Candid’s Fashion & Grooming Editor, Ross Pollard recently went to Taiwan and had the pleasure of staying at the W Taipei.
So, there I was getting ready to head off to Taiwan for weeks weeks to see my partner and I thought where can I stay? I’d planned to be based in the capital, Taipei and travel out to other parts of the island. Serendipity shined upon me and into my inbox tumbled an invite to come and try the W Taipei for a couple of nights. Well, after a quick squizz of the site the reply went back: yes, please.
Perfectly placed next to one of the main MRT stations, the W Taipei makes a great base to explore the city, and not to mention for a fashion fan like me, there is a couture mall opposite, and it’s a couple of stops from the shopping districts of Zhongxiao Fuxing and Ximen where you’ll find some of Asia’s most exciting emerging fashion. Also, you’re almost in the shade of the country's most well know landmark, the 101 Tower, and trust me, it’s warm enough in July to enjoy any shade.
There are two things you notice about the hotel; the first is the aura of fun and excitement that pervades as you enter – the lift with its selfie spot hints at the good times ahead. Once in the reception area the hotel really starts to show its sense of nature. Natural materials run through the newly-refurbished WOO BAR and off towards the Kitchen Table (more on the food later), and the droplet water pattern on the floor leads to an enticing glance of the pool that lays beyond. But as with all good travellers I was keen to head up to the room for a nap. Traveller or old pooch, I could live as either.
On to the room. The bed was so big that if it was in London you would pay £1,500 a month to rent it, a bath so deep you can have a proper soak while reading magazines from the in-room selection. I highly recommend this, and then of course the view, our room looked out over 101 and the city towards the verdant green hills that ring it.
Each room is decorated with objects made from locally-sourced and designed recycled materials, something I really liked. In each room you’ll also find one of the twelve animals that represent the Chinese zodiac. Our room had a pig, which turned out to be very fitting.
There are two restaurants in the hotel, the laid-back Kitchen Table with a wide collection of dishes from across the world where we chose to breakfast each morning and where I discovered the beauty of a well-made congee, alongside my quite-frankly heroic intake of the freshest watermelon I’ve ever had. Alongside the food is a top-notch juice bar, and depending on your mood you can choose tables overlooking the pool or the 101 Tower. We chose the tower each day. This is a very picturesque city to see from on high and sipping coffee. Looking out at the modern and the old is a memory I’ll treasure for a long time.
The other restaurant is the Cantonese-based Yen. Placed at the top of the hotel, the views for both the restaurant and the attached bar are again stunning, but the food, in line with the height of the building was just heavenly. I’m veggie and can assure you that you’ll be well catered for with bright and fresh dishes and dim sum so good I’m salivating Homer Simpson-style just thinking about them. My partner assured me that the meat dishes were just as good.
One of the great things about the W Taipei is how it can be relaxing and restful. The WOO BAR during the day is an area to chill out and unwind, as is the pool and spa, but for those of you that like a party, the pool holds regular parties where the city’s cool kids and celebrities come along, and the bar becomes a place of noisy and ebullient fun in the evenings with live music, DJs and some of the best cocktails this side of Rick’s Bar in Casablanca. But if like me you were after a more restful experience, the rooms, as mentioned, are an oasis of calm and the spa is perfect for washing the world away in a sea of contented steam-room sighs. The spa mixes both western and eastern styles, and thank you to the helpful man who explained the three baths of different heats and the crushed ice fountain to me.
But, I hear you shout, what was the second thing? Well it’s the service – attentive yet relaxed. Nothing is too much bother, and everyone from the hotel couldn’t have been warmer or keener to make sure we had a great stay. It’s the little touches that make any trip; as I sat in the foyer on the ground floor awaiting my partner I watched the team there make sure every guest had everything they needed and knew how to get to their destinations for the day. Just one simple note to the going-the-extra-mile philosophy that runs from taxi rank to a room there.
As regular readers know, my test is always would I buy/pay for this? That’s the truest measure. Let me just say I’ll be heading back to Taipei in December, and the W Taipei will be on my list of places to stay. If you want to explore this magical island, its culture and its beauty, book a ticket (flights are direct from Gatwick from around £600) and in fourteen hours, you could be in paradise.
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