Taipei’s gleaming, refreshed luxury tower
383 Rooms / 37 Suites
The tallest hotel in Taiwan’s capital, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel, Taipei recently emerged from a massive $50 million renovation that added a sleek, contemporary look to the classic luxury hotel originally built in 1994. It is Taipei’s tallest hotel with a glass and stone exterior; it naturally caters to business travelers due to its location in the city’s business center, but it is also an appealing stay for those traveling on leisure — six restaurants, a rooftop pool on the 43rd floor and a Shiseido-branded spa lure guests of all kinds.
The design takes inspiration from the Song Dynasty (960-1279), featuring era-inspired sculptures and specially commissioned paintings throughout the hotel. You can’t miss the impressive installation Along the River during the Qing Ming Festival by Taiwanese artist Shen Cheen — it’s the first thing you’ll see when entering the lobby, as it stretches across two silk scrolls and hangs above the main check-in desks.
The refined atmosphere continues throughout the Taipei hotel, with dark marble floors, high ceilings and spot-on feng shui at every turn. The elevators, for example, are built in a circular shape and the floor plans on every level reflect a figure-8 pattern, which affords each guest more privacy than the typical straight hallway layout. This way, guest room doors are never immediately facing each other; instead they are staggered for a more discreet experience.
The luxury hotel boasts some of the most spacious rooms in the city, starting at 383 square feet and stretching up to 2,433 square feet. Following extensive renovations, the spacious rooms now have a more residential feel.
Each has been updated to showcase elegant creamy palettes, dark woods and contemporary Asian décor — picture subtle accents such as lamps that resemble traditional wooden lanterns and gracefully structured ceilings reaching nearly 10 feet high. Glamorous bathrooms come decked out in gleaming marble, spacious showers and 12-inch TVs.
If the rooms don’t win you over here, the long list of restaurants likely will. From top to bottom, the Shangri-La is chock-full of delicious dining outlets. The Lobby Court serves up a handsome afternoon tea during the day and more than 30 kinds of gin come nightfall.
Meanwhile, Cantonese flavors abound in the modern Shang Palace and, up on the sixth floor, Li Bai Lounge offers live jazz, elegant surrounds and tea cocktails and whiskeys. Ibuki by Takagi Kazuo Japanese Restaurant features traditional Kyoto cuisine plus teppanyaki, tempura and a sushi bar.
For an extensive open-kitchen buffet, head to Café at Far Eastern or take in the romantic setting and beautiful Italian cuisine at Marco Polo Restaurant. The next-door Marco Polo lounge is home to some of the city’s best views of Taipei 101 as well as cool, contemporary white interiors. Up on the 39th floor, Shanghai Pavilion is known as one of the best Shanghainese restaurants in town.
Business travelers may want to check into the newly renovated Horizon Club, which has a serene purple and silver palette as well as all kinds of helpful perks. Not only do you enjoy complimentary food and drink all day, but there’s also a private check-in, private concierge, 4 p.m. late checkout, business center services and complimentary suit presses and shoe shines.
More interested in the wellness offerings? There are two outdoor pools — one of which has sweeping views from the 43rd floor — a fully equipped health club, Jacuzzi, sauna, steam room and a luxurious Qi Shiseido Salon and Spa on the 40th floor.
In the heart Daan, Taipei’s business and shopping district, Shangri-La’s Far Eastern Plaza Hotel is conveniently located near several landmarks. Aside from the myriad international shops and local boutiques right outside, walk to the famous Tonghua night market in about 10 minutes, the verdant Daan Forest Park in about 15 minutes and get to Taipei 101 by car in five minutes.