THE GRAND HOTEL AT TAIPEI, TAIWAN
WHEN THE ARCHITECTURE SPEAKS ITSELF!
My recent visit to Taiwan hosted by Taiwan Tourism Board was a memorable trip which I enjoyed to the fullest. We went to Taipei, Hualien and Yilan. When we landed, our first night was at “The Grand Dragon Hotel”, Taipei. I was speechless and had no words to explain the wonderful experience I had. The ambience was brilliant, with red columns and with golden roof tiling being highlighted amazingly.The Grand Hotel faces the Keelung River, with Yangming Mountains to give a complete feel of your stay. The hotel is equipped with 500 rooms which offer a birds-eye view of bustling Taipei in the day and a magnificent city in the night. The timeless joy of observing a modern city in a classic Chinese guest room is simply superb. I would like to highlight some excellent points of my stay here.
Explicit Exteriors and Interiors
The first glance at the HoteI Grand and I was awe-struck. I was completely moved looking at the beautiful exterior and interiors of the hotel. I felt as if I am walking in a grand palace of a yester-year king. It retains the elements of classic Chinese architecture in its building. It is one of the most talked-about landmarks of Taipei. The hotel also represents the contemporary palatial architecture. I could not miss the plum flower-shaped caisson ceiling in the hotel lobby. The décor of the ceiling contains various blessings. Five golden dragons’ surrounding a pearl indicates the arrival of five different types of luck. “Attaining eminence step by step” is symbolized by “23”—the total number of dragons, as “three” is a homonym for “rising” in Chinese. With 16 phoenixes and one large plum blossom, the ceiling further signifies “making profits continually,” a phrase pronounced the same way as “16 plus a flower” in Mandarin. Traditionally, the caisson ceiling is a symbol of prosperity, believed to be heralded by dragons and phoenixes. The hotel management had put in a lot of efforts to bring the Chinese culture in a modern facility keeping in-tact the traditions attached to it. I loved the colour combination and the paintings placed in the reception and lounge area.
It definitely requires a mention. My room was enormous and classy. It is decorated with both oriental and western details, offering the most comfortable stay. I stayed at the Delux room which was done up in a traditional way, with glass decoration that adopts features of traditional Chinese art ─ “Four Gentlemen among Flowers: plum blossom, orchid, bamboo and chrysanthemum”. The red and golden colours were vibrant enough to catch the eye and soothing enough with a huge, spacious balcony. The balcony came with an amazing sight- the city view of Taipei and scenery of the mountains and the river which makes the stay pleasing and relaxing. Even if you don’t go out of the hotel, just sit and sip your coffee and enjoy the mesmerising view of Taipei. For me, it was an incentive to get a breathtaking view of the tallest building in Taiwan, Taipei 101 from my room’s balcony. All rooms come with all the necessary room amenities.
The staff was very helpful and hospitable in every possible way. They will make you feel at home and will be readily available to serve your needs and make you refreshed. The courtesy was shown in every gesture. We went for a hotel round and things were as smooth as silk. The hotel’s staff took us all around to the swimming pool, the Spa and the gymnasium, the restaurants and the banquets. Interestingly, we saw the Emergency Tunnel too. I have not really seen something like this in any hotel. Hence, I will share the details of it. The Tunnels have many stories attached to it. Some believe it to be secret passageways that lead to the Presidential Office, while others insist they are connected to the Shilin Official Residence. In fact, when the hotel was refurbished, they were designed to be Tunnel for evacuating guests in cases of emergency. The tunnel comes with a slide along with a staircase also running simultaneously. The Grand Hotel is the only world-class hotel with such emergency Tunnel. The two Tunnels are respectively located on the east and west side of the hotel. The east Tunnel, which is 67 meters long, leads to Beian Park. The west Tunnel, 85 meters in length, leads to Jiantan Park. Just to add a little adventure, the staff made us roll down the slide, to experience its beauty. They were very hospitable and courteous.
Try the food at the restaurant of the hotel and you will completely saviour the food. The buffet breakfast was lavish and the lunch came with utmost varieties which were nothing less a spread of a palace food. It was hygienically cooked food which was sumptuous and makes your tummy full but will not confine your greed to eat more. I was lucky to attend the hotel’s opening ceremony celebrations of a week-long Indian cuisine festival ‘Modern Indian cuisine”. Indian dance performances were a part of the opening day celebrations. The chef for the same was invited from “The Taj Hotel” from India. The Indian chef and his team also gave some interesting Indian cooking session on the stage to the spectators. During lunchtime, it was served to the guests. There were Indian spices kept on the tables as decoration items. The session was interactive and enjoyable to be called as an interesting food festival.
The language spoken in Taiwan is Mandarin though but when I communicated with the staff in English they were fluent enough in English. This is what had stolen my heart. The communication was very smooth and easy which definitely makes any traveller stay comfortable. This makes the hotel unique and recommendable for anyone who is from the foreign origin and can’t understand the mandarin.
To summarize my review I was completely overwhelmed with my stay here and carried some amazing memories which I will cherish for a lifetime.