Review: InterContinental Kaohsiung

Jyaga dislikes (2/5)

InterContinental Kaohsiung

Nearest Airport : KHH (7.7 km away)
Neighbourhood : Cianjhen District, Kaohsiung
Website :
Address : No. 33, Singuang Rd, Qianzhen District, Kaohsiung City, Taiwan
Chain : InterContinental (IHG)

Opened in November 2021, the InterContinental Kaohsiung is the brand’s first property in Taiwan since the rebranding of InterContinental Taipei going back a few decades ago. The 253-room property was built as part of THE ONE Residence, a project by the Taiwanese property developer Farglory. I decided to spend a couple of nights in Kaohsiung, having not properly visited the city in nearly a decade. In that time, the hospitality scene has changed a lot, with the recent openings of several major brands, including Hotel Indigo, Marriott, as well as a Silks Place (operated by the owners of Regent Taipei), among others.

Booking InterContinental Kaohsiung

When it came to choosing a hotel in the city, the choice was narrowed down between the new InterContinental and the highly-regarded Silks Club. However, having stayed at another Silks-branded hotel during this trip, I decided to mix things a bit and check out the InterContinental, which apparently was a big deal when it opened in Kaohsiung. For our stay, I paid an average rate of NTD6,200 (~USD200, GBP155) which I personally think is rather high for a Taiwanese city hotel outside Taipei.


The InterContinental is located in the downtown Cianjhen District of Kaohsiung, where a lot of the city’s high-rises and tourist attractions are located. The hotel itself is located in the lower part of The ONE, a residential skyscraper supposedly the tallest in Taiwan. In any case, I was surprised to see it was not marketed as an InterContinental-branded residence!

The ONE Residence

Immediately surrounding the hotel is the Sanduo Shopping District, aptly named due to the many shopping malls and department stores nearby. In particular, of those, there is a Sogo and a Shin Kong Mitsukoshi, alongside a Far Eastern Department Store. Additionally, there is also a small street-side night market called the Liouhe Tourist Night Market, which, unlike its equivalent in Taipei or Taichung, is hazardously located in an active thoroughfare. Surprisingly, the entire area was largely devoid of any pedestrians, barring two or three people. Likewise, the department stores were all eerily quiet during our weekend visit, which didn’t instil me with a lot of confidence.

Sanduo Shopping District and the iconic 85 Sky Tower

Arrival at InterContinental Kaohsiung

We arrived on the Taiwan High Speed Rail from Taipei at the Shin Zuoying Station, which lies on the outskirts of Kaohsiung and remains the sole high-speed rail connection to the rest of the island. Due to the great distance between the two places, we opted to take a taxi, which are relatively cheap in Taiwan. As we drove down the avenues, I was surprised to see how quiet the city remained compared to similar large cities like Taipei, Taichung, and even Tainan.

Porte-cochère at InterContinental Kaohsiung

After initial confusion from the taxi driver on the whereabouts of the hotel, we pulled up at the InterContinental after a 30-minute ride. At the porte-cochère, the porter and door attendant acknowledged us and took care of our luggage. Once she handed us our luggage tag stubs, we were directed to the reception desk inside.

Lobby at InterContinental Kaohsiung

Inside, we were greeted by a seemingly friendly reception agent, who welcomed us to Kaohsiung. As we checked in, it felt like there was a language barrier which made the entire interaction feel rather indifferent and cold. In spite of that, I appreciated that we were assigned a room immediately, despite arriving before the check-in time. This was different to the other hotels during our trip, where we had to wait close to the check-in time. 

Lobby seating
Lobby at InterContinental Kaohsiung

Our Premium Room

With our keys in hand, we headed straight to the lifts up to the 11th floor, on which our Premium Room is located. Since the hotel was still relatively new, everything still had that new furniture smell, including the corridors leading to the room. Curiously, visible from the corridor is a large atrium that regularly projects artsy images onto the wall.



Upon entering the room, I was impressed by how spacious the room was, particularly for an InterContinental. Sized at 46 sqm or 495 sqft, the room featured twin beds which directly faced the wall-mounted television and the minibar. By the window side is a large sofa alongside a solitary chair, which combined with their table can easily function as a dining-cum-desk setup.

Premium Room at InterContinental Kaohsiung
Premium Room at InterContinental Kaohsiung

Impressively, the minibar contained a Chinese tea set, along with some traditional teas, which is a very nice cultural addition to a hotel that otherwise didn’t evoke any Taiwanese culture or style. This was in addition to the usual pod coffee maker and (the less usual) SMEG-branded kettle. Indeed there are a lot of name-brand amenities, which feature prominently in the hotel’s advertising. This was complemented by a lot of leather soft furnishing (like mug coasters and catalogue covers). 

Minibar in the Premium Room

Finally, I suppose the hotel must have had a history of guests stealing things. Hilariously, there are not just one, but two lists of prices for various non-consumable objects in the room – one contained in the room information catalogue and the other on the last page of the minibar catalogue. It detailed the prices of everything, from things like pillows, towels, bathrobes, and bath amenities, to everything else not built into the room, like every leather-clad item and all electronics. These lists, to begin with, do feel rather cheap, reminiscent of low and midscale hotels…

Room observations

Despite my positive first impressions, I felt that the room itself looked drab and inviting, likely due to the excessive use of grey. I’m not sure if it is a deliberate feature, but the wallpaper behind the beds looked as if it were installed very poorly. In particular, a major drawback is the lack of storage – there are just two minuscule drawers in each nightstand (one of which already houses a flashlight). The low headboards also made it difficult to sit on the bed comfortably, and the placement of the television meant it was difficult to watch it from the sofa. 

View from our room

Things became worse when it stood out to me how hot the room was. The issued issue lies with the air conditioner system, which is kept at 25 degrees by default whenever the room is unoccupied. Although the stinging sunlight outside is theoretically repelled by the automatically closing black-out blinds when unoccupied, the room felt a lot like a greenhouse whenever we entered. In fact, it had to take the whole night for the room to completely cool. I can’t imagine how hot it would be in summer!


The bathroom area takes up about half of the room’s total space, which makes it spacious in itself. Curiously, the bathroom is set up in a Japanese manner, in which the toilet is housed in a self-contained space, separated from the bath. This toilet room is placed right next to the room entrance and features its own sink, as well as a Toto Neorest toilet, which I love. Across it is the closet area, which has a small open closet-cum-luggage rack.

Toilet room in the Premium Room
Open closet and rack

At first sight, the bathroom itself initially looked impressive, although deceivingly so. The space features the five fixtures expected at any self-respecting five-star hotel, including double sinks, a standalone bathtub, and a walk-in shower.

Bathroom in the Premium Room

Whilst the space looked like a full marble bathroom in pictures, it is actually clad in some sort of marble-patterned plastic-like material. While I didn’t mind the increasingly popular wood-textured vinyl flooring of the room, the fake marble look of the bathroom certainly made it feel very cheap.

Bathroom in the Premium Room

That aside, the amenities came in large, refillable Byredo Blanche bottles, which I only recently learned is the new standard for InterContinental. Frankly, I was not fond of its waxy, synthetic smell and very much favoured the refreshing smell of the old Agraria Lemon Verbena. I did very much like that the towels are still very soft and fluffy, however.

Byredo amenities
Byredo amenities


Our room rate included breakfast, which is served between 06.30 and 10.30 each morning at the SEEDS Restaurant located just next to the reception. The restaurant is accessible from the lobby through the aptly named SEEDS Lobby Bar. When we approached the restaurant, it appeared that they were short on staff since it took a while for someone to get around to seat us. Regardless, the restaurant staff were very friendly and professional, contrasting the staff elsewhere in the hotel. 

SEEDS Restaurant

After we were walked down the awkwardly long and narrow space of SEEDS, our waiter proactively offered us a range of drinks and pastries once were seated. Aside from being great at making small talk, I was also impressed at how quick she was to clear empty plates and glasses. Bravo!

SEEDS Restaurant
SEEDS Restaurant

The food spread, too, was excellent – it features a live kitchen serving made-to-order Taiwanese and International dishes, alongside a hot-food buffet and a variety of viennoiserie and cold items. The spread was a nice mix of local dishes and international choices and I was pleased to see that each and everything were of high quality. Whilst I’ll let the pictures speak for themselves, I did particularly enjoy the bowl of Slack Season Noodles, a delicacy of Tainan.

Live kitchen
Live kitchen
Hot food spread
Condiments and noodles
Porridge and congee
Condiments and Taiwanese dishes
Cereal and cold drinks
Fruits, juices, and cold cuts
Cold cuts
Slack Season Noodles
Taiwanese milkfish balls


The hotel has a pool and gymnasium which is located in a self-contained part of the hotel, requiring one to take two different lifts. First, you’d have to go to Level 6, before walking to the end of the hallway and taking another lift down a few levels. 

Fitness Centre

As soon as I entered the Fitness Centre, the reception attendant quickly requested my room number. That did strike me to be quite interesting since a non-guest would have issues going there, to begin with. After all, all lifts leading to this area require a keycard to operate. Once I asked to see the pool, I was told to go past a door on one end of the gym/spa reception. 

Gymnasium at InterContinental Kaohsiung (photo: InterContinental Hotels)

The door then led to a changing room with lockers, showers, and a pile of rubber slippers. Hiding behind this area is the indoor pool.


At first impression (there seems to be a trend here!) the indoor pool looked quite cool and unique. However, the ceiling in the pool area is low and that made the area feel claustrophobic. For one, the dark theme of the pool area definitely didn’t help.

Indoor pool at InterContinental Kaohsiung

As I was about to look around the pool area, I was quickly approached by the pool attendant who stopped and verbally rebuked me for wearing my shoes. This surely caught me off-guard as I was not informed of the requirement at the reception, nor were there any signs regarding it. For one, I knew this wasn’t a cultural thing as I’ve been to many Taiwanese hotels without such a requirement. Whilst this might have been a language barrier issue, the tone and the way I was reprimanded left me feeling unwelcome and with a bad taste in my mouth.

Indoor pool at InterContinental Kaohsiung


I felt the service in most areas of the hotel to be rather indifferent at best. It just felt like everyone working at the hotel seemed very disinterested in their jobs since they were neither friendly nor proactive. At least they weren’t actively hostile for the most part, which I think is quite sad for an upscale brand like InterContinental… Regardless, the service feels at best like a run-of-the-mill Marriott in the US, which is saying a lot. In any case, things were handled reactively rather than proactively, which I reckon is the expectation from a brand like InterContinental.

While I acknowledge there is a language barrier, I feel this is not something I would easily ignore in a Western chain hotel, particularly not in a hotel marketing itself with a motto like, ‘Live the InterContinental Life’. Of course, the sole exception to the meh service would be the lovely people working SEEDS Restaurant. I felt they had some of the friendliest and most proactive people in the hotel, who actually spoke good English. Oh, the duality!


Overall, between the mostly indifferent staff and the hot and poorly designed room, I didn’t have a good stay at this hotel. Whilst InterContinental is not exactly a luxury brand, I just felt the stay to be disappointing, even with my toned-down expectations. This was especially the case for a relatively new hotel that has been open long enough to work out its kinks. Whilst I loved the restaurant, I don’t reckon I’d be rushing back here. In fact, if I had the need to come back to Kaohsiung, I’d probably elect to stay at the Silks Club just round the block instead.

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