Asian Property Review Chief Editor Jan Yong checks into Taipei’s top hotel and emerges delighted by the five-star experience.
The VIP treatment courtesy of Grand
Hyatt Taipei started the moment I
stepped out of the Arrival Hall of Taoyuan
International Airport in Taipei. A well-
dressed man with impeccable manners escorted me
into a limousine for a very smooth 45-minute drive
to the hotel.
I was given the Grand Executive Corner Suite
with View – it has two views – one with the
incomparable view of Taipei 101, still the tallest
green building in the world – and the other, the
view of the City Hall from the bedroom. I was told
during every New Year’s Eve, the suites with views
get fully booked up because these afford guests the
luxury of watching both the fireworks at Taipei 101
and the concert in front of the City Hall – all from
the comfort of the suite.
I was pleasantly surprised to find a bottle of wine waiting for me at the table as well as some local Taiwanese snacks such as pineapple tarts and dried fruits. The snacks are replenished on a daily basis and are indispensable if you have a habit of watching TV seated on the very plush and cosy sofa or from your bed.
The bed itself was exquisite – it reminds you once again how much better it is to stay in a five-star hotel than in any other types of accommodation. The soft and plush pillows and mattress are specially designed to make you fall asleep – I found that it was quite impossible to watch TV from the bed because of the tendency to fall asleep while in the caresses of the bed.
It’s also all too easy to switch off into holiday mode
especially when you have had a few drinks and had
just stepped out of the showers with the fragrance
of Salvatore Ferragamo’s Tuscan Soul shampoo
and shower gel filling up the room. And when you are brushing your teeth, you notice the sink is a Villeroy & Boch, which you recall from your readings is also used on the Titanic and the Orient Express trains. And these are in addition to the spaciousness of the suite including the very stylish marble bathroom.
Every room also has a dining table and a sofa –
“because we realise when guests wanted to eat,
they didn’t have a proper table and chair,” explains
Paul Ou, Marketing Communications Manager of
Grand Hyatt. Guestrooms and suites range from
31 sq m to 220 sq m, and offer city, mountain or
The next morning, I did a quick cycle at the fully equipped gym before swimming at the outdoor pool – the pool was mildly heated with piped-in music, perfect when the weather starts turning cooler in October. After that, I decided to try out the sauna and steam room which are next to the whirlpool. Overall, I had a very satisfactory workout in luxurious ambiance before catching a quick nap at the Relaxation Room.
The quiet environment has a zen-like feel and helps to
cool you down right before breakfast.
Breakfast at the Café on the ground floor was a
grand event filled with an abundance of good quality
international and local cuisines. A hearty start to the
The service throughout my stay was impeccable –
efficient and friendly – indeed it was a showcase of
Taiwanese hospitality at its best.
IN THE BEGINNING …
Built in 1990, Grand Hyatt Taipei is the first
international luxury hotel in the capital and has
hosted numerous celebrities such as Hugh Jackman,
Lee Min-Ho, Bill Clinton, Snoop Dogg, Andrea
Bocelli, Air Supply, Margaret Thatcher, Eagles,
Beyonce, Kenny G, Linkin Park and many more.
It is today still the hotel of choice in Taipei for wedding banquets and special events. Its grand lobby has a beautiful atrium which allows natural sunlight in as well as water features which together,
create an elegant ambiance upon arrival and doubles
up as an innovative event space.
In 2016, Grand Hyatt Taipei opened a new thermal
spa following a landmark renovation that stripped
the city’s largest five-star hotel to its concrete core.
The following year, it was voted the ‘No. 1 Hotel in
Taipei’ in the annual Travel + Leisure World’s Best
Designed by architect Haigo T. H. Shen, who also
designed Taipei Songshan Airport, Taipei World
Trade Center complex and Taipei Convention
Center, the hotel has achieved an iconic status in
Taiwan’s history. It is the nearest hotel to Taipei 101
and is connected to it via a pedestrian walkway. The
same pedestrian link extends up to 14 other malls
in the Xinyi shopping area.
A short walk from the hotel brings you to Dr Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall while the Elephant Mountain easy trails are reachable within minutes by foot.
Grand Hyatt Taipei is also a popular MICE
(meetings, incentives, conferences and exhibitions)
venue offering 13 meeting rooms including a Grand
Ballroom and the Grand Residence, a unique
residence-style multi-event venue. It can easily
host a small seminar for eight as well as a large
convention for 1,200 people.
The 850-room and suite hotel is owned by Singapore’s Hong Leong Group and is considered the most centrally located hotel in Taipei.
Taiwan is known for its great local fare but for those who
like variety, where better place to go than the Grand Hyatt
Taipei with its formidable army of experienced chefs?
At the popular Pearl Liang’s Cantonese Restaurant, the
dim sum and seafood that I ordered were above average
but if you have a chance, try its signature Cantonese
For dinner, Bel Air’s signature US Beef Tenderloin, Rossini
Style is something you shouldn’t miss. The succulent beef
was grilled medium rare to perfection and every bite melts
in your mouth and makes you crave for more.
Yun Jin’s fine dining Chinese restaurant whips up a
dazzling array of delicious offerings with the signature
Pickled Vegetable Poached Seabass a winner. Each dish
is meticulously prepared and presented and will definitely
win over any delicate taste bud. The ambiance is elegant
which adds to the sumptuous affair.
The Irodori Japanese buffet lunch has a huge selection
with seafood being its most popular dishes. Being a
sashimi fan, I had extra helpings of tuna and salmon
sashimi. And unlike most other Japanese buffets, the
sashimi here is prepared fresh on the spot by a
The Cheers bar and restaurant is great for all-day dining and especially has a cheerful and jovial mood at night. Great for get-togethers with friends and family or with a loved one in a quiet corner.
A BOOST FOR
With the November surprise election victory by the Mainland-friendly Kuomintang party, will this herald a new era in Taiwanese tourism?
According to statistics from the Taiwan Tourism
Bureau, Taiwan’s tourism deficit totalled NT$374
billion (US$12.13 billion) in 2017, meaning Taiwanese
spent significantly more money abroad than
international tourists spent in Taiwan. Will this trend
change in the coming months following the change
to a Beijing-friendly government?
Observers note that Mainland China inbound
tourist arrivals have tapered off since 2016 when it
saw a surge in visitors from the mainland. Politics
has always played an influential role in cross straits
relations and it remains to be seen how much this
would impact inbound tourist arrivals from the
mainland in the coming months.
Regardless of how this pans out, there are still many
aspects of Taiwan that can be improved on to attract
more tourists. It is lamentable that Taiwan is an
underrated travel destination as it has everything to
offer visitors, according to Jan-Hendrik Meidinger,
General Manager of Grand Hyatt Taipei.
“Taiwan has everything to offer; it’s the most centrally
located destination in Asia. In fact, Taipei should have
a much bigger market share of tourist arrivals.
“I believe it has a lot to do with the underlying
infrastructure, how truly welcoming are we to
tourists,” Meidinger poses the million-dollar question.
The German national suggested that there should be
more targeted public relations campaign for Taiwan
particularly for MICE. This is because “the food is
great, people are friendly and down to earth, the
culture is interesting and Taiwan is a leading sports
destination for cycling and watersports.”
Meidinger’s other recommendations include inserting English language onto signboards which currently are predominantly displayed only in Chinese language. “Taiwan also needs to catch up with its key competitors such as Shanghai and Hong Kong which are ahead of us in terms of the presence of internationally recognised hotel brands especially outside of Taipei.”