Somewhere in the town of Jhongli, also known as Zhongli or Jungli, in Taiwan, there is a gaming hotel with the latest graphics cards in their computers. It is fairly close to SoGo, which means shopping and food are all in close walking distance. The i hotel appears to be under the 168inn umbrella. The hotel exists in the 5th and 6th floors of the building. Floor 5 is the concierge, dining, gaming tournament center, and some rooms. Floor 6 is more rooms and laundry.
I was once a gamer. I have over 2000 hours clocked on DotA 2, a fun (and free) strategy co-op game on Steam. I was driven off by the unfortunately unpleasant community and my own lack of time. The idea of a gaming hotel and the opportunity to take some photos and announce a career change through captions amused me.
We left our luggage at about noon in a corner opposite the front desk. Luggage is not netted nor covered nor tied together, which made me a little less comfortable. They also warned us to remove all valuables from our luggage.
There was confusion about the free breakfast when we checked in, but it was resolved in our favour after some deliberation. When I tried to add a third night to the stay, I was told that it would be much more expensive in person. They instructed me to book online. Also, they would have to collect an additional 1800 NTD (60 USD) for the noon to 6 PM check-in time on top of the online overnight charge. You see, they charge by the hour, as I later realized. In fact, when I talked about the hotel I booked, my relatives kept saying there were no hotels there. Then, one of them said, oh, it was a pay-by-the-hour when she came along.
When we settled on a room, it was not particularly spacious. (“Some of the rooms in Japan are even narrower,” I warned my friend. She was not thrilled by the prospect.) The first room smelled excessively of smoke though the second was fainter with the sort of maladorous miasma that comes of trying to cover up an unpleasant scent with sprays and not being entirely successful.
We marveled at the modern look: bidet in the bathroom, time capsule fridge, a sink where the faucet alternates between a red and green ring randomly. The last item actually made for off-putting nights when the lights were off.
The computers can be booted up in Chinese (default) or English. In her exploration of the Chinese booted computer, my travelling companion accidentally ordered an Xbox One to the room. The front desk called to confirm first, I reacted with confusion and the order was cancelled. We were also called to ask whether we had ordered McDonald’s, which we had not.
In the morning, nearly everyone present for breakfast at about 7 AM was part of a couple. Some couples looked a certain way. This, combined with the hourly nature and the hotel branded sex protection in the room, is what led me to think this is a love hotel. Oh, the gaming is a good disguise. People go to internet cafes. But who pays 6-10 USD an hour for internet? Also, on my way up after breakfast, a bottle blond couple (It is Asia. They were ethnic Asians.) I saw check in on my way down for breakfast checked out and were billed 300-something NTD for their room use.
Breakfast was simple and more geared towards the Asian palate: rice porridge, fishballs, Chinese sausage, etc. The sausage was overcooked by 8:30. There was a variety of bread with which you could make your own toast. The hot water button has a safety catch.
Cleanliness was lacking. A bath towel had a medium brown circle, the size of a cigarette’s end and slightly bigger, which made me think someone put out a cigarette there once. There was a piece of gum smeared on the floor by the wall in front of the bed.
I would not stay here again, entirely because both rooms were too smoky. The unintentional love hotel stay in Taiwan is going to be a story our friends will laugh at.
Oh, and the computers are likely as advertised: On Saturday, groups of middle-school aged boys took over the gaming competition computers in the lobby to wage Fortnite battle against each other while shouting at each other in English. Visitors get a complimentary hour of use with an 8 hour stay at the hotel.