Fresh from a recent stay at perhaps my favourite ever hostel, Green Kiwi Lavender Singapore, Formosa101 had a lot to live up to. As always, I had checked out the reviews online on Hostelworld and the overall impression I had was that this place sounded clean, modern and friendly. Luckily, it did not disappoint.
Arriving at Formosa101 hostel
As I was arriving quite late in the evening I ignored the helpful advice offered in my confirmation email and simply jumped in an Uber from Taipei Taoyuan airport which conveniently dropped me right outside my building. Despite this I somehow managed to walk right past the door (maybe a bigger sign would be useful, guys!) and had to be escorted back to by the friendly security guard 3 doors down – cheers again! Something tells me that this wasn’t his first time redirecting vacant-looking travellers…
For once I think my ridiculous Beerlao cap probably helped me rather than hindering me, if not just to indicate to the guy that I was most definitely looking for a hostel and not the finance office I had inadvertently stepped into the lobby of.
Finally in the correct building, I headed up to the 9th floor (thank god this place had a lift – you’d be amazed how many hostels don’t) and checked in at reception.
A friendly welcome
I was greeted by Coke, the awesome receptionist, who handed me a glossy custom-designed map of the local area and Taipei metro system, already highlighted with the location of the hostel, plus an additional brochure detailing the best activities around the hostel. I thought this was a really nice touch, going above and beyond the generic maps hostels normally hand out. Nicely done Formosa101! He suggested I check out the night market across the road to grab a bite to eat and it did not disappoint. BBQ meat on a stick – enough said, really.
Super-modern dorm rooms
The rooms (which I unfortunately ran out of time to take any photos of; please enjoy the stock pics below) were modern, spacious and well air-conditioned – perhaps the nicest room I’ve ever stayed in. Each of the beds had their own lamp, USB power socket (mine was broken though – boo) and traditional power socket.
The only downer was the lack of natural light, which is both a good and a bad thing – no chance of being woken up early but also very easy to oversleep (I found this out the hard way and nearly missed my flight to Tokyo on my last day!)
The lockers in each room were pretty cool – one for each guest, locked and unlocked with the hostel key card. I am particularly useless at remembering to bring my own lock so thought this was another good feature. 2 points to Formosa101!
Cosy common room and added extras
The common room, although small, was one of the nicest communal areas I’ve seen in a hostel in a while. Immediately you could tell that this was a fairly new establishment with a clean, modern feel aided by the giant flatscreen TV mounted up on the wall, complete with plenty of international channels and a library of movies ready to watch whenever you felt like it
An eclectic mix of furniture ranging from comfy armchairs to plush sofas made this a really great place to hang out with friends in the evenings – our evening ritual was to grab some cheap beers from the 7-Eleven store, conveniently located two minutes down the road, before chilling out with fellow travellers. A perfect night in my books!
In addition to the common room, the hostel had all the usual amenities: a cheap self-service washing machine and drier; a free basic breakfast of toast with jams and spreads; and enough showers and toilets to ensure you wouldn’t have to wait around in the morning.
The only negative experience I experienced during my stay was a fault with the hot water one morning which, to their credit, was quickly resolved by the Formosa101 team. For me at least, the dreaded cold shower they warned us about never actually materialised; the problem seemed to have fixed itself by the time I got up – though perhaps that says more about my sleep-all-day party-all-night style of travelling than their speed at fixing the pipes…
Nevertheless, Coke was super apologetic and even compensated us all with the free local delicacy, pineapple cake – much recommended by the way – plus some cool postcards to send to my friends back home, as a gesture of goodwill. For me, the experience showed that they really cared about us and seemed truly sorry for the inconvenience caused – if anything, I think the incident actually improved my impression of the place!
Overall, Formosa101 is a great hostel located in the buzzing area close to the Taipei 101 tower. With an abundance of bars, restaurants and night markets surrounding this awesome hangout, I would have no hesitation in offering my recommendation for this great spot next time you head to the Taiwanese capital! Cheers again to the awesome staff for making my brief stay really pleasant. Look forward to seeing you all again soon.