Named World Design Capital for 2016, Taipei is a beguiling mix of neon and lanterns, glamour and grunge. And when it comes to sleeping soundly, we’ve left no designer sheet unturned. These are our favourite places to bed down in style. By Natasha Dragun.
Best for a taste of tradition: Taipei Grand Hotel
With its classical Chinese architecture casting a dramatic shadow over a leafy neighbourhood of Taipei, this hotel deserves the “grand” in its name. While Taipei Grand Hotel was once the tallest building in Taiwan, other skyscrapers have since surpassed the property in height – which is not to say that it has lost its appeal. Paintings, carvings and wall panels throughout nod to local culture, while each of the building’s eight guest levels represent a different Chinese dynasty.
Number 1, Section 4, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan District
Best for party people: W Taipei
You can stroll to many of Taipei’s attractions – not to mention bars, clubs, boutiques and restaurants – from the shiny W Taipei, located in the heart of the city’s Xinyi District. The rooms combine creature comforts – including seriously dreamy beds and world-leading entertainment systems – with signature W whimsy: a Munchie Box stocked with snacks that hit the spot after a night out and a lighting system that projects stars onto the ceiling as you drift off to sleep. Don’t miss a dip in the rooftop pool, with views of the Taipei 101 building.
Number 10, Section 5, Zhongxiao East Road, Xinyi District
Best for art-lovers: Le Méridien Taipei
Another of Taipei’s art-focused hotels, Le Méridien features more than 700 artworks throughout, including an installation titled Be My Guest by Beijing artist Li Hui. The stainless-steel sculpture of a giraffe resting with its head lowered welcomes guests into the hotel. It’s part of a global Le Méridien program designed to highlight regional creativity, with partners such as Taipei’s Museum of Contemporary Art, which offers hotel guests free entry. The lobby chandelier with more than 10,000 Swarovski crystals creates a dazzling reflection in the marbled floor for a dramatic entrance.
Number 38, SongRen Road, Xinyi District
Best for glitz and glamour: Hotel Éclat Taipei
From Philippe Starck desk chairs to Aesop bath amenities and Montblanc stationery sets, the design credentials of Hotel Éclat couldn’t get much better. The décor is a lavish celebration of the finer things in life: velvet sofas sit beneath glass chandeliers and original Salvador Dalí sculptures, while satin drapes create a stage curtain of sorts for works by local artists. A solid collection of single-malt whiskies, 24-hour butler service and fine-dining options round out the luxe experience.
Number 370, Section 1, Dunhua South Road, Da-an District
Best for cultural fusion: Palais de Chine Hotel
Its convenient location – at the crossroads of five railway lines – aside, the beautiful Palais de Chine is a must-visit for its eclectic mix of Eastern and Western design sensibilities. China and France take centrestage, with the 286 Art Nouveau-inspired rooms mingling art, fabrics and objets from both countries. Plush fabrics, bespoke sculptures, original paintings, gilded designer furniture... it all works together remarkably well. The cultural immersion continues in the dining rooms, where guests can enjoy everything from French pastries to dim sum and a traditional tea ceremony.
Number 3, Section 1, Chengde Road, Taipei
Best for spa-goers: Villa 32
Located in Taipei’s north-eastern district of Beitou, Villa 32 is more luxury private residence than it is hotel. Believe us, leaving is difficult. Leafy and mountainous, the region is known for its geothermal waters and the Villa makes the most of its natural assets with a range of public and private hot-spring bathing facilities, as well as two suites that come with indoor and outdoor tubs that utilise the mineral-rich waters. The spa, meanwhile, offers seasonal rejuvenation programs based on the Chinese philosophy of Yin and Yang, harmony and balance, body and soul.
Number 32, Zhongshan Road, Beitou District
Best for business travellers: Regent Taipei
Close to the city’s business district and within walking distance to top restaurants and bars, the Regent embodies understated luxury. Spacious accommodations come with every mod con imaginable and the suites feature separate living and sleeping quarters. Our pick? The calming Garden Suite, which connects guests with nature via an expansive balcony garden with stylish sofa seating. When you’ve finished your meeting, order drinks and canapés and enjoy a private alfresco party as the sun sets over one of Asia’s most vibrant cities.
Number 3, Lane 39, Section 2, Zhongshan North Road, Zhongshan District
Best for a room with a view: Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel
One of the tallest hotels in the city, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel has stunning views of the city, with the Taipei 101 shining brightly nearby. While the best outlooks are enjoyed from the rooftop pool, all rooms delight thanks to vast windows. There’s a distinct sense of place throughout, with decorating flourishes inspired by the Sung dynasty. A staggering nine restaurants and bars offer flavours as diverse as fine-dining Cantonese and Italian to Japanese and Shanghainese.
Number 201, Section 2, Tun Hwa South Road, Da-an District
SEE ALSO: An Insider’s Guide to Hong Kong
Best for greenies: Humble House
Located on the top levels of a building noted for being environmentally friendly in both design and operation, Humble House comes with its own inner-city park. The sixth-floor garden, flanked by art installations, is the perfect spot to soak up the sun or enjoy a cocktail between sightseeing expeditions. Simple styling is complemented by a collection of more than 600 works of art, while tradition is also highlighted through daily tea ceremonies.
Number 18, Songgao Road, Xinyi District
Best for frequent flyers: Mandarin Oriental, Taipei
If you’re continuing your travels in Asia, this hotel is for you. Located just five minutes’ drive from Taipei Songshan Airport – a hub for flights throughout the region – and 40 minutes from Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport, the Mandarin Oriental has style to spare. You won’t hear any of the overhead transport when you’re in the lobby beneath a 50,000-crystal-bead chandelier, blissing out at the two-storey spa or indulging at the Mandarin Cake Shop, where the cakes are even more beautiful than the décor.
Number 158, Dunhua North Road, Songshan District