Swimming pool at Gloria Manor in Kenting National Park in Taiwan

Gloria Manor in Kenting in South Taiwan: Luxury Hotel Review

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Nestled within a national park along Taiwan’s picturesque south coast, Gloria Manor is a former presidential vacation destination that has since been transformed into a world-class resort for those in the know.

Xiaowan Beach in Kenting National Park Taiwan
Walking next to hotel pool at Gloria Manor luxury hotel with mountain peak in background in Taiwan with text overlay Collage of photos from Gloria Manor luxury hotel in Kenting Taiwan with text overlay

Our recent stay in Taiwan’s underrated Kenting National Park was a reminder not to overlook destinations closer to home. While Kenting in Pingtung County is very well known among Taiwanese people as a top beach vacation destination, it is not on exactly on the international radar – especially if you compare it to popular Asia holiday hotspots like Phuket, Da Nang, Seminyak and Langkawi.

Cape Eluanbi lookout point in Kenting Taiwan

Kenting National Park stretches almost along the entire beach-filled southern peninsula of Taiwan, and Gloria Manor is a perfect base located about mid-way between Baishawan Beach in the west and Cape Eluanbi in the east.

For those looking for a sophisticated, peaceful and modern beach resort in Taiwan, Gloria Manor is the best luxury hotel in Kenting. Here is what to expect – read on for my Gloria Manor hotel review.

The Rooms at Gloria Manor in Kenting

Gloria Manor entrance in Taiwan

Though you are just minutes by car from the nearest beach, the 65-room Gloria Manor is actually perched within the mountains and forests of the lush national forest area.

The property once served as the former president’s vacation residence, but was transformed into a resort-slash-retreat in 2012 by Gloria Hotel Group. When you stay at Gloria Manor, you truly feel as though you are immersed in nature.

Ocean view room at Gloria Manor in Kenting in South Taiwan

Floor-to-ceiling windows are featured across almost all of the dozen-or-so room and suite categories, showcasing either the sweeping mountain, ocean or forest views to help you unwind.

We stayed in the stunning 33-square meter Ocean View Room and were delighted by the light-filled space and private balcony overlooking the pool and iconic Mount Dajian (literally translates into “big point”) peak.

Ocean view room at Gloria Manor in Kenting in South Taiwan

The design is modern and utilizes mostly blonde-coloured wood as well as plenty of light furnishings and fabrics to create an airy feel that makes the room feel even more spacious.

Ocean view room at Gloria Manor in Kenting in South Taiwan

To preserve the clean aesthetic of the rooms at Gloria Manor, the mirror cleverly hides a TV screen behind it so you don’t miss out on any in-room entertainment options.

Ocean view room at Gloria Manor in Kenting in South Taiwan

The bathroom colour palette went the other way – lots of dark marble tones with a separate standing shower and toilet area, in addition to a huge bathtub should you wish to indulge in a soak.

Kitchenette at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

The small-yet-practical coffee nook was a welcome addition, with an in-room coffee machine and capsules included for guests. To save on plastic usage, Gloria Manor provides drinking bottles for guests to use and take home with them after – you can fill up your water bottle in the corridor on each floor.

For those craving more room to move around you can always opt for one of the humongous suites which feature a separate dining and living area.

Ready to book your Kenting beach holiday? Click here to check rates and availability at Gloria Manor, or head over here to explore even more hotel options in the area.

The Facilities at Gloria Manor in Kenting

Lobby area at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

Gloria Manor can be described as a “resort”, but it certainly doesn’t feel sprawling. There are only 65 rooms which means that even on the busiest of weekends it never feels crowded.

Pool and mountain view from Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

The crown jewel of the array of facilities at Gloria Manor is, in my opinion, the sun-dappled outdoor lap pool. Perfect for lazy mornings before you head to the beach, the pool was our go-to spot with our kid as it conveniently had a shallow children’s pool attached to the main pool.

You should know, however, that as is the case with most communal pools in Taiwan you are required to wear a fairly unbecoming swimming cap if you want to go for a dip. You are allowed to briefly remove the cap for photos, otherwise you have you keep it on even if you are only standing in the children’s wading area.

Spa by Valmont at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

The on-site spa by Valmont provides a huge menu of massage and skincare treatments. I wasn’t able to try out the spa this time around, but previous guests say that the therapists are experienced and that the massage quality was high.

Children's playroom at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

Let’s not kid ourselves: the indoor, air-conditioned children’s playroom was a huge draw for our family vacation to Kenting, and one of the reasons why we booked ourselves into Gloria Manor. It was truly a lifesaver on those sweltering days when it was simply too hot to hang out at the beach.

Children's playroom at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

While it doesn’t have a jungle gym, slide or swings like some other resort kids clubs, this thoughtfully-designed children’s playroom at Gloria Manor provided plenty of toys and books to keep our toddler entertained – at least for an hour or so during the hottest part of the day, which is exactly what we needed it for.

The playroom is open from 7 AM to 8 PM and is unattended (no drop-off service) so parents will need to stay behind to supervise. It is best suited for younger children so if having more child-friendly facilities like a waterpark is a non-negotiable must-have for your holiday, then I recommend checking out some alternative hotel options in Kenting.

Swimming pool at Gloria Manor in Kenting National Park in Taiwan

There is also a small gym located next to the spa, though I didn’t feel that it was much to write home about – there are just a handful of treadmills and an exercise bike to get your workout in. You’re probably better off working up a sweat by doing a few laps in the pool, snorkeling at one of the beaches or walking through the nearby Kenting National Forest Area to explore the hiking trails and caves.

Aside from the building facilities Gloria Manor also organizes a number of free and paid activities including evening stargazing, weekend yoga classes, crafts and cooking classes, eco-tours and diving/snorkeling excursions in partnership with local tour operators.

The Dining Options at Gloria Manor in Kenting

MU restaurant at Gloria Manor in southern Taiwan

There is one main restaurant at Gloria Manor – MU – serving breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. It offers indoor or outdoor seating.

Breakfast at Gloria Manor in southern Taiwan Kenting

We had a number of our meals here, and loved the breakfast options featuring western and traditional Taiwanese dishes. The local pan-fried taro rice cakes (think turnip cake or Cantonese lo bak go) were a surprise hit, and the classic American spread was an easy go-to in the mornings. The homemade maple honey butter that came with the pastry spread was perfectly balanced – savoury and sweet.

A wider menu selection is on offer for lunch and dinner at Gloria Manor, and we found ourselves ordering both the flavor-packed red braised Taiwanese beef noodles (when in Taiwan!) and clear broth beef noodle soup most evenings. Both come in a clay pot with traditional hand-cut thick noodles. As a side, the simple-yet-delicious garlic stir-fried Taiwanese cabbage is a must. We are not huge seafood eaters but the menu features plenty of fresh seafood dishes – popular in the local area.

My only slight criticism is that unlike other 5-star properties, there is no all-day dining menu: so if you miss the lunch seating from 12 PM to 2 PM (last orders at 1:30 PM) your only option is to order from the afternoon tea menu until the dinner seating which begins at 5:30 PM. There is also no pool-side restaurant for refreshments or snacks.

As there are no shops or restaurants within walking distance you would then need to venture out for lunch if you miss the lunch window. That being said, breakfast is served until a very respectable 11:30 AM (last orders at 11 AM).

GADAUGADU restaurant in Kenting Forest in Taiwan

Gloria Manor also operates GADUGADU, a beautiful restaurant offering 360-degree views within Kenting National Forest. There is also a rooftop upstairs where you can take in the sweeping views.

The only catch is that it is within the protected forest area where cars are not allowed in, so you will need to pay the entry fee and walk 25-30 minutes uphill in order to get to the restaurant itself. The food is adequate from a limited, mainly western cafe-style menu, but the setting is very unique – make an afternoon of it to explore the limestone caves and check out the millenia-old trees and gardens within Kenting Forest Recreation Area. Grab a park entry discount coupon from the Gloria Manor reception before you go.

Things to do around Gloria Manor in Kenting

Taiwanese beer at Nanwan Beach in Kenting Taiwan

Kenting National Park is home to some of the best beaches in Taiwan, so you’ll want to spend your afternoons lazing on the sand. We liked Nanwan Beach (South Bay Beach) which offers plenty of parking and beachfront restaurants for drinks and snacks, or Xiaowan Beach (Little Bay Beach) opposite Caesar Park Resort which has a lovely beach bar and plenty of day beds as well as paid shower facilities.

Baishawan Beach in Kenting National Park in south Taiwan

You might also like Baishawan Beach on the far west corner which is the most picturesque white-sand beach, or head to Chuanfan Rock Beach (Sail Rock Beach) for a laidback beach with plenty of water sports like banana boating on offer. During particular times of the year you may be able to try your hand at surfing in Kenting, there are a number of surfboard rental shops in the area.

Cave at Kenting Forest Recreation Area in Kenting Taiwan

The Kenting Forest Recreation Area or Sheding Nature Park are national parks with plenty of walking trails, caves, canyons and rock cliffs. There are wild monkeys in the area as well as the occasional deer.

Eluanbi Lighthouse in South Taiwan

I also highly recommend venturing over to Eluanbi Park to explore the grounds – there is a famous lighthouse as well as several trails that take you between the coastline and the forest, not to mention the “Southernmost Toilet in Taiwan” if that’s something you’re keen on seeing – spoiler: it just looks like your run-of-the-mill public toilet.

Night market in Kenting Taiwan

In the evenings, check out the night market that runs along Kenting Main Street. Unlike many night markets which are sectioned off without motor traffic, the stalls and shops at Kenting Night Market simply line either side of the main thoroughfare that runs through town. If you don’t have your own form of transportation Gloria Manor offers shuttle services to a number of these locations – you just have to book ahead.

Is Gloria Manor family-friendly?

Sunset at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

Gloria Manor is not particularly marketed or designed as a “family resort” – there are other hotels in Kenting such as the Caesar Park, Fullon Resort and Howard Beach that predominantly cater to families traveling to Kenting with kids.

Beyond the indoor children’s playroom and small kid’s pool, there are no other specific family-friendly facilities, so if this is important to you then you’ll need to consider whether Gloria Manor is right for your family.

That being said, the restaurant (as expected) does have plenty of high chairs and children’s dining utensils. There is no separate kids menu that I saw, but we found lots of options on the “regular” menu for our fairly picky eater.

Playing on the beach at Nanwan Beach in Kenting Taiwan

When we stayed in April (during a public holiday), there were plenty of families with children staying at Gloria Manor. If you are happy to venture out and explore Kenting National Park with your little one then you will love Gloria Manor.

Sail Rock Beach in Kenting Taiwan

We enjoyed the various beaches – you can usually rent a beach umbrella for some much-needed shade for the day for a few hundred Taiwan dollars.

Go karting in Kenting Taiwan

For older kids there are lots of activities on offer along the expressway leading into Kenting from Kaohsiung including go-karting, paintballing and even a haunted house – these are a 20-minute drive from Gloria Manor.

The verdict

View of Mount Dajian from Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan at sunset

Gloria Manor is a stunning boutique hotel in Kenting – the modern and cozy design and aesthetic was right up our alley, and though it is not beachfront we really loved the location in the mountains. In my opinion, it is ideal for a couples, multi-generational family travel and families with children who don’t require access to a slew of kids facilities.

Lobby area at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

Our room, while on the compact side, was perfectly functional – not to mention, that view is truly priceless. We found the staff to be friendly and practical, check-in and check-out were a breeze and we were even allowed into our room slightly earlier.

Poolside at Gloria Manor in Kenting Taiwan

As a whole, Kenting in Taiwan is terribly underrated – our hidden gem beach getaway was absolutely incredible and I can see us going back very, very soon. We spent a few nights at Gloria Manor and did not get the chance to experience their huge array of activities and excursions on offer, so a repeat visit is definitely on the cards. I hope this Gloria Manor review gives you a better sense of what to expect!

How to get to Gloria Manor and how to get around Kenting

Road sign for Kenting National Park in Taiwan

The best way to get to Gloria Manor and Kenting National Park is by rental car or hotel shuttle from Kaohsiung, the nearest major Taiwanese city. If you are traveling by air, you will fly into Kaohsiung International Airport; if you are flying into Taipei instead, the high speed rail will take you to Kaohsiung Zuoying HSR station in approximately 2 hours.

Rental car in Kaohsiung in Taiwan

We rented a car via Klook from IWS, a local car rental company. Their representative met us at the airport and then we returned the car in Kaohsiung city on the way back. The car was practically brand new and we were able to rent a child car seat as well. I usually use Rentalcars.com for international car rentals but in Taiwan we actually found Klook to be much better with far more car rental companies and vehicle options available.

Road to Gloria Manor in Kenting National Park in Taiwan

The drive from Kaohsiung to Kenting will take at least 2 hours depending on traffic – a word of warning, Kenting is extremely busy over public holidays and also major festivals like the Taiwan Music Festival (usually held in April), and traffic can slow to a standstill during these times.

You can also take Gloria Manor’s shuttle bus between Friday to Monday which travels between the HSR Zuoying Station and Kenting. It costs NT$250 per person (free for children under 3), and you need to book at least 3 days in advance.

If you are comfortable driving in Taiwan, I would recommend renting a car as you will need some form of transportation to get around Kenting National Park. Your other option is to take a bus to Kenting and then rent a scooter once you have arrived. Ready to book your stay in Kenting? Click here to check out rates and availability at Gloria Manor or you can also check out some alternative Kenting hotel options here.

Quick logistics tips for Kenting National Park:

✈️ The main international airport serving Kenting National Park is in Kaohsiung.

🛂 Most visitors to Taiwan do not require a visa for entry. See here for more details. Save yourself some time and fill out the Taiwan arrival form ahead of time here, so you aren’t left scrambling filling in a paper version at the airport or on the plane.

💱 The local currency in Taiwan is the New Taiwan Dollar, or NTD. The exchange rate hovers at around US$1 to NTD28, or 1 Euro to NTD34. Cash is king, especially in Kenting, so you should withdraw some when you arrive. You may be hard-pressed to find ATMs that accept international debit cards, and many smaller restaurants and transportation providers will not accept credit cards.

📱 Buy a local SIM card to stay connected and to use Google Maps. The easiest way to buy a Taiwan SIM card is via Klook – you can get a Taiwan tourist SIM card and pick it up from the airport on arrival.

🌤️ The best time to visit Kenting is typically considered to be during the summer months between May to October. However, we found it to be very, very hot already in April. To avoid the crowds and blistering heat you may want to consider visiting Kenting in the shoulder season from March to May and September to November. The temperature rarely drops below 20 degrees Celsius throughout the year in Kenting, so pack your beach wear.

🌐 The main language spoken in Taipei is Mandarin. If you do not speak Mandarin you may run into a language barrier when communicating with shopkeepers, taxi drivers and people on the street. However, the language barrier should be minimal with anyone working in the hotel and hospitality industry.

🗓️ Wondering how many days to spend in Kenting? For a first time visitor I would recommend spending no fewer than 3-4 days in Kenting National Park.

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