HotelsThink artisanal bamboo installations, graphic artwork and functional Muji-styled Bluetooth speakers that will ‘amba-fy’ your stay.

Amba Taipei Songshan makes a design statement

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amba Taipei Songshan’s 32-sqm Corner 101 View Room offers panoramic views of the iconic Taipei 101.
amba Taipei Songshan’s 32-sqm Corner 101 View Room offers panoramic views of the iconic Taipei 101.
The industrial, pop art inspired reception at the hotel lobby.
The industrial, pop art inspired reception at the hotel lobby.

Just like its two sister properties – amba Ximending (opened in 2012) and amba Zhongshan (opened in 2015) – amba Taipei Songshan, which opened in July this year, is big on design with quirky, eco-friendly elements that are inspired by local culture and its neighbourhood.

The lift doors opened to unveil an achingly hip lobby on Level 17. From the black-framed quotes and graphic art lining the walls, exposed industrial steel pipes and oversized hanging bamboo lanterns, I suspected there was more to come during my stay at Taiwanese hotel brand amba Hotels & Resorts’ newest hotel. 

Just like its two sister properties – amba Ximending (opened in 2012) and amba Zhongshan (opened in 2015) – amba Taipei Songshan, which opened in July this year, is big on design with quirky, eco-friendly elements that are inspired by local culture and its neighbourhood.

I was right.

After checking in, guests enter The Lobby, a fun social space with comfortable lounge chairs, a foosball table as centrepiece, and unobstructed skyline views of the city. 

At the hotel’s only restaurant Que, diners sit in vintage chairs reminiscent of those in Taiwanese high school dramas, and enjoy steaks and seafood grilled over native fruit-tree woods. 

Here, the dining room is lit up by giant eco bamboo lanterns (similar to those in the lobby), the largest of which, I was later told, takes a team of six Taiwanese artisans up to 14 days to complete. 

Corporate meetings are given a spin at, well, SPIN, a unique venue with a playfully designed ping pong meeting table, and Que 1, a private room with 90-degree curved windows and (literally) old-school furniture. 

The urban cool vibe extends to each of the hotel’s spacious 189 guestrooms – from 27-sqm for a Smart room and up to 107-sqm for a Studio – starting from the doors, which feature artwork inspired by significant events in the year of the corresponding room number. 

Inside, the space is decked out in a natural colour palette, accentuated by Andy Warhol-esque framed art, an industrial-style open wardrobe and hanging lights. 

I stayed in an 40-sqm Corner Extra Large 101 View room, which features all-round glass windows and, the highlight, a window-facing bathtub that gave full access to the breathtaking views of the iconic Taipei 101 and Keelung River as I soaked. 

The relaxing experience was enhanced with calming ginger-scented bath products made by Two Acres, a socially responsible, all-natural Taiwanese brand, which are also available for purchase. 

But the best part of the room is how it is thoughfully designed, or ‘amba-fied’, to incorporate smart elements that cater to the tech-savvy traveller and on-the-go work warrior. 

There’s the complimentary Wi Fi, nothing special really until you consider the added access point which helps enhance speed; the TV with built-in Netflix, Instagram and YouTube; and ample USB ports so no one ever has to fight for their turn to charge handphones.

My favourite feature was the custom crafted wooden Bluetooth speaker, which blends in perfectly with the room’s minimalist aesthetics, and allowed me to tune in to my Spotify playlist as I worked. 

While the hotel is considered ‘limited service’, it certainly didn’t feel that way. For one, laundry and dry cleaning services are available, although guests can choose to take advantage of the well-stocked self-service laundry room.

And while room service is absent, late-night cravings can easily be satisfied at the popular Raohe Night Market just a five-minute walk away. 

Guests can also help themselves to the complimentary in-room Nespresso capsules as well as tea satchets from a Taiwanese teahouse. 

When it came time to check out the next day, I was pretty reluctant. 

It’s a good thing I’ve got some awesome reusable ‘amba’-emblazoned flip flops (more eco-friendly than disposable paper slippers) to remember my experience by.

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