Place to Stay and Hang Out in Taipei

5 star for 3 star holidays

The Headquarters
Far Eastern Plaza
201 Tun Hwa South Road, Section 2, Taipei 106, Taiwan, R.O.C
The sky’s the limit, it seems above the capital’s latest and tallest luxury hotel, soaring to new heights on fashionable Tun Hwa Road. You’ll feel half-way in heaven when you check into one of the lavishly decorated suites above the 40th floor of this hospitable skyscraper. The shiny steel-and-glass tower accentuates the city silhouette, the beautiful interior attracts globetrotting guests rewarding spaciousness, style and designer chic as well as the Shangri-La management for having set a standard all over Asia. Throughout the acres of marble and the sea of flowers, the limitless facilities and the ultra-modern technology, the variety of bars and restaurants and the congenial ambiance, the staff makes you forget about your materialistic mission. From business center to pleasure spa, from Western snacks to Chinese haute Cuisine, the infrastructure is ideal. And sitting on the ritzy Metro Complex, Taipei’s mega galleria, even a shopping shuttle to Hong Kong is superfluous.

The Business Hotel
Grand Formosa Regent Taipei
41 Chung Shan N. Road, Section 2, Taipei, Taiwan.
Ever since its opening in 1990, the hotel has housed international stars on and off the stage in its luxurious framework reaching from the foremost shopping galleria underground to the penthouse suite twenty floors above. Up the ramp and into the marble lobby, you leave a world of traffic jams and consumer craze to enter another where space and luxury, gentle service and seductive entertainment embrace you. You needn’t leave the premises: a professionally staffed business center takes care of just that, room service spoils you rotten and spa and pool keep you in shape. You can choose from among the top ten restaurants of the city, all under one roof: local cuisine, Cantonese, Shanghainese, Seafood, dim sum, teppanyaki, steaks and even gourmet pizza. Afternoons in the atrium Gallery and evenings in the atmospheric Court are de rigueur as are the seasonal feasts and functions, from the Wine Festival to Christmas romance.

The City Hotel
Grand Hyatt Taipei
2 Sung Shou Rd, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
A glittering monument to the success of the land next to the World Trade Center. The vast atrium lobby beyond the important driveway adds to the awe-inspiring effect, although the columned corners lend a warm palatial feeling. No costs spared: marble mountains were quarried, teak forests cut down, gardens replanted inside and legions of artists and craftsmen engaged for an appealing architectural statement and a truly grand Hyatt. The spaciousness extends to the rooms whose comfort is tangible, lighting and view grandiose. The Oasis Fitness Membership Club is of Hollywood standard with underwater stereo in the pool and renovating massages above sea-level. Brightness, shine and atmosphere define the restaurants and bars as well. Tea at the Cha Lounge on the balcony, complete with chamber music, is a favorite rite, a Continental Nouvelle dinner at the Bel Air an experience; the Shanghai Court awakes China’s golden past whereas drinks, romance and live entertainment at the Cheers Pub make you revel about the Golden Twenties out West.

The Charm Hotel
The Sherwood Taipei
111 Min Sheng E Road, Section 3, Taipei, Taiwan, R.O.C.
When the Japanese build a Chinese hotel which looks like a Tuscan palazzo in Southern California, it must be meaningful. To Taipei it is, to the honorable Institutional Investor’s ‘Best-Hotels’ list it is, and to the sophisticated world traveler it is, too. It’s also astonishingly beautiful. Smallish by Asian standards, intimate by any account and stylish, from the spectacular lobby to the ornamental ballroom – the hub of the banking district and the playground of the Upper Crust seduces even hurried guests. The Biedermeier interior, the pastel marble and shining lusters in the baths, old paintings and fresh flowers everywhere: business becomes so much more peasant in this cultivated environment. Even in the business center itself. Wining and dining at the hotel has a touch of glamour, too: Henry’s Bar is an atmospheric open-fire-place conservatory for quiet moments, the Sherwood Grill the formally elegant salon for business dinners and Toscana the sumptuous retreat for alta cucina and romantic encounters.

The Hideaway
The Landis Taipei
41 Min Chuan East Road, Section 2, Taipei, Taiwan
Completely renovated in 2003 in French art deco style, all 209 guestrooms have been entirely refurbished with cutting-edge technology and with the utmost attention to detail. Offering a welcome respite in busy Taipei, the Landis Taipei Hotel offers its guests a wide variety of facilities combined with a high level of personalised service. All guest rooms are equipped with Internet connectivity and guests can enjoy unlimited internet access.
For travellers who look forward to a combination of class and comfort the Landis Taipei Hotel has all of the amenities, facilities and levels of comfort you would expect from a business hotel of this class with truly impeccable services.
This Taipei hotel has excellent dining outlets serving traditional French cuisine to authentic Chinese delicacies and Chinese paste with pastry and cafe au lait with croissant. For those who are thinking of a full meal, business lunch, set dinner menu, and a la carte, these are also easily available, making The Landis Taipei Hotel the most convenient address for your next dining in Taipei.

The Business Lunch
Toscana – Hotel Sherwood
Cuisine: Italian
This restaurant is the most famous Italian restaurant in Taipei. Brilliant glass windows scatter the warm rays of the sun, while fresh flowers and green trees spread a seductive southern European charm. Big short and bankers make it their boardroom canteen, romantically inclined business tourists their tryst. The Palatial trattoria overwhelms with marble patterns, pastel woods, terracotta pots, Biedermeier furnishings and flattering lighting for adult physiognomies and intimate looks.

The Business Dinner
Fu Yuan
17 Lin Yi Street
Cuisine: Nouvelle Chinese
This Chiu-Chow-style pagoda stands in Taipei’s concrete jungle like a modernistic shrine. The interior design a la chinoise was tastefully arranged by owner Shu Chen Yang, with art and artifacts, carved wooden ceilings and lacquered floors over four stories of private salons.
Chinese delicacies - like swallow's nest, shark's fin and abalone, all typical fare of Emperors - are served daily at Fu Yuan. It's said that men risked their lives to ensure such luxuries for imperial tables. The abalone itself is remarkable - with hardly a hint of cholesterol, it was a fitting choice for those seeking immortality. Why, the opportunity alone to taste these tempting tidbits was unthinkable for just anyone! That is, until Fu Yuan opened up.

The Social Lunch
Tau Tau Garden
57-1 Chung Shan N. Road, Sec 2.
Cuisine: Shanghainese.
Join the big-league bustle of Johnny Hsu’s gourmet stop around the corner from the Grand Formosa. Modern, straightforward and professional, the power elite succumbs ro cgef Shu’s unique wit in combining the cuisines of Shanghai and Tse Chiang: no-one treats shark’s fins more subtly, prepares lily bulb sweet soup like he does. His cool books are bestsellers.

The Social Dinner
Marco Polo – Hotel Far Eastern Plaza
Cuisine: Eclectic.
Enjoy the modern, elegant ambiance at Taipei's most stylish Italian restaurant. Indulge in the essence of Italian cuisine and impeccable service while taking in the breathtaking views of Tun Hwa South Road and Taipei City. When hostess welcomes you on the 38th floor, you’ll be distracted by her charm, the candle-light romance and the chef’s East West menu: Pacific prawn biscuits, salmon in champagne and coconut crème brulee.

Romantic Dining
Paris 1930 – Hotel Ritz Taipei
Cuisine: French
A traditional French restaurant perfect for those truly special events with elegant surroundings, luxurious cuisine, award winning wine cellar, and incomparable service. Art-Deco glamour to revel in, cozy niches to sink into and a menu to seduce blasé sophisticates. Classic dishes are perfectly prepared, the wine culture well respected and service take seriously in a grand manner.

The Trendy
Ziga Zaga – Hotel Grand Hyatt.
Cuisine: Italian.
Movie stars and pop idols adorn Taipei’s favorite upper-crust trattoria every night. Visa-a-vis the swank Bel Air on the second floor, Italian chef from Sardinia teaches the Taiwanese cucina casalinga with home-made pasta, pizza fantasies and ricotta cheese cake for a new taste. Dine in a candle-lit window booth and dance after hours to the sounds of a live band.

The Circus
196 Section 2, Pa The Road.
Cuisine: Taiwanese
No, it’s not a temporary film set for Jurassic Park – Part 2. In fact, this fun place is a half-serious restaurant with frightfully good food. Through a ghost-train entrance, surrounded by the skeletons of Tyrannosaurus Rex and friends, you head through a three-level labyrinth of this dining grotto, being served hot and spicy dishes on stone-age tables.

The Steakhouse
Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse
2/F, 135 Minsheng East Road, Section 3.
Yankee beef chalks up a twin victory here., with McDonald’s on the ground floor and Mamma Ruth’s macho saloon on the sixth. Local partner William Ko (who also owns Trader Vic’s) has established U.S. Prime Beef as a culinary cult in Taipei. Beyond the lobster tanks, cozy niches offer the laid-back privacy to devour a cow. And a chunk of New York cheese cake.

The Seafood Place
Tainan Tan Tsu Mien
31 Hua Si Street.
Seeing is believing: Snake Alley’s ‘Maxim’s’ looks as if Emperor Bokassa and Jayne Mansfield had designed the dining tract for the arrival of the Flying Dutchman. Stuccoed columns, pearl-string curtains, boudoir seating: Spanish furniture, French lusters, German crystal, English tableware: the fresh fish is rightly famous, be is shark’s fins, abalone or lobster.

The Cantonese
Noble House
B1, 286 Kuan Fu S. Road;
Nome nest omen, whereby it’s not clear, if Han Hsuan’s aristocratic attribute refers to the displays of oriental antiques in the basement dining room of this high rise (porcelain, art and artifacts from grand old days) or to the classy cuisine which appeals not only to dansen guitzu (‘single nobility’). Braised shark’s fins and abalone with black mushrooms can’t be had any better across the Taiwan Strait, either.

The Chiu Chow
Golden Island
70-76, Section 3, Min Chuan East Road.
Up the grand staircase in the Tantex Building, a pompous chandelier illuminates your way to the long hall where tables are set – and numbered – as for a convention. The proprietor plays host to elite habitués in the pink-and-blue private dining room with VIP lounge, satisfying them with bird’s nest variations and the legendary marinated goose.

The Pekingese
Celestial Kitchen
3/F, 1 Nanking West Rd.
Big, bland and basic, but memorable for its heavenly Peking Duck, this eating hall has hosted tyrants, tycoons and tourists from all over the world for its North Chinese cuisine with that famous fowl on top of the menu. Raison d’etre for most is a dinner consisting solely of the fabled bird, from broth and hashe to skins and lacque. If you’re a Donald & Daisy addict, there are alternatives on the menu.

The Peking Snack
King Jon
25 Tienmou East Road, Tienmou.
Fauchon sans chic! Among he trio of delicatessen serving rare specialties, namely the widest range of Chinese desserts, this is the most attractive outlet, if a little out of the way. (On the other hand, it’s near the national Palace Museum). Here, in bourgeois surroundings, you can definitely eat like a king: Ass Rolls About, Elephant Trunk Cake, sesame candy.

The Shanghainese
Shanghai Court – Hotel Grand Hyatt
Shanghai Court pays homage to the elegant cuisine of a city once known as the Paris of the East with a superb menu of traditional, seafood, meat and poultry dishes. Savour authentic Chinese specialities including pork ribs or prawns, shark's fin or shredded beef with rich sauces that reflect time-honoured traditions and a classically inspired interior decor of sophisticated splendour.

The Shanghai Snack
Ding Tai Feng
4/F, 194 Hsinyi Rd, Sec. 2.
The New York Times critic thought he had discovered the “Best Steamed Food” in the world. A Tokyo magazine copied the article and – who, do you think, makes up the largest group of culinary pilgrims, now? “No English, solly” seems excusable, as long as you’re served the steamed buns stuffed with crabmeat and pork, the shrimp wonton, the gingery beef broth and the Eight Treasures rice.

The Mongolian Barbecue
Mongolian Barbecue – Hotel Magnolia
The magnolia used to be the Mandarine, but nothing has changed in the hotel’s rustic dining hall, set in the garden of the hotel. The formula of dining is so much fun: select the fresh beef, lamb, chicken, vegetables, etc. from the long buffet counter, then have the cook prepare it in front of your eyes. Hordes of families and tourists swarm the place. (Seems like Genghis Khan’s late answer to McDonald’s).

The Teppanyaki
The Teppanyaki – Hotel Grand Formosa Regent.
Uncle Sam’s children and Nippon’s sons feel at home in The Grand Formosa Regent: Western luxury, eastern charm and restaurants including the best teppanyaki in town. Warm and wooden, with counter seating facing each other for privacy; recommends fish, prawn and scallop in white wine sauce before U.S. Black Angus beef or fresh seafood.

The hangout
Dan Ryan’s Chicago Grill
8 Tunhua Road North
Cuisine: American.
The ex-senator’s watering-hole-cum-snack- bar-cum-sports- TV-dinner-living-room for local yuppies, Yankee sentimentalists, lonely hearts and machos rocks around the clock. Cozy compared with TGIF and HRC, you perch on stools around the U-shaped bar amid running TV sets and Dan’s photos. Spare ribs, steaks and rib-sticking sweets make up the menu.

The Business Bar
Henry’s – Hotel Sherwood
The eponymous Henry must have grown up in an English country manor, judging by this elegant salon full of oil paintings, rosewood tables, buttoned leather chesterfields and winged armchairs. Genteel piano music at night provides an acoustic paravent for potential eavesdroppers on the pre- or post-prandial chit-chat amongst peripatetic executives. Many come for a light lunch on Henry’s famous snacks.

The Social bar
Cheers – Hotel Grand Hyatt.
A fitting name for the glassed-in corner bar-restaurant-nightclub of the grand Grand Hyatt. Busy all day and night, for Asian snacks and stone-grilled pizza, the thru-traffic of hotel guests, tourists, pausing shoppers and entertaining businessmen doesn’t affect conviviality at all. When the jazzy combo starts playing, the mood is heightened even among the dansen guitzu (Yuppies Taipei-style). Cheers!

The Pub
The Farmhouse
5 Lane 32, Shuang Cheng Street
What socializing in a karaoke club does to the Japanese, the bonhomie of a pub does to the Anglo-Saxons. Some expats may favor the Pig & Whistle in Tienmou, but that rough, yet jovial drinking atmosphere reigns supreme here. Small sports (pool, darts) start big friendships, dancing to live bands ties knots – at least until breakfast. The Sunday jazz brunch jives.

The Nightclub
Kiss (La Bocca) – Hotel Magnolia
166 Dun Hua North Road
Would you have guessed that Asia’s hottest nightclub is alive and well and kicking in a business hotel in Taipei? Gigantic and grandiose, impressively fancy by design and décor, full of fantastic lighting and light fantasies, this labyrinth of salons and bars, dance floors and KTV chambers, creates and atmosphere between civilized joy and apocalyptic gaiety. One night in Bangkok? Ha! Two nights here, instead.

‘Made in Taiwan’ used to be a familiar label for high-tech, low-cost and first-class fake. The sophistication has increased. So have the prices, but not, happily, for handicrafts, local jade and coral, snakeskin leather goods, et al. For quick-stop gift shopping, hit the Chinese handicraft market, for high fashion do a whirlwind tour of the Regent Galleria and the new Mall at the Far Eastern Plaza. Scour the Shih-Lin Night market for souvenirs and the gift shop of the national Palace Museum for high-quality reproductions.

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* Taipei
* The Sight and Attraction in Taipei
* Place to Stay and Hangout in Taipei

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