Set smack in the middle of Taipei’s bustling Ximending district (often compared to Tokyo’s Harajuku), the hotel fits organically into the streetscape, jutting out onto the busy pedestrian area filled with youths and merrymakers with its own outdoor terrace, where anyone – not just hotel guests – can be served with refreshing drinks and a selection of sweet treats by amba Taipei Ximending’s very own tianba bakery.
The hotel itself occupies floors 5 through 10 of the swanky Eslite shopping complex (entry via private elevator), which offers clothes, bags, accessories and more, but is known primarily as one of Taiwan’s largest bookstore chains, with a substantial selection of English-language publications. The closest metro station, Ximen, is only a few minutes’ walk away, while the city’s main transportation hub – Taipei Main Station – a single MRT stop from there.
Style & Facilities
There are no bulky chandeliers or overbearing imperious décor in sight, for it’s all fun and games at amba Taipei Ximending – “fun” being a theme that unites all on-site establishments – and much of what you see is either eco-friendly, upcycled, or both.
It starts already at the reception desk, embellished with dozens of creatively reused plastic bottles, and continues on to the on-site restaurant, chiba, where guests can grab a board game or flip through a comic book to pass the time. Right next door is the hotel bar (also open to the public), which hosts frequent live music performances (check out amba’s own “fun guide” to see what’s on when you are in town).
A pleasant discovery is the self-service laundry located on floor 6 (a standard feature of all amba hotels), indispensable for those on longer journeys, and yet another testament to the hotel’s laid-back attitude and thoughtful approach.
Floors 6 through 10 are occupied entirely by guest rooms, of which there are several varieties, ranging from smart (22 square meters) to balcony (51-60 square meters), the latter featuring an airy outdoor terrace facing Ximending. Though the hotel is no more than a few years old, all rooms were recently completely refurbished, given new furniture, new flooring, extra LED lighting and other fun and indispensable additions.
Room interiors reflect the elegant yet minimalist, functional approach adhered to by amba, with showstoppers like Sony BRAVIA Internet TV, with built-in Skype and social media connections, beds with 100% natural unbleached linen and organic cotton towels, authentic Taiwanese tea, exclusive bath and body care products by a socially responsible Taiwanese brand, and the absolute prize winner: a pair of custom-designed flip flops that guests aren’t only allowed, but encouraged to keep.
Rooms feature original artwork, and the entire hotel receives regular facelifts, keeping it fresh and in-the-now. Essentials like WiFi, universal power outlets, air conditioner, mini fridge, electronic safe and vanity items are available in every room.
Breakfast is served daily at the 5th floor restaurant, chiba, and is a delightful affair featuring made-to-order dishes and an abundant buffet of Taiwanese and international foods. The restaurant brings in a steady flow of locals all through the day, enticing with specialties such as the Detroit-style thick-crust rectangular pizza and original fresh juice mixes, aptly named with references to pop culture and served in whimsical glasses (enjoy a cocktail served directly in Thor’s hammer). The menu further delights with salads, pasta, seafood dishes and delectable desserts.
The tingba lounge right next door (chiba and tingba become one when hosting events) features regular performances by both established musicians and up-and-coming local talents, as well as frequent DJ sets. Take in the elaborate interior décor centering around all things vintage while sipping on one of tingba’s signature cocktails crafted before your very eyes at the “lab,” equipped with rustic mixology paraphernalia.
Why we love it:
amba Taipei Ximending pulls off minimalist elegance and top-class service in a setting that feels so casual it’s easy to overlook the tremendous amount of effort invested into its formulation. But make no mistake: everything here is part of a bigger, carefully curated picture, from the eco-friendly, upcycled décor to bath amenities containing natural ginger grown locally in Taiwan. It’s the embodiment of conscious fun, a playful environment born from the excitement of its home base, the youthful Ximending district, and a joint effort of some of the island’s most talented creators.
Be sure to also check out our review of amba Taipei Songshan, amba Taipei Ximending’s sister hotel.