CHECK IT OUT GRAND HY­ATT TAIPAI, TAI­WAN

The Weekend Australian - Travel - - TRAVEL & INDULGENCE -

Cel­e­brat­ing its 25th an­niver­sary, Taipei’s Grand Hy­att ho­tel has com­pleted a top-to-toe ren­o­va­tion, with all 853 gue­strooms and suites stripped back to bare con­crete bones be­fore be­ing kit­ted out with some se­ri­ously smart interiors.

When it opened in the cap­i­tal city’s Xinyi dis­trict in 1990, the Grand Hy­att was the first truly in­ter­na­tional lux­ury ho­tel in Taipei; this lat­est re­fur­bish­ment has de­liv­ered an al­most brand-new property. An ur­ban town­house aes­thetic blend­ing Asian and Western mo­tifs in­cludes mar­ble-clad bath­tubs, so­phis­ti­cated light­ing, tex­tured walls, king beds dressed in feather pil­lows and goose­down du­vets, and suites that feel like apart­ments. Many rooms, in­clud­ing the enor­mous pres­i­den­tial suite, of­fer great views of the neigh­bour­ing Taipei 101 Tower, once the tallest build­ing in the world.

Stan­dard room fea­tures in­clude free Wi-Fi, a state-of-the-art me­dia hub linked to a 47-inch HD tele­vi­sion, large desk, mar­ble bath­room with June Ja­cobs ameni­ties and (big tick) iron and iron­ing board. The re­fur­bish­ment in­cludes the ad­di­tion of two restau­rants and a new Club lounge with open kitchen. The grand lobby has been re­con­fig­ured to of­fer a more re­laxed greet­ing; and there’s a new bak­ery and gift shop.

DON’T MISS: Vis­it­ing dur­ing 2016 when Taipei is the des­ig­nated World De­sign Cap­i­tal. The year kicks off with a New Year’s Eve fire­works spec­tac­u­lar at the Taipei 101 Tower.

DIN­ING IN: Sin­ga­pore-trained ex­ec­u­tive chef Tan Bankhim over­sees a fleet of in-house restau­rants. His must-try rec­om­men­da­tions in­clude Hainanese chicken rice in the pop­u­lar Cheers (with spa­cious ter­race); Szechuan pork belly with minced gar­lic in the Yun Jin Chi­nese restau­rant and Can­tonese roasted whole goose in Pearl Liang restau­rant, fa­mous around the city for its dim sum.

DIN­ING OUT:

Os­te­ria by Angie, a cosy Ital­ian eatery.

ASK THE CONCIERGE: Alex Liu is your guide to the city. His top picks in­clude Zhong Xiao East Road for lo­cal de­sign­ers, be­fore drop­ping by one of the many bub­ble tea shops in the area. Later, make time for a cof­fee and browse at the enor­mous Eslite Book­store. Or pop into Snow King Ice Cream for a home­made scoop or two in a host of curious flavours in­clud­ing beef, pork knuckle and stewed chicken.

CHECK­ING IN: Rooms from about NT$9000 ($390) on an ad­vance pur­chase ba­sis. Sil­ver Ju­bilee pack­ages avail­able un­til Fe­bru­ary 29. More: taipei.grand.hy­att.com.

ALSO TRY: Man­darin Oriental Pudong, Shang­hai; Grand Hy­att Tokyo; The Westin Sin­ga­pore.

CHRISTINE McCABE

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