I have been to Taipei many times (even before I started writing) and I love the city for the delicious street food, orderliness and friendly people. In fact, I am writing a whole series of food articles around Taipei that you should definitely check out! There is no lack of boutique and affordable hotels around Taipei but if you are looking for an international brand, I may very well have stumbled upon the best one in this beautiful city - the Grand Hyatt Taipei.
The Grand Hyatt Taipei is notorious for being allegedly, the most haunted hotel in Taipei. As such, I was especially intrigued and wanted to check it out for myself. Well that, and I am also a huge fan of the Hyatt brand having fallen in love with the Grand Hyatt Singapore and Grand Hyatt Kuala Lumpur both. The Grand Hyatt Taipei has quite recently completed a massive refurbishment and the city's first 5-star hotel has gotten incredible new rooms with a mix of contemporary and oriental design elements. The lobby (as well as the bedrooms) get a lot more natural lighting now which helps to create a better sense of space.
I got to the Grand Hyatt Taipei via a direct bus from the Taoyuan International Airport (more instructions and directions in a separate post!) and the check-in process was effortless (from my end). The friendly front office staff quickly located my reservation (that is tied to my Hyatt Gold Passport membership number) and proceeded to check me in before walking me to the room.
During my latest visit to Taipei, I chose to stay in a Grand Deluxe room at the Grand Hyatt Taipei. The 40 sqm room comes with an amazing view of the Taipei 101 - it is one thing to visit this tourist attraction but another to have it right outside your window where you are are free to view anytime you want. Similar to the overall hotel theme, the newly refurbished Grand Deluxe room comes with a blend of Western and Asian elements. Using timber interiors as well as an earthly and woody colour palate, the room is accentuated by clean lines and cultural elements.
One of the things that annoy me a lot in hotels is the location of light switches but the Grand Hyatt Taipei has placed all of them conveniently by your bedside, making it possible (and easy) for you to drift off to sleep when you feel like it. You will not have to climb out of bed in your half-awaken state to find that light switch you wish you did not have to. The only thing I would have liked better is for the blind switches to be accessible via the same controls too.
Like all other Grand Hyatts in the world, the Grand Hyatt Taipei comes with a handsome selection of international channels. There is also a large working desk with a state-of-the-art media hub which provides various AV connections to the 47-inch full-HD television. Should you forget to bring any cables (e.g. HDMI), just pick up the phone and ask to borrow one from the hotel.
If you prefer to get some work (or reading) done by the window instead, the Grand Deluxe room comes with a huge sofa that is situated strategically by the window for you the take in the beautiful sights of this city. I was lucky enough to get a view of the Taipei 101 and watching it light up at night is an experience you would not want to miss.
The Grand Hyatt Taipei was also nice enough to send up a bottle of wine to my room. This bottle came at a timely moment since I did not have access to the Grand Club during my trip to Taipei this time. There was also a small welcome card (pretty standard for most Grand Hyatts around the world) and a fruit platter by the side.
In case you are still not convinced of the amazing view from my Grand Deluxe room, this is it. Even my trusty Nikon D750 + 16-35mm f/4G lens could not capture the entire Taipei 101 without reasonable distortion. Even though I was blessed with typical Taipei (read: cloudy and rainy) weather during my stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, I really enjoyed gazing out into this majestic structure from the sofa by the window.
If like me, you think the bathroom is one of the most important aspects of a comfortable hotel room, then you will be super excited to know that the bathrooms are extremely beautiful. The modern and spacious bathroom is clad in gorgeous marble. Apart from a sizeable tub which is godsend after a tiring day out, the bathroom also comes with a massive rainshower for you to relax.
It is worth noting that the standard Grand rooms do not come with a bathtub so if you value them as much as I do, be sure to book yourself into a Grand Deluxe room (like the one I stayed in) at least - trust me, they are worth every penny!
Bathroom amenities are provided by June Jacobs in 60ml bottles (I do believe you get 120ml bottles if you stay in a suite). These are often replenished during evening turndown and morning housekeeping so you do not have to worry about working through them quickly.
If unlike me, you are blessed with good weather, be sure to take a dip in the temperature-controlled outdoor swimming pool (530am to 9pm) which is perfect for both winter and summer. Otherwise, just drop by the indoor hot and cold pools to soothe those aching muscles away.
Breakfast (630am to 1030am) was served in the Grand Hyatt Taipei's Café located on street level. The expansive and modern dining space reminds me a lot of the Grand Hyatt Singapore's Straits Kitchen but unlike the latter destination, the Café has a lot of natural lighting incorporated into it. The open kitchens serve up a wide variety of local and international delights which include (but not limited to) made-to-order waffles, eggs, pastries, fresh fruits, cheese, local Taiwanese breakfast, rice, cooked meats and noodles.
The Café also serves up delicious pastries and breads that I simply love. In fact, there is even a fresh honey dispenser here where you will be able to watch as thick delicious honey trickle down the edges of the honeycomb.
The Taiwanese (instead of the usual plain) porridge that was served during my stay comes with a pretty extensive range of condiments for you to create your personalised bowl of congee. Other local breakfast items that Taiwan is famous for like the Taiwanese Egg Crepe was also available during my stay there.
If you have a more-Westernised palate, the Grand Hyatt Taipei caters for that too (evidently)! Choose the way you want your eggs to be done and select from the huge variety of fresh salads, fruits, cereals and juices.
I like to think of desserts as the international breakfast standard; almost a cuisine to bond all of us globetrotters together. Like many of the dishes served here at breakfast, desserts can be made-to-order and you will be able to choose from fresh waffles to French toasts.
If I have to put it simply, the Grand Hyatt Taipei is my favourite hotel in Taipei. Even though have only been to this beautiful city three times in my life, I strongly believe that this property has the perfect location to experience what Taipei has to offer. Located in the Xinyi district, the Grand Hyatt Taipei is within walking distance to many tourist attractions and shopping areas (not to mention good food in the vicinity) - to be covered in a different post!
In fact, as you wander around this amazing property, you will probably realise how popular the hotel is for wedding photographs. During my short 3-night stay at the Grand Hyatt Taipei, I have witnessed at least 5 different couples having their photographs taken here.
While the Grand Hyatt Taipei appears to be a business hotel predominantly with majority of the clientele being adults in their 30s to 40s, it is also an amazing base for tourists to visit this city. The hotel is also really close to a well-kept secret amongst locals - the Tong Hua Night Market which serves up delicious street food (and many of which you can't get elsewhere!).
Lastly, to answer the question that everyone has been asking me since I got back: 'what's it like to stay in Taipei's most haunted hotel'? It is nothing short of amazing.In fact, I was actually slightly disappointed that I did not encounter any strange figures, hear any weird sounds or wake up in the middle of the night with any suspicious thoughts in my head. The hotel is one the best I have been to and there is nothing creepy about it at all. With the latest refurbishment works that have recently been completed, the hotel contains no traces of creepiness at all (apart from these two talismans, I guess?).