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We had a fairly short overnight in Taipei before our connecting flight. We were arriving from Los Angeles at around 5PM, and departing the following day to Singapore at 9AM. As much as I love Taipei as a city, Taoyuan Airport is quite a ways from town.
As a result, I figured it made the most sense to stay at the Novotel Taipei Taoyuan Airport, given that the hotel is just a short (free) shuttle ride from the airport.
We booked only a few days before our stay, so by the time we booked they only had executive rooms left for sale, which retailed for ~$200. That’s not cheap for an airport hotel, but still seemed better than any of the alternatives.
We were arriving at Terminal 2, so exited immigration and then followed signage towards airport buses, which had us exiting through doors on the left side of the terminal after exiting immigration. The Novotel picks up at bus stop 9, which was easy enough to find. The shuttle runs every 30 minutes, and you can find the official shuttle schedule here.
The shuttle was quite basic, though fortunately the ride only took five minutes.
The hotel has a modern exterior, though it looks a bit like an office building, due to the lack of balconies.
The lobby was spacious and airy, and it even had some aviation-themed art (at least that’s my theory as to what the thing hanging from the ceiling in the below picture was meant to look like).
Reception was located inside the lobby and to the right. While there were several people working, it took about 10 minutes to be helped, and that was despite being first in line. They took their sweet time with check-in, or perhaps the process was just more complicated than it needed to be.
Eventually I had my key for my ninth floor room, which is also where the lounge was located. My room was just outside the elevator and to the left, right across from the lounge.
The room was modern and nicely furnished. It featured an entryway with a closet to the left and the bathroom to the right.
Th room featured a queen size bed, which I found to be on the firm side. Of course everyone has different bed preferences, but I woke up with pain in my back in the morning.
By the window was a daybed and couch of sorts, with a sliding table. I appreciate that type of design, since you can get comfortable and work from the couch, while positioning the table where you want it. While I thought the Novotel panda was cute, from a cleanliness perspective I’m not sure I’m quite as enthusiastic about it.
Unfortunately there wasn’t much in the way of views from the couch — the room just faced an office building across the street.
Across from the bed was a desk along with the wall mounted TV.
There were conveniently placed outlets, including 110v and USB outlets.
Back near the entrance was a Nespresso machine (very nice!) and a kettle.
Below that was the minibar, which was fairly basic.
The bathroom was back near the entrance, and was functionally designed. It was separated from the rest of the room by two doors that become part of the wall when you don’t need privacy. There was a sink, walk-in shower, and partitioned off toilet.
The water pressure was pretty decent, and I appreciated that there were two shower heads.
I was also intrigued by the “magic glass” that the hotel uses. There’s a glass shield between the bedroom and bathroom, which you can see through like any other glass shield. However, with the push of a button the glass frosts, to the point that you can’t see the bedroom from the bathroom, and vice versa. That’s a brilliant design, in my opinion.
I was impressed by the quantity of toiletries the hotel had in the room. In addition to the usual toiletries, there was a shaving kit, dental set, etc.
The toilet was partitioned off from the rest of the bathroom. While the rest of the room smelled fine, the toilet had a horrible cigarette odor.
Overall the room was perfectly nice. The wifi was usable and free for all guests, though not really high speed.
As mentioned above, the executive lounge was right across from my room, and was a very nice space.
It was modern, and had views of both nearby construction and the airport.
There were a variety of seating options, including dining tables, high-top seating, couches, etc.
In the back corner of the lounge there was also a small business center with a couple of computers.
In the evening they had appetizers until 8PM, though I wasn’t hungry, and for that matter the selection didn’t look especially appealing.
I did, however, take advantage of the Nespresso machine to make an espresso.
There was also a selection of liquor and wine, though I didn’t have any.
I managed to get a great night of sleep (despite the hard bed), and woke up at about 4AM. The hotel doesn’t serve breakfast until 6AM, though I wandered into the lobby to see if I could get coffee anywhere. I was happy when I found that they had a setup with complimentary coffee, orange juice, and pastries. Not only was it a good selection, but the fact that it was available at 4AM was impressive. A hotel after my own heart.
As club guests we could have breakfast in the restaurant, located just off the lobby. The restaurant was physically beautiful, and at 6AM it was just us and an airline crew there.
The breakfast buffet looked quite good, with a huge selection of both Western and Asian options.
Unfortunately I found the quality of the food to be abysmal. I tried all kinds of things, and nothing tasted right. The omelet was tasteless and runny, the french toast tasted like cardboard, and even the cereal tasted stale. Maybe it’s just my taste, but I wasn’t a fan… at all.
Before leaving the hotel I decided to check out the gym, located on the second floor. Outside the gym was a pool table.
The gym was huge, and open 24/7.
There was also a ping pong table.
In the morning we took the 7AM shuttle to the airport, leaving us plenty of time before our Hello Kitty flight to Singapore.
Novotel Taipei Airport bottom line
Despite the hard bed and tasteless breakfast buffet, I was pleased with the Novotel Taipei Airport. The rooms are modern and clean, the public facilities are nice, and the club lounge was a beautiful space as well. Most importantly, this is the most convenient option for a quick overnight at Taoyuan Airport, given the distance from the airport to the city. I’d certainly return under similar circumstances, though ideally I’d stay in Taipei longer (and stay at the awesome W Taipei).