[Image source: http://www.ppcpa.com.tw/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/welcome-2-taiwan-thumbnail.jpg]

We just got back from Taiwan earlier this week!

It was our third time there, and we still enjoyed ourselves very much. :)

For the previous times when we were there, we stayed at East Dragon Hotel (東龍大飯店)
at Ximending (西門町). This time however, due to China's Golden Week (Oct 1 - Oct 7), we were unable to get any room at East Dragon, much to our dismay.

We really like East Dragon's accessibility, the staff's friendliness and the room's cleanliness. We met the housekeeping ladies a few times during our stay there, and we could see that they really do take pride in their work. The breakfast, although has no selection whatsoever, was really good enough for us as well (two sunny side ups with ham, coffee/tea/orange juice and 2 buttered buns per pax). The buttered buns were da bomb!

Anyway, since we couldn't get East Dragon, we frantically searched online for an alternative at Ximending area as we like how accessible it is to other places around Taipei city. It is a rather centralised location in terms of where Ximending station is on their MRT system. Also a very good place for shopping and getting some street food, yum.

We found out a few of the hotels around that area have rather poor ratings. Except for one or two. Rainbow Hotel was one with rather good ratings and reviews.

We decided to go with Rainbow.

[Image source: tripadvisor.com.sg]

It was a mistake.

Here's why...

1. Extremely small room

We don't know if all the rooms at Rainbow are of the same size, or perhaps there are bigger rooms available, but the room we got is so tiny. It kinda bordered on the level of being ridiculous.

East Dragon's room is small too, but not to such an extent.

Here's a distorted panorama picture of our room:

As you can see (right side of the picture), once you get into the room, the TV is on the right. Right next to the TV is a small table with hot water flask, hair dryer, cups and sachets of tea (cannot see in this picture). The bench I placed my luggage on, is from under the table. There is also a small dustbin/trashcan under the table.

The space between the bed and the curtains/windows is so small once I placed my luggage there, there was no space left to walk. So while I was there, I pushed my luggage in, and put it right in front of the bedside table.

They don't provide luggage stand (we asked), and there was no where else to put his luggage. Therefore, we had to put his luggage in front of the small closet outside the bathroom, which is on the left side of the main door so the luggage was also more or less in front of the main door. Whenever we were in the room, his luggage had to be pushed to the door in order for us to open the closet door or to go to the bathroom without hindrance.

Bathroom size is surprisingly ok despite the small room size. It even has a bathtub, which is rather unnecessary in my opinion.

2. Lack of cleanliness

The cleanliness of the room was almost on par with the room we stayed at Costa Sands Resort, Sentosa.

It was bad.

The glass surfaces of both tables (table with hot water flask and table with TV), looked like they were not wiped. I used my anti-bacterial wet wipes to wipe the surfaces, and there was a "grainy" feeling. :S

This was taken on the last day, so I had already wiped the glass surface.

Very dirty remote control. Dead baby cockroach under the green box of toiletries. More details in another point below.

The tissue box holder looked really dusty and seemed like it hasn't been wiped in a long time as well.

The toilet seat looked like it wasn't really clean too. Although they did put a paper over it saying that it has been sanitised. I saw stains on it lor.

The glass shelf in the bathroom where they put the complimentary toiletries also looked like it wasn't washed or cleaned properly.

3. Antartica-level air-conditioning system

The air-con was freaking, freaking, freaking cold. So cold it hurt. Our noses that is.

The controls for the lights and air-con are at the bedside table. Electronic ok, don't play play.

The buttons for the air-con, High/Medium/Low/Off, were really damn hard to press. It's on a level of, you-gotta-almost-break-your-fingers-before-it-registers-the-pressure hard.

We switched off the air-con, and somehow, it got switched back on again unknowingly. With my luggage in front of the bedside table, we had no visibility on the switches' lights. This happened every day. On our last night, it finally stayed "off" till morning. And we didn't wake up frozen.

4. Lousy lighting

The previous point leads us to this. As I have mentioned, the switches are all at the bedside table. There are dimming/"brightening" options for the lights. Only the one at the bedside table worked. For the rest, I could only just switch them "on" or "off".

No clear white light in the room at all. Not even in the bathroom. All yellowish, dim lights, which made me even more paranoid about the things I cannot spot under such bad lighting.

5. No peephole or safety latch on the door

Enough said.

6. Cockroaches

Yes, cockroaches. First time we ever encountered roaches at a hotel.

We first spotted it outside the next room's door on our second day. It was dead. But an almost-adult size cockroach.

We were disgusted and crossed our fingers that we wouldn't kena one in our room. Well, we got three baby/teenager ones in the end. Still, they are cockroaches no matter their sizes. One escaped, one got stepped on by me (I was wearing the disposable slippers they provided) and one got squashed under the green box of toiletries in one of the pictures above.

I think they might have gotten into the hotel through the fire escape door next to our room. I think some of the staff or guests use the fire escape staircase to smoke. Sometimes they leave the door open. And the gap between the door and the ground is rather big as well. 

If not, there are roaches living in the room, behind the mini fridge or something. :/

7. Dirty cutleries 

Breakfast at the hotel is buffet style.

Not bad actually. Porridge, salted eggs, stir-fried vegetables, scrambled eggs, mini hotdogs, coffee, tea, orange juice, slices of bread for toasting and other dishes suitable to eat with porridge. Oh, there are tubs of ice-cream too. In a freezer of course, and in different flavours. But my first thought when I saw that was, "Who the hell eats ice-cream in the morning?"

And then right in front of my eyes, a group of tourists who had just finished their food, came over and started scooping the ice-cream into paper cups provided. :| 

The food tasted ok. Cold by the time we got there at 9+am. The breakfast closes at 10am. 

But the cutleries were extremely dirty. Greasy, stained and just disgusting. I wiped it with the serviettes provided before using them, but I think that would not help to kill the germs/bacteria/viruses on them. Yucks. 

8. Noisy at night and in the morning

As the hotel is in the middle of Ximending, next to shops and whatsnot, it was rather noisy at night and early in the morning. I could hear loud sounds coming from the area outside our window every night when we were going to bed at 10-11pm.

9. Very hard pillows and dusty headboard

When I was flipping the hard and very heavy pillow, I accidentally brushed it across the headboard. I looked at the part that touched the headboard and saw that it was dusty.

Sheets didn't look too clean as well. Maybe 'cause I got paranoid and it was hard to see under such lighting. But they just looked dirty to me.

Hubby was also paranoid about cockroaches hiding in the space between the bed and the wall.

10. Predators outside the hotel

This has nothing to do with the hotel, but I think if they know, they should do something about it.

There were students/fake students preying on tourists just outside the hotel's main door. They would hang around at one of the benches in the street and wait for tourists to walk out and then approach them immediately. They would literally run to the tourists.

We encountered this two years back on our second trip to Taiwan. They were not directly outside East Dragon, but we got approached while walking to Ximending station. The guy who approached us said he was a student, but has a head full of blonde hair. He tried to sell us useless stuff by saying they are made by students (very obviously not and can be bought anywhere in the night markets or shops) and they are just trying to make money for school fees or whatever (I wasn't really listening). He was selling each item at NTD200 and above. That is like almost S$10 already?

He kept talking and talking while his saliva flew all over the place. In the end, we said no. And his facial expression changed immediately. It was from "I am a student who is trying to act sincere so I can try to sell you these useless stuff" to "how dare you reject me!" in a split second. He looked very pissed off and he walked off immediately without another word. For the next few days, we avoided that path and him whenever we saw him from afar.

This time, it was a group of teenagers stalking tourists outside Rainbow.

A girl approached us and tried to sell us useless things at NTD200 and above again. She asked us if we're from Taiwan or are tourists, how long have we been here, and tried to sweet talk us... by saying nonsensical stuff about how fated we are to meet her on our second last day (we bluffed her). We knew what was going on, so we said no before she could go on any further. Luckily this time, she did not get angry, but rather just walked off. Though she unknowingly approached us again the next day, and we said "no" to her firmly and walked off.

Based on our observation, there's a leader, a guy, who would tell the younger ones to approach the tourists. It seems like a syndicate or something? We saw them approaching other tourists from Rainbow as well until late morning/early afternoon before they were all gone. I guess because the tourists were all out by that time? I hope none of them were gullible enough to actually buy those stuff from the teenagers, but I also know that it must be a lucrative business (enough gullible people buying from them) if not they will not continue doing this for years. Why, just why would anyone buy from them? Baffling.

I think this is an issue the hotel or the Taiwan tourism organisation should deal with before it goes out of hand.

Well, I think that's about it. We will never go back to Rainbow again. Perhaps we could have requested for a change in room, but we knew that the hotel should be fully booked at that time. And we didn't want to waste time changing rooms when we can spend that time shopping and enjoying ourselves. Besides, we won't know if a change of room would be any better as well. Might as well just tahan. Oh well...

Despite that, we had a great time there as usual! Shopping, eating, anyhow walking around random streets and alleys... We felt relaxed and happy while we were there (except when in our hotel room at night haha).

Anyway, the English translations on the notices/signs in the hotel room are quite funny, so for entertainment purposes, I shall post them here as well. :P

Keep the bottle out of the children ! Put a space before the punctuations !

Am I supposed to pick up dust? :(

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