Review: Star Hostel Taipei Main Station
▲ Accommodation Review
Price? S$73 /~ NT$1760 per night
Accommodation Type? Double Bed Private Ensuite
When? 4 nights in July 2014
Website: www.starhostel.com.tw, www.facebook.com/StarhostelTaiwan
Address: No. 50, Huayin St, Datong District Taipei City, 103
Taipei Main Station Star Hostel is simply… amazing. This the one of the best, if not the best hostel I’ve ever stayed at. But that’s because this was a very very new space when I was there. The manager (Mac) told us that they will be closed for 1 to 2 months (from August?) for more renovations based on the feedback given by their first batch of customers, us included. So we are like their guinea pigs. But we didn’t mind, because with very newly renovated rooms and facilities, and a small crowd, it’s a real bargain to stay at such a price, considering the good location. But the hostel is really huge with many rooms, so I think it might get a bit too crowded for comfort in future. But hey, it’s a hostel, people mingle.
Anyway, we were early for the check in (reached at 12pm and check in was 2pm) but they allowed us an early check in. First impression of the hostel was fantastic. The pavilion and setup at the entrance and common area are good photo taking locations. Mac told us that they’re attempting to set up cosy places for people to interact and hang out.
After check in, the friendly staff at the reception, Bobo, showed us around the place (common areas, kitchen, dining areas) and led us to our room. Oh! Once we past the reception, we had to take off our shoes at a locker area (except there’re no locks) and exchanged them for slippers. The locker area is alike those found in gyms and spas.
What say us?
✔ Location: First up, location. The hostel is perfectly located in a small street just off Taipei Main Station, the main transportation hub. It’s only about 10 minutes walk from the station. The Taoyuan airport shuttle arrives and departs from Taipei Main Station, and also the train to and from Hualien. So it was a real convenient place to stay for our itinerary. And what’s more, it is located at a street that’s starting to gain fame for good food! Get out of the lift and exit right, and you’ll find that this 胡椒饼 (Hújiāo bǐng, Pepper Biscuit) is even tastier than the famous one we tried at Raohe Market. But be sure to catch it while it’s fresh out of the oven! And opposite the hostel, there’s this donut that’s damn good! Be sure to ask for their signature flavour (the one that looks like their signboard). Oh and 7-11 is just diagonally opposite to its building.
✔ Clean room: Room wise, it had everything we required. A comfy bed, TV, AC, and most importantly… wifi. As the hostel was still new, it was still working out a few kinks, but Mac was quick to explain the situtation to us and asked for our honest feedback on how they can improve the space.
✔ Clean toilet: I am quite particular with toilets. And since this is a new place, the toilet is sparkling clean. And the nice and clean design of the toilet was a major plus. BUT… (read on the ✘ )
✔ Homely breakfast: Oh, there’s breakfast included here. And it’s not buffet style, yo! It’s individually prepared and served. :) This is a very nice touch, because usually you prepare your own breakfast at hostel. The breakfast set changes everyday, but I prefer the first day set, which was really good. The subsequent days were not so good. But at least there’s variations.
✔ Cafe Style Dining Area: Not a squeezy and small kitchen/canteen for you to tuck in your meals. Enjoy the breakfast in a pseudo cafe here! Don’t even feel like a hostel.
✔ Equipped Kitchen: And for those who want to cook, there’s a spacious enough kitchen for you, just beside the dining area, to whip up a meal or two.
✔ Informative and Friendly Reception Area: The hostel actually has quite a bit of travel information around the vicinity and trips around Taiwan pasted on their information board near the reception area. But we didn’t realise it until our last day of our stay! Will be good if they had pointed out to us, but we shall blame it on our lack of observation. Hah. So hang around the reception area with those information pasted up, or just ask the staff for recommendation or tours, they all look friendly to help.
✘ Bathroom: Think they might have improved on this aspect from our feedback. In any case, when I was staying, the shower head level was too high for me. And Mac mentioned that even those tall guys staying with them complained they it’s too high for them. There was also no holder for my own toiletries. So I had to place them on the floor. No dustbin in the toilet too.
✘ Laundry Room: They have limited washing machines. Even though there weren’t many people living at the same time as us, the washing machine were all in use and unavailable for us to wash our dirty laundry – even if it was late in the night.
✘ Room with no nice touches: It’s a hostel, I shouldn’t expect much. But it will be good if they have tissue boxes and full length mirror (I can’t find this anywhere, even in shared toilets) in the room.
✘ Taking off your shoes: I guessed the owner wanted this ‘rule’ for hygiene purposes. But I find it a bit hmms. There’s no lock to the lockers. So the first thought that came to mind was, what if someone takes my shoes? I know there’s security camera, but still… And for ladies, there’s the matching of shoes with the outfit of the day. So I had to sneak in the shoes to try out the mix and match. :P AND what if someone is embarrassed by their smelly Athlete’s foot but had no choice but to take off in the locker area? Or if people are affected by the smell? For one night, our feet and shoes are drenched from the rain and mud puddles. Hence we still had to take our shoes in to the room to wash.
Overall, it was a real comfortable stay. And Mac was receptive to feedback and looked like he’s going to act on them. So I think the management would have worked out some of the details. So it could be an even better experience for future stays. Very highly recommended for travelers on a budget and looking for quality and value for money.
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