The Mandarin Oriental Taipei raised the stakes when it opened in 2014, adding a luxury urban retreat to a city predominantly served by upscale business brands. The hotel took a whopping eight years to finish, with the painstaking attention to detail clearly evident from the moment you arrive.
WHERE IS IT?
Located in Songshan district, within walking distance (or a five-minute cab ride) from Songshan International Airport – the smaller of Taipei’s airports, with regional services to China, Japan and South Korea, or a 40-minute drive to the larger Taoyuan International Airport. Songshan district is a major financial centre, with many banking institutions located on Dunhua North Road. To find more entertainment options however will most likely require a cab journey.
WHAT’S IT LIKE
The grand exterior is inspired by classic European architecture, with a large circular driveway circling an ornate fountain (and a steady stream of taxis). The extravagant style continues throughout the property, from the giant 1,400kg butterfly-shaped chandelier in the lobby featuring over 50,000 pieces of crystal to the 1,700 pieces of artwork dotted throughout the hotel. Intricate design details appear absolutely everywhere: in the lifts, in the corridors and even in the public bathrooms.
The lobby is a relatively cosy space to the left of the entrance, with a few chairs and desks. We were welcomed warmly and attentively. As I was booked into a suite, a staff member personally escorted me to my room for a personalised in-room check-in and explanation of the suite’s facilities.
The hotel offers 256 guestrooms and 47 suites, starting at a very generous 55sqm – the most spacious in Taipei. My 86 sqm one-bedroom Club City Suite was beautiful, with separate living room, views over Taipei 101 and access to the Oriental Club.
The bedroom was steeped in Parisian elegance with oriental flourishes, featuring a dressing table, dark wood TV cabinet, chaise longue, luxuriously thick carpet and handcrafted leather headboard bearing a peony motif.
The king-size bed is quite possibly the most comfortable bed I’ve ever slept in: it felt like I sunk about a foot into the luxurious 480-thread-count satin Quivera bed linen with white goose down feather pillows and duvets.
By the side of the bed was an easy-to-use control panel for the curtains and blackout blinds as well as master light switch and dimming control. Universal plug sockets were also available.
In the corridor before the bedroom was a “walk-in wardrobe” area and storage space, for iron and ironing board etc. Double French-window doors opened onto a stunning large marble bathroom with heated flooring, double sink, smart Japanese toilet and walk-in glass shower – with an almost alarming number of jet nozzles and rain shower heads for an elevated power shower experience. Bathroom products by Diptyque were lovely.
The separate living room was also beautifully outfitted in classic, contemporary décor and stylish lighting. There was a comfortable L-shaped sofa for relaxing, large TV, minibar facilities and work desk. I’m not the biggest fan of circular work desks as they never feel particularly ergonomic, it also felt a bit too high for the chair provided, however it was large and a bonus was that it was positioned next to a full suite of connectivity options with the option to stream your devices to the large television in the room. High-speed wifi is also available for up to six devices. A definite plus point was that the suite design makes it ideal for hosting business meetings in this area as the personal sleeping quarter can be easily partitioned off, leaving the corridor straight to the sitting room and a guest toilet. Complimentary gifts including a fruit platter and a chocolate tree were very much appreciated.
Suite guests have access to the Oriental Club Lounge on the sixth floor – a smart, spacious area with an adjoining outdoor terrace featuring a fountain. Breakfast (served until 10.30am or 11am on weekends) was an extensive affair, with a large buffet spread offering everything from stir fried noodles, dim sum and spring rolls to waffles, pastries and a honeycomb station, plus an a la carte menu of breakfast options such as eggs Benedict. Loose leaf tea was served in elegant chinaware. Champagne and cocktails are available from 5.30pm-7.30pm with light refreshments throughout the day. Other facilities include private meeting rooms, shoe shine service and garment pressing.
FOOD & DRINK
The hotel offers six F&B venues. The three restaurants include Cafe Un Deux Trois, offering international fare for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The high-end perfumery at the entrance offers a unique twist, as does Pages, a creative café concept with a library of luxury publications. Located on the third floor is Ya Ge, a fine-dining Chinese restaurant specialising in locally grown produce. Eleven private dining rooms can accommodate up to a maximum of 20 guests. The third restaurant is casual Italian eatery Bencotto, featuring an open kitchen, Chef’s table and private dining room for up to 50.
To the right of the lobby entrance is the Jade Lounge, a beautiful space to enjoy classic afternoon tea and pastries, or for something a little stronger, try the inherently cool MO bar, open from 5pm and featuring a DJ at the weekend. Sweet treats to die for can also be found in the Mandarin Cake Shop.
A number of meeting options are available from the 960 sqm Grand Ballroom to five Oriental Rooms. A large foyer is also a good space for pre-function cocktails or coffee break outs.
At 3,500sqm and spread over two floors, The Spa at Mandarin Oriental, Taipei is one of the biggest in the city, featuring 12 treatment rooms including two VIP suites, four doubles and six single rooms. A number of the treatments incorporate special Taiwanese references, such as the three-hour Formosa treatment encompassing special Taiwanese sea salt and a head massage incorporating jade from Hualien. A beauty salon, spa tea lounge and spa boutique are also onsite.
A spacious 24-hour fitness centre features TechnoGym equipment and Kinesis technology with onsite professionals for a tailored workout. Yoga, tai chi, pilates and aerobics classes are also available on request. There is also a 20-metre heated outdoor pool, with a resort-like lounging area.
Fantastic. I couldn’t find anything to fault during my stay, from the design and facilities to the service – top marks all round.
Best for: Total luxury, impeccable service and delightful design details everywhere you look.
Don’t miss: A trip to the Mandarin Cake shop for treats that look as good as they taste.
Price: Internet rates for a one-night stay in a Club City Suite in mid-February start from NT25,500 (US$840).
Contact: 158, Dunhua North Road, Songshan District, Taipei, 10548; +886 2 2715 6888; mandarinoriental.com/taipei