More (7) Fine Places To Stay: Taipei

Renowned Taipei-based designer Ray Chen designed the Proverbs Hotel, taking his inspiration from the 19th-century Los Proverbios prints by Spanish artist Francisco Goya. The gloomy, surreal scenes clearly reflect in the copper-plated walls, natural woods and dark metals that are used throughout the building, while Austrian crystal chandeliers and floor-to-ceiling mirrors give the space a polished finish. It’s an eclectic mix of dandy, industrial and glam — steampunk like, but everything balances out surprisingly well.

The Netherlands based Mecanoo was tasked with conceiving The Place brand’s 179-room Taipei outpost in the Nangang district, which draws inspiration from the local tea production tradition. “The approach of people, place, and purpose was applied at different scales, from the design concept to the detailing of furniture and graphic elements,” says firm architect Yuli Huang. The hotel’s arrival area on the 10th floor also functions as a traditional Taiwanese teahouse. Curtains separate different spaces of the arrival lobby, fully opening up during peak days and partitioning it off with overlapping layers of fabric during downtime. Nods to the tea-making process appear throughout, including in corridor carpet that evokes the terrace plantation landscape and a color palette that mimics the bright yellow shades of Pouchong tea.

A cool alternative to the flashy neon of downtown, amba Taipei Ximending is a hip eco-friendly design hotel located in the Ximen business district. Both the MRT station and Huaxi Street night market can be reached within a 10-minute walk. A 12-metre-high foyer, encased in a silver-fringe curtain leads to the fifth-floor lobby, decorated with rustic wood benches and vintage leather sofas. An all-day café doubles as a wireless workplace for creatives, who can rendezvous in the gallery, atrium or, by night, the music lounge. The 162 rooms, with streamlined, eco-friendly interiors come with air conditioning, a flat-screen cable TV and a seating area. Bathrooms come with slippers, a hairdryer and high-end bath products made with local organic ginger.

The original Solo Singer Hotel opened for business fifty years ago in Beitou, Taipei’s hot springs area. In a project to breathe new life to this old hotel, the Solo Singer team decided to preserve the original space while renovating creatively through the integration of art, design and innovation from daily life. The team consists of professionals from hotel and arts management, curators, writers, designers and cultural historians. After travelling through the cities of the world, they came to realize the extent of decay of Taiwan’s old inns and were determined to do something for their country’s fading local culture. The hotel rooms were designed by 18 artists with the theme,  A Room of One’s Own (from the legendary book of Virginia Woolf) , which intends to provide the means for travellers to travel back and forth in time, and to re-interpret the values of the ordinary life in old Taipei alleys.

Half guesthouse, half gallery, and entirely a vanguard of the modern urban retreat, Humble House Taipei exemplifies the “art in life, life in art” philosophy. The design hotel is located in Xinyi District and has a vast collection of paintings, illustrations, installations, and sculptures selected and commissioned by acclaimed art consultant Ellie Lai.  Rooms are located on the 8th floor and up its unusual windows -thanks to their shape and blue-grey shimmer- resembling diamonds when seen from a distance offer panoramic views.

Villa 32 is a stunning, adult-only (16+) modernist retreat located in Taipei’s Beitou hot springs district. Spacious, minimalist style rooms come with air conditioning, a flat-screen TV, a fridge, a coffee machine and a private geothermic spa bath. Some of the rooms are in Japanese style – with futons. There is also a lounge and an on-site Tuscan gourmet restaurant with an impressive wine cellar.

The W Taipei hotel exudes ‘fun’ from the moment you enter the disco-lit lift that whisks you to the lobby on the 10th floor. While the hotel is unmistakably ‘W’ with its uber-trendy staff, nightclubby vibes and thumping soundtrack, it’s a tad bit more mature than its counterparts across the region. Instead of gimmicks, there’s a focus on understated luxury that shows itself through a great collection of conceptual art (by Hirotoshi Sawada, among others), sleek interior design and personable service. 

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