The ultimate hotel guide to Taipei
The Taiwanese capital runs the full gamut of hotel options, from stylish digs in the heart of the city to sleek spa retreats tucked away in the mountains.
In many ways, Taipei is a quintessential East Asian metropolis — a bombastic mix of old and new, raucous night markets, excellent public transport and a personality big enough to match its towering, sparkling skyscrapers. Compared to some of its neighbours, Taipei — and Taiwan itself — is one of the region’s more affordable destinations, with a wide range of impressive, great-value hotels, many with central locations and skyline views. If you’re keen on staying in the city, the buzzing Da’an District charms with quaint tea shops and restaurants, Xinyi District is the nightlife hotspot and historic Dadaocheng offers a slice of traditional, 19th-century Taipei. There’s no shortage of places to splurge on, either: the chic mountain getaways of Beitou, for example, tempt deep-pocketed travellers with fine views and luxurious baths fed by hot springs. But wherever you while away your days in this city, you can be sure of a good night’s sleep.
1. Eslite Hotel
Best for bibliophiles
Eslite is a Taiwanese bookshop chain, so, naturally, its namesake hotel is full of tomes. Bookworms can lose themselves in the lounge, complete with floor-to-ceiling bookcases, where 5,000 volumes — in English and Chinese — are available to buy. All bedrooms have high ceilings and plenty of natural light, and if you want to splurge, consider the aptly named Library Suite, with hundreds of books at your disposal. The hotel is located next to Songshan Cultural and Creative Park, home to art exhibitions and boutique stores.
Rooms: From NT$4,446 (£117), B&B
2. W Taipei
Best for night owls
In the heart of Xinyi District, close to some of Taipei’s best bars and clubs, W Taipei is the place to kick-start a night on the town. In characteristic W style, rooms are bright and bold, and each features an animal sculpture inspired by the Chinese zodiac. There’s music playing in the lobby all day long and colourful lighting throughout. For drinks, look no further than Woobar, the rooftop bar, with its mouth-watering menu of cocktails, not to mention a pool and tantalising views of the city below.
Rooms: From NT$6,791 (£178), room only
3. Folio Hotel Daan Taipei
Best for art aficionados
Want an intro to the Taiwanese art scene? This hotel — once accommodation for local bank employees — offer just that, with a rotating exhibition programme featuring the work of local artists and photographers. The rooms are decked out with plush beds and minimalist decor, although the main draw is arguably the location. It’s in the heart of the bustling Da’an district, just a stroll away from Da’an Forest Park, a lush, 64-acre oasis teeming with wildlife. It’s also near a night market and the towering Taipei 101 — the tallest building on the island.
Rooms: From NT$1,731 (£45), room only
4. Grand Hotel Taipei
Best for history buffs
Since it first opened in 1952, the Grand Hotel Taipei has earned itself a reputation as a magnet for visiting dignitaries and the elite. With towering vermilion columns, elegant wall panels and a golden roof, it’s one of the city’s architectural gems. Rooms overlook the Keelung River and are adorned with traditional Chinese furnishings. The hotel is also home to two underground tunnels; only occasionally open to public tours, they were initially built in case of air raids.
Rooms: From NT$4,400 (£115), B&B
5. Grand View Resort Beitou
Best for escapists
Its location near a fault line means Taiwan sits above a bevy of hot springs. The Grand View Resort Beitou takes full advantage of this by pumping water into the baths of all 80 guest rooms. There’s also a standout afternoon tea, with Taiwanese street food and confectionery flavoured with sweet osmanthus flowers. The resort sits on a quiet hillside outside the city; for those after some hustle and bustle, there’s a complimentary shuttle to the nearest metro station.
Rooms: From NT$14,000 (£373), B&B
6. Villa 32
Best for spa-seekers
A Japanese Zen aesthetic is offset by elegant European-style decor at Villa 32 on the edge of Yangminshan National Park. Not only does every guest room contain a bath fed by a local hot spring, but the spa is also one of the best in town. Standout treatments are a Chinese-style meridian massage and collagen-stimulating facial. Rooms are often booked months in advance and, at nearly £800 a night, you’ll need to splash out to secure yours. Adults only.
Rooms: From NT$29,665 (£790), B&B
7. Play Design Hotel
Best for creatives
At this boutique design hotel with only five rooms, there’s plenty of emphasis on local talent, with furniture and decor created by Taiwanese craftspeople. Each of the rooms is themed — one is dedicated to tea, another inspired by a laboratory. The whole hotel experience is interactive: a design-your-own-room option lets guests pick out their favourite layout and furniture online beforehand. The location, in lovely Dadaocheng, is also excellent — this is one of the oldest neighbourhoods in Taipei, with lots of street food, tea shops and atmospheric streets a short walk away.
Rooms: From NT$3,600 (£94), room only
8. Kimpton Da An hotel
Best for urban explorers
Located in the heart of one of Taipei’s busiest shopping districts, Kimpton Da An Hotel is a glamorous inner-city retreat with an award-winning eye for design. It’s pulled off the remarkable feat of being a quiet space in a busy city: the lobby is all pared-back concrete and graced with the sounds of trickling water from a design installation, and the 129 rooms are similarly sharp and minimalist, with calming wood elements and an ash-grey palette accented by pops of teal. Wellness is also a focus in this urban oasis, with in-room yoga mats and a bike rental service for guests. After a day’s exploring, wind down with a glass of fizz on the hotel’s chic rooftop terrace.
Rooms: From NT$4,224 (£111), room only
Best for fun & frolics
There’s no bursting this hotel’s bubble — with bright pink oval windows and bubble-like chandeliers in the lobby, it’s built firmly into the design. Similarly colourful is the lift, which zooms guests up to the rooftop terrace for a stylish bar that’s furnished with fun, red, spinning top-like chairs. The rooms are varied: some are whitewashed and minimalistic and others are decked out with lavish wallpaper. As for the in-house restaurant, there’s an excellent Western-style brunch menu and the food is as colourful as the decor.
Rooms: From NT£1,500 (£39), B&B
10. Hua Shan Din by Cosmos Creation
Best for families
Once home to a bank vault, this industrial-style hotel stays true to its history, with thick columns, marble accents and vault-style door handles. It’s a quirky, fun place to bed down, with pop art flourishes in many of the rooms, and plenty of in-room board games to keep children entertained. The Huashan 1914 Creative Park is nearby — a former sake winery converted into a series of restaurants and boutiques.
Rooms: From NT£1,909 (£50), room only
Published in the April 2021 issue of National Geographic Traveller (UK)
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