CHECK IT OUT GRAND HYATT TAIPAI, TAIWAN
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.
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.