amba Songshan cover

REVIEW: amba Taipei Songshan Hotel, Taiwan

New and old meet at amba Taipei Songshan hotel, rooted firmly in the city’s past, but looking always towards its future.

Location

With an enviable location at the intersection of the Xinyi, Songshan and Nangang districts, amba Taipei Songshan hotel is the very height of convenience. Occupying floors 17-21 of the Ruentex Songshan Station Complex (the views of the city from such heights are hard to beat), the hotel offers direct access to the Songshan Station via a sky-bridge, an important transportation hub for exploring the city and beyond (you can reach the entire city via MTR and even take direct trains to Hualien, if you’re planning on visiting Taroko Gorge).

amba Songshan location

amba Taipei Songshan

The hotel is close to just about everything. It lies just 15 minutes from Songshan Airport and 45 minutes from Taoyuan International Airport and a mere 5-minute walk from the popular Raohe Night Market, and also boasts a wealth of convenient shopping and dining options in the immediate vicinity. There is also a free shuttle bus service to Taipei 101 and the TWTC Nangang Exhibition Hall.

Style and Facilities

amba Taipei Songshan hotel stays true to the brand’s minimalist and sleek yet carefully curated design, executed to perfection. The stylish yet cozy communal space in the lobby, furnished with games and plenty of places to sit and enjoy the views, invites guests to play games that range from ping pong and foosball to cards and Monopoly, and guests can even rent videogame consoles, laptops and other gadgets in their own rooms. Some of the rentable highlights include (apart from Play Station and Xbox) the Apple TV and portable projector, allowing one to set up a miniature movie theater of one’s own.  Other much welcome facilities include a 24/7 gym and self-service laundry, an ice dispenser (available in the laundry room), and multiple “thoughtful extras” that can be arranged, such as balance-ball chairs and foam pillows.

amba Songshan lobby

Lobby | amba Taipei Songshan

amba is all about sustainability, using eco-friendly materials in furnishings and décor, and even going as far as to commission custom-made, unique bamboo chandeliers woven by Taiwanese craftspeople (look up as you check in). The coffee capsules used in Nespresso machines (you’ll find one in each of the hotel’s rooms, regardless of category) are recyclable, and used coffee grounds are later transformed into fertilizer. Bath products are made with ginger grown locally in Taiwan by an environmentally responsible brand, and guests are encouraged to bring the custom design flip flops along with them upon departure.

amba Songshan chandelier

Bamboo chandeliers | amba Taipei Songshan

Rooms

The hotel has 189 guest rooms, each with its own unique design, both inside and out. Following the general sense of style, the rooms are open, spacious and somewhat minimalist, but lack for nothing. They have done away with over-the-top extravagance in exchange for the things that today’s travelers find truly important: extra-fast WiFi (each room comes equipped with its own router), lots of conveniently located universal power outlets (110-volt, 220-volt and USB connections) and plenty of storage and counter space (there’s even a little shelf strategically placed next to the toilet for your phone).

amba Songshan room

Loft King Room | amba Taipei Songshan

In a clever design choice, each room’s door features a stylized depiction of an important event from the room number’s year (an influential invention coming into existence or the release of a beloved movie, for example). This is always done with an exquisite sense of design, and often, a great sense of humor (room 2016 celebrates Leonardo DiCaprio’s long-awaited Oscar win, for example).

Dining

Que woodfired grill, amba Taipei Songshan’s irresistible restaurant, offers top-class dining with some of Taipei’s finest views. The chefs, visibly hard at work in the open kitchen, grill up all-natural steaks and seafood to perfection over native fruit-tree woods in the hotel’s signature wood-fire oven. Crusty on the outside, tender on the inside, and with an irresistible hints of a smoky flavor, the steaks are not to be missed.

amba Songshan dining

que | amba Taipei Songshan

Que is quite popular, regardless of the hour: breakfast is a regal buffet of fresh Taiwanese and international dishes fit for any taste, weekend brunches are in high demand, and it’s sure to be active for drinks around sunset, given the privileged view from the wall-to-wall windows. Side-note: que has the best French fries this reviewer has ever tried.

amba Songshan que

que | amba Taipei Songshan

Why we love it:

It’s hard to pick one aspect that stands out about amba Taipei Songshan. It is, simply put, the complete package. The sleek and minimalist yet joyful style that defines the hotel is palpable in every aspect of your stay, and it all works seamlessly. If we’re forced to choose the top three aspects that stuck with us, however, they would have to be: the stunning chandeliers, the delicious French fries and the unbeatable views of Taipei at sunset.

Be sure to also check out our review of amba Taipei Ximending, amba Taipei Songshan’s sister hotel.