I stand still in the middle of the lobby as the hotel’s scent takes me back to my childhood’s summer evenings in the southern part of Portugal. But the sweet and fresh scent of jasmine and vanilla was the only familiar thing in an entirely unfamiliar place.
Walking out of Taipei’s heat and into Folio’s cool lobby was always a relief. The contrast in temperature, the pleasantly familiar scent, and the beautiful decoration always made me smile as I stepped through their doors. Located in a residential neighbourhood, minutes away from the bustling Da’an MRT station, Folio is at the same time a haven for design lovers, cosmopolitan travellers and those in search of quietude.
Born out of an urban renovation project in the district of Da’an, Folio Hotel occupies a building that was once a bank dormitory.
The hotel’s clever interior design removed most of the walls, replacing them with glass to draw the light in. Bold colours, softwood and a kaleidoscopic array of ceramic tiles make the space pleasant, diverse and multifaceted. Using art and design pieces from local artists, Folio promotes Taipei’s design and aims to inspire the guest to discover more of the country’s art scene.
While the old building was reshaped and renovated, it is still possible for the guests to experience the charming alley culture of Taipei by what’s around the hotel. Small cafes, neighbourhood shops, noodle joints comprise most of the streets surrounding Folio and successfully merge the old and the new into a place worth visiting.
There are 57 designer rooms at Folio, divided into four types. The peaceful 16sq meter Comfy rooms; a cosy 18sq meters Joy Rooms; the bright Opus rooms with 21sq meters; and the spacious 24sq meter Voyage rooms.
We stayed at one of their Opus rooms on the 3rd floor with an excellent view of the neighbourhood. Brightened with a deep blue wall and a contemporary cream and blue polka-dot upholstered bed frame, the room was spacious and airy. Each room has it's own quirky details, from fuschia chairs to vintage kettles or pieces from local artists, everything embodies Folio's ethos.
Every evening, plopping down on the feathery king-sized bed was like lying down on a cloud only to fall asleep to the sound of silence.
Food and Drink
It is no secret that Taipei is a foodie hotspot. In fact, it is what most people remark on when mentioning a visit to the country. From meaty favourites like Ru Lou Fan to the never-ending vegetarian buffets and delicacies like Stinky Tofu, there’s plenty of choice for everyone.
But at Folio’s restaurant, Port 23, the feel is distinctly more European. The continental breakfast buffet is set with seasonal, colourful fruits, pastries and fresh bread, while lunch and dinner transform the restaurant into an Italian bistro. Port 23 is popular with locals who flock to the restaurant to try the chef’s take on spaghetti, risotto and Mediterranean appetisers.
If you are looking for something a bit more Taiwanese, at the end of the street, we found Xinwei Market, a traditional neighbourhood market, home to several noodle stalls and tofu-based desserts that are too good to miss.
What to do in the Area
One of the most significant benefits of staying at Folio is its location. Da’an is a bustling neighbourhood with independent cafes, designer shops and traditional restaurants, right in the middle of the city; and with Da’an MRT station two minutes away from the hotel the hard thing is to decide where to go.
We wandered around the neighbourhood a great deal and visited places like the 24-hour Eslite Bookstore, had a traditional Taiwanese breakfast at Yong He Soy Milk King and explored the vast Da’an Forest Park.
How to get there
From Taipei’s Taoyuan International airport you can either take a taxi directly to the hotel or catch the express MRT to Taipei Main Station, changing to the red line to Da’an station. Both journeys take roughly one hour.
Folio Da'an: The Lowdown
- Located in the heart of Taipei, Folio Da’an is two minutes away from Da'an MRT station.
- Folio Da’an accept bookings from their website, Booking or Agoda. Doubles start from 72£.
- From Da’an MRT station you can access great part of the city in under half an hour. Visiting places like Beitou, Maokong and Tamsui don’t require station changes as they are all serviced by the two lines departing from Da’an station.
- Make sure to get an EasyCard, a rechargeable card, used on all public transports.
Our stay at the Folio Da’an was not sponsored. We chose the hotel because of its commitment to promoting local artists, its uniqueness, and location. All opinions are our own.