Our stay at Monet Garden wasn't what we expected.
The rooms are nice, all laid out in a Latin-American theme (because the hotel/cafe are known for its imported Guatemalan coffee) and some even with a roof terrace. Spacious and quaint enough to relax. The hotel (and the cafe) is nicely decorated and it's a nice play to sit down, relax and enjoy a coffee.
It's located in a nice area, near a quiet lake, good for a easy stroll but nothing more (better suited for families). There's a national park nearby, which is worth the visit. You can rent a bike up the street (ask the hotel owner for a discount, should be about TWD80 per bike per day) and bike to the park. It should take up about half a day to one day and is worthwhile.
However, the hotel is not that close to Hualien city centre so you're dependent on public transport (only 1 bus every 2hrs, takes about 1h and stops running around 6pm) or taxi (30 minutes, around TWD500 and not the TWD350 the hotel staff continues to say). If you're lucky, you can catch a ride along with the hotel staff, although punctuality is not one of their strengths (more than half an hour of delay). This wouldn't be a problem if the staff were attentive and knew what they were doing, but we were disappointed by their lack of (genuine) consideration and friendliness. The last day we told the hotel owner and another member of the staff that we needed to catch a train in the afternoon and asked them whether they could book a taxi for us. We went out and came back a few hours later to hear that they had neglected to call a taxi and that they wouldn't even drive us to the train station. What followed was a literal race against time to get to the train station in a taxi that was called last minute and we barely made it in time. This pretty ruined our stay there.
But besides this gross mistake, the staff never really seemed to know what they were doing. Asked about pretty much anything (check-in, check-out, public bus, taxi prices), they couldn't give us an answer. The only one who knew anything was the owner, who at first did come across as warm and welcoming. However, he would offer something and then forget about it, or ignore you to pay most of his attention to - better paying - business men who were keen on going to local jade factories, tasting his famous coffee etc. In the end, he didn't seem very genuine.
The hotel itself is quite quaint and the area is nice, but based on our experiences we wouldn't recommend this place.
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