While travellers may come to Taipei looking for a taste of the Far East, they may be surprised to find that much of its hotel offerings are decidedly international. To go local in the Taiwanese capital, OutThere travellers’ first instinct would be to look for a luxury property that’s smaller than the big-brand hotel chains. Ours certainly was, but on checking into what is said to be Taiwan’s top boutique property, the Hotel Eclat Taipei, we found that local wasn’t all that local after all.
We couldn’t miss this ‘boutique art’ hotel with just sixty rooms in Da-An. After all, it is the talk of the town. Expecting something small, understated and local, we knew we were wrong the minute we arrived – with its infamous burgundy awning-clad building drawing us you in like a Chinese lacquer gift box, albeit with an architectural style much more American than it is Asian.
The owner of the Hotel Eclat Taipei, George Wong has installed his personal art and wine collection into this property in a whimsical and eclectic way. The inspiration includes Dali (yes, they’re real Dali’s here) and contemporary Taiwanese artists alike; and we guarantee you’ll take your picture with Miss Piggy. It’s most definitely over the top, but that didn’t mean that our stay wasn’t comfortable. Far from it, the team here treated like kings and catered to our every whim, clearly used to the demands of the Chinese elite traveller, and perhaps George himself.
Throughout the hotel and its suites, we imbibed in a sense of both opulence and whim. It’s a folly for sure, but in the same way, it acts as a playful haven from the vibrant city that sits just beyond its doors.
Right on time
While you’re Out There
Get a sense for the city before it wakes fully (and the sun beats down), or again in the evening if you like to people-watch. Head out for a morning stroll or run to Da An Forest Park, just a short distance from the hotel. You’ll find a firefly pond and a larger-than-life statue and sculpture of Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy.