citizenM Taipei North Gate has been one of my anticipated hotel openings in Asia in 2017. I remember visiting Taipei a year back, walking past the city’s north gate to find the chain’s first property in Asia under construction. That was fresh from my stay at the citizenM New York Time Square months before where I had pretty good memories of the brand’s unique proposition. I was determined to see how the Taipei property panned out so the next time I visited the city in January 2018, there was no question where I was going to stay.
citizenM Taipei North Gate has plenty going for it. The airport MRT station is located just across, a mere 3 minute walk. While it is situated a bit off the lively Ximending area, it’s within walking distance. There’s also a bus stop next door from where guests can move to various parts of the city, at just TWD 15 per ride.
Central to the citizenM proposition is the self-service check-in. Machines are placed by the lobby for guests to enter their details, pay and activate their key cards. It’s a relatively fuss-free process. The citizenM Taipei North Gate allows guests to toggle between English or Chinese for the check-in process. In case there are problems, one staff member – they call them “ambassadors” – is on standby to help.
The design factor is one aspect that separates citizenM from other no-frills chains and the second level living area is a showcase of the brand concept. Think of it as a cross between a co-working space and a snazzy living room in a high flyer’s bachelor pad replete with designer furniture. Guests are allowed to borrow classic novels from the mini-library while coffee table titles are available for browsing. You will also find a 24-hour cafe/bar here which is called canteenM. Breakfast is served here in the morning.
The highly functional usage of space and futuristic design were immediately apparent once I entered my room. It looked exactly similar to my room in citizenM New York Times Square down to the color scheme and even lighting options. An iPad was placed on the desk where I could control everything from the air conditioning temperature to the TV and even the mood lighting. There is even an option for me to link up my device to the TV. The tech factor is another aspect where citizenM shines.
All rooms in citizenM Taipei North Gate are considered to be of one category and it is important to note that there are no twin bedder options here. All rooms come with a double bed and on average, measure 15 square meters. It’s modest by any standards but what I really love is that the beds are placed just beside the window, allowing one to wake up to a wonderful view. On clear days, you can see the mountains north of the city. Controls for the blinds are automatic -there’s no need to manually pull them down.
Bag storage is via a drawer that can be pulled out from under the bed. If you need to get some work done, the desk has ample space as well as power outlets. There’s a small cabinet to hang one’s clothes. You won’t find an ironing set here but these are available in the public areas at the lower floors.
The bathroom is separated from the rest of the room via frosted glass. The vanity area and sink are actually placed in the bedroom near the entrance. Complete amenities are made available, including shaving kits and even cotton buds which I normally see in more upmarket hotels. The actual bath area on the other hand contains the toilet and the showers that’s separated through a curtain. Toiletries are the all-in-one dispenser type although as was my experience previously, there are separate daytime (more refreshing) and evening (more subdued) bath gels.
I have seen some rooms in social media that come with not just one but two windows so when I checked in, I requested to be assigned to this room. I went to my original room first while the reception staff looked for an available corner room. A few minutes after settling in, I received a call that a corner room was available. With the key card technology that the hotel had, I didn’t even need to go back to the lobby to pick up a new key. They were able to re-assign my key card to a new room remotely so I proceeded directly to my requested “two windows” room which was situated at a higher floor.
While citizenM Taipei North Gate specifically states that all rooms are the same, I really preferred my new room. It’s longer but thinner so I am not exactly sure if it’s bigger than my original room (though it seemed like it). Nevertheless, waking up to a panoramic view was quite a nice experience and I would definitely recommend getting this room (if possible) when staying at citizenM Taipei North Gate.
As mentioned previously, breakfast is served at canteenM in a buffet format. The spread is relatively modest though it is quite apparent that dishes are catered to a more wholesome crowd. Think: homemade granola, yogurt, fruits and croissant. At citizenM Taipei North Gate, this is also complemented with local items such as congee and local pastries. Barista coffee is included.
It is sometimes said that where you stay dictates the tone of your travels and by that regard, I am glad to have chosen to stay at citizenM Taipei North Gate during my visit to the city. This property is one of the very few no-frills hotels that I liked so much that I was almost tempted not to leave my room during my stay in Taipei. I will definitely look for another reason to visit Taipei soon just to stay at this hotel. Similarly, I hope that citizenM opens a hotel in Singapore soon!
That being said, it is worth noting that the property would appeal (and by that extension, suit) a certain group of people. Although it is perfectly liveable, I think it’s more attuned to the younger crowd – people in their 20s and 30s – as opposed to the more mature age groups where bigger room space is an especially important factor.
citizenM Taipei North Gate
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