Shangri-La, Taipei’s finest luxury hotels

Housed within a tower building in the Daan District, Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza has been one of Taipei’s leading luxury hotels for over two decades. Last year, the hotel has entered a new phase in its history with the complete renovation of its facilities.

With one of the greatest greenery escapes and most well-connected districts in terms of the transportation, Daan District is recognized one of the best and most expensive places in which to live in Taipei.  The area is rich in educational resources and cultural vibes; one can find various schools and universities all around and wander through unique shops and cafés when visiting the area.

Within a 10- to 20-minute walk, one can visit many of the region’s highlights.  Walk around Daan Forest Park, where one can enjoy the sun and breeze.  Then, just march to Yongkang Street 10 minutes away and savor some street food of your choice.  If you fancy some shopping, it is also easy to get to the Zhongxiao District and its department stores and shopping areas.

From the seamless arrival experience at Taipei Airport where I was welcomed by very courteous and efficient hotel staff to the check-out, Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza extended an exceptional standard of experience at all levels. The team, throughout all departments, has stood out during my entire stay, by providing the utmost personalized service, efficient, highly intuitive and attentive as well as heartfelt and warm. The hotel perfectly illustrates the DNA of Shangri-La, both in terms of service and facilities, recreating an ideal home away from home.

The hotel boasts an impressive collection of artworks, among which the highlight is the  “Along the River during the Qing Ming Festival”, an installation depicting the ancient capital of Kaifeng by famous Taiwanese artist Shen Cheen.  It stretches across two silk scrolls, each measuring 7.2 by 1.68 meters and frames the reception area embellished with natural amazonita gemstones and equally stunning art inspired by classical Sung dynasty pieces.

The hotel underwent in 2015 an extensive renovation of all its rooms and suites, exceptional both aesthetically and functionally. The quality of materials and finishes is truly impressive. The result is a perfect blend between contemporary understated luxury and Chinese inspired elements.

Continuing the natural-colored tones prevalent in the ten-meter-high lobby, and heightened by modern copper chandeliers, are the spacious and sun-bathed guestrooms offering unparalleled views over Taipei through picture windows. Starting from 36 square meters each room features a large glass desk, a nook with a cozy window seat and an ultra-comfortable bed with the finest linen. A new twist on woodwork, fashioned after traditional Chinese-inspired window frames, is harmonized into eye-catching details at the entrance, ceiling and mini-bar area. The generously sized all-marble bathrooms feature separate glass enclosed shower and bathtub,  a TV and bespoke amenities by L´Occitane.

My suite, a Plaza Suite, offered 180 degree views of the city with a large living room, two bathrooms and a spacious bedroom. The living room had a glass dining table and a comfortable couch. The suite is ideal for longer stays but also for more discerning travelers who enjoy larger accommodations.

The Horizon Club on the 36 floor was also redesigned boast tones of shimmering grey, now resembling more like a luxurious restaurant and lounge.  Just as notable are the over-sized windows, which maximize the views of Taipei city. The club is an exclusive space for guests to enjoy daily breakfast, refreshments or cocktails from a central bar. The louge boasts spectacular views of the city.

The dining offering includes ibuki by Takagi Kazuo, Taiwan’s first Japanese restaurant to operate with a Michelin-starred approach; Shang Palace, which serves authentic Cantonese cuisine; Shanghai Pavilion, reputed to be the best Shanghainese restaurant in the city; and Marco Polo an Italian Restaurant. Whether a teppanyaki lunch at Ibuki or a steak for dinner at Marco Polo, the quality of the food and service was impeccable.

On level 40, the hotel boasts a spectacular heated rooftop swimming pool with panoramic views. Lounging in the late afternoon and observing the sunset views over the city provided me with a truly memorable experience. The Qi Shiseido Salon and Spa offers therapeutic body, facial and hair treatments. During my stay, I enjoyed a full body Taiwanese signature treatment performed by a highly skilled therapist, accompanied by an exceptional quality of service.

The Concierges at the Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza compiled a very comprehensive one day tour of the city. Here are the highlights.

Watch here a video preview of the Plaza Suite at Shangri-La Far Eastern Plaza, Taipei.

Oliver Petcu in Taipei