先通知饭店抵达台东火车站的时间，南豐就会安排车子去车站免费接驳。来接我们的司机一路上也很健谈，对我们提出的疑问也很有耐心地解答。
4. Tantalising food options 丰富味美的餐饮选择
My previous experiences of food in Taiwan’s hotels weren’t too pleasant, although I had only been to the country twice, once in Sep 2012 & once on a company retreat in May 2013. So even though Inn By The Village has only 1 on-site restaurant like all those I had been to before, the dining experience I had throughout our 3-night stay truly surprised me. Read more about the tantalising food options we had at Jenny’s Bar & Grill in this post. 🙂
虽然到台湾游的次数不是太多，但之前的两次，都让我对台湾饭店的餐饮选择留下不是太好的印象。但是同样是只有一家餐馆的南豐，表现却让我刮目相看。更多详情请点击我 Jenny’s Bar & Grill 的衔接。
Sidetrack a little, originally we only booked 2 nights at Inn By The Village. This was because for our last night in Taitung County, we would move to Chenggong Township to be nearer to the much-look-forward-to dolphin cruise. But sadly, due to bad weather conditions, the dolphin cruise was cancelled. Hence the minsu that we had booked urged us to cancel the booking (without any cancellation charge). While it was quite disappointing to have missed the cruise in that way, it was good in another sense as we could enjoy Inn By The Village 1 more night, as well as have more time to check out sights in downtown Taitung we missed earlier.
Staying at Inn By The Village was really a great choice I did not regret making. As you can see above, it fit the mark for all points mentioned. In fact, it was my favourite hotel for the entire trip. Highly recommended hotel to stay in if you are planning to visit Taitung! 🙂