We booked Santos Hotel knowing full well that it was not located in the happening areas like Ximending, Taipei Main Station or one those hot night spots. In fact it is located somewhere between town centre and Shilin district which is home to one of the most popular and largest night markets in Taipei.
From the photos online, we knew that the hotel is an older style establishment. But because we were looking for size and a triple room at a reasonable price, this hotel seemed to fit the bill nicely. Furthermore it had decent reviews in Trip Advisor, Agoda and the other travel portals. So we took the chance and booked for 3 nights.
When we arrived, it was exactly how we imagined it. It was probably one of the top hotels in its hay days. The lobby had the hallmarks of it. Not many new hotels these days invest in such a huge lobby as space can be better utilized for retail, office or other commercial purposes. Be that as it may, reception service was excellent. The check-in process was quick and staff were friendly.
As we took the lift up to our floor, there was an internal air-well that brings in natural light which is always nice. The rooms were clean, spacious and comfortable. Bed was reasonably firm although I would have preferred even firmer. The third bed in the triple room was actually an extra bed, so it was quite soft and flimsy.
Christians would be very happy at this hotel. There were three copies of the Bible in our room! (although two were New Testament books only).
Upon check out, we asked if we could buy one of the New Testament copies which in bilingual English and Chinese. The reception staff politely replied that we could keep it, as he looked at me, the look on his face told me that he could not decide whether to be surprised or amazed at our request, guess it was the first time anyone had asked him this question.
The toilet bowl was a masterpiece. I must admit we were a bit put off by the toilet in the photos, not the least of which was due to an intimidating looking toilet bowl. But as it turned out, we were wrong.
Those controls that look like Buck Rogers starfighter buttons were for real. With it, you can heat up the toilet seat, blast a stream of water jet to clean your under bottom etc etc. You don’t see this type of thing very often these days, not even in five star hotels. I guess it would cost a bomb to install and maintain.
Min Quan West Station is just a few minutes walk away. There is McDonalds and a host of local and other restaurants in the area. Besides the metro line, there is also a bus stop in front of the hotel. The bus route is easy, one straight road up north to Shilin and south to Ximending.
Overall I would say this hotel was better than expected. Location is a bit off, but transport was easy and everything else was great. The older style features were not an issue for us. Air-conditiong, shower, amenities and everything else were great. With a bit of renovation, I’m sure the hotel can regain its former glory.