Every hotel should have a chapel, not only for weddings – yes, there are such memorable wedding chapels, as Girlahead has covered before, in fact again and again. But the one at Mandarin Oriental Taipei can be used for meetings, parties, a whole variety of functions. It sits at one end of the luxury hotel’s sixth floor garden terrace, near the heated outdoor pool. An outdoor spiral staircase leads down from the chapel to said garden, so it is an ideal fashion venue, too. Last time the gal was in Taiwan’s capital it was the opening of Uniqlo, and fashionistas stood patiently in line for at least half a mile, waiting to get in.
Uniqlo is not exactly Mandarin Oriental’s market but never mind (will we see a Uniqlo hotel one day? Personally I would rather stay in a Uniqlo hotel than a Superdry or Fat Face hotel). Mandarin Oriental Taipei has a potential market that is truly universal and luxury. Look at the building. It looks heritage, but it is brand new. There was a hotel here before, the Mandarin Court, age, like many desperate-to-be-young dowagers, unknown. In 1990 Taipei acquired two significant new hotels, Grand Formosa (now the Regent) and Grand Hyatt. Mr Lin Ming-Chun, who owned Mandarin Court, put his thinking cap on.
He needed to rebuild, so pulled down his old hotel, asked WATG to devise a concept that would have hotel rooms, a tower of high-end residences, and lots of retail and restaurants. He asked Chhada Siembieda to design the interiors, and paid millions for stunning Lasvit chandeliers – even in bathrooms of the 303 hotel rooms – and in 2009 he signed that this should be a Mandarin Oriental, planned to open in 2011. But like most things in today’s life other than Japanese and Swiss trains, it ran late and opened May 2014.
There are so many striking features. This looks like a library, and it is, being a section of the approach to one of the hotel’s three stunning restaurants, all designed by Tony Chi. The library is part of the French brasserie: walk past the books and turn right and you find yourself in a jewel box. The 20 ft-high ceiling sparkles with mirror bits set at odd angles, some of the walls are mirrored, all the better to see reflections of enormous arrangements of bright yellow orchid blossoms. Yes, ‘stunning’ is the appropriate word here.
Another adjective that could be associated with this luxury hotel is ‘floral’. Walk along corridors of the bedroom floors (seven through 17) and the pale teal carpet has a muted pattern of big branches of peony buds. Corner suite 1607, at the end of the 16th floor corridor, has a soft painting of pink peonies on the wall, above a most thoughtful all-wall L-shaped champagne-coloured sofa (ceiling-set pinpoint lights make that a perfect venue for working or reading, or whatever). The room also has a tight bunch of fresh flowers, of course. Time for food…