Taiwan is a pretty value-for-money travel destination these days, except that accommodation could get a bit pricey, especially during peak tourist seasons. At the end of 2019 (Christmas to New Year period), I booked a tour to Taipei, and was shocked that most hotels in popular zones were either full or 2-3 times more expensive than their usual rates.
To get around the problem, looking further from the city might be a good strategy, one which brought me to New California Hotel, a comfortable 3* establishment right smack beside Xindian MRT Station (approximately 20 minutes, 25TWD per head to Ximen MRT Station) and a major bus terminal (which is the gateway to Northern sight-seeing spots like Wulai and Jiufen).
Neat simplicity is the key for New California Hotel. After a warm welcome at the reception on the ground floor with ample waiting space, computer terminals and a self-service laundry room, we were led to our cosy family room.
To our surprise, the room had more than what we asked for. Sleeping space especially, consisted of 2 x King-sized beds (perfect for our family of 4) and there was even a bathtub in the toilet.
As a family hotel, they provided toys and cute toothbrush kits for the kids, and complimentary local snacks and drinks for the adults (you can consume every you see for free). What a nice touch. The red heart-shaped couch at the corner of the room turned out to be a massage chair to our pleasant surprise. There were also free movies on-demand on TV, which kept my kids entertained at night.
Breakfast was served at a clean eatery on the 8th floor. Porridge and bread with ample condiments, fried noodles, coffee machine, soy milk, everything you need to energize before a long day out.
For those who are still worried about the location (Xindian 新店MRT), I would like to further emphasize on how great this location is aside of it being a travel hub. Just steps away, you will reach Bitan 碧潭, a popular lake that elder locals like to exercise, and younger locals like to paktor (date) at. You could do some water activities, stroll or cycle here. We enjoyed the leisurely vibe, clean air and wonderful view, both in the day and at night.
For foodies who would like to try Taiwanese eats, I am happy to report that within 200m by foot from the hotel, you reach a local morning market with eateries at night.
Opposite the MRT station, along Guangming Street 光明街, you get delicious food all day and all night too.
Special mention goes to Wowho Curry Bread 我和一心日本咖喱面包店 (IG: @wowhocurry0809) store, situated right at the ground floor of the hotel. It specializes in deep-fried Japanese curry bread and has sweet variations like Azuki Mochi and Yam Mochi. It’s one of the most well-executed filled buns I’ve ever eaten, so don’t miss it if you stay here or just happen to be at Xindian MRT station.
I will not hesitate to bring my family to stay at New California Hotel again, even during low season. There is just this special local charm at this neighbourhood that you might not get anywhere else and an unexpected accessibility that doesn’t make you feel out of place.