WHAT’S IT LIKE? The mark of a lighting designer is evident, especially throughout the executive floors and guestrooms. The overall result is tasteful and soothing to the senses. We found the backlight effect in the bathrooms dramatic, particularly upon returning in the evenings. This 17-year-old property is a Four Seasons Hotel.
WHERE IS IT? It’s about 45 minutes from the airport and five minutes’ walk to the Zhong Shan MRT Station. In a heavily commercial area of town and surrounded by a clutch of brand boutiques (Coach, Missoni and Louis Vuitton among others), including one of Taipei’s most famous designers, Shiatzy. A duty-free shopping gallery occupies the entire basement level of the hotel.
HOW MANY ROOMS? 538 guestrooms, including 80 in the Tai Pan Residence & Club (one of which is pictured, top right) on the 18th and 19th floors. Tai Pan clientele enjoy the round-the-clock services of a butler should they need it and the usual breakfast (a sumptuous buffet spread in this hotel’s case) and snacks and evening cocktails at the Tai Pan Lounge.
ROOM FACILITIES: Broadband internet access is one of the perks of a Tai Pan Floor guest and so is a bed with a Wellspring mattress that provided extremely comfortable nights, 30-inch LCD TV (while an eight-inch monitor is found by the bathroom sink), Aeron work chair, bathtub, shower and Japanese-style watercloset, walk-in closets and a tall personal safe.
Upon arrival, my female butler escorted me to my room, serving me a distinctively flavoured ice-cold house tea, while I completed the necessary check-in form. She also helped get me quickly connected to my email, which I greatly appreciated.
Unfortunately, that was the last I saw of her, and although I prefer doing things for myself, I felt she should have made her presence felt a bit more during my short stay. However, the service centre – reached by pressing “0” –?ably filled her pumps.
RESTAURANTS: Some of Taipei’s best cuisine options are found at the Grand Formosa Regent: Lan Ting, which showcases regional favourites in a contemporary setting; Mihan for robatayaki, nabe hot pot and yakiniku (succulent wagyu beef is used); Robin’s Grill for steak; Brasserie for buffets and high tea; and azie for fusion menu. The Formosa International Club 21, reserved for members and room guests, features city views and seasonal promotions.
BARS: The Gallery Bar is promoting the “Liquid Buffet” at NT$1,000 (US$30.48), consisting of 52 varieties of aperitifs, liqueurs, cognacs and champagnes and various brands of mineral water – ideal for allergic-to-alcohol types like me.
BUSINESS FACILITIES: Guests on the Tai Pan Floor can use the boardroom for free for the first two hours; business centre on the second floor provides workstations and other secretarial services; ballroom can host a thousand guests, while several function rooms are available for smaller gatherings.
LEISURE FACILITIES: Wellspring Spa offers jetlag relief and Balinese therapies – riding on the expertise of a consultant from sister property, Four Seasons Bali – in cosy rooms for individuals or couples. The shower stall has a steam facility. Signature treatment is the double massage, which gets you to near Nirvana.
VERDICT: Outstanding service throughout. My design eye was impressed by the Tai Pan Floor guestrooms and restaurants that seamlessly blended Asian and modern aesthetics. The cream upholstered divan in my room, boasting Oriental detailing on its frame, was a perfect example – I would be the first in line to buy it should the hotel declare a rummage sale!
PRICE: Internet rate for a three-night stay in late October starts from NT$7,926 (US$240) nightly.
CONTACT: 41 Chung Shan North Road, Section 2, Taipei, Taiwan, tel 886 2 2522 8000, www.grandformosa.com.tw
Margie T Logarta